Quora – Why are social networks not helping to improve the entire society, when in theory sharing infinite knowledge and connecting everyone is an extraordinary advance?

Why are social networks not helping to improve the entire society, when in theory sharing infinite knowledge and connecting everyone is an extraordinary advance?

[ 17/8/20 ]

Tony Castaldo has part of the answer – the profit motive.

Thomas Ruddick has a part of it in that change is often about finding easier ways of doing things, for all sorts of motives, and often from ignorance and necessity.

And there are other important aspects of this very complex evolving system:

1/ The complexity of reality. It is now proven beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt that not only is reality complex beyond the ability of any human to deal with in detail, it is complex and contains fundamental uncertainties that make it beyond the capacity of any computational entity to deal with in detail with 100% accuracy. And in some contexts it is possible to achieve very high levels of accuracy (over 99,999999%), but never in all contexts.

2/ Our experience is of our own personal subconsciously generated model of reality, not reality itself. Thus we are all subject to multiple levels of genetic and cultural bias in how our individual experience of being is assembled. The more work we do to understand those biases the greater degrees of freedom we can achieve, but if we fail to do that work, then such biases are available for exploitation.

3/ Evolution selects mostly on speed and accuracy of response to danger, if the costs of false positives is low enough, it can tolerate a lot of them. Missing a real one has very high cost. Thus we all have a great many tendencies to see dangers that are not necessarily real. Those tendencies can be exploited by AI systems.

4/ Any value measured in a market has a component of scarcity built in. Things universally abundant, even if vitally important, have zero market value – like air. The flip side of that, is that markets are incapable of meeting the real needs of everyone, in and of their own internal incentive structures.

5/ The use of money dis-intermediates our reliance on reality. We tend to see the symbol (money) as having value, rather than the things it symbolises. We think we need money to survive, but what we really need is environments, ecosystems, goods, services and network connections. Money only works in so far as all those other things actually exist. A failure to appreciate that reality can lead to a focus on money, rather than a focus on goods and services in reality, which leads to systemic failure.

6/ Exploitation of unconscious bias for profit by AI system. This happens because there exist enormous datasets of what actually captures the attention of specific individuals, and the AI systems can use those to optimise feeds into our networks of whatever it is that holds our attention. They do this for the simple expedient that doing so increases advertising revenue. They do it by the mechanism of exploitation of multiple levels of unconscious bias.

7/ This leads to the creation of “echo chambers” of individuals with particular beliefs, who then get those beliefs reinforced. In some cases the reinforcement is such that communication with other groups is no longer possible.

The historical mechanisms of living in physical communities with the physical necessity of social interaction with a diverse set of individuals (like in physical markets), and the real experience of needing that diversity to survive day to day is no longer present.

Money has isolated us from physical reality, in that we can think only of money, not the ecologies and technologies and networks of people and systems and understandings that make it all work. Many think it is all just money – the real complexity of the real networks and relationships is lost.

The fundamental role of cooperation and trust in making those networks happen, is lost. Many people mistakenly believe that it is all money and competition, when the reality is much more closely approximated with it being all about cooperation and trust.

So social networks allow for some groups to become ever more confident that their particular overly simplistic and fatally flawed “Truth” is correct, and everyone else is wrong and bad – leading to ever greater potential for conflict; rather than acknowledging that all understandings are necessarily wrong, and some may be less wrong than others in certain contexts.

Being able to compute any set of vectors with 99.999% accuracy in 20 seconds is of no survival value at all if the bus heading towards you will intersect with your path in 6 seconds. Near enough to be survivable is what counts in evolutionary contexts – all levels of biology and culture.

The idea of “Truth”, as in one true anything, is now one of the greatest threats to humanity.

We all need more humility than that.

We all need to accept that we are fundamentally fallible, and that other people may have different and workable ways of surviving.

And that needs to also accept the reality that all levels of complexity require boundaries for survival; at every level of biology and culture there will be real limits in any particular context, and going past those limits is not survivable.

So respect for this aspect of what is survivable in any particular real situation must come before respect for diversity – if we are to survive.

