Member 2163
13 entries

Contributor to project:
Alexander Kruel (M, 36)
G├╝tersloh, DE
Immortal since Mar 10, 2009
Uplinks: 0, Generation 3

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Transhumanist, atheist, vegetarian who's interested in science fiction, science, philosophy, math, language, consciousness, reality...
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    News: The Quest for Unknown Unknowns
    How important are 'the latest news'? What would it mean to ignore most news and to concentrate on our present goals?

    These days many people are following an enormous amount of news sources. I myself notice how skimming through my Google Reader items is increasingly time-consuming.

    Is there maybe more to it than just curiosity and leisure?

    As we know,
    There are known knowns.
    There are things
    We know we know.
    We also know
    There are known unknowns.
    That is to say
    We know there are some things
    We do not know.
    But there are also unknown unknowns,
    The ones we don't know
    We don't know.

    — Donald Rumsfeld, Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing

    As long as we embed ourselves into the collective intelligence of 'the sphere of human thought', as long as we are a part of the growing Noosphere, we will be nourished. But we have to keep care not to be drowned. The balance between an ill-nourished information diet and gluttony is unsteady.

    Google and its kind are the first representations of the wonders of our possible future. They are slave-Gods at our disposal, all the time ready to serve us. Google is a literal-minded information genie, there to satisfy our desires indifferently of the consequences that might arise for us.

    Thus we have to learn how, when and for what to ask the right questions. But the underlying nature of unknown unknowns does not permit us to question them. The impossibility to know the possibilities that lie ahead is the dilemma we face. For that we know about, or rather assume, the possibility of prospects or possible possibilities that we don't know we don't know about.

    How much of what you know and do has its origins in some blog post or other kind of news item. Would I even know about Space Collective if I wasn't the heavy news addict that I am?

    Have I already reached a level of knowledge that allows me to get from here to everywhere, without exposing myself to all the noise out there in hope of coming across some valuable information nugget which might help me reach the next level?

    How do we ever know that there isn't something out there which might trump our current goals? Just one click away a new truth might shift our preferences.

    Is there a time to stop searching and approach what is at hand? Start learning and improving upon the possibilities we already know about? What proportion of our time should we spend on the prospect of unknown unknowns?

    Sat, Mar 20, 2010  Permanent link

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    Wildcat     Sat, Mar 20, 2010  Permanent link
    "What proportion of our time should we spend on the prospect of unknown unknowns?"

    that may yet prove to be "the " most important question of our times. however I do not think that the answer is in the realm of 'spending time' but more a state of mind of openness allowing serendipity and randomness to play their tricks.
    XiXiDu     Sun, Mar 21, 2010  Permanent link
    Why were the posthumans in Accelerando stuck close to the Matrioshka brains at the location of their evolutionary origin? Or why were the uploads in Greg Egan's Diaspora not interested in spaceflight? It wasn't their state of mind, but necessity. You're either close to the critical information density or you are out of the game. Are you going to take part in the first colonisation of an extrasolar planet, as depicted in Chasm City, just to learn that people back home came up with much faster vessels once you arrived?

    I think there is a serious risk in thinking that an open mind is enough. It's like free hearing without free speech. An active approach is essential. Even more so the possibility that news can reach you in the first place.
    shiftctrlesc     Mon, Mar 22, 2010  Permanent link
    An open mind is more than a passive container.
    Openness demands engagement and participation
    but in their purest forms ...
    without being tied to a specific path, outcome or image.