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    Thread: Our Future

    1. #1
      Xei
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      Our Future

      I am not personally a religious person but rather what I would consider to be a man of science and logic; and still it seems to me that we live in extraordinary times.

      Around 10,000,000,000 years ago, the universe began, and around 5,000,000,000 years ago our Solar System was formed and shortly after we had life. 500,000,000 we have the Cambrian explosion, 2,000,000 we have man, 15,000 we have agriculture, 5,000 major civilisations, 200 years ago the industrial revolution and development of the scientific method, 50 years ago computers, and since then Moore's law of growth has held.

      It's my opinion that the evidence that there is some sort of anthropic aspect to our living in the current time is overwhelming and worthy of an explanation. Just consider the millions of generations of complex life that have lived on this planet, and we are living in a single generation which could potentially see this exponential growth reach a rate where it is increasing by several orders of magnitude within decades. I find that very very hard to put down to chance.

      I made this thread for people to speculate about a philosophical subject which has fascinated me lately; the future of humanity and our place within reality.

      Some points:

      -What will be the nature of society; will it be utopian?
      -How long before the hindering superstitions of the ancient religions become extinct?
      -Will self-improving neural computers play a fundamental role in the final stages of exponentiation?
      -What will be the implications for the human mind? Are these implications linked to the anthropic nature of the current time?

    2. #2
      Drivel's Advocate Xaqaria's Avatar
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      The only pattern of thought that I hope becomes extinct is the one that makes people assume other's beliefs are 'hindering superstitions'.

      Did you start reading "The Singularity is Near" recently? If not, you probably should.

      The ability to happily respond to any adversity is the divine.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Xaqaria View Post
      The only pattern of thought that I hope becomes extinct is the one that makes people assume other's beliefs are 'hindering superstitions'.
      Yes exactly, this is part of being human - we make all these assumptions about things.

      "When are they going to stop making stupid movies?" Well, basically when you realize there is no such reality. Ever thought everything could be a stunning perfection? Ridiculous, yeah?

      As the collective conscousness of mankind grows with awareness, religions - if any new ones are created, hopefully hold less dogma.

      Xei, do you ponder about the future for most of your day?
      Last edited by really; 10-21-2008 at 05:19 AM.

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      Inevitability denotes if we don't die we shall evolve. We compete right now, and it helps fuel our development, but our assimilation is evolving, too. It may take a while, but if we don't die off then evenually we'll learn to deal with all these problems people blame on "human nature"

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      I think biotechnology, genetics, and nanotechnoloy will begin to rapidly shape the world of tomorrow, with transhumanism being possibly the most impactive result of these areas. That is if warfare doesn't advance to obliterate us all before then. And, in fact, if transhumanism does become an applied science i think we can expect even more social disruption, leading to more warfare. So i guess, unless something dramatically changes, i see warfare being a major aspect of humanity's future. It's kind of ironic to think that through all of man kind's increasingly speedy advancements we're simply approaching destruction at a faster and faster rate.

      But, believe it or not, i am an optimist. I think, if people wake up to the futility of war and put their dramatic patriotism aside, and begin to seek the value of life then these technological advancements in science could brings some amazing changes to the world, though i still hold strong reservations about a transhumanist movement.

      I don't think religion will ever disappear.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      I find that very very hard to put down to chance.
      What was it again, anthropological principle? There always is someone living at 'a special time'. You happen to be that someone. To think "NAAAAH THIS CAN BE COINCIDENCE MAN TEH CHANCE IS TO SMALL!", is the same as winning the lottery and attributing it to god. Someone has to win the fucking lottery. Mankind happens to have an exponentional growth (number-wise and technology-wise), and you happen to be at a certain point in history. BOO-FUCKING-HOO. Get over yourself. Nothing to see here, move along.

      Anyhow. I expected more of you, Xei.

      -What will be the nature of society; will it be utopian?
      Meh. Maybe. If we nuke Africa and Asia after we invent awesome-o robots that do all our work, maybe violence and hunger will completely disappear. Violence and death is decreasing over history too. Oh, if we don't nuke africa and asia we either need to invent replicators or stop making so god-damned much babies. People can't be happy without food, and we could only theoretically sustain 40-60 billion people if we grew crops all over the place. Anyhow. In way, the choice to go to wellfare already made our society utopian by perspectives of 500 years ago. I mean, it's awesome, you could, if you want, eat till you get 600 pounds and still get free money. Awesome.

      -How long before the hindering superstitions of the ancient religions become extinct?
      Some people are just fucking retarded. Ancient religions might slim down to 20%, but until we make sure education and rational thinking are promoted, it´s hard to get rid of people that are willing to believe anything. Maybe just gas all the people with to much DRD4 in their brains, genes causing that make you a gullible fucknut, research indicates.