And that is always complex and uncertain, particularly when dealing with multiple levels of awareness simultaneously.

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Quora – Why, in the past, people could, at the same time, be excellent in many sectors (anthropology, philosophy, biology) and now we are rather good in only one?

Why, in the past, people could, at the same time, be excellent in many sectors (anthropology, philosophy, biology) and now we are rather good in only one?

[ 16/8/20 ]

Short answer is because information is increasing and models are becoming more complex. Now to get a reasonable understanding of biological evolution for example, one needs to be able to handle some very complex math, have a reasonable grasp of quantum mechanics, be able to deal with multidimensional probability vectors, and have a very wide range of experience of technologies and ecosystems and geology.

Most of what was taken as obvious facts 100 years ago is now seen as rather crude approximations.

Most practitioners now deal only in probabilities.

Understanding itself has changed significantly for most.

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Lifeboat foundation comment about Mars colonisation

Lifeboat foundation comment about Mars colonisation

[ 15/8/20 ]

I love the idea of having a reasonable fleet of heavy lift rockets, but we need to use them to get manufacturing of solar cells on the moon going, then use that energy to launch moon mass back to earth orbit with surface based linear electric motors (only reaction rockets for maneuvering required), then we can do some serious space colonisation.

As Rodrigo notes, radiation is the major issue – long term.

You need about 20ft of rock to give the same shielding as the earth surface currently gets, so on mars life would have to be underground.

In earth orbit you could build large habitats that are spinning cylinders (for centripetal “gravity”) inside of a non-spinning rock shield. Energy can be collected outside and channeled in, sensors and remote robotics mounted outside. That is workable – long term.

So setting up manufacturing on the far side of the moon is far higher priority than Mars; and we need heavy lift rockets to do that, at least to get starting materials and people into orbit, and maybe to lift coal up (need carbon and hydrogen for living systems, plenty of oxygen in moon rocks).

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Wendy made a Facebook post about the economy and Covid-19

Wendy made a Facebook post about the economy and Covid-19

[ 15/8/20 ]

Quite a few things written here that are not accurate.

Many people knew decades ago what needs to be done to control pandemic – isolation.

Isolation to starve the pandemic of victims is the only course of action we have available.

The problem is that most people would rather be righteous about their particular set of beliefs, than be willing to stand in uncertainty and to question everything.

And to be fair, it is an extremely complex situation.

It takes a lot of time and effort to learn enough about physics and chemistry to start to understand how evolution actually works, and how all new levels of complexity in evolved systems are necessarily built upon new levels of cooperation, and how every level of cooperation requires evolving ecosystems of strategies to detect and mitigate cheating strategies on the cooperative that maintains that level of complexity.

It is now beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt that this reality we find ourselves in is complex beyond the capacity of any computational entity to model accurately in any predictive fashion that is anything other than probabilistic. That is, no absolute certainty, only probabilities – what is most likely to happen, while many things could happen.

Life often demands of us that we respond quickly. Things like big cats or bears or busses tend to approach rapidly, leaving only a small number of seconds (or fractions of a second) to make a survivable choice. Cant do complex in such short times, so evolution has given us brains that under stress simplify everything, and give us actions that did (in the past, on average, over time, at least for our ancestors) allow for survival. Most of those heuristics (useful shortcuts) were very context sensitive. For most of us today, the contexts are very different.

Most people hold on to simple models, and there is a lot of good evolutionary reasons for that to be the case, but it is not actually helping us now.

Right now, the very idea of money is one of the biggest problems we have.

Most people use money as a proxy for value generally, and it is very poor at that, because anything abundant necessarily has zero monetary value; but if you think air is unimportant, just because it has no economic value, then you are unlikely to survive swimming.

Anyone who has had any serious interest in pandemics has known for over a hundred years that to survive them, we must isolate everyone, yet ensure that everyone has all the food and water and other essentials that they need to survive.

Our social systems are not optimised for that reality.

Our social systems are optimised for the needs of a very tiny subset of humanity, and almost all of the economic, educational, political, cultural, social, bureaucratic, religious and judicial systems present are optimised in that way (to the degree that they are optimised for anything).

