"Better than nothing"
Watching the Beatles' video seems like a sort of free will violation putting long-dead people in a sideshow for which they didn't agree to participate.
I'm beginning to have a glimmer of understanding for the Amish.
A tech solution is NOT always better than nothing, just as there ARE things worse than death. Thanks for helping us stay human, Mary!
Mary, what an excellent post this is.
Re: "I’d argue that this push from the tech overlords is calculated to strip us of that ability. They are like colonialist conquerers, offering us shiny trinkets in exchange for our far more valuable ancestral lands."
Immortality for at least two millennia has been related to escaping mortal life and gaining eternal life. It has been what the church has promised if you have faith in God. The notion got twisted as the Modern Age progressed to being we will become as God with the power over life and death. This is the notion behind the Singularity. As a Presbyterian minister who has spent most of his career outside the parish, I never found the appeal of gaining Heaven very compelling. It minimizes the value of the current life that we have. I am convinced that this desire to transcend this life through technology will replicate in new ways the problems that we already experience. The reason is the egotism or arrogance required to play God means we believe in our superiority and that we are only accountable to our ambitions. Having been at the bedside of the dying at the point of death, and conducted their memorial services, two impressions remain. One is that those who lived into their nineties or past a hundred having outlived family and friends, feel very much alone. The social dimension of life has passed many of them by. Second, the moment of death does not point to need for immortality, but to importance of love as the defining character of our earthly existence. Where love fits into the advancement of technology remains an open question to be answered.
Another great piece, Mary! I love how you ended this so much, with the photo and your poem. Real life. I admit that, while being somewhat fully aware of the crazy AI goings on, I am choosing to just ignore it and carry on. I'll be 70 this month. As much as getting older has never bothered me much, I have to admit that the number has me thinking about lots of things. Least of which is a life of immortality via AI or any other way. I will let Nature take her course with me.
And, oh, that image of holding hands with a warm-water-filled plastic glove...I thought I'd seen it all. UGH. Over my dead body. Sorry, I couldn't resist! 🤭
What a delightful post! Instead of filling me with dread, it filled me with assurance that we crave that which is real! Of course you had an existential crisis at 7! 😂 you are an old soul born in this Mary body and boy, am I glad, our paths have crossed! I don’t get the immortality scam. Wouldn’t ya wanna see (eventually) what death has to offer too? Wouldn’t you want to peak behind the curtain at the next grand adventure? By the way, I hadn’t seen the Beetles video and I really rather liked it. It spoke to me of friendship more than anything else, the journey those guys took together and to have only two of them still left is sentimental, sure. I often think about how when my generation gets older, in my theatre company, when we start dying off, who would be the last person remaining from the saga that was Silent Theatre; would they stand over the grave of the second to last person alive wishing it was them so that feeling of aloneness doesn’t overwhelm.
Looking forward to the next immortality post. You’re always invited to my party. I have a beat friend here that also loves the topic of death. We’d all get along great!
That was powerful, Mary. Humans can be so vain as to think they can "capture a personality" through AI as if a personality is something digital, repeatable and static. We are a process ever in motion and AI can never capture that. It can only give us back what we feed it. Your article helped me to think through many different aspects of AI. One of them is that AI will lie and make things up. Just like humans. Why would we want to recreate that exactly? LOL. You are awesome!!
Mary, I sent your article to 4 friends, and have only received one response, and I'm not holding my breath for the others to reply. This is what she wrote back, "Interesting, but I'm not interested." I replied, "you're not interested, in What??" She said, "in hanging around after I die." I replied that I doubted that any of us are, but that wasn't the point of the article. I told her it wasn't written as an advertisement to sell a product or an argument in favor of preserving one's remains, but to inspire some critical thought on the part of the reader about where AI is taking us if we allow it. I didn't try to discuss it any further. I could see she wasn't into it. Disappointing, but I don't know what I expected, and now I'm thinking maybe it wasn't fair of me to spring an article like that on any of them. I'll have to examine my motives. Oy!
Oh, Mary! you never fail to surprise me. What a great article., and what an amazing job you did discussing this topic. You left us with so much to ponder. I'm going to send this to my old friends back East. It might actually be a conversation starter. Lovers of the Beatles (who isn't?), will automatically be
drawn in, and then be struck by the profound truths in the things you say. Beautiful!
Hey, these are my favorite lines: "Ick." and "If you want to spend thousands of dollars to freeze your body, or just your head (it’s cheaper!) after you’re dead — knock yourself out. So to speak." You crack me up! I love your humor.
Oh, I like this one too, from the poem: "That’s vinyl siding, dear. Go find something real." A lot of truth in that statement, for sure.
Thanks for the mention. You caught me by surprise there also.
Can't wait for Part II. xox
Blurring the distinction between natural and synthetic has been going on for al long time. An essential part of the slave-system.
There is something about humans in nature, naturally, that triggers healing and calm and gratitude and connection - and likely holds many more benefits that we don't know about (or remember).
Humans go with Nature, are part of it and we feel that in our cells don't we?
Robots and (presumably) transhumans go with digital/cyberspace. That's their habitat. And that is great for this force/cult behind the control systems who do want to cyborg our asses into the cloud.
(Ain't gonna happen.)
Jay Weidner vid interviewing Mike Williams on Beatles as a manufactured band. (Manipulation goes on and on.)
Thanks, Mary for the thought provoking post and lovely poem at the end!! Indeed, we each figure it out for ourselves. Best.
Tang would'a been better as a sink cleaner! Re the frozen OJ--oh lordy, I HOPE NOT (but my guess is yup, they still sell the stuff--ugh) --it wuz memorialized in song:
Yup, 7 is a "late nite" tho' no can do on daze where my younger'un has a 10am class! -- let's say I don't clock a full 8 too often but I'm more partial ta owls than roosters ;-) -- I say whut works works an' thank gawd fer homeschoolin', the-ate-'er hours, late call times, an' double espressos!
