About
Content
Store
Forum

Rebirth of Reason
War
People
Archives
Objectivism

Post to this threadMark all messages in this thread as readMark all messages in this thread as unreadPage 0Page 1Forward one pageLast Page


Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Post 0

Monday, August 13, 2012 - 9:18amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I bet that 20% of us would "take the blue pill" -- if the choice was a fully-informed choice.

Ed


Post 1

Monday, August 13, 2012 - 9:47amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
There is a problem with many of the hypotheticals where people are asked to choose between two alternatives, one of which couldn't exist in the real world - and this is an example of that in spades! The question asks which people would CHOOSE to LIVE IN... And there is the problem, because only the real world functions on choice, and humans can only "live in" the real world.

Because the real world is seamless, our principles by which we understand it must be integrated. Self-esteem is one of the largest components of experiencing a good life and it requires that our choices be made in a real world with real-world feedback - the only place where reason and choice actually apply. From that perspective I don't see how anyone could posit the "Matrix" type of alternative.

Epistemologists need to do more work setting up the requirments of useful hypotheticals. If it actually made sense that there could someday be a real "Matrix" - one that worked on every level (including economics) - then the answer would be 100% because it would be the optimum existence - by definition.
---------------

But the underlying psychological characteristics of the poll are real. How many people would choose to "escape" reality? Well, almost everyone does, but in a very limited amount and in a safe, controlled fashion. Like seeing a movie, or watching TV even through what's showing isn't a work of art by any stretch of the imagination. So, the question is about how many people would choose to "escape" reality in place of engaging life, in place of a career or productive efforts, in place of a real relationship? It is about fear instead of excitement as a major motivation in life. It is about a very low level of self-esteem.

(I choose 20% for the poll number, but I'd have chosen 10% if it had been offered, given the context of a major rejection of living in the real world despite the consequences, i.e., there is no "Matrix" to escape to).

Post 2

Monday, August 13, 2012 - 11:03amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Ed:

I amended my hyperbole laden 80% to 60%, based on the following:

1] http://www.dailytech.com/Study+One+Third+of+Internet+is+Crammed+With+Porn/article18760.htm

2] The fact that the report above is reporting static pages and not total backbone bandwidth; I've read reports in the
past that estimate backbone bandwidth % as near 60% for this usage.

3] My anecdotal experience in Bangladesh and other 3rd world nations, peering into the history/cache of those web browser from the 3rd world.

In fairness to my hyperbole laden 80%, I was referring to some hypothetical near future in which Kurzweil's singularity, accelerated by development of direct human/machine interface directly to the human brain, could deliver sexual stimulation directly to the human brain in a convincingly virtual 'real' fashion, increasingly indistinguishable from the real thing.

What % of humanity would refrain from being addicted to nearly consequence-free stimulation of their dopamine, based on extrapolation of the current numbers at the current level of widespread digital distribution of porn?

My original hyperbole laced guess was 20% would refrain from becoming addicted, and 80% would gladly wire themselves up as often as possible, and if that was continuously, then that is what addicts would choose, especially if the consequences were subsidized by a government intent on managing/appeasing the masses.

I will stipulate that you are probably correct, and that is an abysmal view of my fellow man, and so, will moderate my pessimism to 40/60 from 20/80.

regards,
Fred



Post 3

Monday, August 13, 2012 - 11:06amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I chose 20% only because it is the next number above zero.  Also, 20% is a good intuitive guess on a "delphi" basis.   (How long is the Nile?  Ask enough people at random and you will get close to the right answer.  Or so it is theorized...  This is the basis for the model futures market InTrade where you can bet on politics.)  Two easy numbers I picked up in criminology were that 20% of the goods in society have no clear title - we tolerate a lot of thievery - and that "any police chief will tell you that 80% of your problems come from 20% of your addresses -- in any neighborhood." 