      -Will self-improving neural computers play a fundamental role in the final stages of exponentiation?
      Think so. Computers, especially neural computers, are awesome. There is no reason why they wouldn't be better at inventing new shit than humans.

      -What will be the implications for the human mind? Are these implications linked to the anthropic nature of the current time?
      Don't know. I think that bio-technology, if it will keep developing as it is, will really alter some of the old, dogmatic, intuitive world-views people have. Religions and soul-loving belief-systems will have no ground to stand on, and the very way we look at society and politics may alter. Less blind ideologies, more goals and rationalising of poltics we can all agree on. Or something.

      -
      I have to say it is an awesome time to live in, this century. Can't wait what shit will be happening in 2050. Probably a lot. No flying cars, but still, a lot. (Back to the future LIED to us!)
      Last edited by Neruo; 10-21-2008 at 11:17 AM.
      “What a peculiar privilege has this little agitation of the brain which we call 'thought'” -Hume

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      I am not personally a religious person but rather what I would consider to be a man of science and logic
      Don't you mean "boy of science and logic"?

      Anyway, its pretty clear that soon we will be slaves to robots or China will become the new super power. So yeah, it depends alot of what China will do when its all poweful.
      Xaqaria
      The planet Earth exhibits all of these properties and therefore can be considered alive and its own single organism by the scientific definition.
      7. Reproduction: The ability to produce new organisms.
      does the planet Earth reproduce, well no unless you count the moon.

    8. #8
      Xei
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      The only pattern of thought that I hope becomes extinct is the one that makes people assume other's beliefs are 'hindering superstitions'.
      Well in my opinion that's pretty clear. I'm talking about the ancient religions here, not beliefs in general.

      But just look at the recent trend. Thousands of years of an almost entirely religious population, and now, in Westernised society, the atheist population has exploded in the last century.

      This is basic extrapolation here, you'd be blind not to see what's happening.
      But, believe it or not, i am an optimist. I think, if people wake up to the futility of war and put their dramatic patriotism aside, and begin to seek the value of life then these technological advancements in science could brings some amazing changes to the world, though i still hold strong reservations about a transhumanist movement.
      Yes indeed, although my concern would be largely on a smaller scale, as there could be a very large and potentially violent social rift within countries should transhuman technologies become a reality...
      What was it again, anthropological principle? There always is someone living at 'a special time'. You happen to be that someone. To think "NAAAAH THIS CAN BE COINCIDENCE MAN TEH CHANCE IS TO SMALL!", is the same as winning the lottery and attributing it to god. Someone has to win the fucking lottery. Mankind happens to have an exponentional growth (number-wise and technology-wise), and you happen to be at a certain point in history. BOO-FUCKING-HOO. Get over yourself. Nothing to see here, move along.

      Anyhow. I expected more of you, Xei.
      In that case I suppose you also expect more of the various incredibly intelligent people who also support the anthropic (anthropological..?) principle... I first heard about it from Stephen Hawking, personally.

      Of course somebody has to win the lottery, but the point is that I won the lottery. Unless you have formulated scientific theory of consciousness which disproves anthropic reasoning, it seems highly plausible to me that it's a toss up between a one in a million chance, or a logical explanation. It only seems rational to go for the logical explanation option, in my eyes.
      Some people are just fucking retarded. Ancient religions might slim down to 20%, but until we make sure education and rational thinking are promoted, it´s hard to get rid of people that are willing to believe anything. Maybe just gas all the people with to much DRD4 in their brains, genes causing that make you a gullible fucknut, research indicates.
      Personally I'm very open to the possibility that there will be no religion at all in a century or so. As I already mentioned, there is a huge rate of loss of theism at the moment compared to our relatively huge religious pasts, and as far as I can tell, the more people who are atheist, the smaller the number of children forced into theism, and so the rate actually increases over time.

      Think about it like the religions of the ancient societies; they died out fairly quick and now 0 people on Earth believe in them. I don't see why the current religions shouldn't potentially go the same way.
      Don't know. I think that bio-technology, if it will keep developing as it is, will really alter some of the old, dogmatic, intuitive world-views people have. Religions and soul-loving belief-systems will have no ground to stand on, and the very way we look at society and politics may alter. Less blind ideologies, more goals and rationalising of poltics we can all agree on. Or something.
      What about the implications for the physical mind though? Do you think a scientific theory of consciousness will emerge? If it did, would that be the nail in the coffin for all forms of dualism and religion?
      Don't you mean "boy of science and logic"?

