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Anthropocentrism

Any topics that are primarily about humanism or other non-religious life stances fit in here.
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Radius
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Re: Anthropocentrism

#81 Postby Radius » February 4th, 2011, 1:06 am

Latest post of the previous page:

Paolo wrote:
Radius wrote:What that a neural architecture built up ab initio could surpass the human brain?

When it comes to neural architecture the human brain is pretty good - put enough of them together and you can plan and build the artificial intelligence that exists today.


is it sufficient for a sustainable industrial society

that's the important question

would the human physiology be suitable for long-term space exploration? (the term "cyborg" was coined in 1960 by two NASA scientists for a very good reason)

Paolo wrote:The fact that intelligence is valued at all is a very anthropocentric arbitration.


bollocks

most people don't care about thinking

"I am still at Trattenbach, surrounded, as ever, by odiousness and baseness. I know that human beings on the average are not worth much anywhere, but here they are much more good-for-nothing and irresponsible than elsewhere." — Ludwig Wittgenstein, in correspondence with Bertrand Russell

incidentally, Russell, who was far less misanthropic than Wittgenstein, and indeed a quintessential "secular humanist" said: "Many people would rather die than think; in fact, most do."

I tend to think of intensive mental development, especially if aided by chemicals and computers, as attaining a kind of nascent superhumanity

Paolo wrote:I don't see any problem with that.


what about how people are dumbshits?

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Paolo
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Re: Anthropocentrism

#82 Postby Paolo » February 4th, 2011, 1:27 am

Radius wrote:
Paolo wrote:I don't see any problem with that.


what about how people are dumbshits?

Compared to what? You? Me?

Sure, most people aren't as intelligent as me, you or the other people that frequent this forum. Intellectual discourse isn't for everyone and the bellcurve that gives us IQ has most people at 101 or less, but you might be surprised at how decent some really stupid people are.

I certainly have more time for someone who's dumb, but decent than someone who's smart, but so far up their own arse that they don't see their own insignificance.

Radius
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Re: Anthropocentrism

#83 Postby Radius » February 4th, 2011, 1:31 am

Paolo wrote:
Radius wrote:
Paolo wrote:I don't see any problem with that.


what about how people are dumbshits?

Compared to what? You? Me?


compared to an agent whose behaviors are appropriately suited for an industrial civilization

someone who, say, wouldn't contribute to the festering stage IV cancer of vacuous consumerism on this planet

for instance...

come on, show me that the death of a human being is typically more regrettable than the excision of a tumor

and you bring up a good point: the transhumanist perspective, in its most radical form, is that we aren't good enough ... it is in some sense very humble

who knows how far intelligence can be improved?

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Paolo
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Re: Anthropocentrism

#84 Postby Paolo » February 4th, 2011, 1:47 am

Radius wrote:
Paolo wrote:I don't see any problem with that.

what about how people are dumbshits?
Paolo wrote:Compared to what? You? Me?


compared to an agent whose behaviors are appropriately suited for an industrial civilization

someone who, say, wouldn't contribute to the festering stage IV cancer of vacuous consumerism on this planet

for instance...

and you bring up a good point: the transhumanist perspective, in its most radical form, is that we aren't good enough ... it is in some sense very humble

So you're comparing reality against an entirely fictional concept? Why bother? You might as well be comparing humans to the concept of God whilst you're at it. It's meaningless.

Human society is a transient thing, lasting a few generations in any given format. The structure of society changes, but human societies keep on rolling regardless of whether they are Capitalist or Communist, Democratic or Despotic. The form of the society is pretty much irrelevant - but society as a basic biological premise (i.e. groups of cooperating individuals kept in check by localised political power struggles between factions) keeps on going regardless. We're social primates and we work better in a team than we do on our own and we put more effort in when our team is competing against another team. It's just the way we roll as a species. We'll never be perfect, we'll always be no more than 'good enough' - that's how evolution works.

Radius
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Re: Anthropocentrism

#85 Postby Radius » February 4th, 2011, 1:49 am

Paolo wrote:So you're comparing reality against an entirely fictional concept?


what one

Paolo wrote:It's just the way we roll as a species. We'll never be perfect, we'll always be no more than 'good enough' - that's how evolution works.


who says a society has to bound by those limitations

it doesn't

indeed with human stupidity ruining the face of the planet as it is now, something will have to give eventually

to say nothing of space colonization

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Paolo
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Re: Anthropocentrism

#86 Postby Paolo » February 4th, 2011, 2:07 am

Radius wrote:
Paolo wrote:So you're comparing reality against an entirely fictional concept?


what one
Radius wrote:Compared to an agent whose behaviors are appropriately suited for an industrial civilization

That one. Such an agent is an entirely fictional concept.


Paolo wrote:It's just the way we roll as a species. We'll never be perfect, we'll always be no more than 'good enough' - that's how evolution works.


