UFO Conjectures

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Are UFOs AI entities (à la Bostrom)?

Discounting flying saucer/UFO reports where beings or creatures are experienced (because they are neurologically or psychologically induced, not physical presences), can we suppose that UFOs are artificially created “robots” from elsewhere?

Take a few cases – the 1948 Gorman “dogfight,” the 1957 RB-47 encounter, the 1976 Tehran episode – and countless others; do they mimic what one might expect from an intelligent machine?

I think they do.

Reading Nick Bostrom’s views (as suggested in my previous post), one can see that an alien civilization, million of years old, may have created intelligent machines that have taken on a project of exploring the Universe, and stumbling on Earth, found one where sentient life exists, in many forms.

For intelligent machines, such life would be queer, and outside such machines’ experience, thus perpetuating a continual exploration or examination of this planet to determine what these odd life-forms are.

AI machines would be baffled, it seems, by carbon, biological life, certainly life as diverse and sometimes ridiculous as that found here.

AI machines would, even after millennia of study or observation, remain tormented by what “they” found here.

Again, I suggest you consider Nick Bostrom’s views on AI.

They open the door to conjecture that may explain UFOs, if one keeps and open, intellectual mind.



  • Does the simulation thesis lead to 'the mind of god'? What is the difference between creation and simulation?

    Best Regards,


    By Blogger Don, at Monday, November 23, 2015  

  • The simulation discussion, Don, would be better at the Bostrom postings.

    This post deals with UFOs as AI entities.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, November 23, 2015  

  • Ok.

    To be artificial, AI, is not --what? -- natural, organic intelligence, but a simulation of it, as the designer only knows the intelligence he can know (stipulated to: an AI can develop) and that's what the program is.

    Then, how can we distinguish between artificial and organic intelligence from their behavior...via our five senses?

    The difference, if there is a difference, perceived would fit into the category of 'the uncanny'

    For readers unfamiliar with the idea, from Wikipedia:

    "The uncanny (German: Das Unheimliche, "the opposite of what is familiar") is a mixture of the familiar and unfamiliar that is experienced as being peculiar.[1] The psychological concept of the uncanny as something that is strangely familiar, rather than just mysterious, was perhaps first fixed by Sigmund Freud in his essay Das Unheimliche.[2][3"

    (my emphasis)

    Best Regards,


    By Blogger Don, at Monday, November 23, 2015  

  • The New Yorker article I cited, Don, deals with computer AI...Bostrom's concern.

    It's not biological, but coded technology, in our era, computers and/or robots.

    The topic is abstruse even to those academically immersed in it.

    I suggest you fight your way through the New Yorker piece to orient yourself to the topic.

    The piece is online at NewYorker.com I think.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, November 23, 2015  

  • On what grounds are you making the assumption that AI intelligence would be any less used to variety and "ridiculous"-ness than biological intelligence? Because that how they are in sci-fi books and movies?

    By Blogger Scott Hamilton, at Monday, November 23, 2015  

  • Scott:

    As my past postings indicate, I think the Earth's inhabitants, all species, are insane, and unique for that.

    An advanced AI would have trouble I conjecture with an Earthian experience, especially experiences over millennia.

    Coded for logic (without emotion) AI constructs would be baffled I think by what they'd find here or have found here.

    Science Fiction has nothing to do with it.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, November 23, 2015  

  • "Coded for logic (without emotion) AI constructs would be baffled I think by what they'd find here or have found here"

    Assuming that "emotions" are purely Earthian and non-existent in any other advanced species in the galaxy/universe. Would AI programmed logic take into account the process of species evolutionary stages...assuming that those who built the AI probes thought of observing such things.

    So what is gained by the AI probes, as far as knowledge accumulated over the thousands of years? What to they do with it? Transmit data back to a long dead civilization?

    Where is the payoff?

    By Blogger Tim Hebert, at Monday, November 23, 2015  

  • According to Bostrom's thesis, as I understand it (and I may not), his A I constructs would simply keep evolving and perfecting themselves.

    Their civilization might be extinct or the beings that initially created them gone, but they survive and probe thr Universe for whatever contingencies that benefit their ongoing existence.

    The "knowledge" gained is, thus, self-serving, not transmitted back to anything or anyone.

    This is the fear of Bostrom's Singularity.

    A I exists for its own sake.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, November 23, 2015  

  • It's a real enough concern. Here's a link to a video of Nick Bostrom speaking on it:
    ``Nick Bostrom: "Superintelligence" | Talks at Google ``

    And here is another link with Nick and Max Tegmark speaking to the UN about the dangers of AI (nearly 3.5 hours):
    ``Max Tegmark and Nick Bostrom speak to the UN about the threat of AI ``

    By Blogger Parakletos, at Monday, November 23, 2015  

  • RR,

    Great series of topics, you keep me reading trying to catch up. I got mired on a Lanza a week ago and now on to Bostrom...

    I did find it an interesting thought that at birth of a superintelligence human invention could become (increasingly) irrelevant. Of course, waxing political for only a moment, these interesting concepts apply to our technological societies and increasingly distance us further from the third world.

    Having said all that and returning to topic, a superintelligent computer's robotic minions can't be said to be at work in our unidentified phenomena observations until we reach the threshold of a clear transition from unidentified phenomena to unidentified mechanical or electronic probes then becoming unidentified bogies as recognized probes of unidentified origin. We're still short of that.

