‘The Post-Human World’… Sounds like Evolution
Young Adult Reacts To: “A conversation about the end of work, individualism, and the human species”
So I read this…
A conversation about the end of work, individualism, and the human species with the historian Yuval Harariwww.theatlantic.com
and couldnt help but to think of all the things that dont quite seem right…
This is the internet… so I figured I’d share my thoughts.
From a young man who has been obsessed with all things futurism for as long as he can remember… I ‘react’ to this article…. much as the opinions of a totally non-authoritarian non-professional matters… enjoy :P
What happens to welfare in a future where government no longer needs people?
I think this just shows that we, people, need to stop getting our authority and support from government… we need to create systems in which dont require some other center of power to dictate whether or not we can or will support one another.
People’s happiness depends on their expectations, not their conditions.
This is so very true… but that does not mean that truth is good. Many people need to change their internal dialogue and perception to enjoy or otherwise fix their current conditions.. rather than expecting (someone else) to make their conditions better one day…
Let’s say the future for most people is a universal basic income, wonderful psychedelic drugs, and virtual reality video games. People don’t starve. They aren’t miserable. But they also stop striving.
But is that really true? Have we proved, indubitably, that most people ‘stop striving’ once their basic needs are met??
Seems to me it's quite the opposite.
Not only does the rate of progress today show that abundance breeds innovation… (seeing that countries in which have abundant water food, and shelter or the most advanced in terms of technology and strive to create ever bigger buildings…. thats excluding the controversial Maslow’s Hierarchy paradigm)
But also because multiple studies show that people who are not able to have their basic needs meant are at a disadvantage (sources pending but continue for anecdotal examples)… they .. or I should say we… struggle not only with figuring out how to survive on a daily basis… but also with double or triple the amount of stress, of anxiety, of depression, of trauma, and so much more! Than there’s the lack of nutrition which also affects the brain and thus the psyche… As well as the socioeconomic, and thus environmental, issues in which inundate the mind with more negative influences. Furthermore, all of this then ‘infects’ the offspring with epigenetic markers, so even our kids (or us) are born with these psychological and genetic disadvantages.
Perhaps it is an oversight of the uber-privileged… but not having to worry about how to survive does not make one lazy… it makes one free to finally chase ones dreams.
Oh… and btw… most philosophers will say that your hypothetical is almost exactly a hedonistic example… one in which the ‘Experience Machine’ thought experiment proves to be something most people care not for.
I love this idea of religions and beliefs being examples of how people already live in a ‘virtual game,’ even now.
I won't rehash what he said… I’ll just quote it:
But you could argue that people already spend most of their lives in virtual games. Most religions are virtual games superimposed on the reality of life. Do this, and there’s a penalty. Do that, and you get extra points. There is nothing in reality that corresponds to these rules. But you have millions of people playing these virtual reality games. So what is the difference between a religion and a virtual reality game?
Recently I went with my nephew to hunt Pokémon. We were walking down the street and a bunch of kids approached us. They were also hunting Pokemon. My nephew and these children got into a bit of a fight because they were trying to capture the same invisible creatures. It seemed strange to me. But these Pokémon were very real to the children.
And then it hit me: This is just like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict! You have two sides fighting over something that I cannot see. I look at the stones of buildings in Jerusalem and I just see stones. But Christians, Jews, and Muslims who look at the same stones see a holy city. It’s their imagination, but they are willing to kill for it. That’s virtual reality, too.
Beautiful!! SO very true!!
Even beyond that, we are all playing a game… unfortunately, for many people that is the ‘finite game’… While most happy/successful people will almost assuredly explain their lives as more of an ‘infinite game’
One where there are no end-goals or stratified levels or number of things to collect or places to go or things to do.. like a checklist of quests in a themepark game… Those who are truly happy live their lives knowing that their entire life is a massive journey full of smaller journeys and experiences…
They will tell you that there is no point fighting over any land or pokemon or belief, because we each have our very own custom ‘stuff’ made for us… made BY us. And I believe that many of us need that reminder.
Which brings me to this next part about Individualism.