WOW, I am so glad to find you. I love your writing style. This particular subject was so gross to me when I first heard it. I could be remembering this wrongly, but I believe it was @Stegiel with the journal of lingering sanity who said that when he was looking for work online, he stumbled across a job posting. (I may have this wrong, but I believe it was him). anyway, it paid well per hour and it was really a gross job. They were creating memories for people who had loved ones die, by allowing them to talk to a pretend version of that person. The job posting was to do with working with those systems. I believe it was selling the idea to people, probably. Sacred: "Connected with God or a god or dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration; religious rather than secular,
(of writing or text) embodying the laws or doctrines of a religion, regarded with great respect and reverence by a particular religion, group, or individual. Regarded as too valuable to be interfered with; sacrosanct. That is beyond measure, the pretend it's a conversation with your dead mom trick. That is just not healthy. I LOVE your poem. It's perfect.
Human beings inherently cringe when AI impersonates being human and seductively offers the ego immortality while the soul naturally longs for wings to dimensions beyond
Haha, of COURSE -- his face was dour! But I think at this point he don' wanna die at the hands of MI6 so he goes along with it but it's clear he'd ruther be gettin' a hot sauce enema than sufferin' the insufferable "Faul." Now don'cha worry Tonika, you ARE real, we ARE real--Faul is a nasty bloke named Billy "Shears" but he's real. Now if Mistah Cyber Lambchop Devil Balls gits their way--we're all in the Matrix but I think we human beans'll prevail. "Zey" been pullin' our legs (an' other parts private) fer deck-aids (oh AIDS wasn't real either... they just killed lotsa gay men with countermeasures too...Fauxchee also at the helm). So yeah, we ARE real but they've been pullin' wool over our eyes fer longer than we'd like ta think! (Fer fun this week, check out Greg Reese's teeriffic short-take out jus' this week on how we didn't go ta the moon--I've known it forever (nuttin' made sense, I figgered it WUZ Kubrick in the director's chair...) but anyhwhoo, what took me years of readin' up--he does in like 5 minutes! So yup, that "trip" wasn't real either -- tho some had a "trip' on us!) Nuttin' is real 'cept US!
I'm with YOU an' the Woodpecker (tho' they'ze pesky lil' fellers--took down quite a fine few trees at Liz Christy Garden offa Houston--if ya knew it? that wuz a shame but indeedy them beaks was the real deal!) Anywho... tho I ain't no royal-tea, I quotheth whut the late dead Queen would'a said, "We are NOT amused!" Mediocritty aside (it's not so hot imo)--the whole thing reeks too smarmy by half an' chillin' if ya consider (as ya did so well!) the subtext--that we kin raise the dead! Deep fakery is deep fukery--this is more ersatz than an olestra tater chip...uggabug!
"The Beatles" were created by Tavistock--but they heppened ta be made up (original gang with 'er without Pete Best as ya'd have it... ) of some gen-u-ine-ly talented an' endearin' young fellers--who didn't figger out right pronto that they wuz pawns. That took time... Maxwell's Sliver Hammer seemed ta "hammer in" that idear... Poor George's dentist keep tryin' ta get 'em all on LSD--them boyz wuz HOUNDED! Now ya know that John wuz the acerbic one an' I'm not even 100% sure he penned this 'un which is a might scenty-mental an' even Adorno (!) wuz known ta pen some've their tunes. (BUT given John's CIA Dragon Laydee wife / aka hiz handler--still "managin'" the brand... wull, I have some thoughts 'bout how this came about). I'm amazed Ringo is even talkin' ta Faul (he shunned the man fer deck-aids an' wouldn't appear with that faker onstage). The real Paul, not havin' been on this Earth since 1966 (yup, that's a 66 an' if ya look at all that Sgt. Pepper Crypto-mancy 'er read "Faul's" self-congratulatory book/dross (Memoirs of Billy Shears), havin' some part in creeeee-ate-ing this wince-wurthy AI revival--RE-vive-all (let's bring 'em back as if they wuz fainted...it's more like NECROMANCY an' ZOMBIE RESURRECTION ha ha!)--is more 'n reprehensible ta me, the untalented wanker / imposter ratfink (!) -- plus this bizness is totally sad--all AI to me is BOTH sad an' dangerous as ya so clearly articulated here Mary. Kids with heads in their phones in cyber space--as the "real" Beatles sang--NOTHING IS REAL. Paul bein' buried in Strawberry Fields... So yup, this is phoney an' twisted as all heck--I'm fer bannin' all AI an' I keep meanin' ta do a full stack on it tho' been mentionin' this fer some time in many'a my pieces cuz I feel AI is like the sound of Nero's fiddle--which he did not play while Rome Burned but our entire legacy of culture / kult-sure! is on fire, dumpster fire...).
I'm a BIG fan'o the fab four--while they lived. An' in these times where folks'r droppin' like flies dyin' prematurely--it's really the nadir of shame ta normalize "un-dead'in' " of real lives... "now" it's Now & Then they do it--eventually--it will be "always" with all "lives" (unlives) in the cloud (toxic 'er otherwise)
I hate air fresheners but seein' this viddeyo makes me wanna spray the entire room an' then some! Thanks fer sharin' yer thoughts here--couldn't agree more!
...Ah sweet mystery of life...love will never emanate from a robot, an electro-mechanical device, an artificial construct of any mathamatic equation...when a song or a photograph or novel, any ‘artificial reality’, or any representation of human experience evokes an emotional response, that response is from your own capacity, either to love or it’s opposite, to fear.