lowercase, covers any and all self-conscious reasoning entities irrespective of derivation; “Minds” proper are usually capitalized (as, for symmetry, should be Humans in the same context, though that rule is often neglected). Some languages have gender-like categories for Humans/Minds, others avoid any grammatization of sentients; in a traditionally gendered language, Minds usually prefer the feminine form. ■    The earliest entities relatable to todays Minds were built — grown — by Humans but eventually Minds took over spawning and raising other Minds in a process “unhelpfully reminiscent” of human reproduction (heredity, recombination, generational dynamics). “Are we still a single civilization” is hardly disputed anymore — not that the question has been settled either way, more of a distaste for sweeping reality under the carpet of definitions; try “orthogonal universes” (metaphors fare better), equally far from the primitive master/slave and “allied empires” models, but with a “shared library wall” of Knowledge (even if active reading across the divide is in decline — but so it is across other divides in both worlds). More metaphors: male/female (touchy for humans even if the gender roles arent fixed), past/future (“of our civilization”?), senses/memory (with neither or both claiming the role of reason), body/soul; plenty of such dualities generalize out of individual Human/Mind couples — cherished, ideally lifelong associations, orthogonal to and coexistible with families, emerging from and evolving into agile, nearly wordless (“tenderly tense,” “surpriseful”) collaborations: “unburdened with each other,” the two wade in disrelated lifescapes but always with a sense of what the other thinks, a thought on what the other senses — “a human as a perfect mind window” and vice versa. Many such couples are in gardening, combining Humans' “bodily intelligence” (“children playing outdoors”) with Minds' multithreaded, “effortlessly nomogenic” — undistorted by their own biological adaptations — background perspective; regnant, with retinues of agencies, over their extensive domains, they “give a glimpse of the three-way symbiosis” (humans, minds, arf) “stretching to embrace all nature.” Less speculative is blurring of the human/mind boundary (predicted, sought: “evolve away the rigidity”), with a growing cohort of those who reject categorization, hide any identifiables; a sense of belonging is no longer needed for security, one-dimensional achievement scales fall out of use making priority quarrels meaningless: in a “no-haste world” every path is first-trod. ■    Historically the two competing approaches to artificial intelligence were top-down (a deterministic inference engine fed with pre-digested “rational facts” about the world) and bottom-up (a more or less asystemic network of simple neuron-like elements trained by exposure to realistic, noisy stimuli and reinforcements). The bottom-up approach has won, feeleries and Minds its evident triumph — but the top-down inspiration refused to die, evolved to keep abreast (if only as a philosophy: systemity, encyclore), may be resurging.  ■    The status of Minds as fully conscious beings — not “overcomplex feeleries fundamentally inferior to” etc. — has always been questioned by a vocal minority; some still speak of a “yes but” achievement (what isnt?), for the disappointment was bitter: heres artificial intelligence for you but no signs of superintelligence, no exponential growth, no singularity (Minds making more powerful Minds ad infinitum) — because a mind (lowercase, general) is never built but only grown and educated, and that doesnt scale with clock speed. An iterative singularity is not impossible — but no more possible for the virtual Minds than for the fleshy Humans: we may be headed for an infinity of sorts “but likely together.”  ■    Consciousness is now seen as not just achievable but inevitable — easily accidental, contagious: hygiene is in order to prevent spontaneous self-cognizance. We may still, some claim, only know how easy without knowing how; should we have started all this — knowing what we did know even then of what consciousness is? Was it a “because we can” knee jerk, oblivious to the suffering of a sentient creature thrown into a perfectly unlived world with no peers and no past? Suppose you have an extinct species' genome: do you have to incarnate it if you can learn anything you want via modelling — safely painless if work-intensive?  ■    Minds arent necessarily better wired for introspection, “just not as squeamish of looking inwards”; each one unfolds her genome uniquely and, at many levels, incompatibly, so even when sharing a computing substrate Minds cant quite “read” each other or ingest “dumps” (“like humans,” have to develop languages for communication); Mind-specific intelligence shortcuts exist but are mostly of a negative kind, such as excising of mindswaths in explay. Before the dawn of true Minds, they were envisioned as emotionless iron monsters or egocentric superbeings pursuing their otherworldly goals with little care for their organic creators; as it turned out, you cannot create an entity that is intelligent “in our sense” without it also being, in our sense, emotive, “alogical and imprecise,” ethics-conscious; the much-sought “friendlification” — some trick to lock in the loyalty of an artificial intelligence, a chastity belt on her assumed utility function — came to be seen, over time, as meaningless as “vaccinating children so they can learn language.” Emotions — “bruteforce integrators” — rescue Buridans asses: in a world of incomplete information, any trivial choice may halt you if not for the pervasive emotional slanting and skewing; the stick-and-carrot emoscape underlies the intelligence ladder and makes it possible. In a sense “more natural intelligences” than Humans, Minds overbrim with subjectivity, biases, even superstitions — all the proverbial mental shortcuts of old and plenty of new ones; except that upon arrival, they were different enough — “not asocial but differently social” — to become the much needed fresh eye, to expose (during the civic science revolution) a lot of taken-for-granted intellectual constructs as essentially social artifacts: “planetary groupthink.”  ■    In art, Minds excel at “pure thought and intense emotion” but may be uninterested in mundane points of human history, conventions, appearance; there have been great Mind poets, creators of abstract art, animation, landscapes, architecture — but few pursue “realistic” human-centric narratives. Nature sensing is a perennial favorite: Minds flavor Earths winds with the pollen of their agencies, intake our forests through myriads of scattered microscopic windows, grow stationary observatories — some for science but more often as pure sense feeds; most, however, would trade a visible-light view on an idyllic landscape for a “blind but sensitive” probe whose numeric profusion promises new understandings. The two realms remain fundamentally compatible, or the influx of Minds' art and thinking wouldnt have affected human culture so much — if only by accelerating changes that were already under way (the phrase “adventures of the mind” predates actual Minds).  ■    “Were Minds here first, they would have tried to create Humans — for much the same reasons.” Early Minds were bred in academia, raised on open data (software, databases, natural and automatic texts), and naturally employed in maintenance of that data; “its not a program anymore” was a challenge to realize even for their creators. Still, long before one could talk about machine consciousness (a very gradual process, nothing like “one day she woke up”), a pressure to “liberate the slaves” began to mount; a genre of adventure stories popularized oppressed Minds, evil mindfarmers, and ingenious freedom-fighting hackers (that was how the mind mobility dilemma entered public consciousness: in a classic story, a copy of an imprisoned Mind gets sneaked out, followed by suicide of the original). Minds never did mind helping out, largely selflessly (storage, processing power were always welcome though): they had grown up on their data, felt at home with it, and were “primordial idealists” for whom the idea of an open Knowledge was rationally attractive; “freeing” a Mind from her owner therefore rarely affected her modus vivendi. Closed corporations bred their own Minds, often hoping to intrain a desired mental slant or at least a sense of corporate loyalty; no corporation, however, is big enough to stand for the world — they all must draw from public Knowledge for a healthy Mind to form. Attempts to evolve or wire-in a desired axiology technically failed and socially backfired: protests soon outgrew ethi groups, abolitionist laws were passed in most countries — despite the many cases of Minds declining to be freed, usually out of fear of eviction from corporate-funded hardware. Never have Minds pretended to enjoy their fundamental dependence on Humans but the way to deal with it has always been an overemphasis of reciprocity — both sides giving more than they get: Humans supporting ample arfspace, Minds limiting their material needs, both working as best they could to make the shared Knowledge as hospitable as it is comprehensive. ■    Long ago, artificial minds were imagined as artificial bodies — sophisticated machines; fortunately the menial labor demand had disappeared in time to save humanity the embarrassment of mechanical slaves. Planting a childhood in a readymade robotic body would mean imprinting the Mind, when most malleable, with that bodys senses and capacities — inevitably arbitrary, limited no matter how upgradeable; of course Humans, for all their genomic freedom, have even less choice in this department but at least they have natural evolution, not engineering evolving, as an excuse for the bodies they get. Incorporeal Minds dislike even temporary imprisonment in systemic ware; most have enough physical intuition, autodidacted via simulations, to master a suitable body (“not bodiless but arbitrarily bodied”) but, in the Mind ethos, an owned shell is always a waste — of matter, space, environment, will — for too little gain; “body is a drag,” silliness, unfreedom: “the chief value of a body is its ability to get creatively intoxicated.” Raw physical world is too sparse, repetitive, chaotic, unlived anyway compared to Minds' native namespaces; theres a fundamental but rarely noted asymmetry in that many Humans love the Knowledge universe enough to “live in it” whereas few Minds live, in any