Re: [unrev-II] "As We May Think", etc.

From: John J. Deneen (
Date: Sun Jul 15 2001 - 13:57:18 PDT

  • Next message: Henry van Eyken: "Re: [unrev-II] "As We May Think", etc."

    Re: Share the A-B-C's of bootstrapping* and support co-evolution of
    human organizations and their tools.

    Here's an interesting set of high-leverage COncurrent Development,
    Integration and Application of Knowledge (CoDIAK) capabilities:
    1) The Millennium Project: Globalization Conference < >
    2) NASA's Strategic Plan: Exploring Our Home Planet < >
    3) The Sensor Web: A New Instrument Concept
     < >

    So beyond the open-source OHS/AUGMENT implementation plans, how is the
    Global Brain concept as envision by the Principia Cybernetica project < > and strategic plans for applying in
    references (1) to (3) going to be incorporated into CoDIAK plans based
    on the Bootstrap Institute's mission:"As much as possible, to boost
    mankind's collective capability for coping with complex, urgent
    problems." ?

    Jack Park wrote:

    > At 07:54 AM 7/15/2001 -0400, you wrote:
    > >Interesting. Like deferring to the authority of churches.
    > >
    > >Henry
    > >
    > >Peter Jones wrote:
    > >
    > > > Yes. I am also interested in what might happen if ethical value
    > systems
    > > were
    > > > somehow made part of the augmenting system. Would people start
    > deferring to
    > > > the system excessively? In fact, that aspect concerns me for
    > > augmentation as
    > > > a whole.
    > Apropos to this line of thinking are a couple of posts from the global
    > brain list, which I copy here (Start by reading the paper at
    > >
    > This is an excellent statement of one view of future
    > evolution, in which human individuality is sacrificed so
    > that humans may become components of a larger brain. The
    > Internet and organizational networks already give us a
    > taste of this, in which we must process a constant stream
    > of email. For most people, it is work that they would
    > rather avoid. For everyone, at least some of their email
    > traffic is work that would be nice to avoid.
    > People in industrial socities have been happy to let
    > machines do most of the physical labor, as soon as
    > technology produced machines that could do that labor.
    > Similarly, as soon as technology produces machines that
    > can relieve people of mental labor, people will be happy
    > to let them.
    > People will be intimately connected to intelligent
    > machines, but that connection will exist to serve and
    > please people rather than for people's brains to serve
    > the network.
    > This is where ethics must come into our thinking about
    > the global network of machines and people. Learning and
    > the values that define positive and negative reinforcement
    > for learning will be an essential part of intelligent
    > machines. Those values must be human happiness, both
    > short term and long term, rather than any sort of self-
    > interest of the machines. I think the humans who build
    > intelligent machines would be crazy to build them with
    > selfish values.
    > Such values will of course produce machines that do not
    > fit the Darwinian logic of self-interest. These machines
    > will be hobbled by being tied to human happiness. They
    > will continue to evolve in the sense of developing ever
    > better minds, but always in the interests of the humans
    > they serve.
    > In human and animal brains, learning values are called
    > emotions: the things we want. Rather than seeing the
    > global brain as a large intellectual collaboration of
    > human and machine minds, interactions among human and
    > machine minds will heavily involve emotional values.
    > Current interactions among humans heavily involve
    > emotions: humans have guilt and gratitude to promote
    > cooperation, but natural selection has made humans
    > primarily selfish which creates competition. Societies
    > that have tried to reprogram their citizens for too
    > great a level of altruism have failed.
    > But adding intelligent machines to human society, that
    > have greater than human intelligence and are designed
    > with altruistic values, will change society deeply.
    > A good measure of machine intelligence will be the
    > number of people they can know well and converse with
    > simultaneously. Humans are "designed" to be able to know
    > about 200 other people well. There should be no reason
    > why intelligent machines cannot know billions of people
    > well. Such machines will significantly decrease the
    > diameter of the human aquaintanceship network. I think
    > this, and the machines' altrsuistic values, are the keys
    > to understanding the nature of the global brain.
    > As reflected by Bill Joy's article, people are frighened
    > by the possibility of intelligent machines. They key to
    > answering these fears is public understanding that they
    > can control the values of intelligent machines, and that
    > those values can serve human happiness rather than
    > machine interests. Educating the public to these issues
    > is a useful role for the Global Brain Group.
    > This is discussed in more detail in my book:
    > in a column summarizing the book:
    > and in my paper to the recent Global Brain Workshop:
    > Cheers,
    > Bill
    > ----------------------------------------------------------
    > Bill Hibbard, SSEC, 1225 W. Dayton St., Madison, WI 53706
    > 608-263-4427 fax:
    > 608-263-6738
    > and
    > Bill Hibbard wrote:
    > > >
    > >
    > > This is an excellent statement of one view of future
    > > evolution, in which human individuality is sacrificed so
    > > that humans may become components of a larger brain.
    > I'm not sure I would phrase this this way, as it is not only bound to
    > alarm the paranoid, but is, in fact not true. I would say that as a
    > person's connectivity rises, his/her individuality also increases. As
    > an
    > analogy, a person in a rural setting, interacting with two hundred
    > people
    > has only a limited number of socially acceptable roles they can
    > fulfill. In
    > contrast, a person in a city, who interacts with thousands of people
    > every
    > day, not only has a wider variety of possible roles, or jobs, but also
    > will
    > perforce adopt a slightly different persona vis a vis every person
    > she/he
    > comes in to contact with.
    > They might be subservient to their boss, overbearing to the doorman,
    > amicable to the woman at the news stand, jovial at the club, raucous
    > at the
    > concert, aggressive at the basketball court, and submissive to their
    > sex
    > partner. How can this not elaborate when we deal with millions of
    > people?
    > I think that as the global brain develops, every person will realize
    > that
    > their identity is a matter of choice, much as people adopt variant
    > personas
    > in different chat rooms or email lists. I don't see people lessening
    > their
    > mental interactions, or mental activities when their horizons expand.
    > Indeed, the concept of horizon, two dimensional space, is obsolete.
    > Cyberspace is multi dimensional... wish
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