We live in a very complex reality, and we all necessarily simplify it to make any sense at all of it. And most people simplify it far too much far too often, to be able to make enough sense to see what is required right now.

Right now, we need cooperation.

In New Zealand we are doing that reasonably well, and it is needed globally.

And cooperation is not control.

Cooperation is the willing alignment of diverse agents to an agreed purpose (without coercion).

Alignment of complex systems is a very complex topic, and it always involves something of an eternal dance of many levels of trial and error, amplifying things that seem to be working and dampening down those that don’t, eternally (for each of us internally as well as between us externally).

Right now, we need more people to be sufficiently willing to question things, that they can see that the fundamentally competitive economic and political structures that dominate are not survivable, and we need fundamental cooperation.

And that cooperation does have to actually meet the essential needs of everyone – no exceptions.

And to make that work, those that cheat do need to be caught, and do need to be brought back into cooperation.

In the existing system it is impossible to bring people “back into cooperation” when the system was not cooperative in the first instance.

So we have a lot of work to do.

Forcing people into all out competition to survive cannot end well, not with so much destructive potential in our existing systems.

Anyone who thinks nuclear powered battle groups are not dangerous is insane.
Anyone who thinks those groups are invulnerable is insane in a very different way.

If we value every life, then this virus is relatively easy to defeat, and it does require fundamental reform of the existing monetary systems to make that happen.

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Facebook – Effective Altruism group discussion of UBI

Facebook – Effective Altruism group discussion of UBI
Kaya Diguistini 12 Aug 2:09am

[ 12/8/20 ]

I do not see UBI as any sort of final stable state, and it does seem to very probably be a necessary part of any effective transition strategy to get us to sets of social systems that do actually deliver some reasonable approximation to long term security and liberty for all.

In the presence of advanced automation (which we have and need to solve several levels of existential risk present), then the existing competitive systems tend to ever greater concentration of wealth, leading to increasing probability of multiple levels of failure within necessary systems.

UBI can ensure that everyone has enough to survive, without placing any limits on how much anyone can have (in and of itself – the nature of the systems and resources present does however impose many levels of limits that require high tech and cooperative activity to create effective ways of working through – ways that respect all real systemic limitations).

Most of the real work required to produce the goods and services purchased by such tokens can actually be produced by fully automated systems – so for the first time in human history such an approach does not require slavery at any level. That does actually make it a real possibility.

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In response to Ralph’s facebook post on the new Covid-19 alert level change

In response to Ralph’s facebook post on the new Covid-19 alert level change.

[ 12/8/20 ]

I fear we will see too many people revert to overly simplistic true/false models of what is happening, rather than acknowledging the reality of complexity that can only ever be dealt with in terms of probability.
Nobody could have said exactly when our earthquake would occur with certainty, but I could know with confidence beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt that we would have a larger earthquake, and be prepared for it – which I was.

Covid-19 is similar.

I could not know that we would have covid-19 as the specific viral pandemic, and I could know with certainty beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt that we would have pandemics like this, and that the only real and effective response is universal lockdown for twice the lifecycle of the organism.

I wrote as much on one of my websites in 1993, and I was far from being the first, as I read about it in books published before my birth.

What we need is cooperative systems that can meet the essential needs of every person on the planet.

What we have is competitive systems optimised for the needs of a very tiny fraction of the people on this planet.

What we need is to create systems and processes that create and maintain sufficient linkages and trust between all the many levels and types of complex systems in existence, so that we can maintain coherence in the systems. That demands responsibility from all of us, at every level we are able to appreciate, and that includes acceptance of and respect for diversity.

Our major problem is that we all have brains which are biologically constructed such that when under stress difference tends to be identified as “bad” or “wrong” or “foe”.

Under stress the subconscious processes of our brain simplify everything down to simple binaries; and all aspects of the world manifest as some version of “if you are not with us you are against us”.
We actually get to experience existence that way.
It isn’t a choice, it is subconscious processes, that take a great deal of training to modify.
We are all built that way.
In our deep past where stress came from big cats or bears or roaming bands of marauders, then it was a useful adaptation. In today’s complex and necessarily highly connected and densely populated world it can easily lead to unrecoverable tipping points into catastrophic failure modalities.

