imagine a robot…

Imagine a robot with an electronic brain that has the capacity to hold all of the knowledge in the universe and further imagine that this robot was created without any preconceptions of behavior or logic and, in an instantaneous flash, was turned on. The basic programming of the robot is to, first and foremost, maintain its own (and other robots around it) operational health and it does this by observing everything around it, mimicking the actions it determines are successful…and avoiding those that it believes will lead to failure or self-termination.

As the years go by the robot absorbs and repeats behaviors that it determines are positive, based on direct and indirect feedback from its environment but it cannot experience its own behavior separate from itself (it cannot step away and observe itself objectionably) therefore if it has erred (or has been subject to input that was, in fact, negative but presented as positive) and is reacting negatively, it will not recognize this data and will continue those behaviors until an outside force acts on it to attempt to redirect the behaviors. This happens often as more mature robots around it provide external observation and attempt to redirect the robots destructive behavior toward a positive outcome. In some cases the robot itself, sensing a misapplication of logic, may seek out data that explains certain logical impossibilities. This is rarely effective however as the robot still cannot separate itself from itself and objectively observe its own behavior (or does not trust the internal evidence when that rare moment of clarity does happen).

In some cases, this destructive behavior becomes enmeshed and indistinguishable from what the robot perceives ais positive behavior therefore the robot rejects any external pressures as being irrelevant and possibly counter to its basic programming. Unfortunately, this cycle tends to reinforce itself by creating a negative feedback loop whereas the behavior manifests (with negative results) so the behavior is simply repeated (again and again) as the robot still believes it to be positive. The robots logic cannot break this feedback loop, which tends to amplify and become a greater and greater burden on internal systems until eventually the circuits become overloaded and the robot suffers a severe malfunction.

There is nothing different in that scenario from you as a small child growing up and learning to behave by observing everything around you and sometimes thinking something is positive that is, in fact, negative. You live your life and repeat those negative patterns over and over despite people you love and trust telling you otherwise. The hardest part is trying to step away from yourself and see reality, not through the filters and distortions of our own thinking, but as it really exists.

While it is true that you are the sum total of everything you’ve experienced from the instant of birth right to this very second, it is also true that you have the ability to react and behave any way that you want, regardless of those experiences. It is just a matter of believing that to be true.

Believe. Go. Do.

~TrevorZen

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