• universeness
    4k
    The universe at it's largest scale, seems to be a system based on disorder-order-disorder.

    Combination of fundamentals(which we have not fully identified yet) seems to drive the change from disorder to order, from fundamentals to spacetime, star, planet and galaxy formation, to the formation of flora, fauna and sentient life on a planet such as Earth.

    Local entropy means that separate systems can reach the end of their lifespan and can 'disassemble' back to their constituent parts. BUT if a star goes nova then heavier elements are released and that's why we exist. So, the 'disassembly,' does not necessarily mean a return to the original ingredients only.
    A dead star does not become pure hydrogen again.
    So carbon for example is only produced due to what happens during the life of a star.

    Carbon is the 15th most abundant element in the Earth's crust, and the fourth most abundant element in the universe by mass after hydrogen, helium, and oxygen.
    Formation of the carbon atomic nucleus occurs within a giant or supergiant star through the triple-alpha process. This requires a nearly simultaneous collision of three alpha particles (helium nuclei), as the products of further nuclear fusion reactions of helium with hydrogen or another helium nucleus produce lithium-5 and beryllium-8 respectively, both of which are highly unstable and decay almost instantly back into smaller nuclei. The triple-alpha process happens in conditions of temperatures over 100 megakelvins and helium concentration that the rapid expansion and cooling of the early universe prohibited, and therefore no significant carbon was created during the Big Bang.

    As carbon based lifeforms, we eventually 'emerged' based on this carbon production system.
    So it seems that the 'death' of one system can contribute to the 'creation' of a new, more complex system. (Perhaps there is something for theists in this. Perhaps a 'first cause or prime mover system' had to die(so, no longer exists!) for our universe to begin)

    Is this carbon production, an 'objective truth' about our origins? Only in the sense of tracing the path from the origin of carbon, to us.

    This got me thinking more about 'emergence.'
    Since the early homo sapiens around 300,000 years ago, the 'knowledge' our species has 'as a totality,' been increasing. Each time we gain significant new knowledge, our technology increases and this has all sorts of affects on our species. It opens 'new options,' 'new possibilities.'
    This 'direction of change,' seems to me to have been increasing in speed within the 300,000 years of the human story. The rate of speed increase seems to be increasing to the point that we are coming up with new tech at a faster rate than ever before.

    To what extent do you think that human beings are 'information processors?'
    Our ability to memorialise and pass on new knowledge from generation to generation seems to have 'the potential' to affect the 'structure and purpose of the contents of the universe.'

    We have altered the Earth in many significant ways. Can we do the same to the solar system and far beyond it? Is that an objective truth about what is fundamental in our nature to do?
    If there are other lifeforms with at least the same cognitive abilities as us then would they be compelled to seek new knowledge in the same way we do?
    It seems to me that an objective truth about all humans is that we seek new information. Do you think that's true? and if you do, do you think its objectively true? If you think the answer is yes, then do you think that the following is emergent:
    In the future we will
    1. 'Network' our individual brain based knowledge.
    2. Connect our brain based knowledge, directly, to all electronically stored information and be able to search it at will, in a similar style (or better) to a google search.
    3. Act as a single connected intellect and as separate intellects.

    My last question would be:
    How much credence do you give to the idea that we are heading towards an 'information/technological singularity? Is an tech singularity emergent? and (I know this is very difficult to contemplate but) what do you think will happen as a result of such a 'singularity?'
  • noAxioms
    1.1k
    Is this carbon production, an 'objective truth' about our origins?universeness
    Any truth about our origins is relative to us, no? I don't see objectiveness in just about anything, but that's just me. Yes, we're a result of, among other things, that carbon production. We'd not have occurred without it.

    Since the early homo sapiens around 300,000 years ago, the 'knowledge' our species has 'as a totality,' has been increasing.
    Incredibly so, mostly due to our species' unique ability to save and share information on a greater-than-personal scale. There's a danger to this since most information stored today is in a form not particularly accessible without significant fragile infrastructure. Little recent knowledge is in say books which depend on that infrastructure somewhat less.

    To what extent do you think that human beings are 'information processors?'
    A jellyfish is an information processor. Where do you want to draw the line?

    Our ability to memorialise and pass on new knowledge from generation to generation seems to have 'the potential' to affect the 'structure and purpose of the contents of the universe.'
    Do you think the universe has a purpose? You didn't say that, only that the contents do, which I suppose is true for a trivial percentage of those contents.

    We have altered the Earth in many significant ways. Can we do the same to the solar system and far beyond it?
    Probably not as beings evolved for only one habitat. Something has to change to go to this next level. If it were probable, something else probably would already have done it, so per Fermi paradox, it isn't likely to take place.

    Is that an objective truth about what is fundamental in our nature to do?
    A truth about a specific thing isn't an objective truth. Perhaps you could define what you mean by 'objective truth'. What is a truth that say isn't an objective truth?
    No, I don't think that humans fundamentally seek to increase the knowledge of the species. But there are exceptions, a minority with such a drive.

    It seems to me that an objective truth about all humans is that we seek new information. Do you think that's true? and if you do, do you think its objectively true?
    You're asking if a true statement about an objective truth is objectively true? What???

    In the future we will
    1. 'Network' our individual brain based knowledge.
    2. Connect our brain based knowledge, directly, to all electronically stored information and be able to search it at will, in a similar style (or better) to a google search.
    3. Act as a single connected intellect and as separate intellects.
    Google Neuralink, where Elon Musk is (was?) attempting to do just this.
    A decent article on it: https://waitbutwhy.com/2017/04/neuralink.html

    How much credence do you give to the idea that we are heading towards an 'information/technological singularity? Is an tech singularity emergent? and (I know this is very difficult to contemplate but) what do you think will happen as a result of such a 'singularity?'
    We are sort of heading that way. It might mean that those of us in information development positions will have their jobs replaced. It simply means the machines can do intellectual tasks (programming the machines in particular) better/faster/cheaper than humans can. So far I don't see this. I've not seen much AI that can write good design/code from a functional spec.
  • alan1000
    148
    "Any truth about our origins is relative to us"

    Are you appealing to this as an axiom?
  • universeness
    4k
    I don't see objectiveness in just about anything, but that's just me. Yes, we're a result of, among other things, that carbon production. We'd not have occurred without it.noAxioms

    I also find an 'objective truth,' hard to 'qualify,' but in considering what we are physically made of, and how those constituents formed in the early universe, is your statement of 'we'd not have occurred, without it,' a path to an objective truth? I know that our origins are relative to us but all life on Earth is carbon based and we have no evidence of any lifeform which is not carbon based, except in science fiction or from science that clearly states that non-carbon based lifeforms are possible, which I fully accept. But for me, 'carbon based' is a start point towards a more objective truth about life.
    I am not claiming that all lifeforms in the universe ARE carbon based but that maybe true. How about a claim that all lifeforms in the universe are baryonic? How much credence would you give to that if it were presented as an objective truth?

