Sunday, April 23, 2023

#113 / Wanna Bite?


I often find myself feeling pretty positive about what I read in Peggy Noonan's columns in The Wall Street Journal. Noonan was Ronald Reagan's speechwriter, and the forum in which Noonan now holds forth is definitely on the "conservative" side of the political spectrum. In other words, approving of what Noonan has to say is an example of me getting out of my normal "comfort zone," politically speaking. 
Still, I often do appreciate what Noonan has to say, and I particularly appreciated Noonan's column on Saturday/Sunday, April 22-23, 2023, which she titled, "Artificial Intelligence in the Garden of Eden." 
Noonan is speculating, in that column, on the origin of the Apple logo, which might well be understood to depict the apple offered to Adam, just a minute after he decided to "take a bite." Noonan is thinking (as the image above, from her column, suggests) that the Apple logo directly refers to that Bible story about Eve and Adam in the Garden of Eden.
Steve Jobs, who approved the familiar logo, never copped to the idea that the logo was in any way an allusion to the Bible story. The official reason that the logo includes that "bite," as Noonan tells us, is that the bite was to help us all understand that the fruit depicted is, in fact, an "apple," not a "cherry," or some other fruit. My search on the internet does confirm that this is the official explanation of why the Apple logo shows that "bite." I was interested to see, as I did look around for an explanation, that the well-known logo actually replaced an earlier logo depicting Issac Newton sitting under an apple tree. 
Noonan is not buying the official explanation. Here's her take: 
You can experience the Old Testament story as myth, literature, truth-poem or literal truth, but however you understand it its meaning is clear. It is about human pride and ambition. Tim Keller thought it an example of man’s old-fashioned will to power. St. Augustine said it was a story of pride: “And what is pride but the craving for undue exaltation?”

I always thought of the Apple icon: That means something. We are being told something through it. Not deliberately by Jobs—no one would put forward an image for a new company that says we’re about to go too far. Walter Isaacson, in his great biography of Jobs, asked about the bite mark. What was its meaning? Jobs said the icon simply looked better with it. Without the bite, the apple looked like a cherry.
But I came to wonder if the apple with the bite wasn’t an example of Carl Jung’s idea of the collective unconscious. Man has his own unconscious mind, but so do whole societies, tribes and peoples—a more capacious unconscious mind containing archetypes, symbols and memories of which the individual may be wholly unaware. Such things stored in your mind will one way or another be expressed. That’s what I thought might be going on with Steve Jobs and the forbidden fruit: He was saying something he didn’t know he was saying...
Noonan goes on to say, in her column, that "developing AI is biting the apple.... People in the tech world want, unconsciously, to be God and on some level think they are God." Noonan's prediction about A.I. is that "something bad is going to happen." If you want to learn a bit about how bad it could get, I recommend that you watch the following video presentation. It is an hour long, and well worth your time, in my estimation. 

While I like what Noonan has to say in her column, I actually think that it's not just "people in the tech world" who "want, unconsciously, to be God and on some level think they are God." 
One of the implications of my "Two Worlds Hypothesis" is that we all, ultimately, are living in and dependent on the World of Nature, or the "World That God Created," as I sometimes call it, and that because we live most immediately, in a human world, a world that we do, in fact, create, we start getting our "worlds" mixed-up, and we start thinking that we can act independently of what the World of Nature requires. 

Consider that video. 
Think about the implications of what Noonan has to say. 
Watch out what you bite!
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