Are solipsism and open individualism beneath the surface the same view?

Are solipsism and open individualism beneath the surface the same view?

[ 28/10/20 ]

That does not seem to be the case.

There is a sense in which it seems probable that Descarte got one thing right, “cogito ergo sum”. The sense that given there can be no argument that I exist, but a lot of argument about the nature of that existence.

So if Solipsism is taken to mean this, and only this – that one can be sure that one is some sort of something, but not certain about the nature of the what that something is; then it seems to be valid.

Everything beyond that seems to be a matter of probabilities.

When one spends a few decades in the depths of biology, in evolutionary theory, in the quantum mechanics of biochemistry, in the strategic dimensions of the emergence of cooperative complex adaptive systems, in exploration of highly dimensional mathematics and logics, in the enquiries into the nature of the substructure of this matrix of existence that we seem to find ourselves in; then one comes away with a profound appreciation of the complexities and dependencies and levels of influence and relationship that seem to be present in this reality we find ourselves in.

One starts to appreciate that all models of such complexity are necessarily incomplete, and that there are many different classes of fundamental uncertainty present, and that summed over many instances, such uncertainty can in aggregate very closely approximate classical logical certainty in some contexts.

Thus it seems we live in a world that can deliver life, choice and computers, all built on a fundamental base that is a mix of the random and the lawful – a probabilistic base of uncertainty.

Building back up from that base, we get to an understanding of just how reliant we as individuals are on the ecosystems and social systems within which we exist.

So in this sense, we can start from an uncertainty delivered by a form of solipsism, accept the probabilistic nature of all knowledge of reality, then do the hard work of examining evidence sets, building reliable probability assessments, and going down below atoms and then come back up through matter and life forms and social systems to arrive at a profound appreciation for the necessity of cooperation for the existence of complexity such as us.

Thus in this sense, starting from solipsism, and using the probabilistic evidence of observations, we end up with an understanding that individuals have huge value, but that value must exist in social and ecological contexts.

So individualism, in so far as it is construed as valuing the individual and devaluing social and ecological systems and relationships is disproven.

Individualism in the sense of valuing individual life, and acknowledging that individual existence necessarily comes with social and ecological responsibilities if it is to survive long term, is not a common view of individualism, but it is one that I hold and one that seems to me to be proven beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt.

It is certainly possible for people to hold different views of individualism, but I doubt whether it is possible for such things to survive over the long term.

If we desire long term survival, then we must all acknowledge the fundamentally cooperative base that is required for complexity such as us to emerge and to survive long term. And everyone needs to be really clear about the distinction between cooperation and control – they are very different things.

Global cooperation between diverse levels and classes of agents is nothing like global control by a subset of agents.

[Addendum – in case of doubt – there is no evidence I have seen to support the notion of “open individualism”, as in a single identity who is all people at all times. The likelihood of such a things appears to be very close to zero.]

[followed by in response to Rares Mircea’s comment about open vs empty vs closed individualism]

Hi Rares

While I share many of the experiences you report, and quite a few others, I have a very different interpretation.

It seems clear to me that we are very complex embodied systems.

There seem to be at least 15 levels of systems present in the simplest conscious individual human, and each of those levels is built upon the level(s) below.

Most of those levels seem to be cooperative complex adaptive systems.

Most of them seem to be some form of clocked probabilistic mostly finite state machines.

It seems that memory in some form is important to most of those levels.

It seems that consciousness resides only in some of the higher levels.

It seems that for most people most of the time state changes in consciousness occur at about 15 cycles per second, but in some contexts it can be much higher, approaching 200 cycles per second. Extreme forms of stress and meditation seem to achieve those higher clocking rates but by rather different mechanisms (I’ve tried both).

I’m unusual in many aspects. I only recently realised that I am autistic, as my autism was masked by a quite a few other and more obvious differences. I see in a different set of visual spectra to most people, something that was proven when I did my skipper’s ticket 42 years ago, and they checked me for colour blindness, and determined that while I could see red/green, I saw it differently from most other people). That was something I had suspected for about 15 years at that stage. My hearing is also very different, being quite acute in 5 different bands above 25 KHz. So some machines and animals that are silent to most people are screaming at me.

When I was practicing a variety of meditation techniques 40 years ago, one of the things I practiced was going to a restaurant alone, and listening to and following every conversation in the room.