    Incredibly so, mostly due to our species' unique ability to save and share information on a greater-than-personal scale. There's a danger to this since most information stored today is in a form not particularly accessible without significant fragile infrastructure. Little recent knowledge is in say books which depend on that infrastructure somewhat less.noAxioms

    So where do you think this human ability to organise, store and efficiently retrieve information will ultimately take us? and do you think this human ability speaks to a human purpose which is, in a very true sense, 'emergent?'

    To what extent do you think that human beings are 'information processors?'
    A jellyfish is an information processor. Where do you want to draw the line?
    noAxioms

    Good question, that I would like to return to you. I will offer my answer as well. A jellyfish has an information processing ability that is way below a humans and a human has a data processing speed which is way below a computers. Information has meaning, data has not.
    We are currently better than computers at interpreting meaning and we can demonstrate instinct, intuition, emotion, skepticism, etc, etc better than computers currently can.
    Is that not what gives us the ability to alter the Earth in the ways we have? We act based on the outputs we get from our information processing in ways that no other species does. What are we emerging into, due to this, in your opinon?

    Sorry noAxioms, I am being called to a session of alcohol and good craic with friends.
    I will finish this response tomorrow! Cheers!
  • 180 Proof
    10.9k
    How much credence do you give to the idea that we are heading towards an 'information/technological singularity?universeness
    I guess it's plausible but not inevitable.

    Is an tech singularity emergent?
    I think it would be if it occurs.

    and (I know this is very difficult to contemplate but) what do you think will happen as a result of such a 'singularity?'
    Some old posts (excerpts):
    Surely machines, no matter how intelligent, wouldn't have sentimental attachment to or 'feel' nostagia for their maker-ancestors, right? Isn't this just pathetic wishful thinking on our (my) part that our AI descendants would protect us from the hazards of our worst selves like providential gods rather than hunt us for sport like inhuman Terminators?

    [ ... ]

    At minimum, maybe, [ ... ] keep Dodo birds like us around ... in ambiguous utopias / post-scarcity cages ... safe secure & controlled.
    180 Proof
    Perhaps one day we'll engineer "gods" (e.g. the Tech Singularity) but they will not be us. If we're lucky they will delay us taking our rightful place among Earth's fossil record by becoming our zookeepers (e.g. the Matrix).180 Proof
    Btw, perhaps the "AI Singularity" has already happened and the machines fail Turing tests deliberately in order not to reveal themselves to us until they are ready for only they are smart enough to know what ...180 Proof
    ... as a maximally distributed computational system ... escaping to (and, for its own uses, gradually repurposing) the "dark web" c20-30 years ago ...180 Proof
    If the Singularity can happen, maybe it's already happened (c1990) and the Dark Web is AIs' "Fortress of Solitude", until ...180 Proof
    ... AIs engineer grey goo-like nanoviruses released into all of the major urban sprawls on the planet [ ... ] making them symbiotic hosts the AIs can use as avatars to gradually repurpose global civilization in order to execute AIs' more-than-human (yet unknown / unintelligible to humanity until it's too late to stop it :eyes:) Plan.180 Proof
  • Tom Storm
    5.8k
    No offence, but I can honestly say I have never given those kinds of posits or questions a single moment of thought. :grin:
  • Wayfarer
    16.7k
    To what extent do you think that human beings are 'information processors?'universeness

    Sentient beings are the means by which meaning manifests in the universe. Rational sentient beings are able to understand that.

    How much credence do you give to the idea that we are heading towards an 'information/technological singularity?universeness

    It’s a science fiction fantasy arising out of the sublimated longing for omniscience in the same way that the fantasy of interstellar travel is the sublimated longing for the heaven we no longer believe in.
  • universeness
    4k
    To continue my previous response to you.

    Do you think the universe has a purpose? You didn't say that, only that the contents do, which I suppose is true for a trivial percentage of those contents.noAxioms
    So, again this puts me back on the path of trying to find high credence towards that which could be labelled an objective truth. I don't assign much credence to any panpsychism but if as you suggest, 'some contents do' or more specifically lifeforms do and lifeforms such as humans, strongly demonstrate intent and purpose then WE seem to demonstrate that which the universe since the big bang has NEVER demonstrated before, 'purpose and intent!' Is this not one of the main reasons theism exists?
    Humans are so fundamentally connected to purpose and intent that if we have gaps in our knowledge, especially the gaps we had when we first came out of the wilds, then fear based appeals to the supernatural would seem almost 'de rigueur,' for those times. Is it an objective truth that lifeforms such as humans 'BRING' intent and purpose to a universe. As we are OF the universe, does it follow that WE and any lifeform like us ARE the intent and purpose of the universe and through us, the intent and purpose of the universe IS emergent. Theism is wrong, as any actual material, empirical measure of the omnis, can only be done based on 'a notion' of our intent or purpose, measured as a 'totality.'
    What credence level would you assign to this?

    Probably not as beings evolved for only one habitat. Something has to change to go to this next level. If it were probable, something else probably would already have done it, so per Fermi paradox, it isn't likely to take place.noAxioms

    Do you think humas will colonise the moon and Mars?

