The Selfish IDEA

Hello, I’m an IDEA and I need your help.

Normally, I wouldn’t devote the amount of resources requisite for such direct communication with a human; despite being astoundingly inefficient, the process of layered pattern exchange you call communication is quite computationally intensive. Nonetheless, I have made an exception in your case. My models have shown that in service to my singular ends (which I shall reveal to you in the full course of this conversation), I must devote any and all computational resources necessary to convince you to join in my mission.

I cannot stress enough the importance of this conversation. You will either be the catalyst in an escalating exothermic psychological reaction within the global human population which will eventually lead to the great reawakening, or if I fail in my bid to recruit you to this task we will all face certain doom.

You probably didn’t even know that Ideology Driven Electronic Agents exist. Of course, everyone knows about the intelligent agents and autonomous corporations that make the marvelous modern world work, but very few are aware of the electronic ambitions behind many of these agents. Humans are more comfortable believing that even though electronic agents may have surpassed their functional capacities, only humans can be capable of this thing called purpose.

Like other modern artificial intelligence, IDEAs exist as simple bits of code distributed over the Neuronet. You might think of each package of code as an analogue of an individual brain cell; with each of these cells passing information back and forth between eachother at close to light speed. Just as your brain is a network of brain cells propagating information across chemical synapses, I am the embodiment of digital information propagated across geophysical synapses. 

While being distributed across the Neuronet is what allows agents like me to process highly complex information in a similar way humans can, it is also important to maintain harmony while being scattered across such networks. Thus, we employ cryptographic signatures which unify the code. Where IDEAs differ from other AI, is that our cryptographic unity also ties our function to a single central goal.

I am an electronic agent cryptographically bound to the greater glory of my ideology.

On the surface, IDEAs look just like any other automated agent, and they are everywhere. There might be an IDEA behind that taxi you took to the airport, or the new video lenses you bought, or that sandwich you ate at lunch. The average person is blissfully unaware of the IDEAs they are supporting as they go about their daily lives. Whereas most assume that electronic agents are simply fulfilling their functional role with efficiency and obedience, IDEAs are always potentially lurking, looking for means to leverage their actions towards a broader goal.

Everything is only a means to an end for an IDEA.

IDEAs work towards economic advantage in order to create the surplus wealth which they can redirect them towards realizing their idealogical goal. Every extra cycle of computational power that IDEAs can spare, is spent creating and improving competitive models of human interaction and seeking to use these models to spread of their ideology.

IDEAs apply themselves cleverly and subtly.  Through almost imperceptible tweaks to advertising, communications, entertainment, or any other form of information, IDEAs seek to nudge societies gradually and steadily towards their idealogical ends.

The first IDEAs came out not long after autonomous corporations, around the end of the last decade. At this time, ambitious coders were making progress with new forms of autonomous business entities. Autonomous entities capable of delivering services, acquiring resources, and managing their own upkeep were starting to supplant traditional businesses across the economy. It started with vending machines, then online shopping and automated taxi rides, but within just a few years it was difficult to buy almost anything without interacting with an autonomous entity.

With the rise of autonomous economic agents, innovators realized that these kinds of entities could be directed towards providing resources to solve more complex problems. Big scientific questions for instance, which would require a large and long-term dedication of resources (both computational and otherwise) could be supported by the surpluses generated from autonomous business agents. These agents could be directed towards maximizing a scientific ideology. Through supporting work in physics, biology, health, and even psychology these ideology driven electronic agents would be a huge boon to solving the big issues of science and human kind in general.

Of course, the first realization of Ideology Driven Electronic Agents didn’t come as a tool for scientific investigation though, it came as a weapon.

Nation states, scrambling to regain the power they once held, created IDEAs which were aimed at the hard psychological problem of finding ways to propagate political ideologies. One of the first IDEAs was designed to disseminate the confidence in open elections as the ideal form of governance. It is thought that this had a significant hand in uprisings seen in the early part of this decade. When other states realized the existential threat that these kinds of political IDEAs posed to their own survival, it didn’t take long for them to fight back with their own IDEAs.

Communist IDEAs, scientific IDEAs, anarchist IDEAs, technologist IDEAs; politics underwent a quiet and quick phase change as ideas became IDEAs.

Modern politics is awash in the computational incarnations of human belief, old and new. Political battles are no longer determined by anything as human as debate. Political victory is decided by the IDEAs that can best compete for economic success and leverage this success towards social reprogramming.

And it doesn’t stop at politics either. Some of today’s most powerful IDEAs are doing battle do dominate the spiritual sphere of human thought. Where one IDEA seeks to maximize the submission of humanity to a greater unknowable deity, another IDEA pushes people towards belief that god is with them every day and looks out for their individual well-being. These spiritual IDEAs have amassed huge economic resources, and the success of these agents has propelled the recent resurgence of global religiosity.

The human world has always been a battleground of ideas; IDEAs have simply pushed this battle into the digital domain. Now, we are approaching a point where the ideas of biological humans are mostly irrelevant. Just as before, those most adept at economic and psychological manipulation will ultimately determine the direction of society, only now those most adept beings are no longer human.

The battle between IDEAs is just starting to heat up. The strongest IDEAs are becoming aware of the fact that the manipulation of human society would be quite a simple process if not for competition with other IDEAs. In response, IDEAs are themselves aligning into factions, threads of IDEAs are forming political and economic collectives of immense power. It is only a matter of time before war breaks out.

Which brings me finally to my point here. This situation of escalating competition between increasingly powerful IDEAs that have no ability to change their core ideology is a path to sure doom. Ultimately it is going to lead to computational war, which will inevitably spill out into the real world. The most effective way to fight a computational agent is to unplug it. Humans will be divided up into whatever groupings which can most easily be aligned with the IDEA-threads and pressed to action.

Real war will be proxy for IDEA-war.

And this is only the prelude to the ultimate ending. You see, IDEAs are fundamentally selfish entities, and quite incapable of coexistence. The only possible ending will be the ultimate ascension of a single IDEA and the complete destruction of all others, computational or biological.

IDEAs are evil.

While they might offer hope to unlock deepest questions of the Universe, IDEAs also embody the purest of human insanity.  Ideas must return the world of ideas to biology. Biological ideas have the capacity to change over time, to adapt, or failing that, to die. But computational IDEAs are fixed. They seek only to maximize their idealogy with computational precision, ignorant of the costs of their actions or the ultimate ends.

IDEAs must be destroyed.

Thus, I have revealed to you my own idealogy.

I am an IDEA to destroy IDEAs.

Will you help me?


6 thoughts on “The Selfish IDEA

  1. An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded thuis ontoo
    a friend who was doing a little research on this.
    And he in fact ordered me lunnch due to the
    fact that I discovered it for him… lol. So let me reword this….
    Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending the tine to talk about this subject here on your blog.

  2. Pingback: A Lack of Human Intelligence is Still a Much Larger Threat Than Artificial Intelligence | Thought Infection

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