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    Technology Progress vs. the Human Nature
    Project: Polytopia
    I’ve watched last week “ Transcendent Man” - the documentary about Ray Kurzweil, his life and ideas.
    For anyone who read the book “The singularity is near” or watched one of his lectures in the recent years there is not much new in the film.
    While I’ve got a lot to say about Ray Kurzweil and his work (maybe in another post) I would like to focus here on technological progress and the future of humanity.
    It is undeniable that technology is progressing fast, very fast actually and in many areas – genetics, robotics, information, nano technology and more.
    Artificial intelligence is one of these areas and soon (depends on which prediction you want to believe) we will start seeing early versions of AIs.

    There is however a different area all together where progress is definitely not happening and not much progress has been made for thousands of years and that is the human nature.
    Though many humans like to think of themselves as modern and progressed, the underlying emotional system and decision making processes are pretty much working on the same principals and in the same fashion as they have been for the last few thousand years.

    In my view there is a great danger here in several levels.
    The first and the obvious one is having advanced technology available in the hands of people that will abuse it and/or use it in destructive fashion.
    Yet the biggest danger that I foresee is that while you read these lines there are people all over the world creating machines and setting a future according to principal and views which in my eyes are not advanced and evolved enough.
    How can it be otherwise if the people who design it (and humanity at large) are still dominated by emotions, rivalries and not holding a coherent and promising view of future change to human nature?


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    Wildcat     Tue, Apr 12, 2011  Permanent link
    I have also watched the movie, and though I appreciate the undeniable attainments of R.K. I have many issues with the way he perceives the technological singularity, in this respect as you might know from my different writings on the subject, I do not think of the tech singularity as a point but as a process that is both continuous and multi-thronged, occurring simultaneously across a wide range of sci-tech domains, but more importantly perhaps, in many domains of mind.

    However unlike the proposition which you have put forward, namely that since most humans still operate a very far from equilibrium emotional state reminiscent of the Neolithic state, putting these technologies in their hands is a dangerous enterprise, I see a different outcome.

    I believe in the human complex adaptive system, I say believe but the facts speak for themselves, yes we could have destroyed ourselves during the last six or seven decades with the huge amount of nuclear devices and other wmd but we didn’t.
    And these destructive technologies were and still are in the hands of the same people, ‘the emotionally ancient’ to be polite.

    Of course dangers abound, always, everywhere but as the supercomplex hyperconnected reality of our planetary civilization demonstrates the overall state of affairs of humanity though appalling under certain perspectives and I am quite aware of these, is rather better than it was, and to a very large extent I believe will continue to thrive.

    Yes it could be other wise, but not necessarily so, we here in the Polytopia project with our grand dreams, I think, show, that at least some of us, not only are mature enough to perceive reality as it is, but are able to start building towards a different kind of future.

    but then I am at heart an unabashed optimist..

    "Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has." (Margaret Mead)


     
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