Alien Intelligence (AI) is already hacking our culture…

It is easy to be fascinated by the amazing things AI can do. And it is also easy to be scared by the existential dangers being discussed around us. But what do we understand how AI, like most other technologies, comes with unintended and transformative consequences and changes us from within?

Since our scientific thinking to a huge extent builds on the idea of analysis we are used to explain things by taking them apart. Because of that we have a lot of knowledge of human physiology but much less about what it means to be cultural beings. Culture basically comes from our ability to imagine things which are not there, and then elaborate and collaborate around those imaginations. From a physiological point of view this a minor difference compared to our close relatives the primates. But culture seems nevertheless to be the reason we left all the other animals behind when we took over the planet, shaped the world around us and created extremely complex collaboration structures across six continents.

The culture was enhanced by increasingly advanced technologies like written language, the printing press and recently electric and now digital communication technologies. These enhanced our cognitive and collaborative abilities, as well ass recursively fed back and opened up completely new ones. This recursive loop based on technology and culture became the ladder on which humanity climbed out from the caves and into a very different world – to a large extent of our own making.

Culture is the operating system of humanity

Explained in a different way and by using a digital metaphor, culture is the operating system of human civilization and it is coded in the programming language of our brains: language, images and stories.

Our culture is still based on language, images and stories. But today we are seldom listening to someone telling stores by the bonfire. Instead we immerse ourselves in word, stories and images printed in books, spread globally through wireless computer networks and presented to us through earbuds and on screens.

Because of this communication technology explosion the balance between our own experience of the world and our mediated experience have shifted dramatically. Instead of experiencing the world directly we now experience it through media. Almost everything we see and hear is now mediated by words, images and stories selected, produced, sorted and repackaged by people and algorithms outside our field of view.

We could probably say that our world is not any more made up of atoms, objects and other biological entities but of mediated words, images and stories. And our culture is what emerges from this extremely complex mediated communication patterns.

This is in itself a huge change which most people haven’t thought that much about.

But the world is on it’s way of change dramatically yet again. Until recently most of these stories, images and words was at least conceived by human beings. Now we are accelerating into a world where computers with superhuman speed and reach will not just sort, prioritize and present the world to us, but it will produce almost everything as well.

The aliens now have the master keys to our culture

With the release of ChatGPT it is obvious that we now have encountered machines that behave somewhat intelligently. We could always argue how intelligent. But since these intelligent entities are not humans or belong to any other species subject to biological evolution on this planet we should probably call them aliens. Consequently we should call their abilities to behave somewhat intelligent as alien intelligence rather than anything else.

Since these aliens they are not “born” with neither human perception, cognition or knowledge of anything on this planet we have to teach and train them so they can be useful to us. What we have done so far is feeding them all digitally available material there is – which consists of almost everything humans have ever written and more.

So what have we done so far? We invented alien intelligence. The aliens didn’t come from outer space after all. Instead they emerged from our own laboratoriums.

Then what did we do? In order to make them useful we gave them access to everything we humans know and everything we have ever dreamt about – e g the master keys to our civilization as well as the capabilities to interpret and modify our language, images and stories.

And then we released these alien intelligences with their superhuman speed, the superhuman memory and their superhuman analytical capabilites on the Internet so everyone potentially can connect to it. This last step we open up for these alien entities to roam free on our global neural network – the nervous system of humanity – the perfect platform to hack humanity from..

These aliens are already injected in human culture

To think that intelligent machines will behave like Skynet and create robots that will killing us off is, judged by the current development, just naïve. Now when we have already injected them in our global cultural nervous system it is obvious that it is much easier for an alien intelligence who learnt everything about us to defeat us by just using our weaknesses in order to pit our primitive and destructive behavior against ourselves.

I wonder if the popular HBO Max series The Last of Us isn’t a metaphor for this. Instead of a fungus taking over our bodies we have voluntarily injected an alien in the shape of an intelligent virus that takes over our minds and reprogram us to attack each other.