## Technology - what is it good for?

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### Technology - what is it good for?

Despite that I am already emotionally exhausted, we are hereby opening the latest ILP C o D smack-down. Gaiaguerrilla is all for technology. Evidently, Joker isn't. Rumor has it that Joker will be sending his posts in by carrier pigeon, and that Gaia will be wearing his Spock ears.

So here we go, Techno v. Emo.

Or something like that.

Dudes?

Faust
Unrequited Lover of Wisdom

Posts: 16910
Joined: Sat May 21, 2005 6:47 pm

### Re: Technology - what is it good for?

Thank you, Faust. I appreciate this opportunity, given that it'll be less messy than the property dispute with the klingons and ferengi last convention.

I apologize that this being my first work at a more formal debate leaves me a little hamhanded to keep things concise and within the bounds. Ironically, some of the code was buggy. I welcome Joker to challenge me where sources may be lacking, and for my most wild claims (there are some), I have a good bank of research that I'm happy to dig out further. Most other claims draw on the obvious. After this post, I won't introduce any new ideas to the subject, but I can certainly add credit to my central claim.

First, here's what I'm not claiming.

To justify the pursuance of technology, I will not take on an angle regarding its physical benefits vs the dangers it poses. Medicines vs hazards and war. I'm certain that it is always a simultaneous cure and weapon- both parts being trivially comparable. Each innovation with a multitude of applications to different ends. We could easily delve into the amazing vaccinations; the fully automated microsurgery; the benefits of global media; the Mars rover. Then Joker could delve into the deformed children as a result of ospreyed depleted uranium; decapitations and limbs thrown aside from bombings; the famous vietnamese girl running with napalm burns; the inside of a factory farm; the potential for nuclear holocaust; the cybernetic implants designed to influence the brain; the risks of electronic voting. I would gladly dig up the sources for all these sorts of feats and abominations- as it's imperative that we're aware of them. But I fear we'd get nowhere in finding an ultimate reason for or against. Not unless you can take all these broad elements and somehow force them into one single probability.

I will also not take on any angle regarding our hopes and fears of a supposed "future world" with or without technology. I could rain a happy Star Trek fantasy. Or Joker could rain a happy Tarzan experience in the wilderness. All parties are prudent enough to realize we need a solid, simple enough, claim between "good" or "bad" - "useful" or "hazardous" in its present tense.

Finally, I see no reason to enter the debate between its destructiveness, risk, or benefit to the Earth's natural habitat. Ecological stabilization vs pollution. The "will of Gaia" vs the "will of man." I am not so convinced of a concsious being emanating from the world by a natural homeostatic phenomenon as James Lovelock suggests. Nor am I certain that humanity is reliable enough to abstain from destroying the ecology altogether. I am also not certain that our ecosystem is infallible, that there is any reason we would not be knocked out of orbit by a comet in a century or so, without the careful plots of science preparing for one on a collision course with our planet. Like humanity and its future, technology takes no specific side in saving or destroying our world.

In all instances, technology is an assured solution to just about any natural problem, provided that the people whom wield it are consistently responsable toward its chosen ends. Yeah- That sounds impossible to me too.

But I am taking a position in manner of a preferred, artifical ecology. A responsability that is only temporarily human. Although technology is less than inevitable, it is kind of a cultural entropy. Anything else is merely staving it off for as long as the universe will allow. There is no utopia to go backward to. And the pursuance does not come with candycanes. It comes with a new responsability in our attitudes, and also a reward that seems to follow the general plight of all known life in its progression. We shouldn't have technology because it'll make us so much more happy. We should have it because the alternative is cowardly- and humanity has portrayed enough cowardice. Humanity is in a sort of accidental responsability to technology, because technology is the next known step for future life. And possibly one entirely away from any human. It relates to the question- If you were there to witness the first primates to lead into humanity . . . wouldn't you want to encourage them toward that end? We are now that sort of predecessor.

