Monkey Business

Human Monkey Business

I captured these two monkeys a few years ago deep inside a national park in South East Asia. Keep reading and you’ll soon understand why I chose this somewhat bizarre image to illustrate this strange post.

When I woke up this morning, I remembered unusually large chunks of what I had dreamt. As is usually the case when I do recall dreams, which is rare, there was no motion or sound. It’s more like still images or screenshots. As I was going through the two or three visuals that remained in my memory, an interesting thought popped up.

At present, artificial intelligence is only capable of producing stuff that is somehow based on or a derivative of the knowledge that we humans have supplied or made accessible to the computers that host the AI software. Which is basically the same fundamental prerequisite for our dreams.

Dreams are dependent on what we experience while awake. Some argue that even a fetus can dream from what it experiences in the womb. I don’t know if I buy into that theory.

But I am pretty sure that if humans lived in a total void with zero stimuli, our brains would likely not be able to generate any dreams. At some point our brains might be capable of accessing genetically stored stuff (instincts, smells, or sounds?) and somehow create a bare minimum of stimuli, just to keep us from shutting down entirely and croaking.

Perhaps our brains – as well as the brains of many other mammals (and even birds!) are the OG of AI. And if we allow something to alter our circuitry (neural pathways and axon-collaterals), we could finally evolve beyond our present just-barely-beyond-monkey phase where tribalism inevitably leads to war, devastation, and possibly annihilation of our species (and the planet!).

See how the above photo makes at least a little sense now?


As surreal as my dream was last night, which, incidentally, took place on a hot, stormy beach surrounded by snowy hills, the “cast” and the scenery were easily recognizable and left me with a much stronger visual memory than anything I’ve seen generated so far by DAL-E 2, Midjourney or Dream Studio.