( An essential twenty five -minute read)
Everyone sees the world in different ways however the greatest innovations of man are found in the most simple things:
Starting with Fire, Language, Tools, and Wheel writing has been the sole reason that mankind has been able to accumulate knowledge.
Since then the use of our inventions have taken us a long way, they’ve allowed us to land on the moon, travel over oceans, and even eliminate major health threats with various medicines.
You could not be blamed for asking what was actually gained by landing on the moon — a handful of rocks and a game of low-gravity golf — was of virtually no value and yet the act of the journey was invaluable beyond all measure as it personified our continuing evolution.
The same is true with technology today.
The development of it is mind-blowing but its application is almost entirely mindless – profit-seeking algorithms and weaponized drones.
Setting aside why do we exist and what is the purpose of life? (These are hard questions that demand answers) it is what we have not achieved that will be judged by future generations.
Karl Marx once famously observed that capitalism carried within it the seeds of its own destruction but he was wrong. It’s not capitalism that’s the problem, it’s people.
The human race ended the 20th century in pretty good shape, at least comparatively speaking.
The first half of the 1900s was almost certainly the most bloody and brutal phase of humanity’s existence.
Now we have all the information in the world yet it has made us only more ideological and more ignorant; we have access to limitless opinions yet we seek to criminalise those who don’t agree with us. We are so advanced and yet so backward, so cynical and yet so stupid, that we can no longer even agree on what constitutes a fact.
Welcome to the 21st century.
Consider the internet itself, probably the most revolutionary invention in the history of humankind. Its potential to share information thus to accelerate the advancement of science and keep the world running in the event of a catastrophic disaster — the purpose for which it was first intended — is all but limitless.
And what do we use it for most? Porn.
Consider the smartphone, the match to the powder keg of the worldwide web. Almost everyone in every half-developed part of the world, even people living on the streets, has a device more powerful than supercomputers that once took up whole buildings. We can access virtually any image, any idea, any information from anywhere in the world.
And what do we overwhelmingly use it for? Taking pictures of ourselves.
Let’s look at medical technology — the smartest minds on the planet developing machines and medicines that keep the average person today alive for longer than was once ever dreamt of.
And what is the result?
We are fatter and lazier than ever, resulting in spiralling hospital costs that will send most Western governments broke in a matter of decades. It was once said that the only two certainties in life were death and taxes and yet now we are defying death and there aren’t enough taxes to pay for it.
We are too dumb to even know when to die.
It may well be impossible to connect a full chronological series of species, leading to Homo sapiens, but over millions of years of evolution, we’ve picked up some less than ideal characteristics.
Why? Because of greed.
It will take the efforts of several scientific disciplines and sophisticated technology, probably over many years, to discover the underlying nature of our mental faculties, their neurological basis, and their development over time.
And it’s fair to say that we have little idea of what we’ll evolve to in the future, but there is one thing for certain, evolution is about adapting to your environment – Weaponized drones, Climate change, Algorithms.
Algorithms that are feeding Social media, are stripping us of a collective understanding of what is going on in the world.
People like to blame fake news on Facebook, and that is true enough.
But the far greater truth is far worse than that. Neither fake news nor Facebook emerged like Athena fully-formed from nothing. They were made by us. By us and for us and of us.
While the positive uses for technology are endless I marvel as I read Asimov to see the way in which he foresaw the ethical conundrum in which we now find ourselves embroiled.
Of course, when they (the future generations) look at our achievements the one thing they will not be able to comprehend is why we have not been able to stop killing each other.
Weaponized drones are now more acceptable than land mines, cluster bombs, or chemical weapons.
It might be argued that this would be a way of sparing human beings who could stay comfortably at home and let our intelligent machines do the fighting for us. If some of them were destroyed — well, they are only machines. This approach to warfare would be particularly useful if we had such machines and the enemy didn’t.
Just like those tried at Nuremberg who attempted to wash their hands of mass killings we have now developed weaponized drones to kill, with a Punches Pilot immunity, that is violating all existing international law.
So humans through the use of technology may eventually reach a point where they can force evolution upon themselves.
Perhaps the result (if we are not already wiped out by Nuclear or a Weather bomb) will be that we’re no longer subject to the driving force of evolution – but unnatural selection by drones.
Now the question is, how accurate is this statement?
Is technological progress actually taking us backwards?
Are we advancing ourselves to death? At what point do many deaths become too many deaths?
This is the first problem with technology.
If it is accurate, we’re already screwed.
Of course, none of this is important given the glacial pace of evolutionary change, we probably won’t have to worry about that for thousands of years.
We’ve come to believe that, with enough information, human behaviour is predictable.
