• VagabondSpectre
    1.2k
    Well if it's not the consensus, then I believe the group that believes Agrarian workers were worse of, because their arguments seem better to me. Agrarian workers had to work long days, in ways their body was not really suited for, had a one-sided diet, and the larger groups that resulted from the revolution entailed more hierarchical structures and a ruling class living of the work of others etc...

    Objective measures, like lifespan... don't tell a whole lot about quality of life. Quantity is not quality.

    Anyway, you can obviously respond to this if you want, but i'm not really interested in going into this right now, because it's only an example to show that more prosperity overall doesn't necessarily entail more quality of life for the majority. If you want to make the case that this allways is necessarily so, then that seems to be a hard argument to make. The answer, it seems to me, is that we can't know for sure.
    ChatteringMonkey

    I'd rather not get into it, especially given I recently completed participation in a thread where I must have written around twenty thousand words on this subject.

    Suffice it to say that hunter-gatherers had such high infant morality rates that they often don't consider babies to be "people" or give them names until they actually start displaying human features like smiling and laughter (because the risk of death early on is extremely high). about 50% of hunter-gatherers live past age 15. "Better off" indeed?

    Really... and the times we came close doesn't give you pauze? All that is needed is things getting out of hand one time.ChatteringMonkey

    Nah...Niether America nor Russia is going to launch all of their nukes; they aren't that stupid. Worst case scenario a bunch of cities get nuked in the northern hemisphere, but life will go on...

    As for AI, I'm not so much concerned that they will end up 'terminating' us, it's the effects on society that might not be so positive. If large parts of the population become useless for the economy because of automation and AI, that would create problems that needs new kinds of solutions. And I don't have that much faith in the whole economic and political system, if I look at how things are going now.ChatteringMonkey

    So you would destroy the AI so that less intelligent humans can do worse jobs but feel useful?

    We can just find other shit to do I reckon...

    Things are going pretty well right now, all things considered...

    My point is this really, I'm certainly not against economic growth, innovation and new technology in principle... but I also don't think we should just have blind faith that it will necessarily make things better. And as it stand now, we just seem to be dragged into it without much deliberation, whether we like it or not, and for better or for worse.ChatteringMonkey

    But it's been for the better; we're reducing poverty, increasing literacy, longevity; tyranny is at a low; democracy is at a high; the air is thick with equality.

    We still have a way to go, the world is not perfect, and there will always be something to object to, but just imagine actually going backward.

    Rewinding the clock means more nukes (at least until the height of the cold war) because we've been deproliferating. It means less rights for women and minorities, more violence, higher crime rates, more wars, more deadly wars, shorter lifespans, more illiteracy, famine; disease; death; destruction; oppression; and a generous and thick layer of complete scientific ignorance.

    You really think regressing to a world of toil and death, governed by spirits and superstition, where the weak die and the strong survive, wouldn't make things "worse"?

    I don't mean to be offensive when I say this, but I think that we are so consistently well pampered by modernity that we basically take every benefit we have for granted while overreacting to every burden. Not dying young and keeping all your children alive are pretty damn beneficial. We don't yet have a four hour work week but we also have a hell of a lot more than what four hours in the jungle will net you...
  • ChatteringMonkey
    201


    But I didn't say anything about wanting to regress, we can't go back period.

    I said I didn't want to rely on blind faith. I don't just assume lineair progression. Why do you assume it's going to be better just because it made things better in the past?

    Why are governments putting billions of dollars into AI, Biotech and other technologies that will have a profound impact on societies and people... without it having been the subject of any major public debate?

    You'd think there would be debate about something that impactfull, if democracy was at a high.
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.2k
    Why are governments putting billions of dollars into AI, Biotech and other technologies that will have a profound impact on societies and people... without it having been the subject of any major public debate?

    You'd think there would be debate about something that impactfull, if democracy was on a high.
    ChatteringMonkey

    There is endless debate on these subjects, it's just too highfalutin for channel 6 public discourse. If and when reliable consensus emerges, or the preponderance of evidence comes in, we can then boil down new such technologies into "good" and "bad" camps. Wealth redistribution made necessary as the result of runaway AI efficiency and wealth production is a complex subject that is being rigorously explored, and biotech isn't a direct threat to the public until a government like China decides to somehow force genetic engineering upon its people.

    There is more debate today than ever before and there is more to debate about. We're not all of a single mind about what should even be debated, but that's democracy for you...
  • ChatteringMonkey
    201
    There is endless debate on these subjects, it's just too highfalutin for channel 6 public discourse. If and when reliable consensus emerges, or the preponderance of evidence comes in, we can then boil down new such technologies into "good" and "bad" camps. Wealth redistribution made necessary as the result of runaway AI efficiency and wealth production is a complex subject that is being rigorously explored, and biotech isn't a direct threat to the public until a government like China decides to somehow force genetic engineering upon it's people.