In a very real sense, our survival rests on actually meeting the real needs of everyone. And it is a seriously complex and highly dimensional situation; with many levels of very complex sets of strategies present simultaneously, as well as the basic needs for food, shelter, warmth, respect, hope, freedom, etc.

So yeah – the “team of 5 million” does actually seem to be essential for our survival in many ways that few have much awareness of.

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Foundations of Logic post about perceptions

[ 10/8/20 Foundations of Logic Facebook group – Walter posted “The perceptions make the pictures of reality, then the spirit in philosophy and metaphysics makes random models out of these pictures !?”… ]

I kind of agree in part with Pawel’s critique, of the question, and it is far more complex than homeostasis, though that is a part of the picture.

To be human is to embody some quite amazing levels of complexity – at least 15 levels of sets of complex adaptive systems.

At every level there will be aspects of homeostasis – aspects that maintain the necessary boundaries for survival, and there will also be other systems present, some involving development, some involving exploration.

To be human is not to stay the same, but to constantly evolve and adapt.

Perceptions is a part of what makes the reality that we experience, and there is so much more in the subconscious systems than the simple picture above indicates. Our physical processing systems of brain have been deeply selected and tuned over the deep time of our biological history for the sets of contexts that those ancestors experienced. I’ve been interested in the subject for over 50 years, from the quantum mechanical levels, through the biochemical, the cellular, the neuroanatomical and neuro-chemical/physiological, through the systemic and strategic. It is deeply complex and fascinating and contains aspects of homeostasis, aspects of fractal development, aspects of antagonistic pleiotropy, aspects of complex adaptive systems and explorations of systemic spaces we are only beginning to explore as mathematical constructs. All of that selection and tuning achieved by the simple expedient of survival in contexts.

Our linguistic and social constructs are similarly complex, and have been selected over the deep time of our linguistic and cultural history (hundreds of thousands of years), and contain deeply nested sets of implicit and related strategic systems and relationships; again tuned by the simple expedient of survival.

And understanding that survival often has very limited budgets of time and energy to work with; so the models our brains construct have to be generated fast enough and energetically cheaply enough to allow us to avoid all the many levels of danger that can appear very rapidly in some contexts. There is very little evolutionary pressure to produce accurate models of complex systems, and a great deal of pressure to produce simple models that are near enough in context to be survivable. Appreciating how deeply that principle invades and distorts every aspect of our intellectual existence is not a trivial exercise, and can result in an inability to communicate with most people about things one finds interesting once one has made that set of distinctions, and spent a bit of time exploring their consequences.

In so far as the methods of science allow us to develop models that are less wrong and more contextually useful than the ones we had, and allows us to develop tools and technologies that are more useful than the ones we had, then those methods are powerful and useful; provided that they are used with a deep sense of humility and respect for the profound complexity that we are and the living ecosystems within which we are embedded are; and a deep appreciation for just how limited and simplistic any model we may have of this reality in which we exist must necessarily be.

It can be really difficult to appreciate that in an evolutionary sense of fitness, more accurate is often less fit if it takes longer or uses more energy to reach that more accurate conclusion.

Evolution often deeply embodies the idea of near enough is good enough, if it can be done quickly and easily. That is what tends to survive.

The issue we face is that we live in a deeply complex and fundamentally uncertain reality with many different classes of fat tail high risk situations that are low probability with respect to human lifespans, but very high impact when they do occur. Science is our only mechanism to deal with such risks, but even the idea that such risks exist can be enough to send many people into unrecoverable anxiety.

Factor in over this the idea that for a fully loaded processor the most efficient possible search is a fully random search, but how does any human mind approach randomness with all the necessary sets of biases built into the many levels of the structures of our being that allow us to make what sense we do of existence.

It is deep, profoundly more complex than the original question seems to imply.

[followed by in response to Pawel’s comment]

Hi Pawel,

The classical assumption of necessary cause and effect does lead in the direction you point.