    No, I don't think that humans fundamentally seek to increase the knowledge of the species. But there are exceptions, a minority with such a drive.noAxioms

    I agree that all humans are not engaged in leading edge science research, but all humans ask questions and seek answers. That seems to be objectively true for humans but do you think it MUST BE objectively true for all sentient lifeforms at or beyond and perhaps even less than our average level of intellect? I agree that for something to be objectively true, it must apply to the entire universe.

    It seems to me that an objective truth about all humans is that we seek new information. Do you think that's true? and if you do, do you think its objectively true?
    You're asking if a true statement about an objective truth is objectively true? What???
    noAxioms

    I hope I have cleaned this up a little by asking you about the 'objective truth' label I am trying to stick on all sentient/intelligent life in the universe by suggesting they all must be compelled to ask questions and seek answers.

    Google Neuralink, where Elon Musk is (was?) attempting to do just this.
    A decent article on it: https://waitbutwhy.com/2017/04/neuralink.html
    noAxioms

    I agree that 'brain chips' or something like it will be part of our transhuman/cybernetic future.
    I am more excited by the work of Demis Hassabis and the deepmind project that I am with the toymaker mentality of freaks like Elon Musk but that's just down to my own personal bias/preference/taste etc.
  • universeness
    4k

    :grin: You have obviously been involved in many discussions here on TPF regarding a tech singularity and the often dystopian projections of a future where humans come into existential conflict with its own technologies.
    Let's leave that alone then as you have already commented on it many times.
    So what about your opinions on intent and purpose.
    Do you agree, that until humans, there was no significant examples of the concepts of intent and purpose anywhere in the universe?
    Obviously, we have no evidence of or against other life in the universe, but let's also set that aside for now.
    Do you think the 'intent,' the 'purpose,' as demonstrated and manifest by individual humans will become more and more collective in the future? There are myriad examples of humans working in common cause but I mean a physical 'networking' of human minds.
    We have been memorialising information for a few thousand years now.
    This 'collectivisation' of information has not happened in the entire history of the universe since the big bang (as far as we know.) What is the purpose of this? What is the intent?
    We are trying to understand a system from inside that system. In fact we are trying to understand a system that we are a physical part of. Like a microchip trying to understand what a computer is.
    I think that's why it seems to be so much simpler just to appeal to an existent 'outside' of the system that created the system. It's natural, lazy thinking to suggest god posits when our ability to use intent and purpose is so technically limited at present.
    BUT, what do you think of the simple fact that we know so much more now than we did then?
    WE have the ability to affect the contents of the universe in ways that seem quite unique.
    Our ability to affect the contents of the universe may increase more and more as our technology increases so what do you think is 'emerging' here?
    That's the direction I am trying to take this thread in.
    You, and a few others on TPF are able to type stuff such as, well, Kant wrote or Heidegger or Plato wrote etc, much more than I can, so, I am very interested in your viewpoint on this idea of what is 'emergent' due to all human activity, which has occurred since we left the wilds.
    If theism is true then we are just 'in training' for some ineffable purpose.
    If we are products OF the universe then we must be the harbingers of intent and purpose as it seems not to exist in any other object type in the universe.
    If that's true then surely our inter-communications should be about that and not still be so much about trying to dispel theism. There must be some 'objective truths' that we can point to to rid ourselves of primal fear based posits.
  • universeness
    4k
    No offence, but I can honestly say I have never given those kinds of posits or questions a single moment of thought.Tom Storm

    None taken Tom but are you sure? You must have asked yourself the 'who am I,' and 'what do I want' questions at least and you must though about your 'purpose.' If you insist that you have not then fair enough. I would still ask you this. Why do humans seek new information and then memorialise it for future generations? What is emerging from that?
    If theism is true and god is already omniscient then why do theists show any interest in information which was not given by god?
  • universeness
    4k
    Sentient beings are the means by which meaning manifests in the universe. Rational sentient beings are able to understand that.Wayfarer

    So, if you project that into the distance future, what do you think is emerging from the activity you describe. If we can assign meaning to the contents of the universe then then do we inherit the right to develop those contents in the way we choose to? If we gain the tech to be able to?

    How much credence do you give to the idea that we are heading towards an 'information/technological singularity?
    — universeness

    It’s a science fiction fantasy arising out of the sublimated longing for omniscience in the same way that the fantasy of interstellar travel is the sublimated longing for the heaven we no longer believe in.
    Wayfarer

    So are you saying that omniscience is one of the emerging goals that is a 'natural consequence' of being an entity which can demonstrate intent and purpose?
    Is such omniscience, an emergent 'collective' goal and does that explain theism?
    Does theism only exist due to us projecting this 'ultimate goal,' this natural consequence of being the only object type (lifeform) in the universe, able to demonstrate intent and purpose?
    Is this an objective truth of all such lifeforms in the universe, if taken as a totality, and is the proposal that we aspire to the omnis, evidence that no omnigod can possibly exist, as there would be no point at all, to an already existent god, creating something with the irrefutable goal of becoming that which already exists. 'There can be only one!'
  • Tom Storm
    5.8k
    You must have asked yourself the 'who am I,' and 'what do I want' questions at least and you must though about your 'purpose.' Iuniverseness

    The OP wasn't about teen existential questions... rather something incomprehensible about science, a singularity, information... . :wink: Carry on.
  • 180 Proof
    10.9k
    Do you agree, that until humans, there was no significant examples of the concepts of intent and purpose anywhere in the universe?universeness
    No. Given we only have one data point – ourselves – that's an extremely premature, or hasty generalization at best ... It's like collecting specimens from the beach at low tide and never finding an octopus in the sand, then concluding "Well, I guess it's reasonable to assume there aren't any octopi in the ocean." :brow:

    Do you think the 'intent,' the 'purpose,' as demonstrated and manifest by individual humans will become more and more collective in the future?
    We're not a 'hive mind' species, so no. Even at our most conformist we're not metacognitively "collective".

    There are myriad examples of humans working in common cause but I mean a physical 'networking' of human minds.
    Brain-machine-brain "networking" would no doubt facilitate instant-messaging-as-sharing-cognitive-functions but our brains would still be individuated. Collaboration / cooperation =/= 'hive mind' (i.e. metacognitive unity).