    There is more debate today than ever before and there is more to debate about. We're not all of a single mind about what should even be debated, but that's democracy for you...
    — Vagabondspectre

    Yes debate among specialists and the in-crowd... not a word from say Hillary or Trump about it. Meanwhile we're already spending billions on it.

    Wealth redistribution will never be solved in practice before the effects of AI will be there, because it's not only between people in one country, but also between countries with AI and without it.

    And you know someone will try genetic manipulation sooner or later. And then others will feel to need to follow if it gives a competitive edge. If it can be done...
  • Existoic
    5
    @VagabondSpectre @ChatteringMonkey

    Hey excuse me, I'm kind of just passing by, posting randomly and being new here.

    I think what you both are overlooking is what humans actually do with their existence, which is to reproduce, replicate old self-sustaining behaviors and display idiosyncratic behavior leading to both death with deep unhappiness(the risk) and newly discovered ways of perpetuating their being(the reward). The newly discovered ways of being over time become established and normal.

    What allows us to think that happiness is continuously occurring is the observation whether human being is able to perpetuate itself(the culture he and she is embedded in continues to evolve and survive). This alone is a sufficient test of the goodness of being as per the Myth of Sisyphus (there is nothing a human being likes so much as perpetuating existence, therefore being able to do so makes a human population happy).

    We are thus confronted only by two very practical questions: (1)Does the expansion of the ways of human being pose a threat to the perpetuation of culture as a whole? (2)If yes, how much risk is justified?

    Conceptually it is easy to see that an expansive human culture may well consume itself. There is a link from this debate to religiosity. There is a link from here to political philosophy too. But the conceptual clarity we can impose now is, that economic development is a baseline that enables being. As such it is an absolute good. At least in so far as it does not saw off the tree branch we are sitting on. How good the actual existence we obtain is, is defined by our mastery of being(educational, political, religious etc).

    A secondary/tertiary point I might claim is, that to the best of our knowledge, our universe is finite, the clock is ticking on us and all future us'es(Tony Stark, how do you spell that?), and as such some risk to the whole of culture is justified in attempts to expand it.
  • ChatteringMonkey
    201


    Hi Existoic, welcome, and thanks for chiming in.

    VagabondSpectre ChatteringMonkey

    Hey excuse me, I'm kind of just passing by, posting randomly and being new here.

    I think what you both are overlooking is what humans actually do with their existence, which is to reproduce, replicate old self-sustaining behaviors and display idiosyncratic behavior leading to both death with deep unhappiness(the risk) and newly discovered ways of perpetuating their being(the reward). The newly discovered ways of being over time become established and normal.

    What allows us to think that happiness is continuously occurring is the observation whether human being is able to perpetuate itself(the culture he and she is embedded in continues to evolve and survive). This alone is a sufficient test of the goodness of being as per the Myth of Sisyphus (there is nothing a human being likes so much as perpetuating existence, therefore being able to do so makes a human population happy).

    We are thus confronted only by two very practical questions: (1)Does the expansion of the ways of human being pose a threat to the perpetuation of culture as a whole? (2)If yes, how much risk is justified?

    Conceptually it is easy to see that an expansive human culture may well consume itself. There is a link from this debate to religiosity. There is a link from here to political philosophy too. But the conceptual clarity we can impose now is, that economic development is a baseline that enables being. As such it is an absolute good. At least in so far as it does not saw off the tree branch we are sitting on. How good the actual existence we obtain is, is defined by our mastery of being(educational, political, religious etc).
    Existoic

    Interesting view on the issue. Having read all of Nietzsche multiple times when I was a bit younger, I'm not altogheter unsympathetic to the view that life is justified through overcoming and mastery. Being is becoming... From that perspective a perpetual stagnation of human civilization and culture maybe is also an ending of it.

    That said, it does seem to me that the risks are very high at this moment. A cocktail of a still growing population, an overheating earth, increasing political instability, an interdependent economy prone to crash and high tech mixed with some religious strife, is very explosive to say the least. Maybe it will not be the end for all of humanity, but at the very least I see big conflicts coming... possibly resulting in new unprecedented and semi-permanent inequalities.

    But maybe that is the way it has to go...

    A secondary/tertiary point I might claim is, that to the best of our knowledge, our universe is finite, the clock is ticking on us and all future us'es(Tony Stark, how do you spell that?), and as such some risk to the whole of culture is justified in attempts to expand it. — Existoic

    Given the current tempo of innovation, and the fraction we only spend compared to the astronomical amounts of time left to the end of the universe, I don't see the need for haste.
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