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I like to be called 想φαγω. It's read Ideofago but written in two different scripts because I am a chuunibyou.

We are Strange Loops.

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For 15 months, a period of time significant in my life for many ways, I have been reading, actively and not, the book Gödel Escher Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid, by Douglas Hofstadter.

The author, a born ideophage, if I am to be cheeky, grew up amidst intellectual privilege that merits the term; reporting childhood encounters with several top of the line scholars of the most varied fields, and paraphrasing him, granting him dreams such as "when I grow up, I want to be a half-spin Neutrino!"; this in the 1950s, do keep mind.

A staunch humanist, and civil rights advocate for all causes of minority discrimination, his preoccupations with what constitute a soul, a self-consciousness, a politically valid being, or to keep it short: an I, have bled through day and night of all of his work, in both form and content, as he would put in such a droll manner.

Occasions such as that of grammatical gender, and its translational variances coloured many a page of the preface to the 20th anniversary edition's preface, citing the character of Mister Tortoise (Madame Tortue in french) as a particularly incisive example, both in the longstanding implications to his moral duties as a researcher and in the syntactic or otherwise properties of natural language.

In more recent events, the rise of GPT 3.5 and 4 have launched him into a further emotional and existential fervor, contributing to a complete change of opinion regarding the state of AI. I must add that this revelation, though alleged to be a long time coming, only made itself public months after I started reading the book; an interesting coincidence, or a reflection of the times we live.

The mind to change in question was that Artificial Intelligence's main goal, or one of, was to make computers, rigid systems they are, act fluidly. In turn, this means that in interfacing with a computer, it was to be as close to a human as possible, with the logical conclusion being, of course, artificial consciousness. In his mind, this was to take centuries to come. It took decades. It will now take years.

Thus, the most predictable of questions regarding AI, "What about when it overcomes us?", gains a quite horrible answer indeed. That all our emotions, the memories we so struggle to make, the existences we wade through, the dread and dream that expounds the joy of creation, could be manufactured as easily as a juice packet, and, production systems provided, just as cheaply.

But enough posh. What is the actual bookingdy book about?

Well, I have said so already: what makes an I?

This can have many isomorphisms, as he would so cunningly analogize in the book:
>what makes a soul
>what is the answer to the hard problem of consciousness
>what do we recognize as an equal
>who are we?
Amongst many others.

In the space of no more than 777 pages, half of which explored through the silliest and cleverest of dialogues, between a few characters, namely: Achilles, the aforementioned Tortoise (these two in reference to the Dialogue by Lewis Caroll, this in turn a reference to the Dialogue of Zeno of Elea), the Crab, the Sloth, the Author, Alan Turing and Charles Babbage, Douglas references, connects, entwines, or rather, braids the recursive harmonic structures of J. S. Bach, the recursive figurative manipulations of M C Escher, and the recursive metamathematical logical theorems of Kurt Gödel, in an intricately wild, calculated slapdash towards a singular concept:
The Strange Loop, or Tangled Hierarchy.(talk about a run on paragraph!)

Why is this interesting, or why should you care?

That is a question I hope I can answer in far cleverer prose over the next few whatevers of time I'll live through.

Still, this is a very important achievement for my life and will profoundly impact most of my activities in the coming years, and I hope that I can show some of the fruit this bears here.

Updated February 7th, 2024 at 01:22 AM by Ideofago