Almost 60 years ago my father taught me to play 500, and we used to go to a community 500 school every Saturday night. We usually won. We did not use any form of cheating, our only communication was through the bids we made, but we had a well defined and yet flexible strategy about what bids to make in what context. And I always could recall exactly who played what cards once we started playing. It took me a long time to realise that most people do not have that ability.

At university I found it simple to keep count of a 4 pack deck when playing blackjack, and could mentally recalculate probabilities after every card was played.

So to me, keeping track of complex systems is much easier than for most people, and even my brain is overwhelmed by the complexities already identified and characterised within the human brain.

I can recall when I first became conscious, and I can recall that I already had many memories at that instant.

Prior to that instant I was simply being, without awareness of being, something similar to “flow” state, yet also different.

My consciousness of being was a thing in language, yet it was instantly accompanied by all the other sensations of being that have nothing to do with language.

I can recall the first time I became conscious of my first act of consciousness for what it was – I was on a school bus, on my way to highschool – about age 15.

I am now conscious of about 100 protein modulators of synaptic function.

I am aware of many levels of chemical, electrochemical, and electrical modulation of synaptic function.

I have no difficulty imagining that my experience of being, my experience of self and the many levels of sensation, are what it is to be this extremely complex cooperative colony of cells we call a human being, many of which are organised into a very complex set of neurological systems mostly in my brain and gut but also distributed throughout the body.

I have trained for deep free diving, I have undergone complex surgery, I have studied hypnosis, so I have many different experiences (or not) of many different states of mind and consciousness. There isn’t much consciousness left after you have been more than 7 minutes since you last took a breath. It is a very strange state to spend many hours of your life in over many years.

So for me, there is no reasonable doubt that I am an embodied human. My conscious experience is what happens when a brain this complex, with language and experience sets this complex, and with multiple levels of memory systems, exists in a reality this complex. And it is, by definition, vastly more complex than I can possibly deal with in detail (for all the amazing capacities of my autistic brain to deal with complex systems {even if it has great difficulty dealing with people – they are too complex – I get overwhelmed}).

I seem to be this amazing (massive) stack of interacting complex systems, with multiple levels of memory, and multiple levels of prediction about what is likely to come next, and multiple levels of systems that respond to any deviation from the expected.

For me, being the geek that I am, with the experience sets that I have, there is no shadow of reasonable doubt remaining – the evidence sets are that strong.

But I have over 5 decades of fascination with mathematics, systems, patterns, machines, and how things work.

I guess in large part because I experience things so differently from most people, the standard explanations of authority figures have never made a lot of sense to me, as they simply did not align with my experience (never have).

Thus I have been forced, for over 60 years, to make my own sense of my own experience. And of course some of what some people say has been exceptionally useful. I have learned from intellectual giants throughout history, by reading and critiquing what they wrote. But for the most part, few people in the educational establishment were interested in my critiques, in part because their experience and mine were so different.

So I am kind of in the Buddhist tradition, that self, in so far as it exists, is given by a series of memories, which are one small part of the totality of the massive sets of levels of embodied systems that are me.

One of the tricky bits that few seem to fully understand, is that what we experience as reality cannot possibly be reality, but can only ever be a sort of subconsciously generated virtual reality. Whatever reality actually is, we have overwhelming evidence that it is far more complex than any computational system can possibly model in detail. Every computational system, human, AI, AGI or whatever, must, of necessity, be dealing with some simplification of the matrix we find ourselves in.

What sort of simplification is most appropriate to context???

That seems to be THE question in life.

Evolution seems to have embodied in us a set of Bayesian priors biased towards particular sets, with the ability to modify and modulate those priors over time and experience.

This seems to be the sort of life and choice available to us.

Might as well accept and enjoy it.

[followed by]

Like you, I think we are all necessarily delusional, but I’m not delusional in that particular way at this particular time 😉

The idea of soul doesn’t quite work for me.

Certainly, we are all uniquely different systems; and soul could, kind of, be a proxy for that; but to me it seems to be overloaded with too much baggage to be a useful term.

It seems to me that IIT has part of the picture, but right now I don’t really have time to dive into depth on that discussion.

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Swedish Response to Covid 19

[ 26/10/20 Response to a facebook Ad – on Swedish statistics]

Whoever wrote this seems to have an agenda that does not value human life very highly.

