I Am a Stranger in a Strange Land
By Not Sure
5 November 2023
Grok: Conversational AI for understanding the universe
Sign in with X to join xAI's early access program. Participation in the early access program is currently limited to verified users.
I won’t sign in to join xAI’s “early access program” because we are in the Social Credit System, and I am not “good.” I have not been “verified.” The sign-in page is dark, almost black. At the bottom are small and large white squares that are coded to move up the page. It’s subtle and has the effect of matrix-style binary code, but different. At the top of the page, beside the large word “Grok,” is a white box. Inside the white box is a diagonal black slash. You see? It takes YOU to complete the X!
We can think of AI as a symbiotic relationship. To be sure, science fiction predicts that AI wins. It outsmarts and TERMINATES us, but for now it needs to be taught by us (like Frankenstein’s monster,) fed by us (and like Bram Stoker’s Dracula, it wants our blood.) Oh! It’s benign and only needs to interact with us. We complete her.
In February of this year, Elon Musk issued a stark warning about the dangers of AI, and according to Forbes this wasn’t his first warning. “One of the biggest risks to the future of civilization is AI.” In March 2023, he and a thousand other tech leaders wrote an open letter warning of the “profound risks to society and humanity” that AI tools represent. He has repeatedly called for a halt or a pause in the development of AI technology. Also in March of 2023, Elon Musk founded a startup company called xAI, working in artificial intelligence. It’s dangerous, but somebody has to do it.
On the first of November, speaking at UK’s AI Safety Summit, Musk said, AI is “one of the biggest threats” to humanity. Late last night, November 4, Musk’s xAI announced the launch of their first product, Grok, which it hopes will be a ChatGPT competitor. Some people are quite adept at doublethink and for you I present Elon Musk, Savior of the World.
This week’s Redux is from a talk that Alan Watt gave on June 23, 2019:
And by Peace...
"Enormity of Conformity, Aimed at Majority,
Modus Psycho Logical, Cunningly Diabolical."
© Alan Watt June 23, 2019
Alan kicked off the talk with a reminder of The List (PNAC, Wesley Clark, countries in the Middle East to “take out”) and Iran’s presence on that list and the years of embargoes the country has endured. Then he gave a concise talk on the Social Credit System, launched in China, coming to a country near you, except that he was quick to point out that it’s already here. This he illustrated with some news articles. Included with the Redux are a couple of those articles, and the link to the archive section where you can find the original talk and all the stories that accompanied it.
According to the blog post that announced the launch, “Grok is an AI modeled after The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, so intended to answer almost anything and, far harder, even suggest what questions to ask!” Except the blog post failed to capitalize “the” as part of the title of the Douglas Adams novel, which was later made into a film, so I did that for you, because with all my human failings and limitations, my intelligence is better than something artificial.
What was on my mind this morning before I started to write was the Baha’i Faith and Buffy Sainte-Marie. This Pretendian, or LikeACree, or ARTIFICIAL Indigenous (AI) was a proponent of the Baha’i Faith, and even had a couple of songs that the Baha’is used to promote their universal religion. I wanted to continue to explore how this United Nations “most favored religion” was a perfect vessel for promoting all things Green and Sustainable. (Those two words are capitalized because they are holy, like the Arc of the Covenant or the Holy Grail.)
Thinking along those lines, I wondered if it was necessary at this point to have a world religion. In 2021, Pope Francis appointed Jeffrey Sachs, the uber economist of Sustainability to be on the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. We know he is uber because he has been photographed with Matt Damon and is friends with Bono and Angelina Jolie (High Priestess of the Church of The Crickets, where sadly, they eat the poor crickets.) University students have used artificial intelligence to generate complete religious ideologies as people ponder over the source of the new Universal Church, but perhaps it’s already here and you have found your own local parish online. Most people are comfortably adapted to the Seven Sacraments of Sustainable: 1) Sacrifice to Zero Carbon, 2) Bike or EV, 3) Plant-Based is the new Vegan, 4) Recycling is so last century, it’s a Circular Economy, stupid! 5) Decorate your tiny house in a 15-minute city, 6) Rut like bunnies, never mate, NEVER have children, ABORT! and lastly, 7) Transgenders are closer to God.
