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ETpro's avatar

What will come of humans taking conscious control of evolution?

Asked by ETpro (34208 points ) December 22nd, 2010

Watch this video where Paul Budnick of www,WhatWillBe.com discusses the scientific implications of evolution crossing the consciousness threshold where bio-diversity becomes able to take conscious control of increasing bio-diversity. What happens when machines are smarter and stronger than man, and able to do virtually any job cheaper and better than even the most exploited slave labor. Will we use the approaching event that Ray Kurzweil describes as a Singularity of Mind to the good of man, or will the rapidly increasing concentration of wealth and power instead use it to create a world of dominance that eventually destroys us by destroying bio-diversity?

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31 Answers

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Harebrained Design

Cruiser's avatar

Humans have survived despite the constant evolutions of viruses that bombard our bodies. It will be interesting to see if AI can do the same.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’m not too worried about it yet – most people aren’t even done with regular evolution. ~ However, for the few that do ‘take control’ and create machines that can out-smart us, that’s the progression, it’s a normal trajectory, so it goes.

ETpro's avatar

@CyanoticWasp, @Cruiser & @Simone_De_Beauvoir I think the video raises some questions each of us should take to heart as to which of the paths before us we choose to follow.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ETpro I am in favor of transhumanism.

ETpro's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir As am I. I am less enthusiastic about porting myself totally to machine intelligence. Maybe it is just habit, but the messy, mushy side of humanity evne with its sometimes foul smells appeals to me more than the clean smell of ozone around static electric currents, and a touch of 3-In_One oil to keep the joints supple.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ETpro I think of it differently – I don’t think it’ll be that clearly black and white. In my future, the robots have feelings.

ETpro's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I don’t for one moment doubt that. I would not be worrying about how I might miss the smells and pains of life if I thought I wouldn’t have feelings once ported to a robot. After all, missing something is a feeling.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ETpro Perhaps, you will be able to bring back sensations of old humanity on cue.

Cruiser's avatar

@ETpro I don’t think we have a choice of paths other than a moral responsibility to manage and control this technology. I believe Singularity is inevitable and will be every bit as powerful and controversial as everybody so far has implied or suggested it could be. The real what if is who gets to control this technology and power. Singularity is the next atomic bomb technology that the first country (or Dr. Evil) to achieve it may rule the world.

I also think though it is time to pick a new term for this evolution your speak of here. I think of evolution as a naturally occurring process. Taking apart the genome and our brains functioning with technology is the furthest anything could be from natural.

Coloma's avatar

All the sci-fi stuff in the world will NEVER replace the invaluable value of a human being.

Nonsense.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Coloma Value assigned to human beings is created.

Coloma's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir

All life has value just for it’s beingness.

We ‘create’ the measurements but not the value itself. ;-)

PhiNotPi's avatar

A world where people can control every aspect of their bodies down to a cellular level (this might be slightly stretching what the question is asking). Given the fact that there are people who can’t take care of their bodies now (drug addicts and the like), I can say with certianty that quite a few people will kill themselves by abusing the power and mutating themselves. Plus, imagine the conscious strain. A lot of people find it hard to do two things at once, and scientists have shown that the human brain is incapable of tritasking. Imagine the extra workload of controlling your entire genetic code.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Coloma That doesn’t make sense. We create measurements for value but value is inherent? Nothing has inherent value.

Coloma's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir

Makes sense to me..but..ya know..perspectives and all that jazz. ;-)

Cool, but this is where the rubber meets the road with us. lol—

crazyivan's avatar

I think we will be the robots by then so the distinction is almost meaningless. Through bio-tech the computers will be hardwired into our brains so when machines outsmart us, we will be the machines. The worrisome dichotomy is between those that have the implants and those who do not.

ETpro's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir & @Coloma I would say life has inherent value to us. Look at how much that we value we are able to give to a hospital to keep us alive.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ETpro And look at how many people have no access to a hospital.

ETpro's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Because they want none, or because they have not got enough of value to get that access?

ETpro's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Further establishing that we seem to place apparent value on life.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ETpro I place value on that but I have created that value, for myself, by choice.

ETpro's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I agree that value is subjective, but not that subjective things do not exist.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ETpro I didn’t say value placed on humans doesn’t exist – it exists to other people, yes..but I don’t think there is such a thing.

ETpro's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Now you have me at the advantage. Aren’t they the same concept? How can there be no such thing if such a thing exists?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ETpro Hmm, let me make an analogy. Gender, as a construct, exists but, in my household and mind, it doesn’t and isn’t inherent. Same with inherent value in humanity. I’m a post-modernist who is deeply attached to evolution (and evolution has no link to value) and biology, paradoxically. I say, paradoxically, because a post-modernist (by rarebear’s definition, anyway) doesn’t believe in science either but I do – not that I don’t see how it’s a human-created institution but I do think certain things would exist whether we classified them or not. Inherent value isn’t one of them. But, then again, I’m a nihilist.

ETpro's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Thank you. That helps me understand your meaning. I am comfortable with that. Those things that science correctly describes as existing did exist outside of science, but things can exist outside of science and science cannot fully describe all of them. At least not till someone proves Gödel’s incompleteness theorems‘s_incompleteness_theorems to be wrong. If Godel is wrong, it should be easy to prove. But we are closing in on 80 years an nobody has refuted his proof yet.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ETpro Yea, Godel gets me hot. I’m not even joking.

ETpro's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Me too, which gets to your earlier point about an epicene world-view. :-)

BTW, if you feel that way and haven’t read Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid it is definitely worth the time. Hofstadter does a terrific job of making all three geniuses accessible and bringing their work alive in a—well, and Eternal Golden Braid.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Anyone here read Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake series?

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