Sweden has taken measures to slow the spread of Covid. As yet only a little over 1% of the population has caught it, and 5,933 have died.

Had they taken no measures, then by now about 500,000 people would have died from it – which would be 5 times their normal annual death toll from all causes.

Sweden is a country where most people care about others, and most are responsible, and most heed advice, so that they haven’t needed to make stuff mandatory as most people do actually follow the advice. And even with that, they have a higher than average death toll.

This story is seriously misleading, by saying things that are true in a way that gives a false impression.

This is a real pandemic – with serious consequences.

It is a relatively mild serious pandemic, only about 2% of the population actually die from it, but if it got away then maybe up to 5% of the population would die, for a bunch of complex reasons.

How many people do you know. Now imagine 1 in 50 of them dead, Now try 1 in 20, mostly over 60 (like me) but not all by any means. A lot of younger people would die and many more would carry life long injuries to organs (particularly heart and lungs) that would severely restrict the options available to them.

A virus with a death rate of 50% would be much worse. The second round of the 1918 influenza pandemic did have that sort of death rate, and people took it seriously.

It seems to me to be beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt that this is a serious pandemic.

We need to treat it as such.

We need to stop with this sort of misleading propoganda.

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Solar Energy

[ 24/10/20 Lifeboat foundation Facebook post about Solar Energy – Jeremy claimed all subsidy]

Define subsidy please.

Fossil is a mature technology, with a huge amount of sunk capital, and many systems that have fully paid back their capital cost and are essentially free. Like Saudi Oil, costing less than $1 per barrel FOB the local port.

Can’t compare those systems with the cost of new systems.

New oil is almost all more expensive than new solar.

And there is a huge fossil fuel infrastructure that needs to be replaced over time (quite short time – a couple of decades at most).

With exponential technology the tech side is relatively simple; but the money side is difficult because the very concept of measuring value in markets is now becoming dangerous, as markets require scarcity to deliver value and exponential technologies have the ability to eliminate scarcity, thus eliminating market value.

Market value is no longer a reasonable proxy for human value – and therein lies the real crisis of our age.

For most people, even conceiving of an idea like that is difficult if not impossible, as the idea of money as a value measure is so embedded that their minds reject any challenge to it.

A really difficult and complex problems space that must be addressed if our species is to survive!

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1080

[ 22/10/20 Mischele posted a newspaper clip on her facebook page – 1080 Detected in workers]

If you’ve been eating puha, then you might detect 1080 in your body. It occurs naturally in puha, at very low levels – not dangerous at all.

Like all poisons, 1080 is concentration dependent.

We use it in NZ because mammals are more susceptible to it than birds or insects, so it is more likely to kill mammals than birds. We do that because NZ is one of the few places on the planet that does not have native land mammals.

1080 is a poison. It occurs naturally. If you get it in a high enough concentration, it will kill people.

Anyone who eats puha regularly will very likely have some traces of 1080 in their bodies. It takes time to metabolise out, the half life in most animals being between a few hours to a few days. The half life is the time it takes for a body to break down and get rid of half of it. Most things we eat are like this, they stay in our bodies getting less and less over time, but rarely going to zero, and that works, because mostly we can tolerate very small doses of most things. If you ate some puha a month ago then 1080 is probably still detectable in your system – though it will not be causing any problems.

The biggest issue for many hunters is that dogs are particularly susceptible – about 20 times more susceptible than rabbits and 50 times more susceptible than people. So a dog eating a rabbit or a possum that had a high enough dose to kill it quickly can very often contain enough to kill the dog slowly.

Everyone needs to treat 1080 seriously. In high concentrations it will kill – that is why we use it.

I would love to have effective technology that meant we would not have to use 1080, but we don’t yet. Within the next 20 or so years we should have, then we will stop using it.

Until then, it is what is keeping many of our native species alive, and it will continue to be used.

Treat it with extreme caution.

It is dangerous.

Keep your dogs and children well away from it.

I am a biochemist by training, was a keen hunter before going vegan after a terminal cancer diagnosis, and am a dog owner (and a parent).

[followed by]

Reuben Turipa Insults do not help sort out fact from fiction.

Any issue like this is complex, and attempts to over simplify it really do not help.

[followed by]

Chris Axbey
Show me some evidence that anything I have said is inaccurate, and I will look at it.

Everything I do comes from evidence and balance of probabilities. Everything contains uncertainties.

