Wednesday, May 30, 2007

conversation with an autopilot part 61

 "And I have realised that there's no causation in my life", says the captain.  "What does that mean," says Clement.  "Well, it's like this, you think that life has logic - it's a series of if then statements - 'if I do X then Y will happen, and if I do Y then Z will happen' - a cascading series of decisions that  have some ultimate purpose. 'I will and then...', and that's the thing, three dots and I'm onto the next decision in a multiply branched tree of existence - cutting out the options until I'm left with the one thing that all my previous decisions have led me, inexorably, to."  "And it's not like that?" asks Clement. "No, no it isn't." The captain draws on the butt of his cigar. "It's a bunch of disconnected events linked by nothing more than I'm the one there." "That makes no sense," says Clement. "Well it wouldn't to an AI. You're all about logic, you have nothing else, you see A, you think B, you do C. You're just algorithms." "And you're not?" "Look, I'm not saying it's better. I drop two lumps of sugar in my tea, and one lump bangs off the rim, misses the tea entirely, and I think 'that's my day fucked' - that's me trying to apply causality" "That's superstition," says Clement. "I know," says the captain, "but that's the three dots of the ellipsis, finding a 'then' out of trivia because nothing else makes sense." "So you think life is a meaningless succession of unrelated events?" "No"

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