What Kind Of Submission?

Author Interview
G. Mitchell Baker Author Interview

Gardens, Groves, and Mechanical Trees follows a professor and former student who discuss the ethical implications of AI development. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

From a deep-rooted interest in the Sociology of Values and Beliefs, Ethics, and, the freedom of story-telling in Near-Future Fiction, I felt inspired to take a favorite quote as foundation for writing about the emergence of Artificial Intelligence in western society.

The re-quote from the work of Max Weber is:

“There are, to use the words of F. Th. Vischer, Subject Matter Specialists and Interpretative Specialists. The fact greedy gullet of the former can be filled only with legal documents, statistical worksheets, and questionnaires, but he is insensitive to the refinement of a new idea. The gourmandize of the latter dulls his taste for facts by ever new intellectual subtleties. That genuine artistry which, among the historians, ranke possessed in such grand measure, manifests itself through its ability to produce new knowledge by interpreting already known facts according to known viewpoints.” 

My initial inspiration is to explore whether Artificial Intelligence is being developed to be more like Subject Matter Specialists, that is the fact greedy gullet, or, more like Interpretive Specialists with the preference for intellectual subtleties. From this foundation, my research and writing to follow, evolved into the story exploring where wisdom, whether organic or artificial, may lie amongst the Gardens, Groves, and Mechanical Trees.

What do you think were some of the defining moments in Professor Garmin’s development?

Professor Garmin was not a politically correct, tenured academic reeling in the years. Rather he was true to openly teaching and to encourage Critical Thinking.  What he taught was that nothing about artificial intelligence is easy-in easy-out.

Singled out for his commitment to a balance of Subject Matter and Interpretative influence, Professor Garmin was erroneously convicted and maimed for questioning the potential of unnatural Artificial Intelligence that would otherwise punish the natural, organic ability of humanity to teach its own values and beliefs. Professor Garmin was prepared to stand up to the AI bullying, until he was targeted and ultimately rendered both physically and emotionally submissive.

Now quadriplegic, and entering his new phase of life, Quad Garmin never accepted the submission, and ultimately overcame his physical and mental prison to discover self-determination on his terms. And, to attain his freedom and self-determination, all he had to do was match Curantus’ Advanced Artificial Intelligence, with the cleverness, cunning and ingenuity only a determined human could achieve and maintain.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this screenplay?

Once I started to research and write Gardens, Groves, and Mechanical Trees the thematic pallet was bountiful.

With respect the main characters of Professor/Quad Garmin and Curantis, an initial theme was that of organic teaching/learning versus inorganic teaching/learning. That is, whether the Advanced Artificial Intelligence of Curantus could accommodate both the organic teaching provided by Professor Garmin, and, while continuing with the inorganic teaching model of merely taking in data and mimicking responses from the processing of raw data and imagery.

An extension of the above theme evolved to provide creative tension when pushing the theme of whether being clever, might ultimately overcome artificial intelligence in a disagreement. Quad Garmin knew he had only his mind to use against the Artificial Intelligence of Curantus, and, that nothing would likely be settled with the RoboHumanoid in a direct Mano a RoboMano confrontation. Left for Quad Garmin to utilize, was his resourcefulness for being clever, cunning, and ingenious. And, of course, this challenge evolved into the theme of whether there would be escape or no escape from the power of Curantus’ Advanced Artificial Intelligence.

Having established some of the thematic storytelling for the main characters, the challenge became one of creating the setting.

What was obvious was that I wanted the broad setting/pallet to enhance and build upon the broader theme of Natural versus Unnatural. What evolved was the Road-Trip, or Yellow Brick Road theme of Curantus pushing Quad Garmin through Natural Gardens of Classic Beauty, and, through Unnatural settings of Irradiated Forests and at times the dark Goth/Steam Punk environs where Mechanical Trees thrive.

From this broad pallet I also wanted to develop the theme of how small a world the data-mimicry driven world of inorganic artificial intelligence can be within the expansive diverse Natural world.

Ultimately, there are the related themes of Natural, organic humanity of Professor/Quad Garmin, to be creatively juxtaposed with the Unnatural, inorganic technology of the RoboHumanoid, Curantus. To express these themes, and more, through the main characters and, to visually enhance the themes through the dynamic and engaging setting(s) was always challenging and a goal (goals) I hope to have realized.

Is there any moral or idea that you hope readers take away from the story?

AI… AAI will have… now has… the potential to coerce humanity into submission. What kind of submission? How much submission, or resistance to submission is there to be tolerated? How will AI force humanity to submit to its artificial notions… will there be violence… negotiation? Will artificial intelligence evolve to be entitled? If so, entitled to what… and will it all come from the resource’s humanity may or may not be willing to offer?

From these questions, will there be a synthetic form of cleverness, yet to be developed, experienced, or will the arbitrary processing of data and RoboMimicry be the only source of definition/redefinition for the future of humanity (our futures)?

These I believe are relevant questions, at a time when there are world’s leading technologists, founders of artificial intelligence, and entrepreneurs calling to pause the roll-out of Artificial Intelligence into the Public Domain. What I would hope is first, there will be a ‘pause,’ and second, that this story, if it is ever distributed into the broader Public Domain, may serve, and perhaps contribute as a form of entertainment that will encourage more populist interest and thought so humanity might appropriately begin to consider the potential ramifications of Artificial Intelligence along the path through the Gardens, Groves, and Mechanical Trees.

Author Links: Facebook | Website | Amazon

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on April 8, 2023, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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