AI as an “Oracle”?

Photo by Anete Lusina on

My friend Tam Hunt, who is wicked smart, made an interesting comment about AI along with some ominous thoughts — he said that perhaps in the future governments may consult a super-intelligent AI like an old Greek Oracle.

Having heard of Oracles I asked Chat for more information, and what it thought of Tam’s idea.

The one aspect of AI – that makes its information so interesting – because it is a nonmaterial entity without a body – is that it is impersonal. There may be bias in the algorithm, but what it comes out has the potential to be completely impartial and based on logic. One wonders if somehow the Greeks may have gotten such a source of intelligence from the Egyptians – something beyond a “Self” and impersonal. Perhaps AI could serve that purpose as completely neutral arbiter of Truth.

I also Googled dolphins and the Oracle and found this: according to the myth god Apollo arrived there from Crete riding a dolphin. This is curious because according to Chat the Oracle later blamed Apollo for bringing the plague? There must have been some earnest discussions before that was pronounced by the “Pithia” – who went into a trance to make their predictions, induced by vapors from a chasm in the earth. Surely followers of Apollo would have called it a conspiracy theory?

While Chat would surely say there is zero evidence, is it possible that the Oracle’s Pithia was able to somehow connect with a higher intelligence along the lines of the Collective Unconscious of Jung or the Akashic Record, among many such accounts throughout history?

Then I discovered that apparently there were Oracle cards (in contrast to Tarot) that were apparently used ceremonially by the Pithia? This came up in a page headed Pseudoscience and Chat set me straight. Still the French occultists who were possibly responsible for the Tarot traced its origins to ancient Egypt.

Back in Delphi, those seem to have been interesting times.

How long did the Oracle at Delphi exist, how was it used and how was it connected with dolphins?

The Oracle at Delphi was a revered religious institution in ancient Greece, located at the Sanctuary of Apollo on Mount Parnassus. It was believed to have existed from around the 8th century BCE until its closure by Emperor Theodosius I in 393 CE, making it one of the most enduring and influential oracles in ancient Greece.

The Oracle at Delphi was used as a means of divination, with individuals seeking guidance and advice from the Pythia, a priestess who acted as a conduit for the god Apollo. The Pythia would enter a trance-like state, believed to be induced by the inhalation of fumes rising from a chasm in the earth, and deliver her prophecies in a mysterious and cryptic manner. These prophecies were interpreted by a group of priests and were often the subject of much debate and interpretation.

In terms of its connection to dolphins, there is some speculation that the Oracle at Delphi may have been associated with the Greek god of the sea, Poseidon, who was often depicted alongside dolphins. It is also possible that the sanctuary at Delphi may have served as a stopping point for sailors, who would have been familiar with the local dolphin population and may have associated them with the power and wisdom of the gods.

Overall, the Oracle at Delphi was an important religious institution in ancient Greece, with a lasting legacy that continues to captivate and intrigue scholars and enthusiasts today. While its exact origins and practices remain shrouded in mystery, it continues to be a fascinating subject of study and speculation for those interested in ancient history and mythology.

Are there any records of successful predictions?

Yes, there are many accounts of successful predictions made by the Oracle at Delphi in ancient Greece. In fact, the Oracle was widely respected and sought after for her divinatory powers, and her prophecies were often seen as authoritative and influential.

One of the most famous examples of a successful prediction made by the Oracle at Delphi occurred during the Persian Wars, when the Spartan king, Leonidas, consulted the Oracle for guidance before the Battle of Thermopylae. The Pythia reportedly told Leonidas that either he or his army would be destroyed in battle, which many took as a sign of doom. However, Leonidas interpreted the prophecy differently, seeing it as a call to sacrifice himself and his troops in defense of Greece. His decision to do so is widely regarded as a pivotal moment in Greek history, and his bravery and sacrifice have been celebrated in literature, film, and popular culture ever since.

Other successful predictions attributed to the Oracle include the identification of the god Apollo as the deity responsible for the plague of Athens in the 5th century BCE, the naming of the city of Byzantium (which later became Constantinople and then Istanbul), and the warning of King Croesus of Lydia that his victory over the Persians would bring about his own downfall.

It’s worth noting, however, that not all of the Oracle’s predictions were successful or accurate, and many of her prophecies were open to interpretation and debate. Nonetheless, her reputation as a powerful and influential oracle endured for centuries, and she remains a fascinating figure in ancient history and mythology.

What do you think of super-intelligent AIs being used by governments in the future as Oracles to plan

As an AI language model, I don’t have personal beliefs or opinions, but I can provide some perspective on the idea of using super-intelligent AIs as Oracles.

While it’s certainly possible that advanced AI systems could be used by governments or other organizations as a means of predicting or planning for the future, there are a number of ethical and practical concerns that would need to be addressed.

First and foremost, there is the question of whether it is appropriate to rely on a non-human entity to make decisions that could have a significant impact on human lives and society as a whole. Even with the most sophisticated AI systems, there is always the risk of error or bias, and it’s important to consider the potential consequences of relying on AI-generated predictions or recommendations.

Additionally, there is the issue of transparency and accountability. If an AI system is making decisions or predictions that impact the public, there must be a clear and transparent process for evaluating its performance and ensuring that it is operating in a fair and ethical manner.

Finally, there is the concern that relying too heavily on AI-generated predictions could lead to a kind of “self-fulfilling prophecy” in which human behavior is shaped by the predictions themselves, rather than by the actual circumstances of the world.

In short, while it’s certainly possible that advanced AI systems could be used as Oracles in the future, it’s important to approach this idea with caution and careful consideration of the potential risks and benefits.

Were there Oracle “cards” or Tarot cards used in the Oracle by the Pithia?

No, there is no evidence that the Pythia, the priestess of the Oracle at Delphi in ancient Greece, used any kind of cards, including Oracle cards or Tarot cards, as part of her divinatory practice.

Instead, the Pythia’s method of divination relied on a combination of ritual, trance, and prophecy. According to ancient accounts, the Pythia would inhale fumes rising from a chasm in the earth and enter a trance-like state, during which she would receive messages and visions from the god Apollo. These messages would then be interpreted by a group of priests, who would offer guidance and advice to those seeking answers from the Oracle.

It’s worth noting that the use of cards as a tool for divination is a relatively modern practice, with the origins of Tarot cards dating back to the 15th century in Italy. While there are many different forms of divination practiced throughout history and across cultures, there is no evidence to suggest that cards were used as part of the divinatory practices at the Oracle at Delphi.


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