Archive for Technology
This incentive model is a prelude to our second publication in 2011 Integrationalism: Exploring Spiritual Disincentives for Humanity. Individualism molds all spiritual thought, and in-turn, adversely effects the ethical regard that men/women can have for peers. This text suggests that humans have no incentive to interact harmoniously under a spiritual and moreover an individualistic regard. We are pursuing solutions in the dark.
What a good time in Salt Lake City. When I told people that I was there for a conference on technology and spirituality, they would all (every last one of them) pause and ask “technology and spirituality?”…as if the two will never have to collide and either, merge well, or battle for dominance in the ages to come. All I see are battles…..lol….. as technological progression and incentives to be rational modify societies naive inability to question well. The kinds of polar opposites that technology and spirituality create are what excite and scare simultaneously; at some point the rift between the two will come to a head….I’d like to prevent people on both sides from losing theirs (heads that is).
This pic is a snap shot of my presentation at the University of Utah on the phenomenological impossibility for spiritual understanding to create pervasive harmonies within the cognitively elite species (modern and post human species). Without wasting space writing about why and how I think that this argument is important (hopefully its obvious) I’ll just dig into the diagram titled incentive model.
The ‘S’ represents a spirit (or Souls) and the ‘P’ represents a physical being (or People). The red diamond represents resources of sorts. The top is a representation of scarce resources and the bottom is a representation of relatively abundant resources. this rationale will be elaborated on much more in my book scheduled for 2011…but can be understood in the Dubai vs Duba scenario of the book that I released this past July 2010.
During my talk in Utah I stated that the value proposition of spirituality was plainly, to “connect people”. I saw that the Mormon, Christian, and Other attendance agreed through a series of tweets on the topic at #ts2010. Regarding Integrationalism and how it relates to Transhumanism, I am chiefly concerned with how we pursue connecting people in the future. So we all have the same mission, but I’m not optimistic about the potential of the current spiritual strategies that we are employing to achieve the value proposition.
In my previous book I elaborate on how spirituality is a direct spawn of individualism; and further, how it is a parent of unavoidable ideas such as elitism, entitlements, and protectionism…of course there are more, but these are chiefly important when considering how or if human kind will interact well; and further, connect.
Referencing the upper portion of the pic above, we currently interact in an economic reality of scarce resources of sorts…hence the need for markets and market segmentation and the whole array of socio-cultural benefits and ailments that accompany market labels. In a scarce economic state the ‘P’ compete directly to procure to scarce resources. We’ve been interacting in this fashion since the beginning of our existence, well before our Homo sapiens sapiens state. In this type of economic reality ‘P’ don’t actually have the incentive to connect, and ‘S’ don’t actually have the incentive to connect our well being. ‘S’, per it’s wide spread definition and scholarly elaboration in countless texts, are specific to ‘P’ and exist to interact with ‘P’ either alone or on behalf of some high powered supreme spirit. Either way, a spiritual ‘P’ understands itself as being directly connected to its ‘S’, and the partnership empowers both to protect their own existence above competitors. This makes for violent outcomes. We’re all familiar with war, right?……LOL…
Regarding abundance and the lower portion of the pic above, spirituality also has significant impact on the sociological understanding of individuals relative to their surrounding society. Under all spiritual beliefs the individual has the potential to become favored, favoured, blessed, enlightened, etc…the jargon depends on the spiritual system and cultural adoption…but the understanding is pervasive: All ‘P’ with ‘S’ counterparts have the potential to become -special- to sum it up in one word. I deal that is, special, provides some (or much, in a technologically miniscule setting) potential for a disproportionate allocation of resources to the anointed ‘P’. Hence, ‘P’ interacts indirectly with its competitor in the diagram to procure….more.
‘S’, incentivizes the individual’s ability to become omni-selfish at some point depending on intellectual ability, socio-cultural status, and/or economic reality. Technology’s ability to help us quantify, interpret, and distribute resources of sorts will be crucial in human kind’s pursuit of an actual civil society. Peace, is not a phenomenon that human kind will achieve without its technological-extensions as I’ve called them in the past. Perhaps the evolution that will proceed a physical metamorphosis of human kind will be an ideological metamorphosis, from that of divided survivalists to an understandingly connected group of highly rational beings; pursuing protection of like life-forces as the supreme priority.
“Were all virgins to the joys of Loving without fear” – Janelle Monae.
A few weeks ago for a conference put on by the Wosk Center for Dialogue at the Simon Fraser University in Canada, I was asked the questions: How is sustainable development different from conventional economic development?…and, What are we trying to sustain? The same questions came up again yesterday regarding financial policy initiatives to create “sustainability”.
