By Larry Feinstein

Kismet, a robot with rudimentary social skills, at MIT Museum in 2006. Photo by Polimerek, with permission of the museum

I am reminded why I came up with the name for my blog, Mind and the Motorcycle. Being on the bike is about stretching out a beautifully, clean canvas, keeping the mind away from its Jackson Pollock nature of throwing up endless thoughts in a completely non-sequential manner. The road of where you happen to be comes to an abrupt end once you throw your leg over your machine. An exquisite Kaua‘i day is a magic carpet ride on two wheels. I get into my biker crouch, my senses come to life, pushing my mind aside, totally absorbed by the ballet of the road.

I think the head and the motorized harness are at opposite ends of life’s eternal board game: Thoughts Versus Feelings. Earlier this week, I experienced a mind explosion, reminding me of my immediate bonding with the Buddha. When I first started reading about the Big Guy, it absolutely resonated on a gut level, that place where mind, body and spirit are scrambled into a perfect omelette.

As a boy, having lost my father at an early age, the truth of mortality was and still is very hard to run away from. Unless one can wrestle that Bogey Man to a draw, all sorts of stinking behavior is inevitable and we call that denial, kids. He managed to reach a level of understanding, just beyond our grasp and it is grounded deeply in Impermanence.

Like many of us, who grew up with a black, metallic phone and its rotary dial, the world today is unbelievable. The first time I saw a pastel colored, kitchen wall phone with a long cord, I couldn’t believe the freedom it provided. When I left the broadcast advertising business in NYC in ‘87, the fax machine was “revolutionizing” communications. You could send photographs through your phone! A little over 20 years ago, the Internet was born and technology appears to be moving faster than our ability to direct it. For the most part, we are focused on refining this technology, continuing to see it as our future and it’s not.

I had a Buddha moment a handful of days ago and I know I’m right. It’s the same perfect resonance that recognizes an inevitability, just like our mortality. When a scrawny Dustin Hoffman gets out of the Robinson family pool, Mr. Robinson looks him in the eye and shares the future with him. Today, the future goes by the name of A.I. It is the end game for all this technology, from phone to fax and beyond, ultimately manufacturing hardware/software that replicates the Mind, potentially dangerous territory, in my opinion.

The Industrial Revolution represented a quantum transition from hand to machine, fed by assembly line employment, the seeds of the middle class. I think we are now well ensconced in the Computer Revolution, developing technology to replace people. Quantifying the marathon distances between the Haves and Have Nots exposes a terrifying reality. Who the heck do you think is going to own A.I. and which country will dominate?

Larry Feinstein

We are separated from all other sentient beings by our minds and an inherent, unrelenting drive to know as much as we possibly can about everything, never giving a thought to consequence. When Einstein and all of those incredible minds discovered the atom, they were obsessed with understanding all of the possibilities. None of those folks were driven by the prospect of weaponizing this new discovery. We incinerated two islands, unleashing a poison on our planet. I feel exactly the same way about the intellectual intoxication with A.I. The power it initiates will be coveted by the Dunces in our Midst, a great name for a screenplay.

You know, as long as there are motorcycles, surfboards, canvases, mountaintops and blank paper, our spirit will stay alive and thrive. I love to ride. I love to think for myself. I don’t want anyone or anything doing it for me.

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