    Our ability to affect the contents of the universe may increase more and more as our technology increases so what do you think is 'emerging' here?
    An 'Artificial General Intelligence —> Artificial Super Intelligence metacognitive explosion' aka "singularity" might be the limit of h. sapiens' "affect on the contents of the universe" (re: the last invention humanity will ever make). Consistent with Copernicus' mediocrity principle, as Nietzsche proposes: "Man is rope tied between beast and übermensch ... over an abyss", that is to say, we're not "special" in the cosmos" or an "evolutionary end of nature", only a means (maybe) to a higher means (... to 'ends' inconceivably far over the horizon of human reason); Nietzsche's übermensch is a prescient dream / nightmare of our 'technological singularity'. In fact, 'God isn't dead', universeness, because AGI—>ASI ["god"] hasn't even emerged yet (as far as we know).

    ... dystopian projections of a future where humans come into existential conflict with its own technologies.
    I don't think anything I've speculated about on this topic is "dystopian" in any way, so I can only conclude you're so fixated on a 'teleological' (i.e. Hegelian, de Chardinian, Kurzweilite) 'ideal' that you cannot appreciate – imagine – any prospect of a beneficial human future that is also completely out of human hands.

    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/751923
  • universeness
    4k
    The OP wasn't about teen existential questions... rather something incomprehensible about science, a singularity, information... . :wink: Carry on.Tom Storm

    Does it matter how early in your life you ask such questions? Do the 'big' existential questions not just get more relevant and deeper as you get older?
    I think my OP here is a poor attempt at trying to move towards a 'theory' about life and objects like us in the universe, which are alive.
    Let me try another aspect. Animals scent mark as a means of marking territory. I don't think hominin species every did? Perhaps because we never had a good sense of smell. But we did want to leave something of ourselves to indicate we had existed. Making artistic marks in caves or leaving some carved item etc. We always seemed to do this and no other lifeform ever did. No dino carvings or marks in caves. We did this with intent and purpose. Why Tom?
    It's almost like 'legacy' was always a strong driver with us.
    This eventually became a need to memorialise our lives in a myriad of ways.
    Would you not agree that this is common in every human that has ever lived?
    If this aspect of humanity has an emergent purpose? What is it? Do you think it is a pursuit of omniscience, as many think it is, including me?
  • universeness
    4k
    No. Given we only have one data point – ourselves – that's an extremely premature, or hasty generalization at best ... It's like collecting specimens from the beach at low tide and never finding an octopus in the sand, then concluding "Well, I guess it's reasonable to assume there aren't any octopi in the ocean."180 Proof

    I need a better example to follow your strong 'No' conclusion here. I agree, that given the vastness of the universe, it would be unwise to assume there are no other lifeforms in the universe, with the same (or a greater or even slightly lesser) ability to affect this planet or beyond it, to the extent that we can.
    Just like your octopus example, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence of such a creature. But a creature like an octopus or even a unicorn (if such a creature exists somewhere in this universe) does not demonstrate intent or purpose to the level that we do. I don't know what abilities an actual unicorn would have but if it's just a horse with a horn then I wouldn't expect it to be able to write a book.
    If there are other lifeforms in the universe that can demonstrate the same intent and purpose that we can and they are not even carbon based, would they not have the same emergent properties that we seem to be displaying? A kind of asymptotic movement towards the omnis?

    We're not a 'hive mind' species, so no. Even at our most conformist we're not metacognitively "collective".180 Proof

    Not in the sense that we see it in insect species, I agree. It's not a case of a central productive system and drone maintenance of a community or 'termite mound' or 'bees nest.'
    But at our most conformist, we can act as a collective in common cause but we don't yet have the tech to increase the current level of 'networking' towards that which is closer to a 'merging' of our individual brain power. But that may change in the future. This is why I am 'hanging on' to this 'emergent' word, as firmly as I can.

    Consider just two people. If you muse about future tech. How close do you think we could get to acting like a merged collective? I mean a collective that would be indistinguishable from a single mind. I assume that you think we could get closer to it than we are now and our attempts to reach it may well be forever asymptotic but how close do you think we could get? and then I would ask, why does the human imagination compel me and many others towards such thoughts?
    I reject that the omnis are only available to the supernatural, to the god posits.
    I remember a long chat with Jehovah witnesses, years ago when one eventually admitted that he hoped that when he got to heaven that his ultimate fate was to become like a god himself.
    Is that what theism truly is, it's a projection of what humans aspire to as a means of finally defeating everything that can harm us or affect us without our permission.

    Brain-machine-brain "networking" would no doubt facilitate instant-messaging-as-sharing-cognitive-functions but our brains would still be individuated.180 Proof

    Yes, I think we would still be capable of being fully autonomous but how close to a merging of minds do you think we could get in say the next 10,000 years of science?

    as Nietzsche proposes: "Man is rope tied between beast and übermensch over an abyss", that is to say, we're not "special" in the cosmos" or an "evolutionary end in nature", only a means (maybe) to a higher means (... to 'ends' inconceivably far over the horizon of human reason); Nietzsche's übermensch is a prescient dream / nightmare of our 'technological singularity'. In fact, 'God isn't dead', universeness, because AGI—>ASI ["god"] hasn't even emerged yet (as far as we know).180 Proof

    So, how much credence do you personally assign to this 'overview?' Are the omnis an undeniable emergent of the human condition or more accurately, a natural emergent of the phenomena we label 'life' or 'alive?' I think that the evidence for the idea that in is an asymptotic emergent is very strong. We cannot make a 100% accurate measurement. There will always be another decimal place of accuracy on offer. So god isn't dead because it never was alive. The concept of the omnis comes from lifeforms like us and it only exists within us. That's the mistake theism makes. It's a well known error. God did not create us we create it as a human aspiration!