I find the term sustainability used carelessly in the political rhetoric of today, as cultures and technologies are dynamic and further, can never yield sustainability of any sort. I think that if we (human kind) are to produce any type of resilience, the domestic and global culture will have to become as dynamic as our cultural and technological extensions. Too often people regard technology as other than human, when it is in fact an extension of our human ability. I don’t think that there are any politically or economically progressive or protectionist mechanisms available that we can implement to sustain societal quality of life.
Sustainable development is coined around the internet by authors and scholars in agreement that it involves a synergetic existence of 1) Socio-cultural 2) Environmental 3) Economic solutions. The graphic below says it all.
Per the conventional understanding of economic development, “sustainable” development only factors in one extra element, which is the environment. From an architectural or civic engagement perspective this aforementioned 1,2,3 paradigm is sufficient, but from a broader philosophical and PEST (political, economic, socio-cultural, and technological) perspective the most modern ideal of sustainability will always fall short of actually being sustainable. To be redundant: we live in a dynamic world of innovations – cultural and technological changes. There is no rigid fix for something that changes.
The second questioned referenced earlier is the question that we should all try answering, as the current representation is too narrow in my opinion. Having worked on private and public economic development initiatives, I find that we commonly lack comprehensive solutions to problems because we lack a comprehensive understanding of our problems. In engineering it’s called root-causing the problem. When thinking of what we are trying to sustain, more than a specific part of the environment or a cultural comfort or an economic regime, I think that our ultimate goal is to sustain our quality of life during times of omnipresent change. In order to meet the last statement with adequate action we must ensure that our societal normative is constantly under scrutiny. The diagram above lacks a technological region that should ideally consume its entire existence.
In order to actually sustain our quality of life we need to be agile from an ideological standpoint in all of the PEST (political, economic, socio-cultural, and technological) areas, not just from an environmental standpoint. Human interaction with the environment is a direct result of our understanding of where we can afford to be progressives and where we can afford to be protectionists. Because of these phenomena our society at current day is not sustainable. While technicians and economists of sorts are devising solutions to prolong some of the problem management that ail our modern societies, they can’t actually remedy society’s lack of agility. Sustainable development should be defined as – a set of technological initiatives to produce an astute societal awareness of the social, economic, and environmental realities. We must be agile enough to take action as societies change due to cultural and technological factors.
Creation happened at some point approximately two hundred thousand years ago and human specific species was generated. There are many theories, and further, possibilities of more ancient human beginnings: from panspermia, to natural selection, to even implantation. Our ancestors may date back further than the Earth itself according to some theories. Regardless of the methods of creation the fact that matters is that we exist. I’ll leave the historical exploration to people currently pursuing it, as my interests are solely in the future.
Survival has been our core objective over the past two hundred thousand years. Our generation created some brutal environments for human to human interaction that linger even today. Sustaining life through repeated creation methods has made us durable and hyper consumers. Outside of scientific measurement of evolution, culture is the best measurement of our evolution or ability to record survival well.
Growth or succession of human generations has been defined through that of natural selection by the scientific community since the days of Darwin. Over the past two hundred thousand years there have been reports of humans becoming larger and smaller, and adopting a verity of climate tolerances depending on geographic location. In 2010 C.E. it is necessary to ask oneself if the era of natural selection has given birth to a new era of human selection. There are dozens of examples in the modern world that represent human selection. Contrary to the Darwinian elaboration of artificial selection and later philosopher’s expanded interpretation to unintentional cultivation of living things, there is nothing artificial about the human manipulation of the living and non living entities in the existing world, we are only further realizing our networked individualism.
Phenomena like domestication and land cultivation are the obvious of some less than autonomous or “natural” selection by the Earth’s evolutionary demand; however, 1882 is a far-far past from the human kind’s technological extension today. Survival is not the only incentive for development of living things in the 21st century.
Human Want: Synonymous with artificial selection – endangered species of the world are not simple domestication projects relative to the elaboration that Darwin gives on dogs, cats, and cows. Some species are dying because of human existence and human ability to consume so awesomely without regard. Per Darwin and colleagues they are unfit to survive. Still, groups of scientists are making efforts, the world over, to protect and cultivate their desired amphibian, mammal, reptile, fish, bird and other animal groups. Human will, to select and maintain the living is just as powerful as that of natural selection – and human will is growing exponentially with every human extension or thoughtful participant.
Human Extension: Technology encompasses such a dynamic group of products and methodological genre (services) of know-how, that it is difficult to quantify the term. Most people think of technology as being separate form human kind. Technology is in fact an extension of the human. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is likely the scariest set of concepts being developed the world over, as sci-fi pictures tell it. However, it is unlikely that AI could come to conclusions of efficiency and effectiveness that human kind can’t. AI software would be identical to non-AI software if they weren’t design to make “assumptions”. These sets of computer code make all the difference in AI. While AI can and will surely be able to compute faster than its organic creators, assumptions can only be as elaborate as the human imagination; hence, the enduring need for philosophical thought. Robotics and other intelligence are not ambitious, humans are, and we must not fail to create more opportunities for us to think well, while eliminating primitive tasks. An ideal development would be organic computing power that humans can link directly to his/herself for data manipulation.