But number-crunching algorithms are leading us perilously wrong. There’s something unsettling in the idea that, amid the vagaries of choice, chance, and circumstance, mathematics can tell us something about what it is to be human.
Who we are together, as a collective entity?
Despite the grand promises of Big Data, uncertainty remains so abundant that specific human lives remain boundlessly unpredictable. The more data that are collected, cross-referenced, and searched for correlations, the easier it becomes to reach false conclusions.
It might be true that in large groups, the natural variability among human beings cancels, however, if we end up with algorithms setting thresholds extremely unlikely outcomes are bound to arise eventually.
The gift is not a technology to enable us to realise evolution for the cruel being it is, but giving mankind the intelligence and tools to exclude ourselves from the other species on the planet and take a step back to interpret for ourselves where we as a race are going?
Leaving the brutality of evolution behind is not a gift given to us by evolution.
We have evolved to the point whereby we stand on the threshold of controlling our genetic and ultimately evolutionary destiny. Unfortunately, the problem with humans is, whenever we encounter a problem we have evolved to the point where we think that we can overcome it with technology.
Advances in technology, medicine and culture mean it isn’t just the fittest who get to pass their genes on to the next generation.
External aids could be entirely responsible for our survival.
All of this relies on earth’s natural resources which are supposedly gonna be gone by 2050!
The problems in this world are manmade therefore man can solve them.
The sad truth is that we have Governments and World Organisations that pay lip service when the real debate is a knowledge- and research-based exchange of argument and counterargument that should be focused at the analysis of a specific question, our survival.
Passion and competition, yes, but, more than anything else, debate is an exercise in critical thinking! The human brain, being a machine striving for maximum efficiency, typically remembers where information is stored, rather than the information itself.
Technology has already affected the way our memory works.
AI. After all, natural evolution wouldn’t be able to mould and program devices to a point of sophistication that may lead to sentience, but we may be able to and maybe at that point even though its not natural, it is an evolution born of natural origins and most likely would go on to create newer better versions of itself.
In theory, humans are exercising their judgement in the process, but in reality, the computer system is viewed as too “smart” to be second-guessed by a human being.
So . . . what do we need to be more afraid of?
Robots with a compulsion to out-think humans? or humans that are afraid to second-guess the robots?
We must confront an urgent problem related to technology: the automation of “pre-emptive violence” – front-loaded with a bias to kill, with little impetus to contradict that bias.
At present drones are the most devastating driving forces for terrorism and destabilization around the world.
So are we at the peak of human evolution?
Certainly not. Certainly not as long as there are humans, there will be human evolution.
We are not even close to the peak of evolution.
Just look at wthat we recently found > The Higgs Boson, Mapped the Human Genome, Cloned a sheep, built the International Space Station, discovery the Double Helix Structure of DNA, Split the Atom, invented the Internet, we’re revisiting the theories of Relativity with Quantum Mechanics.
We have Created Nuclear Weapons, the Periodic Table of the Elements, Created the Internet Developed Vaccines, Created Music, Created Photography, Flight, Electronic Devices, Traveled to the Moon, Eradicated Small Pox, Created the Television, Discovered Mathematics, Invented the Printing Press, The Phone, Discovery and Control of Electricity, Cars, Invented Zero, Created of United Nations, Discovered World is Round.
AND STILL, WE ARE UNABLE TO ACT TOGETHER.
Because you know the downfall of civilisation has really passed the point of no return when even a rich white guy can’t get anything done.
Humans are the only organism that can alter their environment to suit them (instead of the other way around)
Finally, people must take into account that nature will commence exerting its own controls LONG BEFORE the human race has reached the point where it can step off the evolutionary treadmill.
With our increasing reliance on technology – and in particular machinery – to do our dirty (but muscle-enhancing) work. The less each generation depends on physical strength, the more likely it is that the whole species will grow weaker to the point of stagnation.
As evolution relies on the survival of the fittest, evolution itself will evolve everything else in all our lives will be transitory and every other artificial intelligent goodwill application will become visionary.
Only when we’ll be able to repair and augment our children’s DNA. Then we really will have triumphed over evolution. Race” will no longer be an issue. Perhaps we will stop killing each other.
Yet we’ve got our problems. A lot of them but the very things we invented to sustain us will destroy us.
The exact nature of our evolutionary relationships with the planet and AI will be the subject of debate for the foreseeable future.
It doesn’t matter if we’re uncovering evidence for climate change or deciding whether a drug has an effect: the concept is identical.
By setting an arbitrary threshold, and agreeing that anything beyond that point gives you grounds for suspicion with greed this is the evolutionary path we are setting our selves.
Mentally the world appears to be de-evolving with smartphones and social media platforms.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks chucked in the bin.