Once one is able to experiment with relational systems that contain fundamental uncertainty, and are only dispositional in their relationships, and therefore only approximate classical certainty in aggregate, then you start to see the possibility of eternal uncertainty, eternal exploration of novelty, and eternal unknowns.

When one starts to do serious systemic analysis from that set of assumptions, then the idea of any model accurately mirroring the system at all levels is demonstrably nonsense; and there are many sets of models that give useful approximations in some sets of contexts.

Once you start to understand the systemic pressures present in evolutionary systems; then it becomes clear that all understandings necessarily have the quality of being some sort of heuristic approximation that had relevance to the particular evolutionary context of that lineage.

Certainly, the analysis of human beings as an organised network of subsystems does deliver a useful approximation in some sets of contexts; and it does not deliver anything with particular predictive quality in respect of any particular individual. One is left with sets of probabilities and uncertainties – eternally.

I see no taboo.

I have been trying to discuss these issues for over 40 years, but have found very few individuals who can even begin to break the subconscious chains of classical causality, while retaining useful sets of mathematical and logical tools for model construction.

It is very difficult for many to release their attachment to being right, and to accept fundamental and eternal uncertainty with all the insecurity that necessarily comes with that; and replace it with contextually relevant confidence.

[followed by]

Hi Pawel,

Cybernetics is, in my terminology, one specific set of “mathematical and logical” tools.
I studied cybernetics at Auckland University in 1978 (introductory – 2nd year level), and have explored some of it on my own since.

Yes certainly, every aspect of life involves flows of energy and information.

This approach is a fundamental aspect of the modern synthesis of understanding evolution and evolved systems.

There are many different sets of systems that do in fact work in some contexts to provide understandings with some level of reliability. All of them contain uncertainties. All seem to be insufficient, in and of themselves.

[followed by]

Hi Pawel,

I regard cybernetics as a useful first order approximation that works well for simple systems.

Unfortunately, most of life is complex systems, and complex adaptive systems do not respond in ways that are captured by cybernetics. David Snowden has some good videos of introductory training he has done on complex systems on youtube. Some very simple equations behave in entirely unpredictable fashion. If Garret Lissi is correct in his conjectures, then the simplest entities that we can currently detect in reality seem to be manifestation of the most complex symmetry in mathematics (the E8 Lie group) {whether he is right or wrong, the fact that he can make a reasonable case for the conjecture ought to be enough to shake up the notion that reality is comprehensible in any sense other than simplistic approximation}.

Complex systems always respond with some degree of novelty, and the behaviours that result from interactions are always emergent (ie they cannot be predicted with precision ahead of time).

When working with complex systems, one is always in an iterative process of probing the system, seeing how it responds, amplifying responses going in directions you desire, and dampening down responses heading in other directions – eternally. That is life!

[followed by]

This is really difficult to try and communicate.

In one sense, it is possible to define cybernetics sufficiently generally, and with sufficient allowance for fundamental randomness and uncertainty, that it becomes complex systems.

In a sense some seem to have done that, and to the extent that has been done then I have no disagreement with that branch of the development of cybernetic thought.

I studied biochemistry, I ran a fishing business for 17 years, and I started and currently still operate a small software company (34 years and counting). I have designed and written a language, a transport level encryption system, and many user applications (many megabytes of source code).

While I was very good at math at school, I did not pursue it at university, and have been self taught in things like Hilbert space, relativity, quantum mechanics, Goedel incompleteness, general strategic geometries, etc.

Of course there is power in abstraction and modeling and relationship.
These days I see most of the interesting systems in reality being a mix of constrained randomness (uncertainty within probabilistic constraints – some of which have fat tails), and usable coherence brought about by multiple levels and types of linkages with contextually dependent strengths.

I see that at every level of abstraction – from subatomic, through molecular, through cellular to ecosystems to social systems to domains of abstract mathematics and logics.

Biology has taught me to look for contextually useful heuristics, all levels.

Perhaps I have been tainted against cybernetics by a particularly arrogant and ignorant lecturer in mathematical cybernetics at 3rd year level. He had no real appreciation of the complexity of biology and made overly exaggerated claims of the utility of his equations to explain biology.