I'm disinterested in the hells and heavens we find in science fiction, where technology all too often takes on an ultimate role of destruction or salvation. Normally we ask about the benefit or danger of technology to humanity. Instead- I'm scrubbing humanity vigorously clean from the picture. I confess my oxymoron: Human beings are ultimately irrelevant to human technology. I'm not treating humanity necessarily as a thing to be eliminated, or exploited, or pampered as a result of technology - science fiction abounds of these theories. I am in fact considering humanity as eventually irrelevant. Perhaps not obsolete, but irrelevant. The process at work is one in which the conjurer grows a symbiosis with the conjured, and the resulting relationship has no specified "user." It's just a relationship, like any other. A relationship that has obvious benefits, which in turn become mutual, and in turn become beings expanding in their own directions. Man creates technology, technology takes its own, life expands.

I draw from two considerations.

(1) Life's Holy Grail. The ultimate common goal between living organisms. I imagine that we can only really get an idea of this "grail" by observing the pattern of known living organisms, and expanding on it- or predicting the next probable steps. Essentially- what is life consistently trying to do?

(2) Concsiousness. The uncertain causes of concsiousness, the theory of mind, where we iconify the meanings of pain, pleasure, punishment, reward, unconditional provision, selfishness, utility. Where we debate how concsiousness is somehow "endowed." I imagine that we can only really get an idea of concsiousness from observing the physical processes of computation, natural or artificial.

Life's Holy Grail

My claim is not that technology springs to life in its own goals wherever it arises. More simply that the nature of human goals (and probably all sentient goals, generally) will come to the most obvious conclusions -- We want to make things that do things better than we do, for us. With enough work- they certainly will. In fact, they'll make do without us. And it eventually becomes absurd that they do everything for us in the end. They expand alone. And why be saddened? That is the whole of what we strive for as a living species- procreate, adapt, expand. Whatever form. Whatever means. A parent may first intend for the offspring to serve a utility, but it's consistent that the "utility" or offspring eventually meet its own ends.

Consider the most primitive use of a tool known to the natural world. A chimpanzee pokes a tree branch into a tree to draw ants out for food. The chimp is much more concsious than the tree, even though they still could both be very much alive. Suppose the following: That the chimp would learn to plant its own tree. That the purpose of planting is to gain ants. The chimp, in the long term, might see the much larger payoff of ants by expanding on that single tree- investing efforts for more trees. The chimpanzee then eats the ants off the tree and thus saving the tree from the ant's damage to the trunk. He is not only benefitting from, but maintaining his own investment, to ensure its continued usefulness. But there is no longer a defined "user" in the relationship. The animal and the tree simply share a symbiosis. They exchange a mutual benefit.

We too are growing a symbiosis with our technology. Innovation has been greatly absorbed by the prospect of transporting a human being from one place to another. The chariot, the train, the offroad car, the airplane, the rocket. It has become the common human occupation to maintain a system of technology in some way. But now . . . there's a problem. Technology goes where we can't.

NASA engineers are optimistic at the potential for human tellepresence, but troubled regarding human transporation. There are amazing feats wherein humans can easily have effect on and witness vastly distant places, while not being there at all- provided the right technology. But it is not so feasable that human beings themselves would be transported to all these distances- as the transfer of information is much more malleable than the transfer of actual multicellular material things. Cold steel parts are much more reliable under the rigours of space then carbon-based, homeostatis-dependant systems (ie: Humans). It is entirely plausible today that a satellite can leave orbit, entirely automated, land on another planet, and begin simple chemical reactions to terraform the surface. Humans are still the candidates to help achieve this, but no longer considered the surefire single option. Including the human element poses a vast nuisance to the mission, both psychologically (space breeds cabin fever) and physiologically (you're essentially transporting a human-supportive ecosystem).

In terms of travel, humanity is already far surpassed by its own technology. But our ability to expand intelligent . . . "stuff" throughout the universe is entirely plausible, and only beginning!

Concsiousness

Quantum Computation has reached a processing power of 16 qubits, which have been used, combined with classical algorithms, to perform object recognition. The computer's maker, D:Wave, predicts that it's only a matter of time before these qubitswill double to 32. An amount that will potentially break any type of classical encryption code, and create encryption that nothing known could break, to name a short piece of the list of capabilities. This would become, exponentially, the most advanced computer in history.