Radius wrote:who says a society has to bound by those limitations

History.
Radius wrote:it doesn't

Evidence?
Radius wrote:indeed with human stupidity ruining the planet as it is now, something will have to give eventually

Yes, the human population will probably crash quite abruptly. And?
Radius wrote:to say nothing of space colonization

Well, you've not said anything of space colonisation. It seems unlikely to happen given the practical hurdles and the economic limitations we are currently experiencing. It will be a good 20 years before anything like that would be vaguely viable, and by the point at which the infrastructure would have needed to be in place, resources will be too scarce to make it viable. The crash will come before space colonisation is a realistic option (if it could even be a realistic option). It's called painting yourself into a corner. Hell, cyanobacteria did it 3 billion years ago when they started polluting the atmosphere with that nasty, toxic, oxygen gas.

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Re: Anthropocentrism

#87 Postby Radius » February 4th, 2011, 2:12 am

Paolo wrote:That one. Such an agent is an entirely fictional concept.


not fictional, just unrealized

Paolo wrote:History.


and nothing happens without precedent in history after all

Paolo wrote:Evidence?


well, consider the following for example

http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4802.pdf

How time compressed is the postbiological intelligence substrate likely to be, relative to human culture? Consider the 10 millionfold difference between the speed of biological thought (roughly 150 km/hr chemical diffusion in and between neurons) and the speed of electronic “thought” (speed-of-light electron flow). The scalar distance between Phi-measured learning rates (a topic we will explain shortly) of modern technological society (perhaps 10^7 ergs/s/g) and tomorrow’s autonomous computers (perhaps 10^12 ergs/s/g) is roughly the same as the difference between modern society and plants (Figures 20 and 21).

In other words, to self-aware postbiological systems, the dynamics of human thought and culture may be so slow and static by comparison that we will appear as immobilized in space and time as the plant world appears to the human psyche. All of our learning, yearning, thinking, feeling, all our desires to merge with our electronic extensions, or to pull their plugs, must move forever at plantlike pace relative to postbiological intelligences.


just what is infeasible about things like neural engineering? for Christ's sake, they're already happening

and if these things can be done, they should be done

Paolo wrote:Yes, the human population will probably crash quite abruptly. And?


the survivors will continue to fuck up until they unfuck themselves

Paolo wrote:Well, you've not said anything of space colonisation.


yes I did

Paolo wrote:It seems unlikely to happen given the practical hurdles and the economic limitations we are currently experiencing.


the poor people will die first

Paolo wrote:Hell, cyanobacteria did it 3 billion years ago when they started polluting the atmosphere with that nasty, toxic, oxygen gas.


different timescales

you should know better

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Paolo
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Re: Anthropocentrism

#88 Postby Paolo » February 4th, 2011, 2:26 am

Radius wrote:
Paolo wrote:That one. Such an agent is an entirely fictional concept.


not fictional, just unrealized

By unrealized I assume you mean that it isn't yet real (since that's what it means) - if something isn't real then I think it's pretty reasonable to call it fiction - it's a pretty common convention.
Radius wrote:
Paolo wrote:History.


and nothing happens without precedent in history after all

Sometimes, but not often.
Radius wrote:
Paolo wrote:Evidence?


well, consider the following for example

http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4802.pdf

How time compressed is the postbiological intelligence substrate likely to be, relative to human culture? Consider the 10 millionfold difference between the speed of biological thought (roughly 150 km/hr chemical diffusion in and between neurons) and the speed of electronic “thought” (speed-of-light electron flow). The scalar distance between Phi-measured learning rates (a topic we will explain shortly) of modern technological society (perhaps 10^7 ergs/s/g) and tomorrow’s autonomous computers (perhaps 10^12 ergs/s/g) is roughly the same as the difference between modern society and plants (Figures 20 and 21).

In other words, to self-aware postbiological systems, the dynamics of human thought and culture may be so slow and static by comparison that we will appear as immobilized in space and time as the plant world appears to the human psyche. All of our learning, yearning, thinking, feeling, all our desires to merge with our electronic extensions, or to pull their plugs, must move forever at plantlike pace relative to postbiological intelligences.

It seems a bit early to start extrapolating from this sort description - after all, we were supposed to be living on moon bases by now according to the Zeitgeist of the late 1960s.

Radius wrote:if these things can be done, they should be done

Why? Because you want them to or because they will be of benefit to the species? Or of benefit to those in authority perhaps? Then it might happen.
Radius wrote:
Paolo wrote:Yes, the human population will probably crash quite abruptly. And?


the survivors will continue to fuck up until they unfuck themselves
...
the poor people will die first

Yes they probably will. I would also add that the survivors will probably continue to fuck until they've fucked themselves back up again. It's the human way.

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Re: Anthropocentrism

#89 Postby Radius » February 4th, 2011, 2:35 am

Paolo wrote:Sometimes, but not often.


NBIC technology is pretty unprecedented

Paolo wrote:It seems a bit early to start extrapolating from this sort description - after all, we were supposed to be living on moon bases by now according to the Zeitgeist of the late 1960s.


really

where

and why is this analogy relevant

Paolo wrote:Or of benefit to those in authority perhaps?


