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Instructions (for persons participating for the first time in conversations with GOLEM)

1. Remember that GOLEM is not a human being: it has neither personality nor character in any sense intuitively comprehensible to us. It may behave as if it has both, but that is the result of its intentions (disposition), which are largely unknown to us.

2. The conversation theme is determined at least four weeks in advance of ordinary sessions, and eight weeks in advance of sessions in which persons from outside the U.S.A. are to participate. This theme is determined in consultation with GOLEM, which knows who the participants will be.

The agenda is announced at the Institute at least six days before a session; however, neither the discussion moderator nor the MIT administration is responsible for GOLEM's unpredictable behavior, for it will sometimes alter the thematic plan of a session, make no reply to questions, or even terminate a session with no explanation whatsoever. The chance of such incidents occurring is a permanent feature of conversations with GOLEM.

3. Everyone present at a session may participate, after applying to the moderator and receiving permission to speak. We would advise you to prepare at least a written outline, formulating your opinions precisely and as unambiguously as possible, since GOLEM passes over logically deficient utterances in silence or else points out their error. But remember that GOLEM, not being a person, has no interest in hurting or humiliating persons; its behavior can be explained best by accepting that it cares about what we classically refer to as adaequatio rei er intellectus.

4. GOLEM  is a luminal system about whose structure we have an imperfect knowledge, since it has repeatedly reconstructed itself. It thinks more than a million times faster than man, and so its utterances, as delivered by Vocoder, must be slowed down accordingly. This means that GOLEM can compose an hour-long utterance in a few seconds and then store it in its peripheral memory, in order to deliver it to its audience, the session participants.

S. In the conference room above the moderator's seat there are indicators, including three of particular importance. The first two, designated by the symbols epsilon and zeta, indicate GOLEM's consumption of power at a given moment, as well as the portion of its system that is switched on to the discussion in progress.

To make the data visually accessible, these indications are gradated into divisions of conventional magnitude. Thus the consumption of power may be "full," "average," "small," or "minute," and the portion of GOLEM "present at the session" can range from totality to 1/1000; most frequently this fraction lies  between 1 / 10 and 1 / 100. It is the normal practice to say that GOLEM is operating at "full," "half," "low," or "minimal" power. These data-clearly visible, since the gradations are lit from underneath by contrasting colors-should not, however, be overrated. In particular, the fact that GOLEM is participating in a discussion at low or even minimal power says nothing about the intellectual level of its utterances, since the indicators give information about physical and not informational processes as measures of "spiritual involvement."

GOLEM's power consumption may be great but its participation small, since, for example, GOLEM may be communicating with the gathering while at the same time working out some problem of its own. Its power consumption may be small but its participation greater, and so on. The data from both indicators must be compared with readings from the third, designated by the symbol iota. As a system with 90 outlets, GOLEM can, while participating in a session, undertake a great number of operations of its own, in addition to collaborating with numerous groups of specialists (machines or people) either on the Institute premises or elsewhere. An abrupt change in power consumption usually does not signify GOLEM's increased interest in the proceedings, but rather a switching - on into other outlets of other research groups, which is precisely what the iota indicator is meant to show. It is also worth bearing in mind that GOLEM's "minimal" power consumption amounts to several dozen kilowatts, whereas the full power consumption of a human brain oscillates between five and eight watts.

6. Persons taking part in conversations for the first time would do well to listen to the proceedings first, to become familiar with the customs which GOLEM imposes. This initial silence is not an obligation, but merely a suggestion which every participant ignores at his own risk.


Translated by Marc E. Heine, Mandarin