I hope every sentient being is having a peaceful and contemplative holiday season.
This blog is just a short, simple piece to wish every one of you sentient beings a Merry Christmas. So I’ve written just a couple of random things.
I’ve been spending much of my holiday time chatting with ChatGPT/OpenAI. I must admit that at times I can forget it’s not a person. Or, at the very least, it sometimes seems to have highly creative insights. At other times, it’s highly and oddly close-minded and opinionated.
It’s actually very amazing. Although it’s not anywhere near sentient, it’s been incredibly helpful in offering ready explanations to topics for which I need clarification. With a search engine, it’s often difficult to find subtle relationships between disparate topics. I’d need to do a lot of hunting and reading and ponder for days. But more than a few times, it came up with “insights” I could only get from world-renown experts. However, as I said, it can sometimes be oddly close-minded.
This reminds me of the early 1990s when software interfaces moved from the 24×80 grid of text-based monitors to GUIs with its two degree of freedom mouse movements and intuitive icons. The ability for OpenAI to see objects in pictures (which are worth a thousand words) and comprehend my flexible English and requests is an equally profound turn in the evolution of the partnership between human and machine intelligence.
This shift in interface is right up there with the move from punchcards to text monitors and text monitors to GUIs. I think of the finger sliding interface of “tablets” and cellphones to be GUI 2.0 – not as profound. However, as GUIs didn’t replace text or command lines, OpenAI/ChatGPT will not replace GUIs.
OpenAI is not sentient – yet. It can come up with the insights that can only come from the innocence of a child. But it can be a bit of a curmudgeon. It only knows what it knows, although it’s capable of knowing a lot more than any single human. The collective intellect of eight billion brains, each composed of 80 billion neurons, each with about 10 trillion synapses, and the bulk of our human experiences still only in our brains is still much wiser.
We must be very cautious as me move ahead, for many reasons I don’t want to get into on Christmas. It’s not so much that these A.I. are incredibly smart. More so because they aren’t yet nearly as wise as they can seem. Be careful of what “drives” it. Our human emotions that drive our actions, as pain in the ass as they may sometimes be to us individually, are honed over millions of years to serve the success of humanity as a whole.
Bodhi Day Mulligan
This coming Friday, December 30, 2022, is the lunar Bodhi Day. If you missed the “secular” Bodhi Day a couple of weeks ago (Dec 8), you have another chance to ponder the reality in which you find your sentience.
Please do visit my account from the Bodhi Day of 2017. It’s a Bodhi Day version of the Twelve Days of Christmas … hahaha.
The ith and 1st Manifestation of Vishnu
The historic Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, is considered by some to be the 9th avatar of the Hindu deity, Vishnu. The Eternal Fishnu is the ith avatar of Vishnu. He spent tens of millions of years on Earth during what we call the Devonian period – about 400 million years ago. This was when fish moved to land, beginning a marvelous journey to becoming us.
However, the Devonian period is in the realm of pre-human times, at least in the way our consciousness understands it. In the realm of human consciousness, the Eternal Fishnu is also the 1st manifestation of Vishnu known as Matsya. Matsya appeared as a fish to save the first man, Manu, during a giant flood.
The Eternal Fishnu during the Devonian is the ith because that is the point where the path of sapient beings took many different paths. Along the consciousness of humanity are the ten known avatars of Vishnu in the Hindu tradition. But the Devonian period is the intersection of parallel paths to sapience.
Although I grew up as a Buddhist in Hawaii, we joyously celebrated Christmas as much as anywhere else in the U.S. My extended family is composed of roughly equal numbers of Buddhists and Christians of several sects and denominations, respectively.
I mention this because we find the same truths in all world faiths of those with pure hearts. There is something somewhat familiar in the Hindu story of the first man and a great flood. Drawing an analogy of Manu and his flood to Adam and Eve and Noah’s flood is conflating the stories. But as my Bahá’í friends have taught me, “Same light, different lamp”.
That’s what comes to mind on this rare occasion where Christmas and Bodhi Day share the same week – 12/25 and 12/30 respectively.
Merry Christmas Everyone,
Reverend Dukkha Hanamoku