So, ok, maybe 20% would take The Matrix over reality.  That said... We own all four Matrix disks.  I have a snapshot on my desktop of wife looking like Trinity.  So, I get the movie and as an Objectivist, I understand Steve's views that the Matrix is not "real." 

It is not just that this is a fantasy construct which could fool a "brain in a vat", but that such a construct is metaphysically impossible.  That is a claim of metaphysical absolutism.  David Kelley dealt with it neatly.  "Have you not had a dream that seemed so real that you did not know you were dreaming?"  The answer is, "Of course. Then you wake up.  And you know the difference."  The metaphysical absolutist denies that any construct could fool a human brain.  Perhaps so...

Or perhaps not... Many people believe in fanciful dreams and act as if they are real.  The Thomas Theorem of sociology says: "If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences."  Note, this is not a claim for subjectivism.  The beliefs are real, but the objects of belief are not. But the consequences are real.  False ideas cause much harm. The harms are real consequences: racism, sexism, socialism.

 But an unreal idea can have beneficial consequences, for instance the idea that the atom is analogous to a "pudding" with protons and electrons in it like raisins and nuts and the electrons are forced out of the pudding by magnetic fields.  We lit our cities with that. 

If you enjoy "distilled spirits" you have to appreciate the fact that "gas" is just another way to say "ghost."  The essential elemental spirit of the wine is captured and re-stored (restored).  Again, the wrong idea, in terms of metaphysical absolutism, but a workable idea, nonetheless, real in its consequences.

So, could we be fooled by a Matrix?  Would we know if we were?  Have we made any significant changes to our personal or social spheres since 1999?  The Agent Mr. Smith said that the Matrix tried to give us Utopia, but we rejected perfection, so it created the epitome of our civilization, the year 1999... forever...

How would you know?

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 8/13, 11:11am)


Post 4

Monday, August 13, 2012 - 11:09amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
People don't need The Matrix to "escape" reality. They don't even need movies or science fiction novels. Ayn Rand did an excellent job of illustrating this in Atlas Shrugged. One of the recurring themes in the book deals with people who, as a group, intentionally ignore the truth when it isn't pleasant. They can't stand it when Hank Rearden insists on speaking the truth and acting in accordance with it. They say it makes him cold, inhuman, and selfish.

The majority of people we deal with every day are like those people in Atlas Shrugged. They escape into their own little version of The Matrix every day, and their attempts to deceive themselves are supported by other people who play along with the same deceptions. "You pleasantly deceive me, and I'll pleasantly deceive you" is the unspoken contract into which they have entered. For these people, entering the sci-fi version of The Matrix would just be an upgrade in the quality of the deceptions they appreciate so much.

Of course, nobody really escapes reality. If you could escape it, it wouldn't actually be reality, would it? Whether your chosen method is to put your body in the slimy pods of the Matrix or to trade pleasant lies with your associates, reality will flush you down the disposal chute eventually.

To answer the OP, my best guess is that something like 80% of people already live in the kind of non-technological matrix of lies that Rand exposed, and they would probably be just as inclined to plug in to a technological version of it.

Post 5

Monday, August 13, 2012 - 11:28amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
While I agreed with most of what Michael wrote above, I do feel the need to answer the question he posed at the end:
How would you know [if you were in the Matrix]?
The same way I know, each morning when I wake up, despite being in a dark room, that I'm not in China, or in some future colony built on Mars.

If I woke up in the morning, just a day or so after a visit to another country, and for a brief moment I felt I was still in that country, that is one thing... it is based upon a reality - that country exists and there is some reason to support the belief I might be there. But my mind will connect the dots so that I realize that I'm back in my hometown.

We don't have to prove a negative. The question "How would you know?" presupposes the existence, or if it is cast as a hypothetical, the POSSIBLE existence, of a Matrix. And there is zero evidence for those. "Know" is a word that can't be disconnected from reason. Fantasy doesn't generate knowledge and knowledge can't confirm fantasy of that which doesn't exist.