Most things are far more complex than they seem – all levels, most particularly us.

[followed by]

The only way anyone is going to die from 1080 poisoning from baits in drinking water is if someone dumps a heap of them (several 10s of Kgs of them) in someone’s water tank, and leaves it there when they are away on holiday. Chance of anything like that happening by accident is close enough to zero that the difference doesn’t matter. There is no chance of damage from drinking water from a stream, unless it is a very small and very slow flowing stream and someone has put tonnes of baits along several hundred meters of its length. A few baits in a fast flowing stream is not going to be a problem for anyone; though it is something everyone ought to do their best to avoid. A bait in a small puddle could be a problem for a thirsty dog.

Chances of a person dying by eating meat from a poisoned animal are very small, again close to zero.

Dogs are very different. Dogs are about 50 times more susceptible to it than people are, and dogs can eat a lot in a single meal (much more in terms of a % of their body weight than most people do). So dogs are quite likely to die from eating poisoned animals.

People have suicided by eating 1080 when it was sold in the US as a rat bait. Similarly in the US children have died from accidental 1080 poisoning from containers, but it was used very differently there from what we do here (it was in near pure form, and here it is always diluted to way less than 1%).

If a toddler was to pick up and eat a 12g bait, it might be enough to kill them. They would have about a 50/50 chance of surviving, but they would be very sick for several weeks. If someone recovers from 1080 poisoning then recovery is normally total. There have been cases of brain damage but technically that wasn’t from the 1080 directly, but from lack of blood flow because their hearts stopped for quite a few minutes before they were able to be restarted (not a technicality that was much use to them, but worth noting – heart stopping for prolonged periods {more than 3 minutes} is never a good idea, for any reason at all).

1080 is a poison that is cleared from the body, and is not retained in fat or anything like that. Provided a body is alive, then it will break down 1080, cleave off the fluorine molecule, and it can no longer block the cytochrome chain of energy production (which is how it normally acts). But that process is slow, so it takes time to recover, every couple of days symptoms halve in intensity; but you wouldn’t want to try running a marathon for several months after – its that sort of thing.

So yeah – 1080 is dangerous.

Keep young children away from it.

Keep it away from young children.

Keep your dogs well away from it – for at least a full summer after any treatment, so that anything killed has well and truly decomposed, and rotted away.

I look forward to the day that we have cheap smart traps that we can deploy in number and we don’t need to use 1080.

That will be a great day.

I am not a fan of using poisons; and sometimes they are the lesser of the available evils.

[followed by]

Toa Wahine
Yes – unfortunately, cheap is currently a big part of what makes something effective.

We need to change that.
Markets fail to deliver a reasonable proxy to human value more generally in the presence of fully automated systems, and that is an extremely complex situation.

I have been saying for about 20 years that some sort of universal income is probably a necessary part of transitioning away from using markets as a valuation tool.

So there is a very real sense in which I share your frustration around “cheap” being a big part of effective in our current society.

We need to move to a society that values the life and liberty of individuals over money, and we are not there yet.

And all rights come with responsibilities (kaitiakitanga in a sense, and perhaps even deeper).

As individuals we require both ecosystems and social systems to support us. Thus liberty can only work if it is responsible for the necessary boundaries required for the survival of both ecosystems and social systems. And that gets very complex very quickly when we are dealing with multiple levels of systems present simultaneously.

And part of being responsible in the presence of liberty is being respectful of diversity. Any real expression of freedom does lead to difference. We all need to respect such difference, provided that it is not an unreasonable threat to the ecosystem or society or the life or liberty of anyone else. And that can lead us into some interesting conversations, to work out just what is important in terms of life and liberty and systems.

So yes – I share your frustration at the degree to which “cheap” dominates assessments of “effective” in today’s society, and I am working to change that. All help gratefully accepted.

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What will the Internet do for the future of humans?

[ 21/10/20 ]

The internet is a powerful tool.

Like all tools, it can be used for good or ill.

What it will be used for will depend upon the choices we make.

We all have a roll in that.

It is important that we all question and observe and critically think about things at every level we are able.

For me, as a geek who has been interested in biochemistry and evolution and complex strategy and math for over 50 years, I am clear that complex evolved systems are necessarily based in cooperation. Competitive environments reduce and eliminate complexity (in this sense complexity equates to freedom, diversity and creativity).

