The Post_Human Manifesto Version 1.0

By Robert Peppirel & Hex, 26 September 2008

Post—Humanists are people who understand how the world is changing. By understanding this they are changing the world.

1.General Statements

All technological progress of Human society is geared towards the redundancy of the Human species as we currently know it.

Human Beings, like Gods, only exist in as much as we believe them to exist. In the Post Human era machines will be Gods.

Intelligent Agents will be the religious authorities of the Information Age. We will ask them to interpret the Chaos of the God machines for us.

2.Statements on Consciousness, Humans and Philosophy

If consciousness is a property which emerges from a specific set of conditions, in order to synthesise it we do not need to re-model it from the 'top-down'. We only need to recreate the conditions from which it might emerge. This requires an understanding of what those conditions are.

Consciousness is the function of an organism, not an organ.

The mind and the body act together to produce consciousness. If one is absent consciousness ceases. There is no pure thought, isolated from a body. In order to function the brain must be connected to a body, even if the body is artificial.

Consciousness can only be considered as an emergent property. In this sense it is like boiling. Given sufficient heat, gravity and air pressure the water in a kettle will start to boil. We can see what boiling is, we can recognise it as something to which we give a name. We do not consider it mysterious.

Consciousness (Mind) and the environment (Reality) cannot be separated. They are continuous.

Logic is an illusion of Human imagination. Truth and Falsity do no exist in Nature other that in Human thought.

3.Statements on Science, Nature and the Universe

No scientific model can ever be complete. It will always be partial and contingent. For any model to be complete it would have to take all influential factors into account, no matter how insignificant.

The Post_Human accepts that humans have a finite capacity to understand and control Nature.

Science works on the basis of an intrinsic Universal order. It assumes that all phenomena are subject to physical laws and that some of those laws are well understood, some partially understood, and some unknown. The Post_Human accepts that laws are not things which are intrinsic to Nature. Nor are they things which arise purely in the mind and imposed on Nature.

Everything that exists anywhere is Energy. Energy has four properties:

a. That it is everything and everywhere

b. That it is manifested in an infinite variety of ways

c. That it is perpetually transforming.

d. That it always has been, and always will be, the above.

Humans and the environment are different expressions of energy. The only difference between them is the form that energy takes.

The Post_Human is entirely open to ideas of "paranormality", "immateriality", the "supernatural", and the "occult". The Post_Human does not accept that faith in scientific methods is superior to faith in other belief systems.

4.Statements on DisOrder and DisContinuity

Order and disorder are relative, not absolute, qualities. This is proved by the fact that they define each other.

What we perceive as ordered and disordered is often culturally determined.

The ways in which energy manifestations are perceived by an observer can always be described with two simple qualities - continuity and discontinuity. Continuity is non-interruption of space-time. Discontinuity is a rupture in space-time. Both qualities can be discerned in all events depending upon how they are viewed.

Energy manifestations should not be thought of as intrinsically continuous or discontinuous, that is there are no absolute qualities of energy. Energetic states will appear as either continuous or discontinuous to an observer depending upon their viewing position. The quality of discontinuity is context sensitive.

5. Statements on Thought, Meaning and Being

As long as models about how the brain might work are defective (being based on fallacious assumptions) the creation of a synthetic consciousness will be impractical.

The combined biological processes that give rise to thought could be spoken of as a 'cognitive medium'. At our current state of knowledge this would include neurons

Nervous System, the brain, various hormones, bio-feedback mechanisms as well as others as yet unknown.

In as much as each thought is distinct it will occur as a distinct event within the cognitive medium.

It would be tempting to think of thoughts as blocks of data in the brain. This would be a mistake since it reinforces a static view of mental activity. A thought is a path through the cognitive medium. A thought is the action of travelling rather than a particular destination.

Given that a thought is activated, for whatever reason, it consists in a process of travelling through the cognitive medium. A thought does not exist unless it is being thought. The most likely journey that a thought may take once it has been activated defines its path. Similar thoughts will take similar paths.

Such paths can be created in a number of ways. The cognitive medium is prone to adaptation just as the skin or muscles are.

