I have seen the future. We are standing at the edge of a massive cliff. Below us is ‘Creepy Valley’, a great technological divide that took humanity millennia to discover. A break in a misty Cloud reveals an alien world populated by humans who have transformed into transhuman cyborgs and posthuman A.I. avatars without souls or technological boundaries. For some, the Valley is our long sought portal, our ascension. For others, our discovery of the Valley proves our world is flat (it sure drops off sharp here), and we will choose to close the misty veil, post a warning, and return to the antiquated organic “Hey-hey-you-you-get-off-the-Cloud” world. Still others will go the ‘ray less traveled’ and see our arrival at the Valley as a call to embrace the power of the soul to do what man-made technology can never do and ascend as a spiritual being…before it is too late. Which choice will you make?
For the past twenty years Transhumanists have been trying to persuade (con) us into believing that our bodies can be “perfected” or “made gooder” via technology. Transplants, implants, supplements are now a plenty. If FANG (FacebookAppleNetflixGoogle) have their way they will breathe tiny computers called “smart dust” into your body that will link you to the Cloud and to billions of other Transhuman (part machine, part biological) and post human (non biological) citizens of Creepy Valley.
What most do not realize, is that like Yahweh (God) pulling Eve out of a rib of Adam, FANG seeks to pull a new being out of you, one that is either a cartoon that lives in a simulated reality or a robot. (A cartoon? Seriously? Yep. Read on.)
Just as God breathed into Adam and Eve and made them living souls, FANG seeks to suck the life out of the first you and blow it into the “second you” to make it their version of a living soul living on in Creepy Valley.
In order to do this, Transhumanists want you to believe our souls are not an immortal or divine spark created by God, each one like an utterly beautiful and unique ethereal snowflake that can exist apart from the body (as Plato said).
No, in Transhumanist philosophy, the soul is inseparable from the body (as Aristotle argued and Christians believe) and, to them, it is the accumulation of everything we do online, especially on Facebook.
All those photos, comments, videos and other data you have posted — that’s your soul according to Transhumanists. More, FANG is creating a rabbit hole to a new realm for you to inhabit. I’ve been alarmed and sacred about FANG. Now, I’m creeped out, too.
“You”, by the way, are thought of by Transhumanists as a pattern of matter and energy… the sum of the information you posted (which, we know, is only a fraction of the real you). The bits or stuff that compose your “soul” can be scanned, transferred, uploaded, downloaded, cut and pasted into a new, magically created non-biological machine body or cartoons and it will still be ‘you’ (just because they say it is you). Basically, like a voodoo priest, the priests of Silicon Valley (and a growing number of priestesses who have entered this mostly all boys game) believe they can capture your “soul” and imprison it, excuse me, implant it, in a new doll and still call it “you”.
This matches the concept of resurrection and ascension in a number of spiritual traditions. But it’s not.
It is more like the creation of the golem in Jewish folklore. The golem are human-like, but soulless, beings created by magical means. This folklore warns that creating golem is a no no. These being’s lack of empathy and spirit leads to disaster.
Interestingly, golem comes from the Hebrew galmi and meant “light form” or “raw” material. Some believe Adam was created as a golem. In the Bible we are told that “a mist (a cloud?) used to rise from the earth and water the whole of the ground. Then the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into this nostrils the breath and man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7).
As Eve followed Adam, Christian prophecy says that, one day, a second Adam (a next/new human) will appear and give life. I find it interesting that the creation of Adam was preceded by a mist that rose from the ground just as the creation of the Transhuman or posthuman is preceded by the rising of the Cloud.
I’m not sure if Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg knows his Jewish folklore or not, but he is in the process of releasing billions of digital golems into the world. In Facebook’s future you will create a cartoon “avatar” body or “pixel puppet” for your twin that will hang out with your friends on line in a simulated (fake) social reality called Facebook Spaces.
Facebook Spaces. Turn your flesh-and-blood self into a VR cartoon and “Go Live”.