Complexity can only emerge and survive (long term) in fundamentally cooperative contexts. And that gets complex, as part of survival is developing effective cheat detection and mitigation strategies (an eternal exploration of unknown strategies and “spaces”).

Thus, if we use the internet as a tool to empower global cooperation, global respect for diversity, global abundance and freedom for everyone, then it can be a great thing.

If we use it for global control, to eliminate diversity and freedom, to impose order and conformity, then it could be the most destructive tool imaginable; and would necessarily lead to the extinction of the species.

A hammer hitting a nail is a useful thing.

A hammer hitting a head is a destructive thing.

The hammer is just a tool.

It is always what we use tools for that matters.

Powerful tools allow us to do more – of whatever.

We all need to acknowledge that freedom without responsibility is self terminating – always.

Freedom only works if it comes with the responsibility to cooperate at least enough to allow the ecosystems and the societies from which we came to survive; because our survival depends upon both of them, long term.

So think deeply.

Choose wisely.

Cooperate and respect diversity, and the internet can be a great tool in making that happen, universally, for all people, everywhere.

Use it as a tool for exploitation, control, misinformation, deception, competition and we are all at risk.

We each have a choice in how we use it, and each of those choices is important.

What will the Internet do for the future of humans?

[ 21/10/20 ]

The internet is a powerful tool.

Like all tools, it can be used for good or ill.

What it will be used for will depend upon the choices we make.

We all have a roll in that.

It is important that we all question and observe and critically think about things at every level we are able.

For me, as a geek who has been interested in biochemistry and evolution and complex strategy and math for over 50 years, I am clear that complex evolved systems are necessarily based in cooperation. Competitive environments reduce and eliminate complexity (in this sense complexity equates to freedom, diversity and creativity).

Complexity can only emerge and survive (long term) in fundamentally cooperative contexts. And that gets complex, as part of survival is developing effective cheat detection and mitigation strategies (an eternal exploration of unknown strategies and “spaces”).

Thus, if we use the internet as a tool to empower global cooperation, global respect for diversity, global abundance and freedom for everyone, then it can be a great thing.

If we use it for global control, to eliminate diversity and freedom, to impose order and conformity, then it could be the most destructive tool imaginable; and would necessarily lead to the extinction of the species.

A hammer hitting a nail is a useful thing.

A hammer hitting a head is a destructive thing.

The hammer is just a tool.

It is always what we use tools for that matters.

Powerful tools allow us to do more – of whatever.

We all need to acknowledge that freedom without responsibility is self terminating – always.

Freedom only works if it comes with the responsibility to cooperate at least enough to allow the ecosystems and the societies from which we came to survive; because our survival depends upon both of them, long term.

So think deeply.

Choose wisely.

Cooperate and respect diversity, and the internet can be a great tool in making that happen, universally, for all people, everywhere.

Use it as a tool for exploitation, control, misinformation, deception, competition and we are all at risk.

We each have a choice in how we use it, and each of those choices is important.

Posted in Ideas, Our Future, Technology | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Laurie’s Blog – A box of Chocolates

Laurie’s Blog – A box of Chocolates

[ 20/10/20 ]

Unfortunately, since going sugar free vegan I haven’t found a chocolate that is those things and tasty.

As to navigating life, its finding a balance between the many things that need to be done, and having a bit of fun along the way:
Making enough money to survive;
Doing something to care for the natural environment;
Doing what I can to influence social systems to deliver reasonable levels of security and abundance to everyone;
Talking about the overriding need for cooperation between diverse agents at all levels; and spelling out the dangers of fully competitive systems;
Trying to get people to think really deeply about the idea of freedom, and to become conscious of the levels of responsibility that necessarily accompany any new level of freedom, if it is to survive.

I have a long term vision of everyone having the option of indefinite life extension, and resetting their body “clocks” to their 20 something optimum; and having the resources to do whatever they responsibly choose – where the conversations around responsibility might at times be a little protracted.

Beyond that, I basically “wing it”, doing what seems appropriate in the moment.

Posted in Laurie's blog, Philosophy | Tagged | Leave a comment

Can philosophy help in solving the perennial chicken and egg problem?

[ 19/10/20 ]

No.

Because there isn’t a chicken and egg problem.

