A.E. Reiff's Reviews > The Artilect War: Cosmists Vs. Terrans: A Bitter Controversy Concerning Whether Humanity Should Build Godlike Massively Intelligent Machines

The Artilect War by Hugo de Garis
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The Madness of Artilect 1.0

Hugo de Garis, mad as a super collider, resembles a tensor calculus of his reality. His twist in The Artilect Wars (2005) argues civil war between those who want to be transhuman and those who don’t. The nerve of these atheists who deny the new gods! The mind behind the transhuman view reveals two reverse fields.

The gibberish of the first field below is the conscious against the subconscious state. During the day he makes compulsive havoc with the brain machine, but at night is horrified at what he does. He can’t stop. The two cannot talk.

"I will lie wawle at mogjt tjomlomg ratopma;u abpit tje cps,oc
gramdeir pf Cps,os, abpit wjat tjse gpd-;ole artofacts cpi;d dp, amd
O fee; tje awe/ Jpirs ;ater O wo;; wale i[ om a sweat.

"I will lie awake at night thinking rationally about the cosmic
grandeur of Cosmism, about what these god-like artilects could do, and
I feel the awe. Hours later I will wake up in a sweat."

"Having been jolted out of a nightmare. I see in vivid scenes the deaths of my descendents in about a century or so, at the hands of the artilects, who have become so superior to humans that they see us as vermin. The emotional reality and horror of it shake me. Normally I sleep rather soundly, so I don't remember many dreams, but this nightmare is recurrent, and so horrible in emotional terms that it is capable of waking me despite my heavy sleep" (84).

Wiping Out the Human

Extermination would include everyone except himself and the transhuman fellow traveles. His grandchildren would be wiped out in his blueprints, but why aren’t they artifacts themselves by then? At ease Genocide, only machines are intelligent then. Oddly he never imagines his grandchildren will be anything but human. Can they be saved? That’s his ultimate good he denies. He can’t stop. Transhuman fascist
madness consumes, cannot escape the loop of itself. A "human brain dump" (78), artificial embryology, "embryofacture" (71), "nanots" of "human scale products" (68), "self-assembly" (72) of those parts like "viruses," he has worked in six countries. The Japanese are "intellectually sterile, socially backward" (30). When were Frenchmen ever wrong? He is proud of his superior European multicultural views, intellectual outlooks of Brussels and Cambridge: "As a 'multi' I found the company of other multies far more stimulating than that of mono" (29). Of the ordinary human: "our own puny ephemeral little lives seem so worthless, so insignificant" (186).

Cosmist arguments made by astrophysicists for a half century now state that "human existence is so petty, so trivial, so banal, so insignificant" (87). In addition to being mad, Cosmist thoughts are not human. Being does not belittle itself. Hence we ask, if not human, what is the origin of this thought? Oddly, he answers. It is either simple megalomania or another agenda: "from the galactic point of view, would it matter much if the human were wiped out? I think the universe would not give a damn" (89). Wiping out the human from Star Trek's point of view would be a tragedy. Wiping out the mouse from the human point of view would be a tragedy. So why does the universe not give a damn? The subdivision of his mind declares, "being Cosmist and being more intelligent. I suspect that those people with higher IQs..." (89) will be them.

Surprisingly, for one who thinks his future capable of "true godlike intelligence...below the elementary particle level" (180, 183), he picks on the mouse, "mice are too stupid, and have too small a brain to speculate on anything, unless its about their immediate survival" (179). Ditto the "apelike thoughts of chimps." But artilects are like mice too, he says, accidentally, must "develop life-preserving strategies" to avoid falling into a star. So superior HUGE artilects must "obey the laws of physics" (180), another paean to the absolute of science that invents laws until it changes them. Out of this thinking he says that not to build the godlike super brain is "a kind of 'deicide (god killing). This would be wrong, he says, but he justifies killing mosquitoes (13), as being of no consequence to his brain, like the fly swatted by Greek gods. The Cosmist point of view has Terrans as 'decidal monsters'" (20). That means they would kill the god aborning. If this sounds grandiose consider that it comes from one who says, "I would like to be considered the father of the artificial brain" (48).

He projects he whole Terran / Cosmist dichotomy upon his audiences much the same as his animus against Japan and the mouse. He says the whole culture is mad, like himself, that there will be "planetary civil war" (86), that people "say that they felt the same schizophrenia as I have been feeling for years" (85).