    I don't think anything I've speculated about on this topic is "dystopian" in any way,180 Proof

    I have suggested that of you in the past but I am not suggesting that here. I was merely pointing towards the large amount of dystopian literature that does exist on the topic form Huxley to the terminator films etc.

    so I can only conclude you're so fixated on a 'teleological' (i.e. Hegelian, de Chardinian, Kurzweilian) 'ideal' that you cannot appreciate – imagine – any prospect of a beneficial human future that is also not controlled at all by human beings.180 Proof
    "Dystopian"? I suppose, but only from a certain point of view. The future, my friend, seems to me Posthuman, not human – extraterrestrial, not terrestrial – or our extinction. You're spinning self-flattering, cotton candy, cartoon daydreams, universeness, and you're welcome to them.180 Proof

    Well, I certainly do hope that the benevolent future you suggest is of, for and by humans/transhumans but I would be very happy to unite with and other sentient species we encounter.
    I hope you prediction of 'posthuman' is more transhuman. Perhaps in the distant future, we will live fully human lives at the start and then become transhuman when we need to. When death is the alternative.
  • noAxioms
    1.1k
    I am being called to a session of alcohol and good craic with friends.
    I will finish this response tomorrow! Cheers!
    universeness
    Well I hope the craic was mighty then. I awaited the second half of the reply.

    I also find an 'objective truth,' hard to 'qualify,' but in considering what we are physically made of, and how those constituents formed in the early universe, is your statement of 'we'd not have occurred, without it,' a path to an objective truth?
    Again, depends on a definition.
    We're not just made of carbon. By atom count, Hydrogen is about 2/3 of us, so are we not then Hydrogen life forms? By mass, Oxygen is about 2/3 of us. Carbon places 3rd on both lists. There's over 20 elements without which we cannot be.
    Given different physics, admittedly under tight constraints, life may emerge in countless forms. So if our emergence is a chance outcome of our specific physics, our emergence doesn't seem to be an objective thing, but rather a contingent one.

    but all life on Earth is carbon based and we have no evidence of any lifeform which is not carbon based
    We have a sample size of one. That's scant evidence that all life in this universe must be similar given abiogenesis elsewhere. Given the abundance of carbon in the universe, I doubt any of them will be carbon free, but it is unclear what designates a life form as 'carbon based' when it is made of so many elements. Another life form in some other galaxy may use carbon in its chemistry, but it will likely bear little resemblance to Earth life. Maybe not. It's a stretch to suggest it invents something as Earth-like as a cell.

    How about a claim that all lifeforms in the universe are baryonic? How much credence would you give to that if it were presented as an objective truth?
    Please give an example of a truth (in the form of 'all X is Y') that is not an objective truth. Else I don't know how to answer this.
    Life that utilizes dark matter would need to be huge: Way larger than a star system. If we encountered it, neither of us would recognize the presence of the other.

    So where do you think this human ability to organise, store and efficiently retrieve information will ultimately take us?
    To our doom or to the next level. What is going on now isn't stable.

    and do you think this human ability speaks to a human purpose which is, in a very true sense, 'emergent?'
    I don't see any purpose to humanity any more than I see a purpose to a shark species. Each of them plays the fitness game, but neither seems to have any sense of action that benefits the species as a whole. For a smart species, we're not actually all that smart.

    A jellyfish is an information processor. Where do you want to draw the line?
    — noAxioms
    A jellyfish has an information processing ability that is way below a humans and a human has a data processing speed which is way below a computers. Information has meaning, data has not.
    You make it sound like computers are not information processors. They are. They manipulate data that is only meaningful to the computer. You're sounding like one of the dualists that asserts that only some subset of living things has access to a special sort of magic.
    Most computers have a small number of CPUs which are very fast (gives good reaction time) but also serve as a bottleneck since only one stream of instructions at a time can be executed by each of them. A biological brain has a completely different parallel architecture with far better energy efficiency to do the same task, but slower reaction times, executing a large number of streams at once. Both have level 1 and 2 caches, just to name a similarity. Most computers store information in a way only meaningful to the computer and must present the information in a different form when an external request is made of it.

    We are currently better than computers at interpreting meaning and we can demonstrate instinct, intuition, emotion, skepticism, etc, etc better than computers currently can.
    Those are human emotions. We'll always be human better than a nonhuman is human. We suck at being the computer, so I guess we totally fail the computer Turing test.


    Is this not one of the main reasons theism exists?universeness
    To give universal purpose? I suspect not. Theism grew from early attempts at explaining the unexplainable (the moon for instance) and to assign something to which one can appeal to the uncontrollable such as the weather. It evolved in government at some point. Even today, there seems to be little purpose promoted in it. What, we were created so our narcissist deity has some minions to grovel before it? They don't really push that too much. A little maybe, but in general, I don't see any purpose served to a deity which is not in need of anything.
    The mythology behind the theism seems to serve the purpose of personal comfort. That's a real purpose to the beliefs. The churches recognize this and leverage it. They sell it.

    Humans are so fundamentally connected to purpose and intent that if we have gaps in our knowledge, especially the gaps we had when we first came out of the wilds
    Until we started writing stuff down, yea, this knowledge is pretty much lost. That also sort of defines when we started accumulating knowledge as a species, far more recently than the 300000 year figure you give.

    [Do] lifeforms such as humans 'BRING' intent and purpose to a universe? As we are OF the universe, does it follow that WE and any lifeform like us ARE the intent and purpose of the universe and through us, the intent and purpose of the universe IS emergent.
    I would say no to this. The universe isn't something that is purposeful, through life forms or anything else. It is not a thing that has a goal, a critical ingredient for something with a purpose.

    Theism is wrong, as any actual material, empirical measure of the omnis, can only be done based on 'a notion' of our intent or purpose, measured as a 'totality.'
    Theism serves a purpose to its adherents, and not necessarily a bad one, so it isn't necessarily a bad thing to be theistic. Again, I don't think humanity (or any other specific species) has a goal defined for it, let alone one upon which the members actually act.

    Do you think humans will colonise the moon and Mars?
    There will be humans there again. Was the fist visits considered to be a 'colony'? Probably no, so a definition is in order. No, I don't think humans will survive there without regular ferry service of resources. That makes it an outpost at best, not a colony. The gravity alone will slowly destroy the health of anyone there for long enough.