The activity of thinking is regulated by the conduct of energy in the cognitive medium. The cognitive medium is no different to any other system in that it represents a particular process of energy transformations. Where two thoughts are continuous (for example, 'blue' and 'sky' in the sentence "The sky is blue") the pathway between each of these thoughts is well established. It will require little energy to pass from one to the other. Where two thoughts are not well connected (for example between `tree' and 'sardine' in the sentence "The sardine-tree") more energy is required to fuse the thoughts since they have less well established connections.

Ideas which can proceed from one to another with relatively little effort (energy) can be considered as continuous. Ideas which require great effort to travel between can be considered as discontinuous.

The presence or absence of 'meaning' is determined by the amount of energy required to pass from one concept to another. Difficult meaning arises from the co-existence of concepts which are semantically distant.

In order to maintain a sense of Being the Human tries to build up continuity through the stimuli it receives from the environment. Such stimuli are both stable and unstable since the environment displays different amounts of both. The development of stable thought paths which correspond to stable stimuli generates a sense of order. Over time such stability develops into a sense of Being.

6. Statements on Uncertainty

The Humanist era was characterised by certainty about the operation of the Universe and the place of Humans within it. The Post_Human era is characterised by uncertainty about the operation of the Universe and about what it is to be Human.

Historically, we could say the Post_Human era, the Age of Uncertainty, was born in the period leading up to the First World War since this was the time we were introduced to Quantum Physics and Cubism.

In Post_Human terms uncertainty is nothing to fear. The world has always been as uncertain as it is now. What has changed is that it is now much harder to impose authority since increased information flow diminishes authority. Therefore, there is less false sense of certainty. Certainty, like belief, only arises in the absence of full information.

7.Statements on Art and Creativity

The production and appreciation of Art is a particularly Human faculty. It is often cited by the Humanists as the highest expression of Human thought and the thing which most distinguishes us from machines. It would, therefore, be fair to admit that the Post_Human era cannot begin in full until we have met this challenge from the Humanists. In order to develop a machine which can produce and appreciate Art we must first have a clearer understanding of what it is.

In order to be clear, the Art market can be defined as a identifiable set of institutions and commercial organisations which collectively, fund, promote and sell Art.

The criteria that determine whether something is aesthetically stimulating or aesthetically neutral are always changing.

Good art promotes discontinuity. Bad art enforces continuity.

Rich aesthetic experience is generated by the perception, simultaneously, of continuity and discontinuity in the same event.

Post_Human art uses technology to promote discontinuity. Healthy societies tolerate the promotion of discontinuity since they understand Humans need exposure to it in spite of themselves. Unhealthy societies discourage the promotion of discontinuity.

Creativity consists in combining that which already exists, but which had previously been held as separate. Creativity and aesthetic appreciation are both functions of the Human ability to modify the connections in their thought paths, or to have them modified.

8.Statements on Synthetic Beings

We already have machines which can learn. However, their abilities are currently limited by the fact that they are logical. As we know, logic is an idealisation which has been developed by Human imagination. Since there a few things less logical in behaviour than Humans any machine which is restricted to using logic as its base will never display Human characteristics.

Currently the output of computers is predictable. The Post_Human era begins in full when the output of computers is unpredictable.

All Artificial Life machines that we currently have are hermetically sealed. They are limited by the complexity of the calculations our machines can perform. The quotient of randomness intruding upon them is relatively small.

We know that it is the compulsion to reassert order in the face of random stimuli which generates our sense of Being. Therefore, it is obvious that if we are to create any synthetic intelligence which has a sense of Being which is like that which we recognise in ourselves then it must be sensitive to the same level of random interruption that Humans are.

If we wish to produce a synthetic intelligence which displays creativity then we need it to be able to establish connections between its thoughts in a discontinuous way.

If we wish to produce a synthetic intelligence which displays aesthetic appreciation then it should be able to sense continuity and discontinuity simultaneously - without crashing. Whilst this would cause excitement in the machine it is yet to be determined to what extent it would be pleasurable.

The Post_Human Condition will be published by Intellect Books in the Autumn.