Paper – A Story (Part 2)

Vol. 18 // 2022
Modified image – Game Assets for Asteroids Crusher, copyright wowu via Creative Market

“You made it now. You are no different from any Oamian artist in my opinion”. Moli smiled, “Eve should be proud of you.” Moli really meant it. Then her expression changed, her mouth wide open, “Oh wait, you are of course an android! I almost couldn’t tell!”

Adeve nodded, “For a very long time. I could not understand art. I could not understand what beauty was. I was programmed to ‘comprehend’ aesthetics. My knowledge of art comes from my creator. I cannot be the same as my creator, never. I probably will never reach their level of sensation.”

“A humanoid android. You must have all the sensors that a human would have, right? And you can evolve from all this data you have gathered via your learning system.”

“Yes. But I’m still far from being a real Oamian. I don’t need to breathe air. I’m not a biological being. An Oamian’s life lasts for about three hundred years, two times that of Homo Sapiens. But I, Adeve, Myself, can live forever, if I want to. My sensors, right, they are not as direct and ubiquitous as yours either. More importantly, I don’t have real emotions. I can mimic human emotion but I don’t think I can ever truly have them.”

Moli and I exchanged a look: Adeve’s probably right. Emotions are completely natural to humans and no one would intentionally observe every single little thought, every single little feeling, rising and passing by. Plus, real humans are not able to display every single sensation or thought they are having constantly like what Adeve is doing now. Not to mention, it’s technically infeasible. Our technology made space travel as easy as it could be now so we could get here within two hours, but we cannot display every little thought that a human brain is having. It’s too much information and consciousness is not quantifiable and displayable.

Modified image – Game Assets for Asteroids Crusher, copyright wowu via Creative Market

“All I have received, from my sensors, is nothing like you are experiencing now. My processor reads all of it as mere data.” Adeve showed a sad face, “when you smell a rose, you feel joy. When I smell a rose, I can tell it’s a rose, and I am told that I should enjoy it and look happy.”

“So, all your emotions are displayed to us from your programming. They are not real?”

“It’s not real to me. I’m the creation of a human, not the creation of a human’s creator. See the difference?”

“They nodded”, printed on the paper next to us. That’s describing me and Moli.

“All I have ever ‘experienced’ is pure data.” Adeve forced a smile, “for example, if you hit me in the face, I would not instinctively know it’s pain. My skin sensors will tell my central processors that I got hit. To mock real human reaction, I’m programmed to ‘feel’ this pain. And based on the level of intensity, the programming will tell me what level of anger or sadness I should perform.”

“Wow, haha, that’s actually amazing! You never feel any pain!” Moli chuckled, “you never suffer from anything, I get that! I’m jealous.”

“No pain, probably no suffering, definitely no joy from smelling a rose either. “

I just thought of a line that I had read many years ago, by an ancient philosopher from an ancient planet, “You are not a fish, how can you know of the joy of a fish?”

Even two homo sapiens, like Moli and I, would have different feelings towards the same flower – but maybe all androids with the same sensors would feel exactly the same?

“True. But do you desire to have the same human experiences then?” I was getting more curious.

“I would like to have the same experiences as you do. “

“Do you feel pain when your desires, such as this one, are not fulfilled?”

“Pain? Never. As I just said, I never feel any real pain. I may have desires, what I want, how I want it – that’s from my deep learning over the time to imitate Oamians’ thinking process. But a real consciousness is missing in me, Myself. I am also programmed to think I am me, Adeve, Myself.” Adeve always stressed the word Myself when he said it.

“As a human being, to think of it from our standpoint,” said Moli, “it would be painful to not have any of those sensations or feelings. “

“You are not made of data, Moli. Your feelings and sensations are real. This is partly why I created ‘Oam’s Awakening.’ It is to show how my operation process is so different from yours.”

Meantime I noticed that our entire conversation had just been printed on sheets of paper. Our dock, along with the entire machine, our ships, were moving away from where we had been in the beginning as the paper passed through continuously.

The hologram Adeve, took a cup from nowhere and sipped from it. The Sixth printer was concurrently printing, “Humans feel thirsty when they talk too much, I should drink now. “

Adeve put down the cup and continued, “If you humans know who created you, then you might be able to make androids that are truly like yourselves.” He posed a thinking gesture, “Who created human consciousness then?”

This has never been answered, just like the creator questions Adeve asked earlier. How was the consciousness of a human being first created?

Many animals show an existence of consciousness that the most advanced androids don’t truly have.

No one spoke all of a sudden. We could only hear the sounds from machines operating. The sixth printer stopped running, only blank paper was coming out of it.

“Where did all of the paper come from? It’s really a lot of paper!” Moli wanted to break the silence.

“I, Adeve, Myself, made all of it. I am also the printer. The hologram is also me, Adeve, Myself. All of the millions of tiny sensors in this space enclosed by this machine, is me, as well, Adeve, Myself. “

“Even all of the paper? How?” It’s hard to believe that the amount of paper that made such a huge planet all comes from a big flowship-size machine right here.