The process of evolution, leading from relatively simple replicating molecules (probably in alkaline “white smokers” using H+ ions from geothermal chemistry in the first instance) through archea to bacteria to eukaryotes to multi cellular animals with haplodiploid life cycles that eventually became chickens and eggs as part of a complex diploid phase of development.

The idea of a chicken and egg problem existing comes from an overly simplistic understanding of an exceptionally complex situation.

And that is what happens in most people most of the time. Reality gets over simplified.

Reality seems to be sufficiently complex that the subconscious processes of our brains have to simplify it to allow us to make what limited sense we do of it.

We get to see chickens and eggs, and we think of them being end points in processes.

What we cannot see without a microscope is what is happening at the cellular level, where the real action happens prior to egg formation, where after mating a haploid egg cell and a haploid sperm cell get together to form a diploid zygote, that then initiates the sets of chemical processes within the chicken that results in the egg being formed, then laid, then incubated, then hatched.

And the physiochemical environment within the chicken that allows for egg formation is part of the environment within which this evolutionary process has happened.

It is deeply complex, amazing, beautiful, subtle, profound, and contains many levels of fundamental uncertainties and fundamental unknowables.

In the sense of philosophy being a love of wisdom, a love of the observation of reality, and a building of our understanding of what is present – then in that sense philosophy and science are the same thing.

In the sense of groups of people forming “schools” and arguing over resources and power – then much of what we see in academia is neither philosophy or science in the sense that I value both of those things.

For me, as someone fascinate by biology and behaviour for over 50 years, it is proven beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt that reality is more complex than any computational entity (human or AGI) is capable of modeling or predicting in detail – and always will be; because it contains many classes of fundamental uncertainty and fundamental unknowables.

And some classes of systems can be very reliable even in the presence of both uncertainty and unknowability.

So we seem to have the best of both worlds, provided we can see it as such.

We seem to have the sort of fundamental uncertainty that does allow for the possibility of real choice in some contexts, at the same time as we seem to have sufficient regularity and reliability for complex pattern such as we are to emerge in some contexts.

The really deep question is – what sort of contexts, over what sort of time frames?

It seems clear to me, beyond all reasonable doubt, that the sort of pattern that we are requires fundamental cooperation in order to survive.

We are certainly capable of competing if the context demands it of us, but all out competition between agents as inventive as we are is necessarily self terminating.

We cooperate, or we perish – all levels.

In the end, it really does seem to be that simple. And between here and there it is likely to get exceedingly complex.

Can philosophy help in solving the perennial chicken and egg problem?

[ 19/10/20 ]

No.

Because there isn’t a chicken and egg problem.

The process of evolution, leading from relatively simple replicating molecules (probably in alkaline “white smokers” using H+ ions from geothermal chemistry in the first instance) through archea to bacteria to eukaryotes to multi cellular animals with haplodiploid life cycles that eventually became chickens and eggs as part of a complex diploid phase of development.

The idea of a chicken and egg problem existing comes from an overly simplistic understanding of an exceptionally complex situation.

And that is what happens in most people most of the time. Reality gets over simplified.

Reality seems to be sufficiently complex that the subconscious processes of our brains have to simplify it to allow us to make what limited sense we do of it.

We get to see chickens and eggs, and we think of them being end points in processes.

What we cannot see without a microscope is what is happening at the cellular level, where the real action happens prior to egg formation, where after mating a haploid egg cell and a haploid sperm cell get together to form a diploid zygote, that then initiates the sets of chemical processes within the chicken that results in the egg being formed, then laid, then incubated, then hatched.

And the physiochemical environment within the chicken that allows for egg formation is part of the environment within which this evolutionary process has happened.

It is deeply complex, amazing, beautiful, subtle, profound, and contains many levels of fundamental uncertainties and fundamental unknowables.

In the sense of philosophy being a love of wisdom, a love of the observation of reality, and a building of our understanding of what is present – then in that sense philosophy and science are the same thing.

In the sense of groups of people forming “schools” and arguing over resources and power – then much of what we see in academia is neither philosophy or science in the sense that I value both of those things.

For me, as someone fascinate by biology and behaviour for over 50 years, it is proven beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt that reality is more complex than any computational entity (human or AGI) is capable of modeling or predicting in detail – and always will be; because it contains many classes of fundamental uncertainty and fundamental unknowables.

And some classes of systems can be very reliable even in the presence of both uncertainty and unknowability.