The repeated schizophrenia of his work is a science cut off from the whole. He thinks that nanobot steam shovels and tow trucks will traverse the blood, repairing cells and trucking off cancer, that "with a regular dose of such 'fountain of youth' robots, people could become immortal" (67). If not immortal the madness is immoral. Consider how the world depends on balance. Wolf kills elk so willow can grow on banks of a stream, which together houses birds, beavers and bugs, to shade the fish. It's all from the predation of the wolf and the consequent fear of the elk to survive that adapts the watercourse. If immortality contradicts nature, nature must go.

His notion of the brain takes the brain for Einstein. Intelligence is personality. Without personality intelligence is incapable of nuance, that is, it is a mad poseur taking the bird with the mouse, not as an "immense world of delight compassed by your senses five," but as utility. Utility is cruel. The scientist practices on the rabbit, the rat, the mouse, the man without recognizing its person-hood. Witness those who were downwind in the 126 nuclear explosions in Nevada in the 50s and 60s. This is a sin beyond those committed in the secret recesses of the intellect. It is oppression of life. Intelligence must love, accept and care for the mouse.

In fact Einstein was no more inevitable than a series of forking paths toward what we know as Einstein. Any one of those paths changed would change the outcome. On many of them he was a sailor. His expression of the core was a result of circumstance, the people he met, luck if you want. So every personality that continues to grow, and only in growth does intelligence express, repatriates the term intelligence from its hijack. Intelligence is growth not in the sense of becoming more powerful to exercise its own designs, but to understand and exercise compassion and understanding of the world.

Zero Paradox

It does not occur to de Garis that computational ability is only valuable if the brain is thinking. If the brain is not thinking it is not valuable. This is much the same as saying that the brain must know what it is thinking and that it is thinking in order to think. That's
why the primitive, the absurdist, the Dadaist tests him, because unlike machines, humans think by not thinking and afterward reflect the results of their nonthought. I bet you already knew that. This way of working and discovery does not compute to de Garis. For him the human ability of sleep is a nightmare, and his hierarchy of being is medieval. Humans are to be supplanted by artilects and artilects by femtotechs, a hierarchy that is still inferior to the Elohim, who are already godlike.

Artilect Wars displays arithmetic qualities, as if they will be immortal unless oops, they have an accident and fall into a black hole (181). That's why they too, like de Garis “will need to become scientists" to "develop life-preserving strategies" (181). Here comes the pesky surviving mouse again. You would think that all artilects would be born scientists, the way he was (92)! To compare the Elohim, scientists were so busy confecting brain superiority they were ignorant of Maimonides who showed the word elohim a homonym referring simultaneously to angels and to God, depending upon what part of the sound branch the context reveals, rather more sophisticated.


Problematic artilects will be "confronted with limitations of their memory in the society of other artilects. There they will reach a limit the human does not. He just doesn't get that the human already has access to all space and time, which memory exceeds his wildest femtolect, because the lowly human is already "made in the image of God." The image in a mirror lacks a dimension. An image of a man, as a sculpture, lacks a dimension of the man, so likewise a man in the image of God is not God, but like. Sometimes artilects will "probably be immortal" (188), but those made in the image of God already are.

Artilects, nanolects, trillion trillion brain, beyond H(uman), in turn will be consumed by the femolects a trillion trillion of them. He doesn't keep going but we expect Zeno's Paradox in reverse to infinitely divide femolects into baboonolects, a trillion trillion of them. If you think articlect 1.0 mad wait until the Thetan remake passes through the fire.

As to what artilects do to kill time he suggests they either make or "experiment" making universes. Amateurs! The spirit of wisdom "was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began...I was there when he set the heavens in place...I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence (Proverbs 8).

What do artilects do? When scientists ask "why" at the end of their agony of self worthlessness he compares them to children, "sooner or late scientists have to give the same kind of answer as given to a curious persistent child...Why mommy, why" (189)? Failing intuition, failing creativity, scientists work hard, but don't play. The ordinary H is superb at play. Play releases universes, but if you tell the artilects, the scientists, the people in the cave, they won't believe. So the human is already superior to the artilect.

What Not Why

These scientific horrors are meant to steal that human rite of greatness, but not for the purpose of possession, merely to destroy it in order to substitute a larger tyranny. One gets to learn intelligence and compassion by and caring for life, whether it be a child, a parent, a lover, a dog, a garden. Caring makes the human vulnerable. Love makes the human.
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Reading Progress

September 7, 2011 – Started Reading
September 7, 2011 – Shelved
October 3, 2011 – Finished Reading

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