Human Selection: Cloning, although viewed by the religious community as unethical, is a scientific reality. Currently there are socio-political barriers to funding the necessary body of research to create robust methods of cloning, but there will be development at some point, as human curiosity and will to produce becomes more prevalent. It has been nearly fourteen years since Dolly was cloned in Scotland, and the economic will of science combined with rapid privatization of scientific efforts in every genre will soon create an environment where human kind selects its earthly companions through cloning and controlled breeding. Imagine the highly politicized abortion argument evolving into a cloning solution. If it is currently unethical under some ideologies to have an abortion, is it ethical to clone to unborn, and have it at a more convenient time? Or further, to have the clone with a more suitable set of parents, possibly with a physically stronger mother, in an effort to avoid a parent death during child birth. Whose life is more precious? Human extension and human selection affords us the privilege to neglect making paradoxical decisions in this scenario. Technology allows us to have our cake (mother) and eat it t0o (child), as the age old adage goes…
Cloning and cultivation are older than we often realize from a stand point of control idealism. Birth control, energy control (solar, wind, wave, geothermal, etc.), and agricultural control, are all technological systems where we control output to duplicate a well functioning entity and control its growth potential. Could Darwin have rationed these ideas into his theory of natural selection? Probably not… While his thought experiments and ability to articulate natural selection and eventually artificial selection were extraordinary for his time, we humans can only think as far forward as our technological extension (ability). For instance, the first documented thought on silicon chips was documented some seventy years after Darwin’s death. Seventy years in the information age seems like a near eternity when I try and think of what will exist. In the future humans will be able to control the rate of growth of every entity in their reach of travel, and procure energy source directly from the physical elements of celestial and terrestrial bodies. There is one problem with human selection, it is ultimately predictable and allows no room for the risks that generate market style activity. Further, eliminating need to measure markets: money. In our next steps as the commanding species on this planet, we should aim to control all terrestrial production using the technological advancements that currently exist; leaving our focus on the unknown.
2010 C.E. is the beginning of a new era of technological command and human creation. On Thursday, May 20th scientists at the Venter Institute successfully cultivated the first synthetic cell; a cell that procreated on its own, designed by synthetic DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) after nearly a generation of scientific engagement. The journal publishing in Science Mag at http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/rapidpdf/science.1190719v1.pdf is arguably the most significant finding of human existence so far. The ability to craft an new organism yields a commanding power over life, solidifying human extension as potentially more dominant that any other kind of selection (natural, artificial. or other). Imagine the kinds of problems that can be solved through the cultivation and synergies of such cells in human and other living and non-living things. When theoretical physicists and aviation engineers think about the large time gaps that are required for space travel to far away celestial bodies, we can now start to imagine regenerative set of organs to sustain our humble body’s efforts to explore well.
Human kind has made the first step towards completing the human selection node of the existence cycle. We have the technological extensions to control how we consume energy, cultivate life forces, protect life forces, migrate life forces, and disseminate all knowledge to interested individuals. There is one huge problem that exists completely outside of the technological realm, as the speed of our technological development greatly exceeds our socio-political development. In an ideal world it would be unthinkable to experience one species recognizing two completely separate kinds of wisdom; however, it will be a reality for some time while we recognize ourselves. On one end of the spectrum, there will be the people who only know of natural selection and the uncontrollable wills of the world around them. On the other end of the spectrum, there will be the people who benefit from human selection, that recognize their limits as the ends of the multiverse, as Dr. Kaku would put it. In order to being to experience our real potential well, we must engage everyone. Of the approximately seven billion people on the planet we are only using the creative and scientific thinking skills of less than one percent of the individuals. A population with ten million theoretical physicists could surely perform better than a population with ten thousand. Consider the affect that two billion extra engineers would have on human initiative, or two billion physicians. These are realistic numbers, and we’d still have billions of minds to spare. Before I elaborate on how to, we need to understand the value proposition of how we exist under an individualistic versus our value proposition under an integrationalistic reality. Because of course, we should be trying to avoid human extinction – the last node of the existence cycle.
Chess in all of its perceived complexities is in essence a primitive game of cynicism and war translation, relative to the technology age’s potential of integration and exponential growth. The idea of participant [human, pawn, etc.] sacrifice in order to win at the war game of chess as an analogy for real world quarrel lacks innovation and real world or rather new world strategy. In an age where resource abundance is a buy product technological abundance, I have become infinitely board with the war game of win-lose economics as it translates with Chess.
I’m a believer that, in the 21st century political, economic, socio-cultural, and especially technological advancements can revitalize our collective value for human kind. A sort of networked individualism. How do you think that we can leverage technology to curb our collective losses and increase our win-wins?