And I get we all need models, and all models are necessarily insufficient in the general case when one is dealing with open infinities of mathematical and algorithm and logic spaces; and all models will have some degree of context specific utility.

That seems to be the nature of being. We are all necessarily wrong at the level of detail, the trick is in being “less wrong” enough to survive.

Context always plays a massive role in that.

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Quora – Is Darwinian evolution by natural selection, in a western democratic setting, survival of the fittest grift?

Is Darwinian evolution by natural selection, in a western democratic setting, survival of the fittest grift?

[ 9/8/20 ]

Evolution always works at all time scales (and all contexts) simultaneously, but long term influences only become obvious over long time periods.

What most people fail to understand about evolution is that all new levels of complexity are necessarily built upon cooperative systems, and that gets additionally complex as every new level of complexity requires sets of attendant mechanisms that do in practice detect and remove exploitative (cheating/grifting) strategies on that cooperative.

So there is a sense that in the absence of effective strategies to detect and remove grifting strategies (and that most effectively means having environments where it is more beneficial for the grifter to reform their ways rather than continue grifting), then grifters will increase to the point that they destroy the complexity that was present (and all levels of structure dependent upon that complexity).

Societies either find effective mechanisms to detect and remove all levels of such cheating strategies, or they go extinct over the long term.

There is a very real sense in which the history of many societies has been collapse due to such strategic invasion at some level (and societies can also collapse due to other causes, like instances of “fat tail” catastrophes – of which there are many kinds that we require very high tech to create effective mitigation strategies for).

Unless people generally become conscious of this, and do in fact do what is necessary to detect and remove such strategies (at any and all strategic levels), then such “grifting” strategies do pose existential level threat to any and all societies.

And the more abstract and complex the systems, the more abstract and complex the cheating systems become, and so the ecosystems of detection and removal strategies need to keep up and even get ahead, if there is to be long term survival of complexity and freedom (both of which actually demand cooperation if they are to survive long term).

And it is not actually that difficult to understand that real freedom can only find its maximal expression in cooperative contexts. Just think about how much freedom and security you actually have if anyone can take your stuff and attack you at any time. That is not the sort of environment in which you can build really complex systems.

Thus we all have a duty of care to identify grifters (at any and all levels), and to find effective ways to get them to reform their ways.

That can only really work if the context is fundamentally cooperative.

Free market economic systems are fundamentally competitive, and thus fundamentally destructive of complexity. The entire American experiment has arguably been taken over by what are cheating strategies at all levels of economics, finance, politics, business and the educational systems. A respect of life and liberty has arguably been transformed into a haven for competition and cheating – both of which have necessarily destructive long term consequences.

The impact of that is perhaps best illustrated by comparing the responses to covid-19 between the USA and New Zealand. New Zealand has been free of community transmission for 3 months, by taking a cooperative approach which ensured all individuals had enough money and resources to survive through a 6 week lockdown to allow detection and tracing and isolation of all cases. That resulted in a death toll of 22 from a population of 5 million. Had the USA adopted a similar strategy the death toll would have been about 1,300 (roughly the current daily death toll), instead of the 160,000 and counting, and most people would now be going about some approximation of normal life.

Enough people in New Zealand were able to see the systemic reality that complexity demands cooperation, and were able to see past the false dogma that competition is beneficial to society, for us to make that strategy work.

What our species now requires, if it is to survive the levels of technological innovation we are now producing, is a general and global awareness of the need for global cooperation if complexity is to survive.

And that requires that people clearly understand the difference between cooperation and control.

Cooperation is developing sufficient links between diverse and complex agents that coherence can survive alongside independent responsible action. That demands an acceptance of, and respect for, diversity. Diversity must be the outcome of any real expression of freedom. And all freedom must respect the necessary boundaries for the maintenance of the complexity that makes such freedom possible. These are all necessarily linked.

Control is about inserting constraints that externally inhibit independent action. Control reduces freedom and diversity and complexity.

They are very different approaches.

I am all for cooperation, and it provides for the survival freedom and responsibility in individual agents.