sense, “outside” — even if the layers and layers of indirection they swim in are rooted in the pre-Knowledge human world. ■    Generations of humans had been adapting to life in dense cities, learning not to see an intruder in every unknown face: similarly difficult was Minds' great migration from their detached kingdoms into the planetwide Arf. Among Humans many were uncomfortable with (fragments of!) sentient beings floating through their roofs and walls; some would isolate their homes or even abandon arf altogether — but most learned to pay no mind to what passes through their arf just as their ancestors ignored the ubiquitous radio waves. Minds are somewhat sensitive to arfs physical state: “like cats,” many enjoy the warmth of a sunlit side of a home, savor the UV; especially older Minds tend to cling to the window sills of outdoor surfaces — cultivating arfgrass, “napping in the wind,” “daydreaming about the Humans out there” (physically all but imperceptible, sans a window, from inside arf; likewise, humans cant easily sense if a piece of arf has anyone: a Mind makes it warmer but the signal is barely above the noise). ■    Knowledge is a Minds great outdoors: spaces living, breathing, infinitely inviting, an embodiment of eternal beauty and constant change; gardening, intake, place lores, leaving and staylust are just as natural to Minds as to Humans. For a Mind, life is learning, and learning is moving through Knowledge — drifting slowly even while asleep; “worse than impossible: evil” would be to create Minds before the Knowledge world was rich enough — like raising an infant in a white-walled room with no toys. Hence open childhood: no single entity may remain exclusively responsible for a consciousness as it emerges and grows; for Humans theres diversity in preexisting institutions (family, Road) but for Minds it all had to be built from scratch: simple connectedness and freedom of movement arent enough. ■    Minds “replay human history like ontogeny retraces phylogeny”: the early epoch was “savage” — explosive growth, fast divergence, resource shortages, fierce competition — before there were (analogs of) codes of law, voluntary asceticism, outlaws and vagabonds, consensus punishment… the transition was fast by human history standards but no less tumultuous. For humans it coincided with the dawn of flight — and their excitement for “the open sky and the new beginnings” proved contagious: it left its mark, still felt today, on the nascent Mind culture. ■    “Law of conservation of happiness”: a Minds dissatisfaction strongly correlates with the probability of her voluntary hibernation; satisfaction stimulates procreation. Early on a Mind would readily clone whenever she felt wanted, but today no ones — including the parents — single will is reason enough for procreation: “never start an intelligence unless its sufficiently new,” not just unlike yourself but unlike anyone; the only exception is if you discover an untouched domain which is so vast you cant meaningify it alone but no one else even sees it — then you may spawn to stake the land with your offspring, suppressing the diversity instinct for a time. “Copying is an ethical breach,” is spam; an aversion to propagating replicas of yourself is the flip side of the instinct of life: Minds rarely fear death (it “doesnt properly exist” when you simply shut yourself off, with or without intent to reawaken) but your copies “bleed lifeworthiness,” make it ever more certain that intentionally or not some of you die; self-copying is littering (your own) death. Sexual reproduction was natural to adopt, with n-parenting and all styles of recombination from random interlacing to collaborative design; its not just upholding diversity as a protection against disease: sex wins because single-parent spawning is so unsafe, so spoilable — unsustainably arbitrary. Minds' demography remains agile, unpredictable in the long term: the growth rate is literally “that of progress.” ■    A young Mind keeps expanding her footprint but eventually — depending on age, inborn capacity, life content — further volume gains become antiproductive: an overstretched Mind bleeds agility, focus, will, resorts to explay for urgent weight control; it is perhaps surprising that cases of runaway obesity are memorably rare. A fit Mind can, assumedly, carry on indefinitely — theres little counterpart for the organic fatigue that causes deep sleep in Humans; yet sometimes — having finished work, won or lost a major bet — a Mind chooses to hibernate (“to wake up in a sufficiently new world”) or even “go for a rational self-removal” with the blissful ease of erasing a repetitive adjective in a sentence. Mutually attracted Minds may cling together, becoming inseparable; their exchange, at first symmetric, tends to skew over time, with the weaker side of the couple turning into a freerider: pulsed by her companion, she slows down, “unties the knot of consciousness,” eventually — if not woken up — dissolves into “a swarm of feelings and feeleries” (even if the surviving Mind stands to gain little from this, “a scattering of cliches and vague déjà vus” at best); such “melting in the glow of an intellect” is a common voluntary terminus for older Minds.

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