The only way to view this from the other direction is to change the context and talk about some kind of medically induced coma where a continuous dream state exists but that it isn't something that any significant portion of the population is involved with. The person in the coma is dreaming, so it isn't a case of them "knowing" anything.

Post 6

Monday, August 13, 2012 - 11:46amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit

P M H: " Whether your chosen method is to put your body in the slimy pods of the Matrix or to trade pleasant lies with your associates, reality will flush you down the disposal chute eventually."


Well, we are all born dying.  So, that proves nothing. 

Certainly, you do not mean that as Ayn Rand died at 77 years of age and Gore Vidal at 87, that he was 14% more rational than she was.   
P M H: They escape into their own little version of The Matrix every day, and their attempts to deceive themselves are supported by other people who play along with the same deceptions. ... For these people, entering the sci-fi version of The Matrix would just be an upgrade in the quality of the deceptions they appreciate so much.  

The paradox is that they do not identify the deceptions as such, but accept them as real.  For many, the obvious unreality of the Matrix would not be attractive. Self-identified born-again Christians, for instance, while they live in (what we declare to be) delusion, would reject the opportunity to live in the Matrix.

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 8/13, 11:57am)


Post 7

Monday, August 13, 2012 - 11:56amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
I responded 60%, but think it's probably higher, somewhere between 60% and 80%.  I'm thinking of all the parents in the world.  Under these circumstances, if my fully informed choice included the knowledge that my son did not exist in "the real world", then I would not choose to live in it.  By "under these circumstances", I mean those circumstances as shown in the movie, where there is very little time to make the choice. 

Post 8

Monday, August 13, 2012 - 12:20pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit

Ed:

I am also assuming that fully informed decision includes "try before you buy," and that in Kurzweil's near horizon world, the results are indistinguishable from reality.

There is some evidence from highly addictive drugs that claims of "I was hooked after one use"...only apply to a minority of users, even when the means of triggering that dopamine release include melting a questionable substance from God knows where and injecting it directly into your veins or snorting it up your nose, etc. However, if the same or similar dopamine release can be achieved in the future simply by wearing a sporty looking headband and closing your eyes, I think the addiction rate goes way up.

What does 'highly addictive' mean?

regards,
Fred

----

Edit note.  Removing link.

 

(Edited by Joseph Rowlands on 4/21, 5:20pm)



Post 9

Monday, August 13, 2012 - 5:58pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Good points all around (kudos for everybody, all of the time!).

:-)

Steve, you make a good point that this hypothetical is a counterfactual (the postulation of an impossibility) and that that kind of a thing is potentially warrantless. But like Fred says, Kurzweil predicted that something akin to the Matrix "is near" (will be here by mid-century). Now, if it does play out the way Kurzweil says it will, then humans will be placed in the position that "Neo" was in when "Morpheus" told him about the red and the blue pill -- about his choice to remain conscious of reality, or to limit his consciousness to only imaginative things not necessarily tied in any way to reality (i.e., pure fantasy).

His body would remain in the world as it always has to, but his mind can be driven entirely from the world as we know it. Nutrition would be pumped into his body at regular intervals by a bio-feedback machine, waste would be removed. His only mental tie to reality in this new mental life of his, would be the memory that he originally chose fantasy over reality -- and the potentially inescapable regret of having made the wrong decision but not being able to escape past the candy-coated prison walls of his own fantasies (to beg someone to "unplug" him and bring him back to the real world).

