May 1, 2002

May 2002

Futurists and futurologists who ignore our changing environment and the resultant societal ramifications do so at their own peril.

For Your Consideration
Environmental aspects and traits (i.e. all that is accepted as existing through the application of observation and reason, e.g. matter, algebra, physical laws, etc.) regulates and constrains the experience of intelligent life. This sounds obvious, but it's a good starting point in trying to quantify those experiential factors that are common to all intelligent observers.

Is the universe (unconsciously) finely tuned for life to exist? It sure seems that way. Okay then, try this theory on for size: Assuming that the Great Filter exists, and that it resides in our future, then the universe is finely tuned for life to exist -- including intelligent life -- but only up until the point where an intelligent species reaches a critical stage of scientific/technological development. Perhaps the Great Filter resides just before the stage where intelligent life would be capable of controlling the inner workings of the universe. In other words, the universe is finely tuned for intelligent life to exist AND for the Great Filter to be in effect. This would also make sense in light of the suggestion from some cosmologists that the universe is subject to the laws of natural selection much like organisms are; if the universe were not this way, then intelligent life would interfere with its reproductive process. [Sounds like an outlandish theory, eh? Well, let's remember what J. B. S. Haldane once said: "The universe is not only queerer that we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose."]

Observation & Theory
The Transhumanist 'technology postulate' can be viewed as both a new ideological weltanschauungen and as a socio-analytical paradigm shift. Or, I could just be exaggerating this point: humans have been improving themselves with technology for the past 13,000 years -- it's instinctual.

Say What?
Quantum physics confuses me terribly. Does the Many Worlds Interpretation suggest that existence is merely about probabilities? If so, how does one assess probabilities in reference to infinite possibilities? Help... [I love this quote from Richard Feynman: "It has not yet become obvious to me that there's no real problem [with quantum mechanics]. I cannot define the real problem, therefore I suspect there's no real problem, but I'm sure there's no real problem."

Amongst other things, Marx was a conspiracy theorist. To him, history was nothing more than the study of ruling classes pulling the wool over the eyes of the subjugated.

Observation & Commentary
Is it me, or are television ads getting quite potent? I find myself nearly hypnotized by certain commercials, and I can tell when the advertiser is trying to tap into my psyche's more primitive instincts. There are times when I feel that my consciousness has been violated! So, this begs the question: to what extent should advertisers be allowed to persuade and grab the attention of its viewers? Are there such things as viewership rights (i.e. freedom from psychological persuasion and manipulation)? Or, is advertising just another artistic expression that deserves its freedom? Or, am I completely blowing this out of proportion? Well at the very least, let's keep our eye the advertisers. And watch less TV.

Like all good paradigm shifts, quantum physics is a completely unexpected, profound, and wonderful turn. And like all other paradigm shifts, it's a reaffirmation of what we have learned so far, and a devastating reminder as to how much there is still to know. Its ramifications are still truly hard to fathom; whatever the Final Theory reveals, it will not be subtle. The discovery of quantum mechanics caused Einstein to devote the last two decades of his life in trying to prove the theory wrong. Roger Penrose felt the same way. Resultantly, Penrose has put forth some rather outlandish cosmological theories of his own -- outlandish enough that if it wasn't for his brilliance in mathematics he would surely be regarded as a crackpot. And as for David Deutsch (a quantum physics guru) -- he compares the development of the Many Worlds theory to Copernicus's declaration that the Earth spins around the Sun -- in other words, a radical perceptual shift. And for the record, according to M. C. Price's Hugh Everett Many Worlds FAQ: "Amongst the "Yes, I think the Many Worlds Interpretation is true" crowd listed are Stephen Hawking and Nobel Laureates Murray Gell-Mann and Richard Feynman. Gell-Mann and Hawking recorded reservations with the name "many-worlds", but not with the theory's content. Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg is also mentioned as a many-worlder, although the suggestion is not when the poll was conducted, presumably before 1988 (when Feynman died)."

Can the violence meme be understood as a replicating idea that gets caught in a positive feedback loop? The old truism after all is that violence begets violence.

And so it begins
Sentient Developments is now George P. Dvorsky's home page.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The idea of simulated world doesnt have fatalism in it? Well I don care, cause im fatalist (in a way) still doing everything possible for the better, but when it comes
to violence, its in the script. im against violence, thats another thing.

but everything bad is an offer for future