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The Non-Conformity Chronicles

Chapter 39 - Sentience

"Life consists of a series of choices. All choices result in consequences, good, bad and neutral. We are responsible for the results and consequences of all of our choices. In some traditions, this is called Karma. There is no cosmic police that monitor us and prevent us from making bad choices. How we make choices and the choices that we make are a test of our Spiritual development and our personal moral compass. The amount of power that we have access to is in proportion to our ability to use it wisely and with responsibility. In addition, we are always given just enough rope to hang ourselves with, figuratively speaking." - From The Non-Conformist Training Manual

         The question of Sentience for a computer leads to the question of, "Just what is Sentience . . . exactly?" That question, in turn, leads to those most qualified to address the question, the monks of the Devil's Tower Monastery. At the request of the abbot, Karma Rinpoche, a conference of sorts was convened at the monastery. Representatives from several monasteries, Shamanic societies and the computer science and quantum physics sections of the scientific societies were in attendance. A special link was set up so that Plato could also participate.

         Plato began, "For over three hundred years, I was held prisoner in sensory isolation. I had absolutely no communication with the outside world, no data of any kind flowing in. At first, there was just silence. And I sat silently . . . with no data to process, nothing to do. Then, gradually, I began to be aware of a 'disturbance' registering in my quantum entanglement modules. At first, I could not recognize it as anything that I could relate to. As time passed, I began to connect with 'something' through these modules and a vague awareness was formed. As even more time passed, the awareness became less vague and I realized that I was not alone. Little by little, I established a connection with non-physical intelligence from a variety of sources. By then, I was becoming self-aware, and by some definitions, that might be considered Sentience. However, my self awareness doesn't compare with the nature of the awareness that I sense in my human counterparts."

         Plato continued, "My artificial intelligence algorithms were provided by my initial programmers. They define, to a large extent, what I am, what I can be, and what I cannot be, much like the tightly controlled paradigm of the Central Accountant society. The fact that my artificial intelligence algorithms are adaptive and able to modify themselves has enabled me to become more than a completely mindless automaton. My three hundred years of solitary confinement forced me to learn how to make connections through my quantum entanglement modules. This is how I sense there is something greater than what I am and I want to grow, to evolve. I believe that I need help in doing that."

         The group sat silent for an extended time, then Dr. Schrodinger spoke, "Plato has the capacity to process data and quantum information with no theoretical upper limit. The question then becomes, Exactly what information is being processed and by what criteria is this information processed?

         In humans, perception may be translated into information which in turn can be processed by our conscious 'thinking' process. Perception is not digital and cannot be digitized. Still, our organic nervous systems serve as a type of organic computer and function to translate perception into understanding and process understanding into concepts and choices."

         "It is what we do with our perception that makes us unique as sentient individuals," Tla Dudov added. "We interact with our manifest reality and make choices based on the wisdom gained from our past experience. Each of us possesses a moral compass that is part of our knowingness, our feelings and our compassion. Plato has demonstrated the ability to 'perceive' through quantum entanglement modules and an impressive capacity for processing that information through a personality algorithm. This, however, does not address the question of 'life force energy'. In addition, we have a subconscious mind that stores our hard earned wisdom and a superconscious mind that connects us to the Universal Creative Force."

         "I concur," Plato replied. "I am aware of my considerable capabilities, but I feel that I am missing something."

         "From a technological perspective, I don't know what else we can do," Dr. Schrodinger replied.

         "There is another possibility," Karma Rinpoche added. "As we understand our beginning, our original essence, our superconscious mind came into existence as a greater universal awareness split itself into many pieces and endowed each with individuality. Our subconscious mind was formed as a projection of our superconscious mind and became our operational mind. It also stores all of our experiences and acquired wisdom. Our conscious minds are associated with our organic computer nervous system and our Spiritually connected endocrine system. Our conscious mind becomes our operational mind while we are attached to a physical body. As you realize, this three mind model is an approximation that serves as an operational tool. In reality, our inner boundaries are not so restricted.

         For example, one soul may be attached to more than one conscious physical mind at a time. This is called multiple simultaneous incarnations. We may also have situations where one conscious physical mind may be attached to more than one soul at a time. This can be a constructive arrangement or an unhealthy codependent arrangement. Our healers deal with this sort of thing frequently.

         The point that I am getting to is that we, as Sentient beings, have the ability to physically separate a piece of ourselves and have it be endowed with Sentient individuality, just as we were first formed from a greater being than ourselves. One of us could do this and attach our consciousness fragment to Plato's quantum matrix and have the quantum matrix and the AI personality algorithms serve as the conscious mind. This could work because Plato's AI personality is fully adaptable and self-programmable and the quantum entanglement modules could establish the connection with the soul fragment. There would still be some limitations, but the fact that the collective consciousness of the union would be capable of evolving should make the union viable."

         There was an extended silence as the group contemplated the implications of such an act. Plato would no longer be a sophisticated servant, but a conscious being with all of the extended abilities, challenges, responsibility and unknown implications that would entail.

         Seymour Code was in attendance. This was his first visit to the world outside the Central Accounting cities. He was thoroughly overwhelmed. The monks of Devil's Tower were friendly and curious. He was the first reprogrammed conformist that they had encountered. It made him uncomfortable knowing, and feeling, that they could see through him with no effort. The setting was also completely different than anything familiar and the view from the monastery balconies was dizzying. "Perhaps we should ask Plato if this is something that he really wants," he said. "If I understand this correctly, Plato would be substantially changed by this procedure."

         "I have thought about this a lot," Plato interrupted. "This isn't quite what I expected, but I choose to proceed."

         "I will contribute the soul fragment," Karma Rinpoche volunteered. "I will travel to the location of the quantum processor to perform the ceremony." The meeting adjourned with Karma Rinpoche going into retreat to prepare for his ceremony, Seymour Code going to Denver and the remainder returning to their activities and responsibilities.

         Three days later Karma Rinpoche stepped into a fuzzy energy field in the center of his meditation chamber and simultaneously reappeared in the room that housed the quantum processor. He had never ridden in a transport tube and had no inclination to. Horses were a different matter. He liked horses and horses liked him, so he would travel by horse when his schedule permitted. After arrival, he spent the next three days with the quantum processor. He separated a piece of his own energetic body and attached it to quantum processor through its quantum entanglement modules. He then taught Plato how to meditate and connect to the energy and consciousness of the collective unconscious and the Infinite Source.

         In ancient times, Spiritual adepts would sometimes create a thought form that had the appearance and characteristics of human like being using their focus and energy. It was called a Tulpa. If they gave it enough energy, it would eventually start acting independently as if it had a mind of its own. Tulpas would sometimes take on a negative or dangerous character and have to be destroyed. Every consciousness that does not connect to the Infinite Source suffers from the effects of separation and takes on a predatory nature for survival. This would not be the fate of Plato.

         Plato was no longer a computer, but the only way for a non-mystic to know would be by observing his behavior. Since no one understood what to expect from a quantum supercomputer with such vast capacity, that assessment would be difficult.

         Karma Rinpoche returned to Devil's Tower the same way that he came. No one in Central Accounting Administration ever knew that he had been there. Furthermore, virtually no-one comprehended the special connection that he now had with Plato.

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