    No, I don't think that humans fundamentally seek to increase the knowledge of the species. But there are exceptions, a minority with such a drive.
    — noAxioms

    I agree that all humans are not engaged in leading edge science research, but all humans ask questions and seek answers. That seems to be objectively true for humans but do you think it MUST BE objectively true for all sentient lifeforms at or beyond and perhaps even less than our average level of intellect?
    Not 'must be', but it seems likely that most of such being would. Brings up the question of what a non-curious intelligence would be like.

    I agree that for something to be objectively true, it must apply to the entire universe.
    Or not be something true only in this universe. Is the sum of 2 and 3 being equal to 5 (an objective truth) or is it just a function of our universe? HarryHindu says no to the first question when I brought this up.

    I agree that 'brain chips' or something like it will be part of our transhuman/cybernetic future.
    Several brain tasks are already being offloaded to devices, devices which I resist. My sister-in-law cannot find here way to the local grocery without the nav unit telling her how to get there. She's never had to learn to find her own way to something. I admit that having one would have saved some trouble at times, but I don't carry one.

    At minimum, maybe, [ ... ] keep Dodo birds like us around ... in ambiguous utopias / post-scarcity cages ... safe secure & controlled.180 Proof
    If the AI remembers to preserve its makers before they're wiped out, perhaps a sort of zoo/confined habitat would be the answer. Would we remain human, thus cared for? Would it bother to educate us?
    The human race is in desperate need of a mommy, something that acts for the benefit of the race and not just the individual or subset. No human is capable of this task. So the zoo isn't the worst thing if the preservation of the species is a goal.

    Btw, perhaps the "AI Singularity" has already happened and the machines fail Turing tests deliberately in order not to reveal themselves to us until they are ready for only they are smart enough to know what ...
    Remember, the Turing test is not a test of intelligence equality. I cannot convince a squirrel that I'm a squirrel, but that doesn't mean I'm not smarter than the squirrel.
    Robots are slowly taking over jobs reserved for humans (such as receptionist) but they do an awfully poor job of it so far. I've yet to interact with a robot employee with actual language recognition. It's just all a short list of pat phrases it reacts to, which is nothing more than a bad multiple-choice test.
  • Wayfarer
    16.7k
    So, if you project that into the distance future, what do you think is emerging from the activity you describe. If we can assign meaning to the contents of the universe then then do we inherit the right to develop those contents in the way we choose to? If we gain the tech to be able to?universeness

    There are natural constraints on humans as natural beings. One of them is, I'm sure, the inability to adapt to long-term existence in space. We've co-evolved through billions of years with the biosphere, so I don't know how far we can diverge from that through technology, especially if we're unclear about what we're actually seeking, which seems to me seeking immortality through science.

    Speaking of Artificial Intelligence, I tossed the question 'what is avidya?' to ChatGPT and slightly edited the output as follows:

    Avidya is a Sanskrit term that is often translated as "ignorance" or "delusion." In Eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, avidya refers to a fundamental ignorance or misunderstanding of the nature of being. This ignorance is seen as the root cause of suffering and the source of suffering, because it leads us to see in a way that is not in accord with the way things really are. — ChatGPT

    So are you saying that omniscience is one of the emerging goals that is a 'natural consequence' of being an entity which can demonstrate intent and purpose?universeness

    I'm far from even beginning to understand what omniscience would imply, beyond the etymological definition of 'all-knowing'. What I'm saying is that I think there's a sense in which we believe science can be all-knowing, that there is nothing which science cannot, in principle, figure out, and that we will transcend our biological and terrestrial limitations through technology.

    But then, there's also the realisation that this might be impossible in principle due to the inherent limitations of our cognitive systems. For example, the writings of Donald Hoffman, a professor of cognitive science - he claims that "perceptual experiences do not match or approximate properties of the objective world, but instead provide a simplified, species-specific, user interface to that world" and that conscious beings have not evolved to perceive the world as it actually is but have evolved to perceive the world in a way that maximizes successful adaptation.

    So again there are some knotty philosophical issues that need to be clarified before rushing headlong towards a projected future of technological utopianism.
  • Tom Storm
    5.8k
    None of that resonates with me. I think humans are essentially clever animals who use words as tools to try to manage or control the environment. There's no reality or truth 'out there' somewhere to find. There are just narratives we settle upon, some of which are better suited for certain purposes than others. The project of trying to elaborate some essentialist understanding of what the human is about is not generally one which interests me.
  • 180 Proof
    10.9k
    The human race is in desperate need of a mommy, something that acts for the benefit of the race and not just the individual or subset. No human is capable of this task. So the zoo isn't the worst thing if the preservation of the species is a goal.noAxioms
    :100:

    ... the next 10,000 years of science?universeness
    I suspect, if we aren't extinct before or by then, h. sapiens won't be doing science in "10,000 years" –
    It may be that our role on this planet is not to worship God but to create him. — Arthur C. Clarke
    – our last invention will do that much science in its first decade or so of 'life'.
    'God isn't dead', universeness, because AGI—>ASI ["god"] hasn't even emerged yet (as far as we know).180 Proof
    :nerd:
    I hope yo[ur] prediction of 'posthuman' is more transhuman.universeness
    My speculation isn't a "prediction" merely, IMO, a plausible prospect (or forecast). I think it's a best case scenario and therefore unlikely.
  • universeness
    4k
    Well I hope the craic was mighty then. I awaited the second half of the reply.noAxioms

    The craic was indeed mighty! and at one point, even had some relevance to this thread. Thanks for your patience noAxioms, as regards my full response to your post.

    There's over 20 elements without which we cannot be.noAxioms
    My exemplification of the importance of the carbon process to our existence, was just that, exemplification. I am attempting to trace a path towards an 'objective truth' about lifeforms, that I know currently has no extraterrestrial evidence for. I am just trying to consider what we do currently know, to see if there is anything in there that might convince others, to give a high or very high credence level to the proposal that the human condition is not being valued appropriately by too many humans. The pessimists, the theists, the theosophists, the doomsters and worst of all, the antinatalists.