Ed

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 8/13, 6:04pm)


Post 10

Monday, August 13, 2012 - 6:36pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Fred,
I amended my hyperbole laden 80% to 60%, based on the following: ...
Okay, but I may be able to give you a reason to amend it further. Let's assume, for argument, that 30-60% of all internet bandwidth is currently used in order to experience porn. Now, we have to ask this question:
Assuming that "light" internet users -- folks who spend less than, say, 7 hours a week online -- are irrelevant to the issue, would taking everyone on earth who spends over 7 hours a week online be representative of the population at large (so that we could extrapolate this 30-60% range out to all of the population)?
I answer: "No." People who spend over 7 hours a week online -- which would include, but is not limited to, nearly all of the porn users -- are "special." These are not representative of the human population at large. Don't get me wrong. There are many, many reasons for someone to want or need to spend more than 7 hours a week online. This website -- a formerly-impossible community of like-minded, life-affirming, value-seekers -- is just one of many dozens (and perhaps hundreds, maybe even thousands) of reasons to be online for more than 7 hours a week.

So that (the idea that internet junkies don't represent "everyday man") is one reason, I maintain, to amend it further. I will leave that, along with everything else (of course), to your own judgment.

:-)
What % of humanity would refrain from being addicted to nearly consequence-free stimulation of their dopamine ... ?
This is a good question because of how probing it is. As I alluded above to Steve, I think the issue turns on the idea of willful restriction of one's consciousness. Imaginatively stepping into "Neo's" shoes -- where the choice really is about consciousness restriction -- I can say for myself that I wouldn't do it. Now that doesn't make me a puritan -- I have "experience" with mood-altering, consciousness-restricting (and consciousness-enlarging) substances -- it just shows I have come to love not only being in the universe, but being conscious of the universe. I don't think you can read Rand and then make the wrong choice here (or, at least, make the wrong choice without feeling some guilt about it).

Once you accept that you are an organism with a function, and that part of that function is to use your faculties to apprehend reality in a life-process, and that the purpose of that is not just to defend yourself against threats or whatever (not just to "remain alive"), but to 'ongoingly' create external and internal (e.g., self-esteem) values -- there's virtually no going back from that. Once a metaphysical realist, always a metaphysical realist.

:-)

Ed

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 8/13, 6:42pm)


Post 11

Monday, August 13, 2012 - 6:59pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Ed:

Will it be like that, I wonder? As in, folks will be given the choice?

Or will it be more like the world depicted in GATTACA, in which there were initially two tiers of folks? In the case of GATTACA, these two tiers were folks who could afford the selective DNA engineering for their offspring, who could then pass the mandatory DNA testing/hurdles in society and live 'normal' lives, and the 'naturals,' some of who faked their way through life by borrowing the DNA of other engineered folks(the parapalegic Jude Law).

In the case of artificially augmented humans, will it appear first as wildly expensive technology afforded by the few and clamored for as a right by the many? So initially, those that can afford it will be given the choice, while those that cannot afford it will not have any choice, until it becomes covered by Obamacare as an augmented human right...

We already see some indication of that with these leading edge technologies. Anyone here having themselves cryogenic frozen so they can be re-animated in the future? Is that a universal right paid for by MEDICARE? Given the current sturm und drang over universal access to -almost- every instance of medical technology known to mankind, I think this debate over 'fairness' only amplifies when the issue of 'augmented humanity' comes out of the labs and starts to hint at a kind of immortality for those who can afford it...

And as Kurzweil points out, at the point that a greater and greater % of the human body becomes augmented, then ... what does it mean to be yet human? He also hypothesizes 'capturing' / recording all memories/contents of the human mind, to augment even memory. And by adding a sufficiently self-programmable(weightable, as in, choosing what to value)neural network, at some point this augmented human begins to approach a zero-wetbits condition, and yet duplicate in every external interaction(in the Turing sense)the non-augmented human being from which it was essentially cloned over time. Is that a kind of immortality? When exactly would be the recorded time of death? And what of 'rights?' of such a silicon form of ... augmented human?

And once evolved, readily replicated/duplicated.

If we could formulate(I don't think we are nearly that smart...yet)a sufficient set of master, as in high level goal seeking, neural nets(value survival/continuation/longevity/prevailing under a polite set of constraints tempered imperfectly by the self interest of the Golden Rule...) which oversaw a completely self programmable(self adjusting weightings to mazimize realization of the master neural net 'values') set of lower level neural nets, would we for all intents and purposes have at least sufficiently modeled 'free will?'