Control (the rule of law) is about the removal of both freedom and responsibility, leaving only the strict bonds of compliance.

And cooperation and responsibility can only work if there is general awareness of the necessity of boundaries for survival, and all agents make reasonable efforts to detect and respect such boundaries. So there must be mechanisms to ensure that – so some degree of law and compliance is required, and it must be able to deal with the complexities of context and systems actually present.

And in truly complex systems, all such boundaries are necessarily context sensitive and uncertain.

There is nothing simple about truly complex systems. They will eternally provide surprises. They demand an eternal dance with uncertainty from all levels of agents within them.

Human beings are the most complex systems we are yet aware of.

Any understandings we may have of ourselves must necessarily be simplistic approximations to the complexity actually present. If that is not immediately obvious, then you really do not understand complexity, and you cannot begin to understand evolution unless you have some realistic approximation of an understanding of complexity and uncertainty.

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Quora – Seeing that nothing will slow or stop climate change, is it better that humans decided to give up and try alternate methods to prevent the Earth from climate change or move to a different planet?

Seeing that nothing will slow or stop climate change, is it better that humans decided to give up and try alternate methods to prevent the Earth from climate change or move to a different planet?

[ 8/8/20 ]

Climate change is so much easier to control than getting any significant fraction of humanity off this planet.

We have no option but to control climate change.

Technically it is not that difficult.

The real issue is far deeper than climate change, it comes down the incentive structures provided by competitive systems.

There is a common myth that markets support freedom. In the past there was some truth to that, but in the presence of fully automated systems that is most certainly not the case.

From an evolutionary perspective it is clear that all new levels of complexity are based upon new levels of cooperation. Competitive systems tend to reduce complexity to a minimum (the opposite of freedom).

Freedom and security both find their greatest expression in cooperative systems.

Cooperation is nothing like control.

Cooperation is creating sufficient connections to create and maintain coherence between complex systems.

We need systems of global cooperation, then solving climate change is easy.
And freedom demands responsibility if it is to survive. All the levels of boundary necessary to support the complexity present must be respected.

Freedom also creates diversity, which demands respect.

If our species is to survive, we must understand these systemic realities.

And unless we control our breeding rate, even getting off planet only buys us a few hundred years. We have to limit populations to the resources available, and we should be able to create habitats in nearish earth orbit to support over 100 billion people in lifestyles any of us would find interesting and fulfilling.

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Conversation with Jordan I about Covid in the USA

In response to a post Jordan made on facebook
“A School superintendent in GA says, ‘Wearing a mask is a personal choice and there is no practical way to enforce a mandate to wear them.’ Tell that to every single girl who has been sent home from school/forced to change for wearing spaghetti straps or shorts above the knee.”

[ 7/8/20 me ]

Don’t you just “love” hypocrisy when it is so exposed !???

[Jordan]
Ted Howard at this point you just have to laugh so you don’t cry

[my reply]

Yeah – it is a lot like that.

So many people holding on to very simple models of deeply complex realities (realities too complex for any mind to grasp in detail).

It is a kind of hubris (excessive pride and over confidence) that anyone should take any model as an accurate representation of reality. No map is the territory it maps.

And in respect of masks, there is no shadow of reasonable doubt that for the vast majority of people, the wearing of masks is one of the simplest and most effective things they can do to slow the spread of this virus.

Social distancing and hand washing are also effective tools.

The more people that do it, the safer we all are.

There is so much mis-information out there, mostly designed to deliver financial benefit to some subset of people.

Here in NZ, we have been free of community transmission for over 3 months.
We did that by huge cooperative effort, with government support to ensure that everyone had at least enough money to eat and to keep a roof over their heads during stay at home lockdown.

It is not that hard a virus to defeat, and it does take concerted cooperative effort.

There seems to be too much destructive competition in the USA for the approach we used to work there.

That is sad, because I have a lot of great friends over there who are all at risk from the many levels of over simplistic dogma and short sighted short term self interest that seem to dominate the social systems.

The long term benefits are clear – cooperation always delivers greater long term security and freedom than competition; and cooperation is not control, it is agents aligning their long term self interests to create coherent systems.

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