Consciousness is linear; goes, you know, one step after another. And the brain doesn’t work that way. The brain is parallel and has lots and lots of parallel tracks going on at once in thought and in characterizing the substrate of what it is you understand and express. There’s no way you could possibly be conscious of most of or even a small part of what you’re thinking.
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People think that the Civil Rights Movement and all big epochal movements involve conscience, and they do. They also involve consciousness. I mean, you can’t struggle against what you’re unaware off, right? The Klan as the iconic carriers of violence, the Bull Connor of the iconic southern white male resistance, George Wallace the iconic neopopulist racist. You know, these were historic figures in myth and reality. But we wouldn’t get to what they represented till much later.
I think I kind of have floated through the world feeling like an outsider and feeling a bit like an alien, I guess. And along the way I’ve met so many other people who have felt like that too, and I think this is a celebration of that kind of diversity and of that kind of outsiderdom.
To understand human nature, I focus on human language and what it can reveal about how we think. Unlike other animals, humans can communicate an infinite number of thoughts through language. And one reason that language is powerful is because we can use each of our words flexibly, with several different meanings.
There are all of these wonderful laws that people have discovered and refined and proposed and proved over the years. And some of these laws can apply to the software projects and the teams and the communities that we work in every day.
I think at a fundamental level I just believe in human agency. And I think that everyone should feel like they can participate and shape the economy, rather than feel like they’re experiencing symptoms of the economy. When the recession happened, there was all this chatter around well, the Fed is going to do this. Or the banks are going to do this. And government is going to do this. And there was no narrative around what people are going to do.
So long as we’re limited to one planet, ultimately our resources are limited. And therefore every person in the world is competing with every other person in the world for a piece of a finite pie. Okay, and every new person born is a threat, every nation is fundamentally the enemy of every other nation, every race of every other race, and the only question is how do we kill them.
The commonly asked questions is, “Does this bot sound human?” And the question that I think is a little bit more interesting is why do so many bots that win the Loebner Prize sound pretty much exactly the same? They’re really similar to each other. Maybe they all have a particular type of default human being in mind, the people who design these bots. But if so, who is this particular mysterious default human being?