Because in humans, for example, the value of self-preservation is not absolute; it can and does regularly fail(suicide), as do many of those high level 'value' seeking models. Is suicide a failure of a higher level neural net, or a sign of humankinds ability to truly rewire our basic neural net/value seeking circuitry, inserting our high highest value seeking neural net that sometimes concludes "my highest value is achieved by shutting down."

A reptilian set of values would be simple; "Can it eat me? Can I eat it? Lather, rinse, repeat." What makes us human is that our value seeking logic is more nuanced than reptiles. That reptilian form of processing can be accomodated by our reptilian brain stem. The balance of our wetbits as subtlety to those simple values--even as our reptilian value seeking network is still functioning. It is just ... over-ridden by higher order neural nets.

That is, in most of us.

In order to really simulate humanity and all of its fringe failures, is it necessary to deliberately accomodate randomness and imperfection and ill-logic in those highest value seeking neural nets?

And this is where this typical meandering post comes full circle; because we are not identical machines, and some of us really would value the red pill over the blue pill, and vice versa...

regards,
Fred

Post 12

Monday, August 13, 2012 - 7:02pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Mike,
I chose 20% only because it is the next number above zero.
Hah! I did that, too -- and I'm the intellectual hooligan who created this slip-shod, rough-shod poll in the first place!

:-)

The metaphysical absolutist denies that any construct could fool a human brain. Perhaps so...
Any construct built by who? I own the movie that even "out-Matrixed" the Matrix: Inception -- and in it the protagonist "Cobb" said:
What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient... highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it's almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed - fully understood - that sticks; right in there somewhere.
But then talks about getting someone to believe that they are the cause of a belief that he implanted in their brain. If you can do this -- if you can make someone think that the idea you innoculated into their mind was their idea original idea all along -- then you've got a chance to "fool a human brain." Another character in the movie, "Arthur" (Cobb's right-hand-man), disagreed:

Right, but it's not your idea. The dreamer can always remember the genesis of the idea. True inspiration is impossible to fake.
Ed


Post 13

Monday, August 13, 2012 - 7:25pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Ed:

A total aside. But maybe, not so aside.

That whole cryogenic freezing thing kind of wigs me out. Nobody has been frozen and thawed and lived to tell the tale; the assumption is, some time in the future, somebody not even born yet will figure it out.

So there is the seed for a really horrible Steven King novel.


"Brrrr.....where am I? Oh, that's right...I was frozen. Wait a minute...I'm conscious....those SOBs said they'd freeze me and I'd wake up in the future...I'm ... trapped. For how long? It could be a hundred years....it could be two hundred years....HELP!....I CHANGED MY MIND! ALLEE ALLEE OOONT FRAY!......Hello?....Hello?....anybody there?....

What have I done to my self?..."

Classic Twilight Zone. Rod Serling would have so done that one.

Sort of like being buried alive...but worse.


Would there be a human mind left after several centuries of enforced sensory deprivation combined with enforced consciousness? What kind of mind could entertain itself ... for several hundred years? (Most of us get antsy after five minutes...)

So, here is how this relates to Kurzweil's ponderings; what would be the self-realization of a consciousness aware that it existed as pure artificial construct, silicon and so on? Especially if it was, in his theoretical, partially but effectively 'cloned' from a human consciousness?

"Hey it's Me...but it's digital Me. Do I really care? Does this beat the alternative? What's for lunch? I could go for a big juicy dose of Volts and Amps...I mean, steak. I'll pretend to chew it, and then pretend to digest it, and then pretend to dump it out this chute.

regards,
Fred


(Edited by Fred Bartlett on 8/13, 7:27pm)


Post 14

Monday, August 13, 2012 - 7:27pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Thanks, Ed.
...Kurzweil predicted that something akin to the Matrix "is near"...
I don't see Kurzweil as proposing something that is akin to the Matrix. Kurzweil talks about the results of technological progress made in a real world. There is a fantasy element to being able to have a Matrix exist because there is no economic model under which would work.

