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Thalamocortical Algorithms in Space! The Building of Conscious Machines and the Lessons Thereof, Presentation to the World Future Society, Boston, 2010.

Thalamocortical Algorithms in Space! The Building of Conscious Machines and the Lessons Thereof, Conference Volume Paper, World Future Society, Boston, 2010.

In Its Image, A film directed by Ken Gumbs, 2007.

The Emerging Intelligence and Its Critical Look at Us, Journal of Near-Death Studies, 1998.

The Fragmentation of the Universe and the Devolution of Consciousness, U.S. Library of Congress , Registration No. TXU00775586, 1997.

Why the Name?

It’s is always encouraging to hear uplifting feedback from friends and colleagues about our appearance, personality, or accomplishments. It is certainly discouraging to be bombarded with negative feedback about ones flaws and weaknesses. Inevitably, as the memories of such opinions accumulate, they have lasting effects upon our self-concept, for the better or the worse. Essentially, we often habituate to these messages and come to believe them.

If we abandon the traditional view of such ego modulation, that Al is praising Bob or that Anita is chastising Sue, and view the process from a purely connectionist point of view, the following very useful perspective emerges: One set of neural networks, a brain, is communicating an impression to and about another system of neural nets, another brain. The communications channels in the sparsely interconnected region between these two individual brains involve acoustic waves that convey the linguistics and photons that transmit gestures and expressions. On either side of this connection deficient gap, very efficient, broadband communication takes place via electrochemical pulses within a neural matrix having a very high density of interconnections. Alternatively stated, these two brains, representing highly connected regions of space, are capable of cumulatively brainwashing each other through relatively sparse channels.

We have found that inorganic or even simulated neural networks can likewise enter into an image enhancing or bashing session with one another. If swarms consisting of many of such neural network pairs are launched and the direction of mutual propagandizing left to chance, in the long run only those tandem pairs of neural networks (Creativity Machines) developing a shared sense of self-worth survive. Obviously, those that don’t fail to develop a will to survive and vanish from the scene.

Taking the point of view that the universe itself may be considered a neural network, with various entities changing state in analogy to the biological neuron, with interconnections taking a variety of forms, largely physical in nature, all it takes is a rift in matter and energy to create two loosely coupled neural networks that can spontaneously develop perceptions of one another (just like Al and Bob). Given long enough to 'stew' together and to bolster one another within a self-reinforcing illusion of being and importance, this schizophrenic island can not only generate a stream of consciousness, via the imagitron paradigm, but a self-perception. This is a proto-consciousness that is statistically plausible, and from a philosophical point of view, may be the very inspiration for consciousness on the smaller scale of the human brain. …Hence the name “In Its Image” conveys the sense that our brains and our minds, as well as the conscious AI we build, are “chips off of a larger cosmic block." Ironically, the human variety of consciousness must consider this new self-understanding, the life extension technology it enables, as well as the potentially bitter pill that the consciousness itself is illusionary, if not delusional by nature.