Emerging and proposed technologies such as human cloning and genetic engineering have drawn a chorus of objections from politicians, pundits, and scholars. … Russell Blackford eschews the heated rhetoric that surrounds these technological developments and examines them in the context of secular and liberal thought.
… Blackford argues … that the challenge is that fear of these technologies has created an atmosphere in which liberal tolerance itself is threatened.
Secularism, Liberalism, and the Human Future, with Russell Blackford
Dates: Nov 9, 2013
Location: London, U.K.
Sounds intresting; hope it’s webcasted.
I see a strong parallel between the evolution of robot intelligence and the biological intelligence that preceded it. The largest nervous systems doubled in size about every fifteen million years since the Cambrian explosion 550 million years ago. Robot controllers double in complexity (processing power) every year or two. They are now barely at the lower range of vertebrate complexity, but should catch up with us within a half century.
I am not saying more or less technology – I am saying appropriate technology. Instead of technological excess – we should have technology that is balanced with nature. Instead of replacing nature with technology – we should balance it. Instead of replacing intelligence with artificial intelligence – we should use humanistic intelligence…
Lets not let history say that:
“first they came for the AI,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t an AI.
Then they came for the cyborgs,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a cyborg.
Then they came for the transhumanists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a transhumanist.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak out for me.”
'You are not the same person you used to be, you have to admit. You’ve stuffed your brain with augmentations … When you grow the religious part of the temporal lobe, you can turn into a very different person, not to mention risking epilepsy. And that was only the start. Now you’ve got the animal stuff in there, you’ve got Pauline in there, recording everything you see—it is not insignificant. It can do damage. You end up being some kind of post-human thing. Or at least a different person.'
'Every thing I’ve done to myself I consider part of being a human being. I mean, who wouldn’t do it if they could? I would be ashamed not to! It isn’t being post human, it’s being fully human. It would be stupid not to do the good things when you can, it would be antihuman.'
“Natural vs Artificial”, “Man vs Nature” — those are real points of conversation. It’s important that we begin to see through that facade, to create new mythologies that don’t pose that kind of polarity, because it’s going to be a problem if people think it’s a real thing in the world.
How many articles are there now, about how computers and the internet are changing our brains, when actually we’ve been changing our brains for much longer than that — it’s only the most obvious, accelerated changes that are noticed, and the rest pass by as if they never happened. As if we were “natural” before computers, natural before the 1950s, before the 1800s? When? Where is the line? As if these artificial things are not a part of nature…
as if We Are not Nature Itself, Creating.
Stories like Avatar (or Fern Gully, if you like) have their points, and those are important. But we need new stories — stories that contain a different point of view: that of artifice as a manifestation of nature.
Quoting myself. (lol). Had forgotten about this. It’s good, it holds true, and it needs to become something.
Since the beauty and importance of randomness has no real way of being monetized by corporate entities like Google, it is therefore in their financial interest to go in the opposite direction; in other words, to condition people to demand uniformity, order, and repeatability. *That’s* how they deliver earnings.
As a kid growing up in the Mississippi River valley I found the variety of places included in local and AAA guide books would often lead us to places we’d never have otherwise gone to. If those books had been tailored to our preferences they would be worse than no books at all.