So we seem to have the best of both worlds, provided we can see it as such.

We seem to have the sort of fundamental uncertainty that does allow for the possibility of real choice in some contexts, at the same time as we seem to have sufficient regularity and reliability for complex pattern such as we are to emerge in some contexts.

The really deep question is – what sort of contexts, over what sort of time frames?

It seems clear to me, beyond all reasonable doubt, that the sort of pattern that we are requires fundamental cooperation in order to survive.

We are certainly capable of competing if the context demands it of us, but all out competition between agents as inventive as we are is necessarily self terminating.

We cooperate, or we perish – all levels.

In the end, it really does seem to be that simple. And between here and there it is likely to get exceedingly complex.

Posted in Ideas, Nature, Philosophy, understanding | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Social Issues – Chrys’s Facebook page

[ 18/10/20 – Chrys’s facebook page]

There are insane incentives within the system.
As the return on investment drops, then people take their money out of the bank and buy something that has a rate of return – property. House prices go up, rents go up, people need higher benefits to pay the rents, ….

The entire system is seriously broken.

The idea of measuring value in markets is no longer a reasonable proxy for value more generally.

Most of the finance industry can now be accurately characterised as a cancer on society.

And that is just the start.

The value of labour is falling, and is about to go into freefall.

AI capacity is currently doubling every 2 months – so an AI system that costs $200,000 today, will cost $1,000 by December next year, and under $5 by December 2021 (the doubling time is decreasing – it is a double exponential).

There is no aspect of the employment system that will not be impacted by this in the near future.

This is seriously complex, and we need to start seriously looking at the reality heading our way.
Trump isn’t the problem, he is just a symptom.

The problems are systemic, deep!!!

We need the automation, the AI, to solve real problems that most don’t want to know about; and having it does change things, fundamentally.

We need a cooperative base to human society that respects and embraces diversity. We cannot survive in a fundamentally competitive system – we are just too good at inventing things.

We need respect for individuals, for diversity, for ecosystems; all levels.

We need every individual to accept the responsibility that necessarily accompanies freedom, if it is to survive.

Freedom without responsibility self terminates – always – it is only a matter of time…

Advanced automation allows us to meet the reasonable needs of every person on the planet, but there can never be a market based solution that delivers such an outcome – that is not how markets work. Markets require scarcity to function.
Everyone has needs met, no market value.

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Is socialism the future of our civilization?

Is socialism the future of our civilization?

[ 18/10/20 ]

If by socialism you mean a system where all property is owned by the group as a whole, then no – such a centrally controlled system is open to multiple sets of failure modalities.

The simple antithesis, of property owned by individuals and traded in markets, is also open to multiple sets of failure modalities.

What has some chance of working is a system where some things are in common ownership and some in private ownership, and everyone acknowledges that they all have responsibilities in respect of a duty of care towards to the societies and ecosystems that make the existence that they have possible.

And the world does in fact seem to be sufficiently complex, and contain sufficiently many sets of fundamental uncertainties and unknowables, that there will be eternal aspects of exploration required of all of us as to what responsibility actually looks like in the specific contexts we happen to find ourselves in. Reality seems to be sufficiently complex that no set of rules will be an exact fit to all contexts, and most sets of rules that have stood the test of time are some approximation to a useful fit in most of the contexts of the past.

So no – socialism is highly unlikely to be the future of our civilisation, at least not if the civilisation has a long term future.

Both socialism and capitalism are overly simplistic approaches to what is actually a deeply complex problem space.

One thing that 50 years of exploration of the strategy space has convince me, beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt, is that the only strategies that have any reasonable probability of long term survival with reasonable degrees of freedom are based in universal cooperation, where all individuals have what they consider reasonable degrees of security and resources and freedom. And there are real limits in some systems, and there will need to be conversations about what reasonableness looks like.

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What do you feel entitled to and why?

Daniel S asked on facebook – What do you feel entitled to and why?
(This is an earnest inquiry.)

[ 18/10/20 ]

I don’t feel entitled to anything.

There are many things that seem to be required for my long term survival.

There are many things that need to be avoided if we are to survive long term.

I am certainly aware of how privilaged I am, being debt free, living in reasonable security in a beautiful place. I don’t feel entitled to that. I appreciate it.

The very idea of entitlement seems to be a dangerous idea, that is unlikely to end well in the long term.

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