“Yes, there’s a room to produce all of the paper. The energy source is from a Valiaya stone.”

Both Moli and I marveled “Whoa”. Valiaya stones of good quality and high purity can supply almost endless energy. They are scarce resources and extremely expensive. A fist-size medium Valiaya stone can buy a small planet in the populated Magow Area.

“My teacher, also my creator, Eve, gave me a pure Valiaya stone before she passed away.” Adeve started sobbing.

“Sorry to hear that.”

Adeve transitioned back to his normal expression almost immediately; this was when I first observed the tiny trace that he’s indeed an AI.

“I used the Valiaya stone as a source of energy and planted many Oamian Papereeds in the warehouse over there.” Adeve pointed to the other side of the machine. “The entire room is an automatic farming system, where the papereeds are grown and made into paper. Paper made from Oamian papereeds is strong as diamonds, malleable as water. It will never break or corrupt. “

“Wow, this paper making facility is also part of you.”

“That’s right. You can say it’s also me, Adeve, Myself. The special soil to grow papereeds are from a far and secretive Oamian planet. Lighto, the Oamian-developed microbes that can shine in the dark, are nurtured in the soil and then grow onto the paper so the whole planet can be seen from afar. Lighto can absorb energy almost from anywhere.”

“Oamians have developed much advanced technology in nature development and for art. They never cease to surprise others! ”This is the first time I heard about Lighto and I think most people in the Magow Area probably never heard of such man-made microbes.

“As a human being, I would hope I can do that as well, producing paper or whatever I want inside myself. I don’t have to eat or sleep. But the reality is we can only order machines to do or make things for us. I feel so dependent.” Moli sighed. It’s great that Moli and I usually have different directions of thinking towards the same thing which made our show fun to watch.

“But your thoughts are independent.” Adeve replied.

I started to fathom what Adeve’s planet had carried out to me. I began to understand the core difference between humans and androids from the perspective of an advanced android like Adeve: is this what his installation is trying to tell us? Sometimes androids are made too like us that I forget they are androids and just programmed to act like us.

“But why choose paper? No one uses paper now.” Moli’s question brought me back to the present. She always asked the right questions for our show, “I remember last time I saw paper it was at the Lavenia Library, in the ancient texts section, where it’d take three days to ride around the whole section. And here, maybe it will take several years?”

“It’s the most direct way to show humans, either Oamians, or Roedrikians, or you Sapiens, how much information is being generated each moment from an advanced android intelligence. It’s enormous. But to show all information generated from a human consciousness, the amount of information to be displayed would be way more than that of an android.”

The hologram Adeve looked into the core of his own planet, Oam’s Awakening, and kept on going, “Paper is also a form of art from remote antiquity in human history. With paper, humans became human and evolved to today’s intelligence. Animals would never invent paper. They never needed paper. Then androids were created after the paper era; we never needed paper either. “

Adeve shown in the hologram raised the cup again and drank from it, “paper represents something I desire but will never be able to get.”

The printers all stopped working abruptly except the seventh one that was showing the process of Adeve’s core programming. The Adeve in the 3D hologram seemed also frozen up. Some seconds later, all printers started working again.

“You just stopped for a couple seconds?”

“Yes, my sensors and processors stopped for some seconds – I let them. Look, I can freely control Myself, when to run or to stop. But you,” Adeve shook his head, “humans never stop – their sensors, their organs, always working, until they exhale their last breath. “

I tried not to think. Even my mind seemed to be blank at the moment, but the thought of realizing that it’s blank was still there. And thousands of little thoughts and feelings just came to me that I could not just express in words. Like Adeve said, our minds never stop working.

Great artworks are philosophical. They ask the right question and answer it in a way words cannot describe. They convey real unspeakable feelings, which, maybe only humans can genuinely and wholeheartedly experience in this universe. Oam’s Awakening is such great artwork.

Moli and I were awestruck. We were both left speechless. The paper was getting printed non-stop right next to us, revealing all about Adeve ceaselessly.

I pity Adeve that he would never know exactly how I felt as a human being after seeing his marvelous artwork, or any artwork. Maybe this is exactly what Adeve’s work, Oam’s Awakening is trying to show.

He succeeded. He’s a true artist now, as his creator Eve had hoped for.

Our shooting was also successful. Moli and I brought back a lot of 3D and 4D materials to work on from our many-sensored cameras. This would be a great show full of surprises and discussions. And I’m sure there will be more visitors to Adeve’s Oam’s Awakening in the near future.

One day far from now, Oam’s Awakening will be just as big as Planet Airain, or even Planet Lavenia. At that time, more people will marvel at such a huge and unique artwork. At that time, Moli and I may have gone already, but Adeve will be here. At that time, will humans all come to the exact same conclusion and answer Adeve’s question – who created human consciousness?

For Part 1, read the previous issue of Cognitive Times.

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