      Anyway, its pretty clear that soon we will be slaves to robots or China will become the new super power. So yeah, it depends alot of what China will do when its all poweful.
      I am 17... ;_;

      China will almost definitely become a greater power than America, that's for sure... not so sure about slaves to robots though. Why the hell would they want to keep us when they could make... other robots. :/
      Last edited by Xei; 10-21-2008 at 07:13 PM.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post

      In that case I suppose you also expect more of the various incredibly intelligent people who also support the anthropic (anthropological..?) principle... I first heard about it from Stephen Hawking, personally.
      Yeah, well, people still get a big hard cock from deism and the sorts, and the advantage of it that it isn't directly contradicting the facts, such as normal religions and faiths. Deism is just a silly leap-of-faith, based on 'nahhhh I totally feel like it is the case'.

      Of course somebody has to win the lottery, but the point is that I won the lottery. Unless you have formulated scientific theory of consciousness which disproves anthropic reasoning, it seems highly plausible to me that it's a toss up between a one in a million chance, or a logical explanation. It only seems rational to go for the logical explanation option, in my eyes.
      What is the logical explanation? What needs to be explained? We happen to live in a time in which an arbitrary doubling of 'technology' no longer exceeds an arbitrary life-span (the human). I see no mystery here.

      Personally I'm very open to the possibility that there will be no religion at all in a century or so. As I already mentioned, there is a huge rate of loss of theism at the moment compared to our relatively huge religious pasts, and as far as I can tell, the more people who are atheist, the smaller the number of children forced into theism, and so the rate actually increases over time.
      If we finally stop school from indoctrinating children, there might be a snowballing effect and religion may diminish more and more. I see no reason why the entire world couldn't be like Sweden, with 80% non-religious. Or maybe even 100%. Then again, people are fucking idiots Being a fucking idiot is something that reoccurs in history, it's just in some people's nature. Like the 1000th of groups that said the end of the world was near. Fucking irrational, if they only knew they were number 1001. Maybe education can stop that form of retardation... maybe not.

      Think about it like the religions of the ancient societies; they died out fairly quick and now 0 people on Earth believe in them. I don't see why the current religions shouldn't potentially go the same way.
      Well, I have to say there is a dig difference between 'changing religions' and being an atheist. Americans change religion all the time, if they happen to marry someone of a different religion for instance. Still, a lot of those people are still really religious (and can live with such great hypocrisy, apparently).

      People want to believe something. In politics, people want a clear enemy, even though the nazi-demonising of jews isn't hip now, human nature still makes demonizing 'terrorists' or 'communists' or 'western pigs' a immensely popular political occurence.

      In religion, people wanting to believe their grandmother is in a happy place, or wanting to believe bad guys will be punished, really makes letting those silly dogmas go hard for a lot of (fucking) people (/idiots).

      What about the implications for the physical mind though? Do you think a scientific theory of consciousness will emerge? If it did, would that be the nail in the coffin for all forms of dualism and religion?
      Hehe, I already think that science has been the nail in the coffin for all forms of (substance) dualism and religion But more and more advances in physics, and especially bio-genetics and evolution-theory, will really cause a blurring of (already clearly) arbirary lines of morality and world-spirit views. All supernatural stuff is already out the window, and more and more people will wake up to that fact the more science shows it.

      We are already far far from the 1950s, when people thought elvis was indecent, unnatural and horrible. More and more pointless dogmas will demish even more among people. At least, if education is proper, if not, well, people are sheeple and there is no reason some will stay retarded for ever.
      “What a peculiar privilege has this little agitation of the brain which we call 'thought'” -Hume

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      Xei
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      I read in a journal today that there have been some very important breakthroughs in theoretical neuroscience. Basically they have inserted genes into neurons which code for voltage-luminescing proteins, so when the neuron fires they can see it. This is a huge advantage because previously only single isolated neurons could be studies with electrodes; now they can see the whole living brain working (although at the moment they're not allowed to do it on humans). The other related breakthrough is sort of the reverse; they have also inserted genes which cause neurons to fire when hit by a ray of light, basically allowing direct intervention with neural networks to see the result. They tested it by inserting the genes into neurons in a fruit fly which were known to cause its 'fly away' reflex. Then they cut its head off and shone a laser at it, and it did indeed fly away (before crashing).

      Revolutionary stuff... it wasn't mentioned in the article but this basically means that you could in theory wire up every one of your neurons to a computer via fibre optics, potentially vastly increasing your neural network.
      Last edited by Xei; 10-22-2008 at 06:54 PM.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      I read in a journal today that there have been some very important breakthroughs in theoretical neuroscience. Basically they have inserted genes into neurons which code for voltage-luminescing proteins, so when the neuron fires they can see it. This is a huge advantage because previously only single isolated neurons could be studies with electrodes; now they can see the whole living brain working (although at the moment they're not allowed to do it on humans). The other related breakthrough is sort of the reverse; they have also inserted genes which cause neurons to fire when hit by a ray of light, basically allowing direct intervention with neural networks to see the result. They tested it by inserting the genes into neurons in a fruit fly which were known to cause its 'fly away' reflex. Then they cut its head off and shone a laser at it, and it did indeed fly away (before crashing).