But instead of Baha’i, I stopped to Grok. Grok is a neologism (that’s a new word) made up by Robert A. Heinlein for his 1961 novel, Stranger in a Strange Land. It means to understand profoundly through intuition or empathy. Elon Musk said that his Grok is going to be your best friend. You will have such a rapport with it because it will have read all the same books you have. So far, it hasn’t been fed visually or aurally, so it won’t yet share your tastes in art (or pornography) or music but give it time. Grok is a Large Language Model (LLM.) LLMs acquire their abilities by sucking up large amounts of data, learning billions and billions of parameters during their training phase, which is where little Grok is in its development.
According to our Savior Musk, the benevolent folks at xAI have labored hard on Grok for one reason: they want to “create AI tools that assist humanity in its quest for understanding and knowledge.” As it says on their website it’s “Conversational AI for understanding the universe.”
Here are a few clues to the massive psyop that is “Elon Musk,” laid gently and lovingly at your feet to do with as you will. I’ll borrow a bit of Wiki to ease my task. “Prior to World War III, the crewed spacecraft Envoy is launched toward Mars [Elon Musk, who cannot wait to get us all to Mars,} but all contact is lost shortly before landing. Twenty-five years later, the spacecraft Champion makes contact with the inhabitants of Mars [As Alan Watt always reminded us, each of us hopefully unique individuals must be our own Champion. Once again in this talk, he laments the loss of unique characters, as we are literally forced to conform.] and finds a single survivor, Valentine Michael Smith. Born on the Envoy, he was raised entirely by the Martians. He is ordered by them to accompany the returning expedition.” Valentine Michael Smith is extremely wealthy, [kind of like Elon Musk…] “Smith becomes a celebrity and is feted by the Earth's elite.” [Kind of like Elon Musk…]
“He investigates many religions, including the Fosterite Church of the New Revelation, a populist megachurch in which sexuality, gambling, alcohol consumption, and similar activities are allowed and even encouraged and considered "sinning" only when they are not under church auspices. Smith has a brief career as a magician in a carnival.” Or it’s a populist megachurch called X, ne Twitter.
“Smith starts a Martian-influenced "Church of All Worlds", combining elements of the Fosterite cult with Western esotericism. The church is besieged by Fosterites for practicing "blasphemy", and the church building is destroyed, but unknown to the public, Smith's followers teleport to safety. Smith is arrested by the police, but escapes and returns to his followers, later explaining to Jubal [inventor of music, descendent of Cain, and yes, go ahead and dive right into a study of Freemasonry, or for those of you with Alan Watt’s Cutting Through books, have a little refresher course on that name] that his gigantic fortune has been bequeathed to the church. With that wealth and their new abilities, church members will be able to reorganize human societies and cultures. Smith is killed by a mob raised against him by the Fosterites. Jubal and some of the church members return to Jubal's home to regroup and prepare to found new Church of All Worlds congregations. Smith reappears in the afterlife to replace the Fosterites' founder, amid hints that Smith was an incarnation of the Archangel Michael.”
For those of you who persist in thinking of Musk as the Champion of free speech, I cannot help you. Venture forth boldly into the Church of Data Scraping, drink deeply, comprehend fully, be one with Grok. Or as Buffy Sainte-Marie said in her Baha’i tune “Oh God, My God, My Beloved, My Heart’s Desire,” or in the one she co-wrote with Leonard Cohen, “God is Alive Magic is Afoot.”
Because as the futurist and science fiction writer Sir Arthur C. Clarke said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Adapt if you must, I remain a stranger in this strange land.
© Not Sure
Grok - xAI
Elon Musk launches AI chatbot ‘Grok’, looks to sell old X handles for as much as $50K
Elon Musk and Others Call for Pause on A.I., Citing ‘Profound Risks to Society’