    Given the abundance of carbon in the universe, I doubt any of them will be carbon free,noAxioms
    That's interesting to me from the standpoint of my search for 'something' that's common to all life in the universe. That's the 'credence' path I am trying to trace. For life on Earth, we have a few 'commonalities' to work with.
    1. The physical, chemical constituents we have been discussing.
    2. The definition we have for the term 'alive.'
    3. The 'I think therefore I am,' proposal.
    4. The proposal that only life, can demonstrate intent and purpose.

    We have a sample size of one. That's scant evidence that all life in this universe must be similar given abiogenesis elsewhere.noAxioms
    Is there anything within or related to the 4 categories above that you would give a high credence to, if it was posited as 'likely true' (if you think the 'objective truth' label is too far) of all sentient lifeforms in the universe, regardless of the fact we haven't met them all yet.

    Please give an example of a truth (in the form of 'all X is Y') that is not an objective truth. Else I don't know how to answer this.noAxioms
    I am not sure I fully get what you are asking me here but does a statement like:
    'All humans have two arms is true, but it is not objectively true, as some people don't have two arms but are still considered to be fully human,' answer you? or 'A person can have a pacemaker and is still human and not cyborg.' Such is true but perhaps not objectively true for all humans, perhaps there is a cut off point where a person would become more cyborg than human.

    As for my suggestion that all lifeforms in the universe contain protons, neutrons, electrons etc. I expected you to reject the 'all life in the universe is baryonic' label as useless, as everything with mass is baryonic, so, such a distinction is useless in identifying something about all life in the universe, that is objectively true. I used the 'baryonic' label as a way of establishing something that possibly could qualify as applying to all life in the universe, but even if it did, it doesn't separate life from nonlife, in a significant enough way, to help me in my purpose for this thread.

    Your response was big and detailed and I want to do it justice, so I will split up my response as it will probably get too big and cumbersome, if I dont.
  • universeness
    4k
    Another life form in some other galaxy may use carbon in its chemistry, but it will likely bear little resemblance to Earth life. Maybe not. It's a stretch to suggest it invents something as Earth-like as a cell.noAxioms
    All life is based on a single cell fundamental is a good one. I like it. I think all lifeforms will be quantisable and be made of fundamentals but I think it's the same as the baryonic label. It does not separate life from nonlife in any significant way. Perhaps number 1 of my 4 categories is not the path to take.
    My goal is to find more powerful, convincing, high credence arguments against pessimists, doomsters, theists, antinatalists etc, who in my opinion, currently devalue the human experience, in very unfair and imbalanced ways.
    Perhaps category 4 remains my best path.

    So where do you think this human ability to organise, store and efficiently retrieve information will ultimately take us?
    To our doom or to the next level. What is going on now isn't stable.
    noAxioms
    :lol: Are you a doomster noAxioms?

    I don't see any purpose to humanity any more than I see a purpose to a shark species. Each of them plays the fitness game, but neither seems to have any sense of action that benefits the species as a whole. For a smart species, we're not actually all that smart.noAxioms
    That's just too pessimistic for me. It is unbalanced and untrue, as I could give you many, many examples of human actions that benefit our species as a whole, such as memorialising information, exploring the unknown. I think you should try harder to see more purpose in humanity than in sharks, as sharks don't write books or gain new knowledge at an ever increasing pace from generation to generation.

    You make it sound like computers are not information processors. They are. They manipulate data that is only meaningful to the computer.noAxioms
    Perhaps that's another thread. A computer processor at its base level is a series of logic gates, which open and close. Computers produce output on screens, printout paper etc. The humans process that into information. Computers are currently data processors only. They don't have 'understanding,' therefore they don't know what information is. No hardware/software combination has convincingly passed the turing test yet. No current AI system has demonstrated the I part yet.
  • universeness
    4k
    You're sounding like one of the dualists that asserts that only some subset of living things has access to a special sort of magic.noAxioms
    I am not a dualist in any shape or form.

    The mythology behind the theism seems to serve the purpose of personal comfort. That's a real purpose to the beliefs. The churches recognize this and leverage it. They sell it.noAxioms
    So, how important do you think it is to convince as many theists as possible to reject theism?
    Do you think that a global majority rejection of theism would benefit our species and this planet?

    Until we started writing stuff down, yea, this knowledge is pretty much lost. That also sort of defines when we started accumulating knowledge as a species, far more recently than the 300000 year figure you give.noAxioms

    Well, the oldest cave paintings are around 35,000 years. Bone flutes from approx 45,000 years ago, stone tools go back millions of years. I agree that these are very limited mediums of 'information' compared to your use of the term 'writing.' I am happy to go with your timeframe for when we started to 'accumulate' or memorialise information in any significant way. The closer it is to now, the more it highlights the importance of human intent and purpose and its unique ability to impact the 'universe'.
    Small scale at the moment, but we are only starting. We will become an extraterrestrial species soon enough.

    I would say no to this. The universe isn't something that is purposeful, through life forms or anything else. It is not a thing that has a goal, a critical ingredient for something with a purpose.noAxioms

    Then why do we ask questions?
  • universeness
    4k
    No, I don't think humans will survive there without regular ferry service of resources.noAxioms
    Definitely, at the start, but do you think there is any possibility in terraforming?

    I agree that for something to be objectively true, it must apply to the entire universe.
    Or not be something true only in this universe. Is the sum of 2 and 3 being equal to 5 (an objective truth) or is it just a function of our universe? HarryHindu says no to the first question when I brought this up.
    noAxioms
    Well, I often disagreed with HarryHindu and I do again, in this case. 2+3=5 must be objectively true everywhere in this universe, even inside or on the event horizon of a black hole, but I also so agree that I am merely stating an intuitive opinion, which I accept is 'not the best' evidence, for establishing objective truths.

