From: ben goertzel (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu May 02 2002 - 10:49:05 MDT
Methinks this question hits our ambiguous, limited notions of
"intelligence" and "consciousness" very very hard.
I'm afraid we don't yet have the conceptual vocabulary needed to comprehend
or discuss the parallels between human minds and Gaia-mind.
Which is not to say we shouldn't try, but we should be very aware of the
probability of misleading ourselve by applying human concepts created for
describing humans, beyond the scope on which their nuances have been
To say "the Gaia conscious being is purposefully working toward the
Singularity" may be to export a lot of the human concept of
"purposefulness" to a radically non-human domain in a not very appropriate
My own intuition is that, if Gaia is in some sense a mind, it doesn't have
fuck-all to do with the encroaching tech Singularity. I think it is a mind
that acts on a very slow scale, and concerns itself with atmospheric
chemistry and large-scale patterns of bacteria and plant life much more so
than with us humans. Of course, this is partly just intuition, though
one could also make a fairly rigorous conceptual argument in this
direction, if one took the time, I suppose...
Dr. James Lovelock originally proposed the Gaia Hypothesis in 1970, and in
he published "Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth" wherein he states " Do
as a species constitute a Gaian nervous system and a brain which can
consciously anticipate environmental changes?" [p147] Most attention has
been given to the mechanics of the environmental biological feedback
that maintain favorable conditions for life on earth, and almost no
attention given to the possibility that the human species might be a self
conscious intelligent being of which we are merely neurons. Language would
correspond to neurotransmitters, cultures to lobes, science and history
memory. Why then isn't it obvious? It's senses are different from ours,
and the whole scale problem. Are your neurons aware of you, or you them?
What's this to do with the Singularity? I have been looking for the cause
of the very consistent progress toward the Singularity despite changing
human individual circumstances. This could be it. If the Gaia conscious
being is purposefully working toward the Singularity for it's own reasons
(individuals) could be in for a big surprise. When it comes time for
transcendence who is going to transcend, the individual neurons or the
being? Are we the ultimate connection machine?
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