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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 2:06 am 

Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 6:38 pm
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@jacob - What does it mean to save humanity? We need to more clearly define what we're asking before we can try to answer.


Of possible utility: "Existential Risks: Analyzing Human Extinction Scenarios and Related Hazards" http://www.nickbostrom.com/existential/risks.html (& more at http://www.existential-risk.org/)




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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 6:38 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2010 1:03 am
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A nagging question (at least for me): does the elimination of existential risks and hazards mean salvation? The work of John Calhoun suggests that it does not. Overshadowed by the resource-scarcity Malthusians of the time, Calhoun built existential utopias for mice, and concluded that avoidance of actual death inexorably led to a form of spiritual/social death (the behavioral sink) which guaranteed extinction (actual death) within a confined community:


http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/42/wiles.php


Despite the dismal results, Calhoun was not a pessimist, but believed that the problems were just not as simple as resource scarcity.




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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 6:54 pm 
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Reminds me the first version of the Matrix before they fixed THAT problem :)




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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:36 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2010 1:03 am
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At least until the next reboot :) I suspect legacy Matrix 1.0 running in the background when I hear someone planning to flee to a provisioned bunker in a secure, undisclosed location :)




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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:41 pm 

Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:31 am
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Hoplite--I'd heard of the experiment before, but I hadn't read this write-up before. This quote really caught my eye:


"No matter how sophisticated we considered ourselves to be, once the number of individuals capable of filling roles greatly exceeded the number of roles, only violence and disruption of social organization can follow. ... Individuals born under these circumstances will be so out of touch with reality as to be incapable even of alienation. Their most complex behaviors will become fragmented. Acquisition, creation and utilization of ideas appropriate for life in a post-industrial cultural-conceptual-technological society will have been blocked."


It seems to me that the subprime mortgage crisis, automation, and globalization may be doing something similar to America and western Europe right now. There aren't enough professional careers to go around in societies where identity is built upon the career. The number of individuals exceeds the number of roles.




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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 3:36 am 

Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2010 1:03 am
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secretwealth,

I think you're right about that, but America is difficult to judge because it's never had an adequate number of professional careers relative to candidates, unless you count being a farmer by default. In this country it's mostly ad hoc occupations that come and go, from pony express riders to dot com entrepreneurs (to bloggers?). And there are always more would- be followers than pathbreakers. The imbalance really shows when a new occupation achieves some notoriety or shows promise; people swarm it like gold prospectors swarmed California in 1849.


And even sushi chefs are not immune to automation. Perhaps they will go the way of the elevator operator:


http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/technology-blog/sushi-making-robots-crank-tasty-fish-rolls-24-223656501.html




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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 11:37 pm 
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I found this quote quite interesting....


"Calhoun consistently found that those animals better able to handle high numbers of social interactions fared comparatively well. “High social velocity” mice were the winners in hell."




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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 12:01 am 

Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:31 am
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@Ego: That sounds familiar. How depressing. I think I'm going to go curl up in the fetal position for a little bit.




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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:09 am 
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It wasn't really heaven anymore after they had lack of space and too much social competition. Interesting experiment, but I also wonder what would happen if they could be able to really provide heaven to the mice for a extended number of generations. I guess life evolution would turn to life degeneration, as difficulty is one of the driving forces behind evolution. We can't live happy without hardship. That's why matrix 1 failed.




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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:35 pm 
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@bigato "I guess life evolution would turn to life degeneration, as difficulty is one of the driving forces behind evolution. We can't live happy without hardship."


Reminds me of Carl Sagan asking whether humanity can survive its technological-adolescence. We are often smart enough to solve the suffering caused by symptoms but rarely solve the problem itself. And when we do solve a problem we often create a new and larger one with the solution.




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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:41 am 
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So the real problem is our short-sightness. Wanting a world of only happiness, love, health, peace; without sadness, hate, disease, war. That is misunderstanding reality. Reality is not stable and never will be.




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