I understand the idea that making all of our decisions, and then one day even having our computer make the decisions could practically be seen as ‘the end of free will’… and thus ‘the end of self’.
But I think that it is a non-sequitur and a non-argument.
More and more research is pointing to us not even having ‘free will’ in the traditional sense… but I dont believe the translation of that to be as many people assume… The fact that our brains decide for us what to do based on chemicals and genes and environmental factors and so on does not mean we have ‘no free will’… i think it means that there is no ‘source’ of free will.. there is no underlying thing we can point to and call a ‘soul’… I think it will prove:
The soul is an emergent property, much like how waves and many thermodynamic principles are an emergent property of water molecules… or how cloud computing is an emergent property of distributed computing…
The very act of telling someone that they dont have free will will make them less happy and caring… therefore, there is in fact some important concept tied to believing in free will.
Subsequently, these emergent properties won't just ‘disappear’ just because we know more about the individual components…nor just because our AI-augmented minds will help educate and inform more of our decisions. I think it will mean that we simply understand the full scope of the emergent property that is ‘free will’ and ‘consciousness,’ more and more.
I think we will find that there is no objective truth to what free will even is… just like we now know that there is no objective center of the universe or objective observer in physics…
Everything is subjective.. everything is moving.. everything is part of a system. Which is part of another system…
Therefore, no matter how well we educate our decisions with data… we will never just ‘disappear’ into that data… because that is death. Life is the act of moving and transforming and giving meaning to data.
We give way too much credence to the idea of AI one day destroying us… when WE ARE AI!!
We are the product of a bunch of elements creating a bunch of physio-chemical reactions… our intelligence was ‘created’ by millions of years of evolutionary computational iterations.
The exact same process we are using (albeit sped up by several thousand magnitudes) to create intelligence once again.
We do not call babies ‘artificial life’ or ‘artificial intelligence’ just because we made them… the same is true for the coming age of sentience.
It would be better to call them Digital Organic Life or something.
Look at how data scientists are figuring out how to create smarter AIs…(sources pending .. ;)… but carry on for stuff that sounds about right)
Teaching itself based on instructions (algorithms), knowledge (database), and stories (labeled data) passed on from others (developers).
Learning how to do tasks by looking at tons of examples and studying the environment (data mining), as well as pattern recognition…
almost exactly the same as how our genes and environment ‘build’ us!
Granted, again, we do so very slowly in comparison and with MUCH lower bandwidths and fault tolerance… but the core concepts are eerily similar.
Hence why our inevitable fusion with them is not some sort of take over or ‘loss’ of self.. but just the next stage of our evolution!
Being afraid and doomsaying this is like those clearly lame, failing adults who cry about wanting to be children again… or like being a kid who never wants to grow up.
Putting a suit and tie on doesn't mean you’re killing who you are … unless you’re literally killing who you are.
Your identity is not tied exclusively to what you do or where you live or what you're made of or even who you think you are… it is a combination of all of that and more, with no central source. Just like ‘free will’ … just like the ‘true self’ or the ‘soul’ or whatever you want to call it.
I call bullshit on this ‘danger’… the only danger is of people being ignorant of their own self-empowerment and abilities.
We didnt decry technology and fear that ‘the self disintegrates’ due to augmenting our combat abilities with weapons… we didnt think ourselves no longer individuals when we began to live and function together in cities… we didnt start thinking ourselves robots when we began to encapsulate our selves, families, our jobs and our entertainment in structures of metal and concrete and glass…
The only difference is that now we are doing so faster than ever before, and that we are realizing that we never were seperate from our environment… we are a product of our mental, physical and spiritual environments… including the virtual one(s) we’ve created.
Instead of fearing this or acting like it's something brand new… we need to start preparing ourselves to be able to adapt faster than we ever have before.
Perhaps there is a ‘post human world’ coming…
But it will either be through self-destruction … or self-evolution…
How’s that for free will?
Here’s a thought…(go along with me here, for simplicity’s sake): if you were the ‘Homo-erectus’.. or even the ‘Neanderthal’… and knew your grandchildren would be the more advanced ‘Home-sapien’… what would you do? How would you feel? Is this a good or bad future?