      Revolutionary stuff... it wasn't mentioned in the article but this basically means that you could in theory wire up every one of your neurons to a computer via fibre optics, potentially vastly increasing your neural network.
      Hey, that's pretty cool! Maybe relatively soon we could see all the neurons firing while they are still in a brain (a mammal, if possible). That would be an epic source of knowledge. Neuroscience is awesome. It's really on the rise, with the kind of advances you mentioned.
      “What a peculiar privilege has this little agitation of the brain which we call 'thought'” -Hume

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      Quote Originally Posted by Xaqaria View Post
      The only pattern of thought that I hope becomes extinct is the one that makes people assume other's beliefs are 'hindering superstitions'.

      Did you start reading "The Singularity is Near" recently? If not, you probably should.
      I agree with you. Atheism isn't the only way, doesn't mean you have to believe in the Dogma of currently large religions...



      Beliefs are not hindering superstitions, people having faith in science and machines only will be the death of us. We must not abandon our own abilities and leave everything to a Machine.. Corporations are already heading that path to make the United States a third world democracy.
      Last edited by DeathCell; 10-27-2008 at 01:07 PM.

    13. #13
      Xei
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      Science is inherently rational. Religion is inherently irrational.

      Would you rather the history of the world was left to irrational measures? Because, although it may have escaped your notice, there is a huge correleation between the recent advancement of human society since about the industrial revolution, with the introduction and then increase of scientific method and rational thought, and a negative correlation with the importance of religion.

      Religion has also consistently shown itself to be one of the remaining blights of humanity. How many genocides, wars, or acts of destruction, have been made in the name of atheism and rational thought??

      I think it's time you stopped clinging on to God and coming up with unviable excuses.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      Science is inherently rational. Religion is inherently irrational.

      Would you rather the history of the world was left to irrational measures? Because, although it may have escaped your notice, there is a huge correleation between the recent advancement of human society since about the industrial revolution, with the introduction and then increase of scientific method and rational thought, and a negative correlation with the importance of religion.

      Religion has also consistently shown itself to be one of the remaining blights of humanity. How many genocides, wars, or acts of destruction, have been made in the name of atheism and rational thought??

      I think it's time you stopped clinging on to God and coming up with unviable excuses.

      Who said I was clinging to God, I am not associated with any religion that you would name off the top of your head. So take your overbearing self down a few notches. I certainly understand the problem with massive religions especially Christianity with Witch burnings and Crusades.

      Having faith, or believing in something does not mean you support genocide war or acts of destruction. Sadly the Church has been quite involved with that kind of bullshit forever. You cling to your atheism and science so much it becomes a religion in it's own right to some people.

      Science is great, but we can't forget about the many other facets of life..

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      Xei
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      What religion would you associate yourself with then..?

      Of course, I do believe that people are entitled to their own opinions about the nature of the universe. However, when it comes to the ancient religions, which are not only demonstratively wrong, but also inherently linked through their holy texts to the enthusing of genocide, slavery, murder to defend the religion, murder of those who do not believe in the religion, etcetera... I just see no place for such irrationality and violence in the world, and like I said, would not be surprised if they die out in a century or so.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      What religion would you associate yourself with then..?

      Of course, I do believe that people are entitled to their own opinions about the nature of the universe. However, when it comes to the ancient religions, which are not only demonstratively wrong, but also inherently linked through their holy texts to the enthusing of genocide, slavery, murder to defend the religion, murder of those who do not believe in the religion, etcetera... I just see no place for such irrationality and violence in the world, and like I said, would not be surprised if they die out in a century or so.
      I see no place for violence and irrationality involved with it in this world. Organized religion sadly has been the cause of the majority of violence throughout the times. I don't disagree with you their, it doesn't mean all religion will or needs to be removed from life. What needs to happen is for religion to stop being such a mass that it controls it's people and causes violence and wars. If people want to have faith in something I see no problem with that, it's when people think their way is the only way and without being their way you are no good in their eyes.

      That's the fundamental problem with organized religion, faith(belief) on the other hand is a totally separate concept.


      My "religion" is more of a multitude of concepts from various religions.
      Pick and choose if you please, I do consider myself to be a (*****) but I do kind of just latch onto whatever I feel most connected to.

      The only thing that really bothers me with atheism, is people are so devoted to not-believing it becomes a faith in itself. I used to be atheist, mind you.
      Last edited by DeathCell; 10-28-2008 at 05:48 PM.

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