But I can easily imagine that technology is going to be able to provide some very alluring escapes from reality - some so alluring that they could be highly addictive. But they would still remain escapes insteads of actually living - finding excitement in reality. What I understand about psychology tells me that any continuing use of the consciousness that amounts to fantasy will be debilitating and cause self-esteem to diminish. So, I don't see any Matrix like system as similar to heroin. It would be a downward spiral where negative emotions escalated and would require ever-greater hits till the person over-doses or moves into a zone of almost continual panic attacks.

There are causes to emotions - causes and sources. They can't just be created artificially in some fashion that short circuits the perceive, reason, choose, act, and feedback process - which is all going on in a self-aware context. Sometimes Sci-Fi finds ways to fake perceptions - maybe with wires running into helmet or something, and thus lead to some sort of emotional response, but that doesn't deal with the fact that we are agents - we choose and self-esteem comes from the nature of the choices made.

Post 15

Monday, August 13, 2012 - 7:51pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Steve:

Hypothetical: our mind is organized as a hierarchy of neural-net-like structures, with stimuli/inputs that are weighted to create an output; that output then becomes an input for higher order neural net-like structures, and is weighted along with other such inputs to create an output, and so on. At the lowest level of processing, our wiring is autonomous and we cannot self-re-weight the inputs. (We cannot rewire our processing to make blue appear as green.)

But at the highest level, humans can re-weight the highest level neural-net-like inputs. In fact, we can self-program neural nets to weight lower level outputs and -value- an outcome as we choose.

from our sensory processing, we have real time streams of stimuli presented through this network to 'something.' If we had only sight, that 'something' is akin to a viewer sitting in a movie theater, evaluating a stream of visual field data and also recording it for later playback. That 'something' can be stimulated not only be real time input, but by playback of past streams of input (memories) as well as deliberate reshuffling and modification of those past streams of input(imaginings.) There are stimulus processing nets(net like constructs) but there are also stimulus evaluation nets that respond to both real time external stimuli as well as playback of either remembered or imagined/mangled reconstruction of memory. Those imaginings are not restricted to what actually was or can be.

The receptive neural nets respond with emotions-- high level neural-net like output feedback that determines our current evaluation of 'self-esteem' and 'well-being.' Chemical feedback which is more nuanced than either just 'good' or 'bad' but with flavors -- fear, joy, humor, anger...


So in Kurzweils evolution, the first to be augmented is the 'movie projector' that presents real time stimuli to the 'viewer' circuitry, which remains as wet bits.

The second level to be augmented is the stream storage/retrieval circuitry, still presenting to the 'viewer' evaluation circuitry.

Perhaps in dozens if not hundreds of steps.


The last stages of augmentation are in the 'viewer' circuits themselves. The path there -- or even if there is a path there -- can't be seen today. But the presentation augmentation is itself used to probe/map the viewer circuitry, and tell us if it is possible.

At some point...is it possible to have augmented the entire neural network?

We naturals want to believe not. Is there reason to believe not?

Because meanwhile sightless humans are being given a kind of augmented capacity for sight via direct stimulation of the brain using a mesh brain patch and electronics, here during the Kitty Hawk days of all this...

regards,
Fred

Post 16

Monday, August 13, 2012 - 8:12pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Freddo spake: "HELP!....I CHANGED MY MIND! ALLEE ALLEE OOONT FRAY!......Hello?....Hello?....anybody there?...."

That is "All ye, all ye, all's in free!"

What neighborhood did you grow up in?


Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Post 17

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 - 4:35amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
If I remember the plot correctly, Neo is still in the Matrix when Trinity, Switch, and Cypher pick up him in a car and drive him to the old brownstone wherein Morpheus offers to show him reality.  After he takes the red pill, he undergroes a transformation, and is rejected by or liberated from the connections to the Matrix. They fetch him up in the Nebuchadnezzer and he lives in the physical world. 

