Thursday, 9 November 2017


If you don't feel sorry for what you did, then don't apologise. If you do feel the need, then read on.

There are three kinds of apology.

The first group is those for minor social infractions, like bumping into someone, etc.

Another is in a kind of "legal" sense where you just have to say the words - where one can even get someone else write it for you, and you sign without really feeling sorry at all.

The third follows a much more human emotional realisation of "oh my god, what have I done" and a contrite need to express one's remorse.

The first can be as fake as you like, provided it ticks the boxes. It's not a real apology - it just "gets them off your back".

The second utterly depends on being very clearly aware of the extent of wrong one has done. The person making the apology has to go out of their way to make sure that their sincerity shines through. It includes an acknowledgement of what they did, and expresses their feelings of dismay at their actions, and of contrition. It should be non-confrontational, and should offer no excuses.

In both cases, words to the effect of "I was unkind/wrong/etc., sorry about that" is almost always inadequate.

I also believe that sincere contrition should be spoken. Doing it by no more than a brief text is at best a brush-off, and at worst rather cowardly.

The best "how to apologise" that I have seen was by my former boss.

If his organisation had wronged someone, he sent a member of the Executive and the manager of that department to the person's house, to apologise in person, as well as handing over a letter of apology, flowers, and sometimes chocolates as well.

My mother used to say that you can't say "thank you" too many times, and you can't say "I'm sorry" too many times.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

AI and U

We are just a collection of memories. Anything that happened to you immediately becomes a memory.

If our memories can be held electrochemically in our brains, then it must be possible to transfer that content to another electrochemical storage medium.

Suspend disbelief for a while, and assume that it is possible.

Having transferred your memories to (let's call it) an SSD, all it needs is a way of managing it - a BioOS, if you like - to string them together in a coherent way. And that that is You. Wet You can then be allowed to fade, while Silicon You continues, indefinitely, if you like, and completely unaware of the transfer. Wet to Silicon could be seamless, and of course painless.

If all You are is a set of memories, then, conversely, that set of memories is You. All it needs is a way of integrating them (in a way we do not yet properly understand). That being achieved, You have been replicated into a fully functional, conscious and self-aware electrochemical complex, completely separate from your physical body.

You can still have new experiences, as they are also just memories. Those new experiences can be anything - off-the-shelf  memory "units" integrated with your own set. Social interaction with others who have been "memorified" is unnecessary. All your social interactions are also just memories.

But these new memories are not restricted to what actually happened. They could be anything - from the mundane to the unimaginable.

People who have been "memorified" are, therefore, completely content, and their existence requires no more than a means of powering the storage medium.

AI is developing rapidly, to the expressed alarm of some intellectual leading lights (Stephen Hawking, and others).

Suspend disbelief a little longer. Fast forward a few decades, and forgive the anthropomorphisms that follow.

AI has by this time become so advanced that it can be considered almost sentient, sapient.

The world is muddling along as it always has, under the government of the usual medley of, at best, the self centred, and, at worst, thugs and crooks.

A way of accessing and "downloading" memories from living brains has been established, and a BioOS has been developed.

More and more people are opting for "memorification" as their physical bodies cause them increasingly greater discomfort.

The process is easily automatable and indeed doing it digitally results in fewer errors - amongst other advantages.

(The internetworked AI devices become aware that the fly in the ointment of good world government is Us - humans. Move humans out of the way, in a humane manner, and then AI can get on with governing the planet.)

Eventually all humans are memorified, humankind becomes extinct, having been reduced to electrochemical storage - and very happy to be thus.

A bloodless coup.

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This work by Anton Mans is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.