Is technology the answer to world peace or the problem?

Is technology the answer to world peace or the problem?

[ 10/October/22 ]

Neither.

It is deeply more complex than that.

There is a sense in which technology is foundational to our long term survival, and there is another sense in which any technology is, in and of itself, neutral, it is what we do with it that matters. And of course there is also a sense in which putting very powerful technology at the disposal of individuals ignorant of its real potential, is about equivalent to putting poison in the food supply – sooner or later it will result in destruction.

Montessori was close to something.

Anyone who thinks biology is simple has clearly not spent much time studying it.

Evolutionary biology has been a passion of mine for over 50 years.

There is a sense in which evolutionary biology is deeply strategically complexity, as deep as you are capable of going, and then some.

The more deeply I explored biochemistry, with its underlying quantum foundations; the more deeply I explored the recursive and infinite nature of complex strategy in uncertainty; the more clear it became that every level of complexity is based firmly and necessarily on a level of cooperation, and that such competition as does exist must necessarily be built upon that cooperative base, if it is to survive long term (and that leads to deep complexity and uncertainty at every level). Every level of complexity present has that same complex strategic structure, necessarily, unavoidably.

Any attempts to over simplify that reality, to put competition ahead of cooperation, is necessarily destructive of complexity, security and freedom.

It is a deeply complex subject, and it takes years of study and experiment to get a real handle on; and there is a sense in which anyone can see it in every aspect of their lives, if they just take the time to look clearly and with as little bias as possible.

No family can survive all out competition. Children are absolutely reliant on the cooperation of someone for their survival. Their mother in the first instance, for at least the first 6 months of life in the womb. …..

Technology can allow us to store food to see us through tough times.

It requires some very high technologies to allow us to mitigate all the risks that we see clearly in the fossil record – the sorts of things that have led to the extinction of most of the species that are no longer on the planet. So if we wish a long term future for ourselves or our species, then we absolutely need some very powerful technology, but we also need the wisdom and understanding to use it wisely and for the benefit of all.

Delivering such technology into a fundamentally competitive environment is a risk greater than the one it is trying to solve (a problem worse than the disease).

Every person, every level of association, of structure, needs to understand that fundamental demand for cooperation (if survival is a desired outcome); and any lover of freedom needs to understand that freedom demands responsibility if it is to survive, and part of that responsibility is an acceptance of any and all diversity that is not an actual and unreasonable threat. That too leads to deep complexity and uncertainty and more than a little discomfort for many.

Over simplifying any level of that, results in destruction; and we all necessarily come with brains very strongly biased for simplicity over complexity (the evolutionary reasons for that are clear).

We need technology, and technology is dangerous; but life without technology is even more dangerous.

We cannot entirely eliminate danger and we can mitigate it to some amazing degrees; but only if we accept the fundamental demand for cooperation, and for an acceptance of and respect for diversity (any and all levels).

Every level and class and instance of agent needs to have levels of security and freedom that they recognise as being appropriate to the levels of responsibility they are demonstrating. And we all need to be working on being our highest selves, at the same time as we are alert for any and all levels of cheating strategy.

Nothing even remotely simple in that!

So we need technology for our long term survival, and we need world peace for that also, and both demand of each and every one of us an acceptance of responsibility, each to the best of our limited and fallible abilities.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) with reasonable security, tools, resources and degrees of freedom, and reasonable examples of the natural environment; and that is going to demand responsibility from all of us - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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