Re: Society Saveable was (Different View of IA and Transparent Society)

From: Gordon Worley (
Date: Thu Apr 25 2002 - 07:35:54 MDT

On Thursday, April 25, 2002, at 06:12 AM, Will Pearson wrote:

> Okay some of my views of social control and the problems we have at the
> moment can be found at
> issue/Social_MST.txt . Based on meta-system transistion theory.

The server is refusing my connection. :-/

> My view of technology is also slightly different in that I see it in a
> positive feedback with society. Society creates technologies that
> change societies (and humans, anybody miss their fur?) which in turn
> creates new technolgies. We are

There are two levels to human society: the evolved level and the
developed level. The developed level is what you're looking at.
Certainly the developed level of society and individual humans changes
with time. Fashions change, tools change, social structures change and
the developed level of human society changes to match (or sometimes the
change in tools is a result of human society changing; it works both
ways). As much as the developed level changes, the evolved level of
human society has remained the same throughout the period of recorded
human history. Furthermore, the developed level sits atop the evolved
level of society; every time we adapt to new technologies it is with our
brains that were designed to thrive in tribes of 100 to 200 humans.

Humans have done a lot of good things and our evolved brains go a long
way to making us ethical. The problem is that ethics that match with
the ancestoral environment can get screwed when you throw in technology
that can cause existential disasters. The developed level of society is
important, but much as the US Constitution takes precedence over laws of
Congress, the evolved level of society can swoop in and ruin everything
for the developed level of society.

If you haven't, you may want to read some books about evolutionary
psychology. I had a pretty optimistic view of humans until I learned
about how our brains work and how they got that way. I'll admit,
evolutionary psychology is mostly theory, but it's the only existing
theory that makes much sense. You can find some references to a few
good texts on the subject on my Singularitarian reading list:

> coming to a point where knowledge about the human body can be used to
> manipulate human thinking. I want to read Francis Fukuyamas new book on
> how chemicals/genetics can change the society we live in. He states
> that this would be a bad thing. I am not so sure. I think it could be a
> bad thing. But it could be good. And no I don't take drugs myself.

I think many of us on this list are for rewiring human brains. I'm all
for it. Of course, most of us want to do it post Singularity once we're
uploads. While we would certainly benefit from the right kind of
rewiring pre Singularity, there are logistical issues like changing
everyone and making sure that the rewired brains are robust enough to
keep from letting themselves be taken over.

> Some of the future societies I imagine scare me, but I am trying to
> extrapolate some of the trends I see, which still keep humans alive :),
> without going to the singleton scenario which I am sceptical of.
> Absolute power, corruption etc...

Absolute power == absolute corruption is an anthropomorphic argument.
IIRC, both I and Mitch Howe address this one:

I am working on revising my paper, so Mitch's writing may be more

> I assumed there was a way of quantifying intelligence :) The phrase
> thousands of human intelligences seems to be used quite a bit.

Well, this is a rough estimate. Most of us have a feel for how smart we
are. We can't really imagine what something 1000 times smarter is like,
but it's a big number that gives a hint of how much more intelligence we
are talking about.

> After this I will stop trying to convince the cynics of humanity that
> we can solve are own problems. Which basically means shutting up
> entirely :)

We're not trying to shut you up. As long as you have new, interesting
points to make, you are free to post. Who knows, maybe you can convince
us all. I doubt it, since I think many of us have gone from being
optimists to cynics with what we think are good reasons, but sometimes
what seems impossible turns out to be right.

Gordon Worley                     `When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty            said, `it means just what I choose                it to mean--neither more nor less.'
PGP:  0xBBD3B003                                  --Lewis Carroll

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