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Mar 18, 2016

AI's Coming Gradually, Then Suddenly

AI is lunging toward the human race, like an extraterrestrial superintelligence racing at us from the other side of the sun. We will wake up one day soon and realize the machines have taken over our world. This is already happening but we are not evolved to recognize it. Just last week a self-learning computer beat the world's best Go master at the incredibly complex game. We don't think that's a big deal because games don't run the world, but try to wrap your brain around this:
There are only 10⁸⁰ atoms in the universe, but about 10¹⁷⁰ board positions in Go. "That means that if there were as many parallel universes as there are atoms in our universe (!), then the total number of atoms in all those universes combined would be close to the possibilities on a single Go board", says Scott Santens. This is the creep of the machine silently mastering the human universe. Sure, robots can't start a fire in the woods without matches (yet) but learning itself is rapidly falling before the overwhelming processing power of "thinking" machines. We're not likely to be alarmed until it's too late to do anything.

Machine learning and the approach of the AI will happen with lighting speed. Take a moment here to experience what that is like. We should all be preparing for our jobs to be made obsolete in the next year or two. So then how will you spend the rest of your life, once work is only for machines? What will human life be about? Will you still be glad to be alive? These are the crucial questions, and they need our immediate attention.    [I'm working on launching a public symposium on these questions to take place at Carroll College next Oct. I'll post the dates when they're solid.]
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Tim Holmes Studio

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I'm a sculptor/filmmaker living in Montana, USA. I am using art to move the evolution of humanity forward into an increasingly responsive, inclusive and interactive culture. As globalization flattens peoples into a capitalist monoculture I hope to use my art to celebrate historical cultural differences and imagine how we can co-create a rich future together.

I see myself as an artist/philosopher laboring deep in the mines of joy. I've had a good long career of exhibiting work around the world and working on international outreach projects, most notably being the first American to be invited to present a one-person exhibit in the Hermitage Museum. Recently I have turned my attention from simply making metal sculpture to creating films and workshops for engaging communities directly, tinkering with the very ideas and mechanisms behind cultural transformation. I feel that as we face tragic world crises, if the human species favors our imaginative and creative capacities we can cultivate a rich world to enjoy.

For me the deepest satisfaction in making art comes in engaging people's real life concerns rather than providing simple entertainment or decoration. Areas of conflict or tension are particularly ripe for the kind of transformative power that art uniquely carries. I invite any kind of challenge that serves people on a deep level.