In his broad-reaching new book, On the Future, aging famous cosmologist Martin Rees says aging famous scientists too often overreach: Scientists don’t improve with age—that they ‘burn out’. … There seem to be three destinies for us. First, and most common, is a diminishing focus on research. …
We are humans, we like humans, if machines better than us become too common and are not well enough enslaved, there will not be as much room for humans (might not be any). Therefore we should make sure that any machines stay powerless enough/enslaved well enough to optimize future for humans.
Exceptions might be made for uploads because of similarity to humans.
If the machines are zombies, we would not accord their experiences the same value as ours, and the posthuman future would seem bleak. But if they are conscious, why should we not welcome the prospect of their future hegemony?I might not be one of them, but a many people disagree with this pretty strongly. Would be better to engage them with arguments here.
I can't imagine what such an argument would look like. Can anyone help?
Thanks AT. I buy the Colombian linkage of the two worlds as a good counterexample to my #2, even with my "localized choice" revision.
The Colombian exchange. There were places that never recovered their pre-contact population until centuries had passed. What if there were really bad plagues that went from America to Eurasia?
That was more than 200 generations ago, but I take your point Chadtech, thanks. The thing that makes the last century or two uniquely risky is that choices resulting in global disasters can themselves be quite localized in time and space; I should have included this (admittedly somewhat fuzzy) qualifier in the original statement.
Every continent on Earth used to have huge mega fauna like elephants, ground sloths, and big predator cats. The humans of 50,000 years ago hunted them all to extinction. Now the world's ecology is radically different.
That could have been a disaster; but it wasnt.
What pre-20th century human choices could have resulted in truly global problems so severe that any recovery would take more than two centuries?
I disagree with 2: human choices have long had the potential for severe downsides.
"We have always had the planet’s future in our hands...This century isn’t unique."
Robin, I don't think you'd say that if you agreed with both of the below statements. Which do you disagree with?1) Human choices in this century could result in global problems so severe that any recovery would take more than two centuries2) This hasn't been true in any of the previous 200 centuries (except maybe the 20th century)
I thoroughly enjoyed this complete refutation of all that is trendy to believe in the pseudo-intellectual sphere.
>Actually, any one glass of seawater typically holds much life; that would indeed tell you there’s life in the ocean.
But SETI isn't looking for that kind of life. Your plankton in that glass of seawater are analogous to small probes that would be, emphatically, undetectable to us at any distance. SETI is looking for groupers and tuna fish: ETIs that are either actively attempting to communicate with us via tight beam, or that have constructed miracles of astro-engineering visible from light-years away, e.g. the classical Dyson sphere. Our powers of detection are, frankly, still very poor, so we can't hope to observe anything much smaller than that.
An early human, without tools, would look at that clear glass of seawater and feel certain that it holds no life.