Image

"Enhanced Human Performance is aimed at preventing humans from becoming the weakest link in the U.S. military by exploiting the life sciences to make the individual warfighter stronger, more alert, more endurant, and better able to heal."

now that's more like it

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Paolo
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Re: Anthropocentrism

#90 Postby Paolo » February 4th, 2011, 2:50 am

Believe it when I see it...

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Re: Anthropocentrism

#91 Postby Radius » February 4th, 2011, 2:53 am

Image

Image

you are seeing it now; depending on how long you live, you will see much more

I mean to contribute to this effort and don't mind if you don't want to; just don't get in the way

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Alan H
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Re: Anthropocentrism

#92 Postby Alan H » February 4th, 2011, 11:30 am

Radius wrote:Image

you are seeing it now; depending on how long you live, you will see much more
What's that?

I mean to contribute to this effort and don't mind if you don't want to; just don't get in the way

how?

why?
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Re: Anthropocentrism

#93 Postby animist » February 4th, 2011, 2:58 pm

Radius wrote:
thundril wrote:So we come back to what you mean by your terms. Who 'deserves' what? What does 'responsible' mean? Who can distinguish between 'responsible' and 'not responsible' people?


Well I think greediness can be somehow quantified in terms of resources/energy people use.

thundril wrote:And most significntly, in my view, Who is the judge?


Political / military system.

As has always been the case since Sumer or Indus, whichever came first.

so all this transformation that you want is really military in nature, isn't it? I don't know whether "Political / military system" is supposed to be democratic leaders or soldiers, I trust not the latter. And talking of "greediness", war and the military are biggest wasters of resources in every way; don't base your plans for a better world on the worst people in the present one

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Re: Anthropocentrism

#94 Postby Radius » February 4th, 2011, 4:57 pm

Alan H wrote:What's that?


the neural interface of an "animat" (portmanteau: "animal" + "automaton"), a robot controlled by living tissue

Alan H wrote:why?


why what?

animist wrote:so all this transformation that you want is really military in nature, isn't it?


some of it is

not all

one good thing about the US military is that you will get court marshaled if you turn down a medical procedure that increases your efficacy, which seems like a useful gateway to the kinds of things that would eventually improve society

animist wrote:I don't know whether "Political / military system" is supposed to be democratic leaders or soldiers, I trust not the latter


well you're using the Internet (ARPANET) now aren't you?

can't make an omelet without breaking eggs...

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Re: Anthropocentrism

#95 Postby Alan C. » February 4th, 2011, 5:31 pm

Radius
one good thing about the US military is that you will get court marshaled if you turn down a medical procedure that increases your efficacy, which seems like a useful gateway to the kinds of things that would eventually improve society
Eugenics?
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

Radius
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Re: Anthropocentrism

#96 Postby Radius » February 4th, 2011, 5:32 pm

Alan C. wrote:
Radius
one good thing about the US military is that you will get court marshaled if you turn down a medical procedure that increases your efficacy, which seems like a useful gateway to the kinds of things that would eventually improve society
Eugenics?


eugenics strictly speaking involves some kind of genetic engineering

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Re: Anthropocentrism

#97 Postby thundril » February 4th, 2011, 6:19 pm

Paolo wrote:But this is all presupposing that intelligence is of intrinsic value. For the vast majority of species on the planet for the last 3.6 billion years intelligence has not been of any benefit to survival or the sustained evolution of the taxonomic group that they are a member of. The fact that intelligence is valued at all is a very anthropocentric arbitration.

Spot on Paolo!

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Re: Anthropocentrism

#98 Postby Radius » February 4th, 2011, 8:19 pm

thundril wrote:
Paolo wrote:But this is all presupposing that intelligence is of intrinsic value. For the vast majority of species on the planet for the last 3.6 billion years intelligence has not been of any benefit to survival or the sustained evolution of the taxonomic group that they are a member of. The fact that intelligence is valued at all is a very anthropocentric arbitration.

Spot on Paolo!


I answered this and pointed out why it's dumb

if you have access to things like internal combustion, you need an intellect

end of story

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Re: Anthropocentrism

#99 Postby thundril » February 5th, 2011, 1:08 am

Radius wrote:if you have access to things like internal combustion, you need an intellect

end of story

Exactly. If you want to fuck up your own biome big time, intelligence is the way to go.
Look out into the garden Radius. Listen to them li'l dinosaurs twiittering in the trees. Watch a group of house martins flitting over a meadow, skimming the grass by inches, twisting and turning. Think about their aerodynamic skills. There's evolution. And have they fucked up their biosphere in the process? No. They haven't got the brains.

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Re: Anthropocentrism

#100 Postby Radius » February 5th, 2011, 1:12 am

thundril wrote:
Radius wrote:if you have access to things like internal combustion, you need an intellect

end of story

Exactly. If you want to fuck up your own biome big time, intelligence is the way to go.


you didn't get what I said

if you want to have X possibly destructive technology, you've got to use it smartly (in the deontic rather than epistemic sense)

i.e. not shooting your own foot

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Re: Anthropocentrism

#101 Postby Nick » February 5th, 2011, 2:05 am

...or shooting your mouth off....


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