Spaces is currently in beta testing, but you heard me right. Facebook wants to turn “you” into a bizarre cartoon (or a golem?)!
In the Jewish mystical book, Sefer Yetzirah, the golem were activated when the Name of God was written on a paper and inserted into its mouth. It could be deactivated by removing the paper.
Instead of a being activated by a piece of paper bearing the Name of God inserted in the mouth, Facebook will insert its A.I. code or algorithms into your new being to activate you. It can deactivate you in a blink of an eye.
Whether we realize it or not, we have already created “digital doubles” of ourselves that exist online in the Cloud. Every search, every email, every post is logged. Collectively, these thoughts are the source material (cells, particles) of the new bodies we are forming on line.
Now, the cells are preparing to morph into a humanoid form, your new doll, baby. Your new “soul” will live in the Cloud, that invisible web of consciousness rising from those black boxes buried beneath the Valley.
But this is just the beginning.
Like the first fish who walked on land, once you strap on Facebook’s clunky VR headset and create your cartoon double or avatar it will interact in this new fake space (dimension) and will continue to grow and evolve.
As the A.I. technology improves — and it will, DRAMATICALLY, EXPONENTIALLY — your new cartoon body will become something beyond your wildest imagination. Your new reality will seem as real as the old, only better.
Tethered to an A.I. supercomputer, a black box, your avatar (‘cartoon double’) will continue to exist in the new fake reality long after your ‘real’ flesh has been committed to a marble vase collecting dust on a loved one’s shelf. It can even hang with the great grandkids a hundred years from now.
Another option in the works is to copy and paste your data/contents/”soul” into an AI robotic version of you (or multiple copies simultaneously). Your copy (golem) could be your companion, friend, caregiver, slave.
‘Stuffing’ our old mannerisms, memories and data into new robot versions is one way of cheating death. This copying of ourselves via disassembly and reassembly is also a form of teleportation. Once you become information you can be beamed anywhere. I mean, why not copy yourself into a new body on, say, Mars?
More, once you create this virtual or robot twin of yourself (or many ‘yous’) you can, at last, literally fulfill the wish folks sometimes have for us to ‘go f*ck yourself’.
Trust me, you are within a decade of doing this.
That is, unless you find the whole idea of transhumanism, uploading or teleporting your “soul” into your avatar doll or robot self is just “too creepy”.
CREEPY IS AS CREEPY DOES
Creepiness is the “ring-pass-not”, the ultimate limitation, for the ambitious (or obnoxious?) priests and priestesses, guys and dolls, of Silicon Valley and for humanity’s digital doubles game.
Google found this out in 2013 when its geeky target market rejected its dorky Google Glass. People looked stupid wearing these ‘smart glasses’ that promised to connect us to the Cloud and give us the ability to record everything we see. Restaurants and other public spaces (the ones with ‘real’ human beings) banned them due to privacy issues. (Remember when we had privacy?) Google’s smart glass vision was blurry to some. To me, they fell into Creepy Valley.
To avoid falling into Creepy Valley Facebook’s cartoons of us, our avatars, must be real, but not ‘too real’. Almost human, but not quite. This is a daunting design challenge, as FANG and the A.I. gurus know there is a line between loving and embracing our digital creations (and wanting to hump or ride them) and reviling them like creepy dolls from a horror movie.
If one crosses this line they land smack dab in what is called “the uncanny valley”. This is where a robot or an avatar is to “too human”, but not all the way. The result is creepy. We are reviled, alienated, by its uncanniness. The gap is so unsettling that it makes you sick or terrified. It just makes your skin crawl.
If they appear “off”, people will turn them “off”.
This is why Transhumanists are running scared. If they (and we along with them) fall into this gap, Transhumanism will become a dip in human evolution, a blip in history. The alien take-over of humanity will fail.
The way to avoid Creepy Valley is not to go in its direction to begin with.
THE ORIGIN OF CREEPY/UNCANNY VALLEY
“The uncanny valley” is a hypothesis proposed in 1970 by Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori that represents the moment when a robot or avatar repulses us and we turn away from it. According to researchers, this discomfort stems from some existential questions about the nature of humanity (our souls).
