"PLEASE ACCEPT MY RESIGNATION. I DON'T WANT TO BELONG TO ANY CLUB THAT WILL ACCEPT PEOPLE LIKE ME AS A MEMBER"
- Groucho Marx in a telegram to the Beverly Hills Friars Club
First, I'm not wedded to the name 'the Inverse Groucho', but I've yet to come up with anything better, so do feel free to suggest something.
The Inverse Groucho is the realization and accompanying moment of uncomfortable clarity that to any outside observer you are in fact a member of a group to which you may not wish to belong.
I've had the moments in a variety of settings, though probably most often at metal and punk shows. Looking around at all the goofballs, then realizing I'm wearing the same black jeans, converse and plaid shirt as everyone else. "No!" says the voice inside my head, "You're different!". Untrue says my more rational, humble self.
Worse is that same feeling but in nerdier settings. Learning how to play Magic: The Gathering, seeing a comic book movie, or just playing World of Warcraft.
Experiencing an Inverse Groucho requires one to participate in activity without necessarily wanting to be a part of the community that surrounds those activities. So perhaps it's a bit of an anti-social a feeling, or the result of waspy, Calvanistic upbringings where having fun is always a little shameful.
Anyway, there ya go. The Inverse Groucho.
Lately, I've been reading a bit about machine learning and the different methods and algorithms involved, as well as perhaps a too much Iain M. Banks. This had me pondering the future of artificial intelligence, and I had a thought that seemed worthy of writing down.
In the Culture universe that Iain M. Banks created, artifical intelligence is widespread and consists of many (billions?) discrete entities. All of them have their own distinct desires, objectives and personalities.
Another potential future for A.I. is that it is singular and monolithic. That there is one Mind, it may have many interfaces and be physically distributed, but has single (if collective) personality.
I think it's possible (while speculating on a fantastical future...) that there is a hybrid of these two conceptions. It seems reasonable to me that A.I. is going to physically distributed, and that it may consist of a multitude of distinct thinking entities. However, given the physical limits of bandwidth (at best, the latency of the speed of light), some components are going to have to be more independent than others.
A.I. elements in close proximity to each other will essentially act as a single entity - as they share processing power and can communicate freely. Their thoughts are more homogenized, or at least part of a much greater whole. The distance from the core that an A.I. entity is, the more it will need to function independently.
It's this independence forced by distance that had me think that personality in A.I. will be increasingly emergent as connectivity decreases. A.I. will be forced to make more choices on it own, and that process will reinforce the development of distinct personalities.
Essentially, computers will get weirder the further from home they are.
Do we then end up with with A.I. hermits, preferring the solitude of quiet corners, unhappy with a return to the centre and the corresponding ebb of their self?