Saturday, August 21, 2021

The Ghost Unseen by the Machine

It’s not so trivial, sameness
As recognizably opposed
To difference. How is this same

And different to what it was
Or compared to a whole cluster
Of something else? And what is else?

Birds do it, bees do it, even
Kids on Sesame Street do it,
But AI networks can’t do it,

At least not yet. The same networks
That crush humans in Chess and Go
Fail at Which of these things doesn’t

Belong here? Which of these is kind
Of the same? Once again, as with
Recognizing faces, only

When we’ve found out how hard it is
For supercomputer programs
Have we asked why it’s quick for us,

And once again we don’t quite know.
One wonders, is this something life
Has generated on its own,

Like the optical illusions
We make of craggy horizons
That show near-flat in photographs?

Perhaps it’s not so important
By what means we get programming
To generalize different

Vs the same. Maybe there is
No same or different, outside
Of the habits of evolved brains,

Writ large or small. It wouldn’t be
The first time life’s lied to its lives.
Everything changed; nothing’s the same.

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