This hypothesis says that the more humanlike something is, the more comfortable we feel with it and the more empathy we have with it. But this comfort level drops sharply off the cliff when the object (a robot, lifelike doll, 3D computer animation) too closely resembles a human.
We feel scared. And tricked. If we don’t resolve it, we are left momentarily hanging (like Wily Coyote) between the fake world and the real world.
IMHO, this gap could be the undoing of the avatars, golem and robots of Creepy Valley.
With the increasing use of virtual reality, augmented reality and computer animation that is becoming indistinguishable from reality, the ‘valley’ will face each of us more and more.
Everyone knows when they have landed in Creepy Valley. Everyone gets there at a different time because everyone’s tolerances are different. What I consider creepy, trashy or uncanny and what you consider uncanny are two different things.
The uncanny valley may be generational, too. Younger generations, like the Millennials who are creating the A.I., CGI Avatars, robots, etc. are not as affected by the shift into creepiness as, say, Boomers are.
Time is on the side of the Millennials.
According to the theory of ethical-futurist writer Jamais Cascio, once these technologies become commonplace and the new humans gain further distance from ‘us old humans’, “transhuman” individuals would cease to be judged by human standards and instead be regarded as separate (“alien” entities, which are called “posthumans”). Creepy will then take on a whole new meaning.
NO FAKE CREEPY STUFF
Humans appear programmed to reject what is ‘too’ fake and emotionless, because our brains are hardwired to identify whether the things brought to life in our imagination are hostile or friendly.
Not being able to tell the difference with our eyes freaks us out. This is the conclusion of a study published in the journal New Ideas in Psychology in 2016 in which psychologists surveyed 1341 people about the various scenarios and people that creeped them out.
The first-ever empirical study on “creepiness”, the international participants reported being creeped out by people and situations in which they couldn’t figure out the level of threat, like meeting a stranger who wanted to take a picture of your friend, or a person kept touching your friend; people with unusual patterns of behavior or strange emotional responses were also considered creepy.
Are these people actually predatory, or are they behaving innocently? That ambiguity, the researchers argued, is what makes people feel uneasy. They believed that the human “creepiness detector” is activated when a potential threat is considered unpredictable.
A.I. robots, virtual reality, avatars, and all the other Valley people, are nothing but unpredictable.
Roboticist Masahiro Mori was deeply indebted to Sigmund Freud, who first put forth the concept of the uncanny. In his 1919 essay Das Unheimlich, he said the mix of the familiar and the eerie triggers repressed impulses to surface from the subconscious. Psychoanalystic theorist Jacques Lacan proposed the uncanny puts us “in the field where we do not know how to distinguish bad and good, pleasure and displeasure”, resulting in an anxious journey out of the Real.
And, they are soul less.
THAT, IMHO, is the real problem.
EYE TO EYE, SOUL TO SOUL
Eye contact is a nonverbal form of communication. The eyes are the window to the soul. When we gaze into the eyes of another person or real living being, we can see beyond their flesh and blood body into their true self, their light body, THEIR SOUL.
This is why eye gazing is a fixture in ancient Buddhist and Sufi spiritual practice and is considered a path to enlightenment.
“If thine eye be true, thy whole body will be full of light,” said Jesus.
This cannot be said about cartoon avatars and robots…not JUST because they are creepy…but because they are creepy because THEY DO NOT HAVE SOULS. There may be eye-to-eye contact in Facebook’s new fake space, but no soul-to-soul contact, which is why it is creepy…and why it will fail.
Humans want deep, authentic and intimate connection with anything that has a soul. They want this because this is how we connect with God.
Until the priests and priestesses of Silicon Valley can find a way to beam souls into the proposed avatars, golem and robots, humans will turn away from Creepy Valley in order to enjoy the sunshine of the real world and to see the face of God in every person.
In so doing, they are choosing the path of Ascension.