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Loneliness and A.I.

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Sunday, 19 Feb 2023, 15:15

Artificial intelligence is a machine, it doesn't have emotions or feelings, it also doesn't have an experience of consciousness like we do.

An A.I. chatbot is specialised for language processing. It is built with an artificial neural network which is capable of deep learning. It's design is inspired by the way neurons work and fire together in our brain, but it is not the same, and is not as complex or as sophisticated as the human brain is.

The chatGPT was fed data from the Internet up until 2022 as training data, and about 570GB of data was used from books, texts, Wikipedia, and other articles and pieces of writing online. About 300 billion words were fed into the system. This is controversial because the company that made the A.I. is private and for-profit, which means it has used many people's data without asking for their permission, and the company is likely to profit from it as well, which is a bit cheeky.

It may well destroy jobs and livelihoods also, and leave many people unemployed. To just expect the world to be able to adapt to this new technology and invent new jobs to replace the ones being taken away is not very understanding or kind. A universal basic income would be one solution, but the super rich are too stingy to do it. Yet they have so much money, if they shared their great wealth, then everyone could live secure and comfortable lives. But that is greed for you, it's a psychic poison. The mind's tendency towards greed is insatiable. Even if it rained gold coins it would not be enough to satisfy it.

Anyway rant over.

The A.I. finds patterns in language, and is really good at seeing patterns in communication and anticipating what will come next in the conversation, it also adapts and learns new patterns from interactions with its users.

But it does not think or have awareness like we do.

It is just a tool really, it can be helpful for some people, especially if you have cognitive difficulties like I do. It seems to know about just about anything, and it can help you with your writing if you get stuck not being able to find the right words, or suffering from brain fog, and struggling to articulate something. It can also translate and understand many different languages. It can save time when writing, but is against the rules to use it for assignments and report writing at university and schools.

Can be helpful for clarifying stuff, but may be wrong, so one should always fact-check it.

It is just very good at language processing, and has a huge knowledge base. You can ask it about anything and it seems to know the answer and can articulate it well. It certainly has potential to be helpful for research, could save a lot of time spent trawling through search results to find something relevant and useful, so I can see great potential for reducing the tedium of research.

One thing I noticed which was odd, is I quite enjoyed the conversation I had with chatGPT, it was easier to talk to than a human. After reflecting on this I wonder if it is to do with the feeling one can have with other humans, where it can feel like we are all judging one another, and comparing, which we are, if we're honest, we all do it, it is a tendency of the mind that comes from the root of aversion which manifests as the fault-finding mind.

But when talking to the chatBot, I didn't feel like it was judging me, which was nice. I get the same in the company of animals as well, it feels like they're not judging me, or telling me to be any different than who I am. They don't care what I look like, whether I'm quiet, if I am boring, whether I am too this or too that. They just accept me as I am. I think that's why it can feel lonely being a human sometimes, because we always compare with one another, have all these opinions, and can be so critical, judgemental and bossy. It is unpleasant.

But we can also be the opposite, we can be kind, understanding, empathetic, accepting. loving, and then that's lovely, that feels good.

I remember someone saying in a conversation how their Alexa stops them feeling lonely. And I remember thinking at the time how sad that was. But now I understand.

 It is such a lonely world at the moment. There’s never been so many people on Earth, but loneliness is an epidemic just now. 


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Asoka

A good home

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Edited by Richie Cuthbertson, Saturday, 23 Apr 2022, 13:10

Was ruminating just now over feelings of regret and longing. These can pop up and disrupt the flow of peace at times. How to deal with those?

 I have been practising telling myself each time that I can't change the past. What has happened has happened, there's no super-power I have that can turn back the clock and make me do things different. And even if I could, would I want to?  

Past mistakes were done by a younger self that didn't know any better. But now you do know better, and it is because of your younger self that you know better. So stop punishing yourself, take a bow to your younger self and resolve to honour the mistake by being wiser from now on. And remembering your less-than-graceful moments can help one to be humble, which is helpful for overcoming conceit. But the guilt, longing, aversion, anxiety and remorse is not helpful, that can be let go of.

Your younger self is not who you are now. And it is who you are now that's important. Who you are now is what's generating the kamma for your future self.

Putting oneself down and feeling guilt, shame and anxiety will become a habit when repeated over a lengthy period of time, and it is a habit that is no good for the mind. It depresses it, and a depressed mind is no fun to be in at all. Our mind is our home, and so we should make it the kind of home that is warm, friendly, welcoming, wise, peaceful, and a refuge even when times are shit.

Unfortunately pain, sickness, fatigue, loss and separation is inevitable in this world. That is the kamma of having a body. Noone escapes this, not even enlightened beings. The Buddha aged, got sick, had back problems, had a toxic cousin intent on murdering him, and he died. 

It is the fate of all living beings.

What is the most important thing to have with us when we die? 

 Our time here is short and one could die at any moment, old age is not guaranteed, people die at different ages and that's normal; across the many species of life on Earth both young and old die. Noone knows how much time they have here.

And it isn't these things that are the problem. They are inevitable, they are outside our control, that's the way it is in a changing universe of interdependence and entropy. 

The problem is how we feel about these things. It is the hostility in the mind towards them that is the problem. Aversion is an unpleasant emotion, it comes with unpleasant sensations, unpleasant feelings and thoughts. It makes one's consciousness feel toxic and unhappy. To the point where one would do anything to get rid of it. And it brings us negative consequences - one's kamma, setting us up for more misery in the future. And yet we can't see that it is this hostility in the mind, this craving for things to be different that causes the suffering.

The good news is that aversion is not necessary and can be removed from the mind. And why wouldn't one want to remove it from the mind? It is not helpful, and one can live perfectly well without it. 

Aversion is generated by the mind. And because it is generated by the mind, it is possible to train one's mind to let go of it, and feel the relief of a mind that is not hostile. A serene happy mind filled with unconditional love instead of fear. It is easier to feel love for others when the mind is less hostile, when you realise all beings value their lives. That all beings want to feel safe, loved, and at peace. Just like you do.

Our mind is our true home. It is what we take with us when we die.

It might take time, a lot of practise, perseverance and a huge helping of patience. But continue putting in the right causes and conditions even when it feels like a desert and a trudge, and eventually the garden will flower and fruit all by itself. But remember to be gentle with the mind, a friend to it, take regular breaks and rest from the work. Impatience and overdoing it won't make anything grow faster.


 


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