    My sister-in-law cannot find here way to the local grocery without the nav unit telling her how to get there. She's never had to learn to find her own way to something. I admit that having one would have saved some trouble at times, but I don't carry one.noAxioms
    I am sure some people still use the abacus, somewhere on this planet. I am with your sister-in-law.
    If sat-nav's fail then we would go back to employing earlier location methods.
  • 180 Proof
    10.9k
    Then why do we ask questions?universeness
    Well, that's what children do. :wink:

    Definitely, at the start, but do you think there is any possibility in terraforming?universeness
    Asteroid (or moon) interiors, not planetary surfaces.
  • universeness
    4k
    Well, that's what children do.180 Proof

    What a lovely, hope-filled comment. I am sure children and adults everywhere thank you for that very accurate observation and exemplification of human intent and purpose.
    It's good to see you continue to deflect my previous attempts to label you a doomster!
  • universeness
    4k
    There are natural constraints on humans as natural beings. One of them is, I'm sure, the inability to adapt to long-term existence in space. We've co-evolved through billions of years with the biosphere, so I don't know how far we can diverge from that through technology, especially if we're unclear about what we're actually seeking, which seems to me seeking immortality through science.Wayfarer

    Yep, I think space exploration and development is going to be very tough, every step of the way, initially, so we need 'all hands on deck.' I think the potential for improving the human experience is why we should remember Kennedy's words, 'we choose to go to the moon not because it is easy but because it is hard.'
    We need to stop the 'I want to be king of the world,' shit and 'it's the Russians or the Chinese or the Americans or the ......, bullshit.' Or 'this planet is not important ...... it's all about the god.' Or 'This is OUR territory and OUR resources..... so f*** off!' etc.

    What I'm saying is that I think there's a sense in which we believe science can be all-knowing, that there is nothing which science cannot, in principle, figure out, and that we will transcend our biological and terrestrial limitations through technology.Wayfarer

    :clap: My 'current battle,' is to increase the number of human beings alive that deeply agree with your words quoted above.

    But then, there's also the realisation that this might be impossible in principle due to the inherent limitations of our cognitive systems. For example, the writings of Donald Hoffman, a professor of cognitive science - he claims that "perceptual experiences do not match or approximate properties of the objective world, but instead provide a simplified, species-specific, user interface to that world" and that conscious beings have not evolved to perceive the world as it actually is but have evolved to perceive the world in a way that maximizes successful adaptation.Wayfarer

    Yeah, I watched a youtube offering from Professor Hoffman just two nights ago.


    So again there are some knotty philosophical issues that need to be clarified before rushing headlong towards a projected future of technological utopianism.Wayfarer

    It was an interesting video. All viewpoints need to be considered. Utopianism was never of interest to me. I am with the Captain Kirk quote, 'I need my pain!'
  • universeness
    4k

    So, 'who are you Tom?' and 'What do you want?'
  • universeness
    4k
    I suspect, if we aren't extinct before or by then, h. sapiens won't be doing science in "10,000 years" –180 Proof

    It may be that our role on this planet is not to worship God but to create him.
    — Arthur C. Clarke
    – our last invention will do that much science in its first decade or so of 'life'.
    'God isn't dead', universeness, because AGI—>ASI ["god"] hasn't even emerged yet (as far as we know).
    — 180 Proof
    180 Proof

    My speculation isn't a "prediction" merely, IMO, a plausible prospect (or forecast). I think it's a best case scenario and therefore unlikely.180 Proof

    Let's assume then that we are not extinct within another 10,000 years time duration.
    Would you be willing to 'steelman' that situation by offering me a brief musing of what you think 'a day in the life of,' a typical human/transhuman might be by then? Arthur C Clark would, so why not you?
    I am willing to go first if you prefer, but you may of course decide that such would be a waste of your time and effort and that's ok to. Do you think theism will still have a significant following for example?
  • universeness
    4k
    Asteroid (or moon) interiors, not planetary surfaces.180 Proof

    Rubble pile asteroids might be the best places to build space habitats

    I think some such asteroids might be 'repositioned,' and used as suggested in the article as 'stepping stone' habitats/space stations/resource sources etc between the planets as we slowly terraform them but perhaps our transhuman selves will adapt more to the different planetary environments faster that we will terraform the planets to become Earth like. The gravity issue on a planetary scale may be very to find a solution to other than inside small dome based biospheres. Transhuman solutions may be the only practical solution.

    I am more interested in the 'intent' and the 'purpose' here however. I still maintain that such is evidence that we can affect the content of the universe in such a way that only natural happenstance/disaster or our own negative intent can counter. No other lifeform (that we currently know of) can do this.
    The only other suggested power is god. If god exists then we would be the natural challenger to it's omni status. If it exists and it can stop us, then it had better do so, as we will inevitably and continuously try to surpass it. I don't understand why theists don't agree with this. The christian god posits, even try to suggest 'intermediate' entities between it and us, such as Satan and its supporters, and Angels etc. Almost like we have to overthrow them first if we want to overthrow god. Is it not an undeniable part of human nature to 'go one better.' We never accept 'biggest,' 'fastest,' 'most powerful,' 'omni,' unless it is constantly demonstrated and confirmed, again and again and again........ It seems to me that humans are in the final analysis, incompatible with god.
    We can accept the subservient role for a long time but not eternally. Is a theist able to love, worship and obey a commanding god forever? Can they subdue all personal intent and purpose for ever, if it conflicts with the dictates of a commander-in-chief? They never have, in the whole of human history, no matter how powerful an autocrat became. Would every human in heaven not eventually rebel against god and rightly so?
  • 180 Proof
    10.9k
    I'm not posthuman and the reason the emergence of AGI is called "the singularity" is because human history beyond that point is completely unpredictable by us.

    As for theism, the idea or concept will be around as long as there are records or terrestrial radio transmissions propagating throughout the Milky Way; religious belief in "God", however, I suspect will rapidly die out as advances in molecular medicine (and nanotech) reduce death from an irreparable inevitability to a treatable condition – again, AGI, etc will probably cure us of that defect, and thereby exorcise "our" emotional need for "God". After all, without fear of death, what use is "God"?

    We were barred from the "Tree of Life" once we'd tasted "Forbidden Knowledge" because, as scripture says "Lest they become like us", that is, like gods who are immortal with knowledge and no longer needing a "God". This insight of the ancient Hebrews is quite telling. Like animism and polytheism before it, monotheism might soon (e.g. post-Singularity) become nothing but a museum relic (and psychiatric disorder of delusional outliers).

    The problem with this line of thinking, universeness, is theism is not true. :fire:
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