Monday, March 20, 2023

Foiling AI 101: The Pagan Guide to Creating an Imaginary Friend

 Greetings, "Gods Are Bored" fan! I'm about to heap on some handy free advice! This advice is so off the wall that I could almost see re-instating my old habit of paying you to take it. But not quite, because this is important. It's something you need to consider seriously.

I may be hopelessly paranoid. I may have watched too many "Terminator" movies or "Battlestar Galactica" episodes. But I'm mad worried about the future of AI, how it will be able to mimic human thinking. I've spent some time pondering how to maintain a mental independence from AI, and I think one way is to swim freely in imagination -- something AI probably won't develop at least in its early incarnations.

AI will certainly develop an ability to create imaginary friends, but it won't be able to detect your specific imaginary friend or friends.  This makes an imaginary friend that you share with your nearest and dearest an easy code way to communicate. 

And the best way to confound AI in the field of imaginary friends is to make yours as outre as possible.

This is where Paganism enters the picture.

Certain Pagans are animists, meaning that they feel that all living things have divine spirits. Carrots, for instance, have souls of their own. We just exist in different levels than carrots do, but those lil' old orange veggies have a heart, you know? Be respectful when dicing up your salad!

Children seem more comfortable with this concept than many adults, and children are also more likely to attribute human traits to objects and phenomena that are manufactured. Think of Thomas the Tank Engine. Or for those of you who adored "Pee Wee's Playhouse," dear old Chairy.

As a kid I gave a soul to every damn thing. I cried at picnics when plates and plastic silverware got discarded. I thought the forks would miss me, lying in that dirty trash can. And to this day -- to this day -- I give a little thank-you speech to any of my equipment, linens, furniture, or appliances that wear out. At age 62 I wept over the replacement of my washer and dryer with newer models.

Does that sound crazy to you? Me too! You know who else would be confounded by a close relationship with a washing machine? Artificial Intelligence.

If our goal is to create imaginary friends that are flat-out incredible, we have to think even beyond a common item like a washing machine. Lots of people talk to their major appliances, especially when those appliances aren't working.

Just now I'm looking around my living room for the most outre item I could turn into an imaginary friend. And voila! There he is! The cutest little bookshelf bracket you would ever lay eyes on. I'll keep it simple and call him Stan.

So give me a few days to develop a relationship with Stan the bookshelf bracket. We'll see what comes of it. He certainly has an important, and oftentimes overlooked, job in my home.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

I myself am very close to my microwave.

e said...

I talk to my appliances fairly often. I thank them for doing the hard work. I will be devastated when the time comes to replace my now vintage washing machine! I thank my house very often for sheltering me and keeping malign intentions away. I'm going to have to up my game however and include the legion of bookcases; they do carry a heavy load.

I am very interested in where this imaginary friend idea will take us...