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One possible future for humanity [Sep. 2nd, 2008|02:18 am]
Wise Tits
wise_tits
[d_h_belmont]
Don't laugh at me yet... A lot of this was inspired by a fascinating program on PBS, the name of the program, I've forgotten, but certain terms and ideas are definitely borrowed from it.

The internet is probably the most important invention of our time because of the way it's connected the world. So much of our personal lives are now wrapped up in it. This community is one of countless examples. This PBS program came up with a number of ideas, one of them included a "world wide mind", where all minds are connected, which would mean that if you wanted to *know* anything, it could be retrieved from the W.M.M. (pronounced Whim). Suppose that also included the experience of others, too, so all the years spent learning how to do anything could be instantly processed. Imagine how far humanity could go, and imagine with a connection like that, we would all be connected so intimately, I think it would instantly become damn near impossible to try to fight and kill one another anymore. Ideas rapidly bouncing off of other ideas, within a few years of the activiation of this WMM, maybe less, the world would become drastically different. I could see our lives being pushed further and deeper into the virtual world to the point where we become fully interconnected with it. It sounds stupid, like something straight out of bad science fiction writing, but I don't think I've said anything that makes no sense or can't be elaborated or justified so far. I could see this intergration going so deep, we start having virtual children, which would mean that humanity would, depending on how you look at it, evolve into a fully technological species, or go extinct. Either way, I could see some form of artificial intellegence being the next big step in the evolution of man. Now I'm not talking about a big giant virtual world, where everything is just like what it is now, but in some mental holodeck, no no no! With the power of billions of minds slowly integrating into one giant super intellegence, I think we could make quick and rapid evolutions, reaching levels of intellegence and understanding and comprehension that are inpercievable at present. Free of an organic physical form, we would be able to leave Earth and travel across the universe or beyond if we wanted to, growing and learning about things we never would have reached from home. Our brains work because of the environment we live in an how we adapted to it millions of years ago. Despite how smart we think we are, we still act mostly like animals because of eons of conditioning. That conditioning would finally be eliminated and we, if you would still call this super intellegence a "we", would probably transcend those limitations.

Okay, it's late, and the thoughts are probably not coming out as clearly as I want them to. I hope this makes some sense. Maybe I should start at the beginning.

Suppose there is a need (food), and a man, we'll call him Adam, creates a thing to meet that need (a farm). He makes crops, and over several years, he comes up with ideas to improve the crop. Suppose Adam has access to books on farming that have advice on how to improve said crops. He takes some of the best ideas there and they work to his advantage. Now, Adam has internet, and he has millions of articles at his fingertips, and he finds something esoteric from across the world on how to really make the crops grow, and he uses that to his advantage and the crops are even better and he now has a new medium to distribute those goods. With WMM, Adam can now *know* all the experiences of all the farmers in the world (or those who are attached to this mind connection), and from it, he can take the knowledge of the best farmer in the world and match his output. All these minds taking ideas from one another will generate newer and better ideas that will almost instantly be available. With newer and better ideas coming out instantly, flowing out- exploding out like gas from a pressurized tank, it wouldn't be long before you get to really far out ideas. Using all the accumulated knowledge from countless scientists bouncing ideas off of eachother, someone across the globe creates a "pattern replicator", like the food replicators seen on Star Trek, and a doctor, getting ideas from other doctors, biologists, what not, creates a way for humans to act as plants and get energy through photosynthesis. Minds would speak to each other with such harmony, free of the clumsiness of language, spoken and written.

It sounds scary and unpleasant, but I find the idea exciting, because of the heights a mind could reach utilizing the power of billions of minds, and the knowledge from humanity's cream of the crop, and the knowledge from great minds that otherwise would have gone unnoticed, all available and accessible, free for others to amend and improve and augment upon. I think if people found this experience unpleasant, the WMM would instantly collapse, or be reduced to something less significant. I think there would be this moment of extreme shock in some as surely their perceptions on the world, their life, their loved ones, would be drastically altered instantly. I'd think the best ideas for happiness would surface and be utilitzed, and I can't see how there could be disagreements inside this unified brain because all the reasoning and logic for any position would be laid bare for all to process. Everyone's perspectives and bias would be understood by everyone because it now sits in their brain, too.

And I have to wonder if all this knowledge exchange would fill up a brain's memory capacity. I suppose that would be one of the times that new memories would be written into a supercomputer that would house all our personalities and memories and everything else that makes us who we are. When we "die", I think there would be enough information and data on a person to essentially keep something congruent to them around for the life of the supercomputer, something to continue to contribute and add to whatever society would look like at this point. Children would probably start to exist solely in the computer, especially if this computer left Earth and did not arrive at any other Earth like setting. It seems that it would only be a matter of time before the organic side, that which was what we were at the start of WMM, would become obsolete and become extinct, and this unity would continue to evolve, possibly to a state where physical constraints as we know it no longer apply.

I wish the WMM existed now because so much of this idea just WILL NOT convert to words or drawings, partially because it deals with ideas that are supposed to be unlike anything we've ever experienced before... but maybe someone out there is capable making that conversion. Surely one in six billion would get what I'm saying and be literate and have a broad enough vocabulary to make that conversion for me. Heh.

It is three in the morning now. I better end this here.
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Comments:
From: you_lied
2008-09-03 02:16 am (UTC)
I hope that I can get all my feelings and thoughts on this post into words that make sense. As a warning I may ramble or see like I am ranting, and that's because I don't want to take the time to organize the thoughts into something worth turning in at school to be honest.