    Of course our UAPs could be time (or dimensional) probing intrusions, as you mentioned, that for yet unknown causes become just momentarily observational, and if (!) being of superintelligent development would leave little or no trace to our current science.

    It's an interesting conjecture that accepts that there certainly are UAPs, allows/accounts for that they are diversified and, as super-sophisticated our incomplete physics simply can't explain their transitory observations. I don't believe it, but it is an interesting thought.

    However, RR, your "I think the Earth's inhabitants, all species, are insane, and unique for that" is itself an insane statement. A broad brush that one.

    I do believe that Earth is a unique water world of diversified life borne of a unique location/position, with stabilizing moon, protective magnetic core, and a (so far) cooperative star (and etc) that makes it worthy of probing.

    I've come to believe that such uniqueness is under appreciated.

    Oh, and sure, there really are some insane inhabitants.


    By Blogger Bryan Daum, at Tuesday, November 24, 2015  

  • I also meant to say that the whole notion of the upcoming singularity is a turn on. Makes me wish I was younger and likely to be around for it.


    By Blogger Bryan Daum, at Tuesday, November 24, 2015  

  • Bryan,

    My "Earth is insane" position stems from an overview of what has occurred and is occurring on this backwater. Maybe I should soften my wording, and call Earth and its species "irrational" but that would force me to give up my psychological predilection.

    Either way an "intelligent" technology has to be baffled by the vicissitudes of Earth's societies and civilizations.

    But that aside, it seems to me that most UFOs, by concentrating on nuclear facilities (per Hastings) and aircraft, indicate a technology interested in technology.

    An Artificial Intelligence would probe what it thinks is an artificial intelligence.

    But bumping into the human interface, a logical-referenced intelligence would be stymied. What the hell are these biological things, they must ponder.

    Then coming across the animal species or sea life, their bafflement must be great.

    If such probes stem from a civilization long extinct, replaced by AI, the wonderment at what is going on here would force the artificial intelligences to review their history and be curdled by that review, what they thought they eliminated is still extant: irrational biological entities, thriving here on Earth.

    (The above paragraph stems from my Bostrom leaning: AI and the Singularity is "scary.")


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, November 24, 2015  

  • "Earth is insane"

    Three billion years of stewing oceans, monsters bubbling to the surface, millions of years of tooth and claw on land with only the thinest veneer of civilization.

    "Maybe I should soften my wording, and call Earth and its species 'irrational' but that would force me to give up my psychological predilection."

    And I say that keen observation and extremely sound idea is an example of your native intelligence and life experience shining through our enculturated best wishes about ourselves.

    In that you're recreating an exception to Fermi paradox: It is the nature of intelligent life to destroy itself.

    And that is why we are all alone.

    Or in another but directly related exception: It is the nature of intelligent life to destroy others.

    And that is why we are all alone.

    Both are related to the technological singularity and self-replicating spacecraft.

    And to the Zoo, Planetarium and/or Simulation hypotheses: We live in a simulation created by another; and we either evolved independently and are being contained or we were created. (The probability that we exist in a fictional matrix is ZERO.)

    And that is why we are all alone.

    This is all highly speculative, somewhat implausible, probably unverifiable so nonfalsifiable and metaphysical, not scientific or only metascientific. I am highly skeptical of the last, somewhat skeptical of the others being a scientific-realist Rare Earth and/or We're First or What's Now hypotheses astronomical sort.

    I do not think that the reason people make "UFO" reports has anything in the least to do with any of this or any other thing but human psychology.

    "We live in exactly one world, not two or three or seventeen."

    "Death to eXistenZ!"


    That page does more to expose the idea as purely speculative nonsense that I can. (g)

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Wednesday, November 25, 2015  

  • Ah, I see Zoam that you avoid, pretty much the UFO aspect of this post and zero in on the computer simulation presented a post or two back.

    The nexus of the "problem" with such conjectures as presented is that this is our "reality" for better or worse.

    Whatever existence we find ourselves in, we are captive to that existence, which continues to prove elusive and unknown.

    Thus, all we can do is play around with the proffered hypotheses.

    What else is there -- sex, drugs, and rock and roll?


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, November 25, 2015  

  • RR; Just covering all the recent Bostrom stuff and showing how it relates in one. You do keep your blog interesting. Thank you!

    "Earth is insane" makes perfect sense in an "evolutionary history of life on Earth as Gouldian radical contingency" way and is a genuinely intelligent observation.

    And your imaginative scenario of a highly logical AI probe encountering irrational biological life on Earth reminded me of the end of the film "AI" in which our AI descendants are archaeologists digging through "their" irrational past.

    The idea of self-replicating spacecraft is a valid astronomical and technological proposition. And the idea as an explanation for some "UFO" reports is a plausible one, but it's just not required for explaining any particular case that I know.

    Generally, a spacecraft even unmanned is still a spacecraft and as such is one of the "least likely" explanations for why people make "UFO" reports. Like the Simulation hypothesis or the God hypothesis, it's an Unnecessary hypothesis.

    Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

    By Blogger zoamchomsky, at Wednesday, November 25, 2015  

  • Thank you Zoam...

    A Happy Thanksgiving to you also.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, November 25, 2015  

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