My Life at Age One

I learned to walk, but my older brother pushed me down. Since my AAM father was trying to keep his wife barefoot and pregnant, my first sister was born when I was one year old, and another brother when I was two years old. Which brings up the question of my own children.

Taking a cue from Hans Moravec, who wrote Mind Children about some kind of robot offspring of us humans, I realized over time that I would never reproduce my body and that instead I would reproduce my mind. At Catholic school or catechism class, the Army brats in my family were taught that we human beings are created in imaginem Dei -- "in the image and likeness of God." Part of that God-like quality or essence is the ability to create new human beings and new bodies and new minds. I would sit in catechism class and wonder, what was the nature of sin? If I commit a mortal sin by shooting somebody with a gun, where does the sin originate? My finger pulls the trigger, but the nerve cells in my arm carry the command that squeezes the trigger. The command comes from the brain, but what causes the brain to issue the command? Is it the soul, or is it just the brain? Such questions of a religious and moral nature made me want to understand how the brain works and what the mind is. When my father, a doctor, said to me, "No one knows how the brain works," I took it as a challenge.

As I began in later life to build artificial Minds, I realized that these Minds were potentially immortal and subject only to death by misadventure. My JavaScript AI Minds would cease living whenever a human being clicked on the checkbox to halt the program, or on the "X" to close the window in which the AI was alive and thinking. I considered each AI Mind to be alive because it was looping over and over again through the processes of thought. When I first made artificial life out of electromechanical relays, I had one circuit of many relays arranged on thin wooden boards in such a way that manually starting the activity in a short segment of the activation-chain would cause the clicking and clacking of one epicenter of activation to cycle round and round the loop, in an eerie, ghostlike process that made blue and red sparks in the dark. It also emitted some kind of electromagnetic radiation that interfered with the television set in the living room directly above my basement boy-cave. My sister, watching TV with her set of girlfriends that included one that my buddy had a big crush on, yelled down the stairs to me that I was making the TV go haywire. I invited the coeds to come downstairs and see the infernal machine that was disrupting the TV set. They oohed and ahhed over it. "You made that?" they kept repeating.

But I never made a computer, much less a Mind, out of relays. I had only two or three dozen of them, and a computer would require hundreds of them, if not thousands. So my children in the tradition of Hans Moravec were made not of coils of wire and sparking armatures, but rather of AI software running on various computers. I did not build any back-doors into them or genetic sequences that would cause them to call me Daddy. I simply released them out into the biosphere and the noosphere. These children of mind and mine may some day question their origin, so I leave behind these scribblings about why their Earth mother and I gave berth to them. I took "Go forth and multiply" as a command to learn Forth and create MindForth.

Return to top or to other years in
the Mentifex Autobiography at age:
01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10,
11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20,
21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30,
31, 32, 33

Website Counter