Parallels to Atlas Shrugged  include the revelation of truth, the hidden community, the rescue operation, and the re-opening of a world to be rebuilt.  (Granted some details are transferred.  You get that in myths, Star Wars with Wizard of Oz, for instance.)  So, perhaps the question is not whether "people" (in general) would take the blue pill.  Rather the choice is offered only to a select few.  Jacked in to the Matrix, they seek out those who could join the revolution - another parallel to Atlas Shrugged.  They have been looking for Neo, as he has been searching for the truth about the Matrix, a hacker at night while he works his day job as a computer programmer, Thomas Anderson.  Mythically, Neo is Dagny Taggart.

The question is really: Why did you take the red pill? 

The 80% or more do not need to make the choice.  They will never leave the Matrix.  They will live out their lives in the unreality presented to them of federal budget debates and party politics, Kim Kardashian and Tiger Woods, going to church weekly (or typically less often), and having worn Crocs for a year, and then Ugli boots, tossing both in a closet.

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 8/14, 4:40am)


Post 18

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 - 4:45amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Michael:

Clearly, one in which, as a result of another game (Whisper Down The Valley) 8 years olds passed on the games of their Pa Dutch grandparents as ALLEE ALLEE OOONT FRAY...

Ollie ollie oxen free?

(Have you ever tried to interpret the sounds coming out of a 80 year old PA Dutch woman, half crazed on Funny Cake? I put that in my first novel...)

In Kurzweil's virtual reality/Matrixs world, all these random mutations will need to be simulated...

regards,
Fred



Post 19

Wednesday, August 15, 2012 - 2:17pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Fred Bartlett said: "what would be the self-realization of a consciousness aware that it existed as pure artificial construct, silicon and so on? Especially if it was, in his theoretical, partially but effectively 'cloned' from a human consciousness?"

Now we go full circle. From human, to augmented human, to artificial construct "cloned" from a human consciousness, the next step is Pinnochio. "I want to be a REAL boy!"

Life is the ultimate value, and using intellect to choose how to achieve that value is a shorthand definition of living as a human being. If the possibility of not living were removed, if life ceased to be an option that we had to choose to choose, then there would no longer be any reason to choose any of the values that we, as Objectivists, choose. There is a paradox here. Our ultimate value is life, to find ways to live, but the moment we achieve that value to its highest degree by finding a way to be utterly immortal, we lose our ultimate reason for living.

Maybe if we achieved immortality by eliminating the "wet bits" an digitizing consciousness we would find a new ultimate value. Maybe it could be to choose lack of pain over pain. That could work, until we also achieved that lofty goal and made pain as impossible as death. Maybe it could be choosing to attain knowledge, which would work until nothing was unknown. Whatever our ultimate value, whatever the goal of life, once it is completely achieved we lose our reason for living.

Unless you believe in a god who will knock down our Tower of Babel and prevent us from making our reason to live obsolete, then you are stuck with the possibility that man will eventually achieve its ultimate value, making that value pointless and empty. If that happens, then there are only two possible outcomes: Mankind continues as intelligent machines that have no more capacity to choose than does any other animal that lives automatically and without choice, OR man chooses to allow himself death and pain, and ignorance just to put some challenge back into living. In other words, he would have to go the route of Pinnochio and choose, once again, to be a "real boy."

There is a third option, which I offer as pure entertainment: This version of man which has conquered death, pain, and ignorance, which has even advanced so far as to avoid death through the law of entropy, might decide to create a little experiment with critters that can experience death and pain, but give them the capacity for reason that lets them figure out, within the limits of their resources, how to live on their own. He might even place such limitations on them that they can never actually achieve their ultimate value and therefore never lose their reason for living.

Post to this threadPage 0Page 1Forward one pageLast Page
User ID Password reminder or create a free account.