The first thing I want to say is that I think this is horrible. Yes, it would definitely completely change life as we know it, and in my opinion not for the better. It might seem better because it might eliminate sadness, violence, dumb people, etc. I think the reason it would eliminate those things though is because it would eliminate all emotion. It would eliminate desire. It would eliminate need. It would eliminate want. There would be no point in living except to just exist, which is exactly what I think would happen - we would exist, but we would no longer be alive. Individuality would be gone. I also think that it would slow evolution down. If we all knew the same things as everyone else what would cause competition? Without competition how would we be forming new ideas and pursuing quests of bettering ourselves and our lives? You say we would possibly be able to travel out into the universe, but I say why would we? If you and I share the same mind, and you go out into space, learn about it, and experience it, then why would I need to do that? I'll just share those thoughts from you. Now I have no need to do anything in life except the basic things that keep me alive. I'll need to eat and stay hydrated. I won't need to do anything else because someone else is gonna or has experienced it and so I can share those feelings from them. I'll have no need to pursue any relations with anyone, there will be no love, no friendships, no anything, because I am sharing these feelings with everyone else already. So I'm not going to be the only one who realizes that I don't have to do anything now (especially considering we are sharing knowledge) and before you know it everyone is doing nothing. Now ideas are no longer occurring, we are no longer learning and we find ourselves in a very stagnate position that I honestly feel would lead to making people unintelligent. We would become lazy, fat, unhealthy, much more than we already are haha. Another thing, think of how satisfied you feel when you learn or experience something new, it's not necessarily the new thing that you've learned that causes this satisfaction, but the fact that you yourself have achieved something, you took in this new knowledge in some quest of your own. That would be gone because you would know everything that everyone knows. Having virtual babies? Well then I think obviously the human race would become extinct, the world would be populated with emotionless robots wouldn't it? I don't see this as a good thing at all, and I feel like I had more to say about it when I first started typing out this comment, however I am at work, and in addition to that The Simpsons is on so I've definitely become distracted. If I think of more I'm sure I'll be back
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From: d_h_belmont
2008-09-03 04:46 am (UTC)

Hit the character limit, so this is Part One

Buddhists believe that all suffering comes from want, and so they strive to reach a state where they are free of this, which they call nirvana. The lack of all these things may seem appealing to them. (I'm having major deja vu here. Anyone else?)

I think evolution might accelerate at an amazing pace. All the best ideas would come together and be put to use instantly, with newer and better ideas coming in constantly. I think it'd be much like going out there on the internet and learning about new ideas and topics and then making them your own, adding your own ideas to it. I think of all this time we spend learning how to DO things, what if that was given to us instantly? What if we could know how to do any task, any job? Certainly, if we had access to that kind of knowledge, we would find out what job would be the best for us. You would no longer have countless scores of people working jobs that don't fit their strengths and weaknessess. Competition has always been a major motivation for humans to create and think, the Space Race is the classic example, but I don't think that this connected mind would cause us to ultimately stop doing everything because with the knowledge of how to do anything at our fingertips, our limitations are shattered and we can do things that are beyond our level of comprehension at this point.

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From: d_h_belmont
2008-09-03 04:47 am (UTC)

Re: Hit the character limit, so this is Part Two

Not to the part of satisfaction of learning something new, I think every individual would continue to come up with unique ideas (because they have to come somewhere). Someone comes up with bombastic idea "A", and just like things from the internet or books, we take those ideas and make them our own, to create bombastic idea "B". With all these great ideas, it gives everyone the opportunity to build off of those, creating ideas "C", "D", and "E" at a rate that otherwise could have taken centuries to accomplish.

What makes up humanity? Is it our flesh and blood or is it our spirit? If it's just the component parts, then yes, we would become extinct within a couple generations, but I don't know if the world would be populated by emotionless robots. I don't see why the artificial intelligence would necessarily lack the emotions we have. Sure, they won't be the same because a robot would not doubt have different needs than we do, and thus, would have different emotions to guide them in their quest to maintain those needs. Maybe they won't need emotions like we do, maybe they won't exist like we do period. I think of our "extinction" as simply an accelerated form of evolution. Just like how from dinosaurs, we get chickens, a little bit changes here and there with the genetics of the dinosaurs until you get something completely unlike them- a chicken, for example. Dinosaurs went extinct, but not necessarily because an asteroid wiped ALL of them out all at once. Some life forms had to survive, and ultimately evolved into different things, which evolved into other things, which would eventually produce modern day animals. I think the same would happen with this, but it would happen VERY FAST... so, maybe we wouldn't go extinct, maybe this whole damn thing would just become a new lifeform, created out of our minds and experiences, and then decide to leave this world because it's learned all it's going to learn by being here.

Wow, this is a really tricky comment. We're all delving so deeply into what if's here. Even if a World Wide Mind was developed, something completely unexpected may come out of it as a result... assuming something like it happened. Because of the way we're moving, because scientists believe within a few decades, they'll be able to decipher information stored in brains and convert it to computer files we can access and use, and because the world has become united in a way never imagined possible before thanks to internet, I would say something like what I discussed may happen within a few hundred years. The idea, to us, is terrifying, because we don't understand all it's implications, so we think of all the bad things that may come out of it, and those feelings are valid, but I think the potential good things about it are so amazing and thrilling... Am I the only one that has anything good to say about this? Can anyone else think of something good that may come out of a connected network of human brains?

Oh, and Josh, I think your thoughts were coherent and fair. I don't think you need to worry about sounding like you're "ranting"... but I understand that fear of coming off that way. I guess you just have to hold your breath and bravely click that "post comment" button, huh?
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