There is a convergence happening between neurobiologists and computer sciences. Dr. Hartmut Neven of MIT gives a lecture on Neuroinformatics to a group of computer scientists- about the comparison between the human brain and the quantum computer. "I have the feeling that quantum computing might be the missing link that brings human level intelligence to machines." --Quantum Computing Day 1: Introduction to Quantum Computing

Something physical to explain the concsiousness of a human brain compared to "classical computers" (computers today) is that the microtubules of the neurons in the brain can, in theory, perform quantum tunnelling. It is a physical way to explain that we think "outside the box," whereas a classical computer does not in principal.

To describe- an electron exiting a neuron (essentially an individual "thought") can "skip" the ordinary passage of space from one point to another, and move more directly to its target. Although the human brain has its own sorts of "logic gates" these are also somewhat routinely bypassed. The human brain takes advantage of quantum tunnelling, by allowing for these "skips" to be a benefit to thought, more than a mere nuisance. Organic thinking is probabilistic, not purely algorithmic. It gains by the electron's ability to quickly leap, rather than follow a rote pattern. Through learning, it gradually makes the more useful thoughts the most probable.

In classical computer transistors, this is not the case. An electron "skipping" from its designated path is merely another nuisance for the binary code, causing the need for buffers to overlap the code, in order to ensure that all the correct digits are in place. The computer is at great risk when any single digit falls out of place. It is entirely dependant on the rote pattern of "if-then" scenarios. This makes it vulnerable to viruses that simply act as another "user," taking advantage of its incapacity to decide on its own. Results vary from lags, to crash, to all-out buggy problems that require a full wipeout and reinstallation of the hard drive. Contrarily, the human brain doesn't depend on a specific code. It just takes by gradual selection what's "probably better."

Quantum computers will not only take advantage of quantum tunnelling, they process information in a superposition- although an oversimplification of words, a "tunneled" state. A state that exists outside the observable 3 dimensions, and returns exponentially larger amounts of code from a single output than classical computers. The Quantum computer will, by far, outperform the processing power of a single human brain, and with enough success, outperform with a single computer- the processing power of all classical computers and human brains combined. This is because it thinks "outside the box" on a massive scale.

Aside from the fantastical claims of this technology, I insist only on this: In terms of thinking (or "computation" if not synonymous), the human brain is being surpassed.

The technology is forcing us to consider the aftermath- that something is on the virge of becoming superior to us - in all standards of performance.

It is argued that because machines are created by humans, then steps can be made to ensure that they remain domestic to human demands. But I liken this to parents believing that they'll ensure control over their children's actions. Even though machines are of more deliberate design than biological offspring, they are still progressing in random elements and autonomous functions that become independant from human command. The insubordination between humans ensures that technology gains a middle ground between competing parties, where it is never indefinetely controlled by a single individual or agenda. In other words, technology takes its own place between the bumbling of humanity, where nomatter how hard the law tries to designate property, no one is a fool-proof "controller" of the technology.

Surely, science hasn't explained away all epiphenomena. It is entirely plausible that something much more grand is "meta-processing" or that epiphenomenal forces are at work within various types of computation. But why distinguish intelligence, or sentience, or concsiousness, between the natural or unnatural? The distinction between neurological synapses firing vs a binary feed through transistors - or the distinction between an evolutionary vs an engineered result - or the distinction between the base-pair chemicals of natural vs artificial dna - or the distinction between a silicone-based nanite-infused cellular building block vs a natural carbon-based cellular building block-- how does one of these imply "soul" more than the other? How is one anointed for success more than the other?

The Champion

It is not technology that frightens conventional wisdom. It is the fear for obsoletion of humanity. The prospect that a human legacy could be threatened, diminished, or paled in comparison. Would we have felt the same way as neanderthalls witnessing the rise of homosapiens a million years ago? Does the extinction, production, and success of new species really always depend on natural selection . . . or even mutation at all?

We are seeing the early rise of champions, being appropriated the same way that we appropriate our domesticated animals and our cultural tabboos based often on outdated necessities. We desire cute and fuzzy, helpless looking creatures to invite our maternal instinct. On the same token, we like big scarry dogs and guns to keep away the bad people. On the same token, something that pampers us and cleans for us at best opportunity. We like to wrap all these systems into one, cohesive manageable set. A set that will do everything for us, better than we can. A set that degenerates its potential for our ease of use.

And why not? As we bumble in our economical turmoil, deny the claims of our wasteful pollution, watch our protected civilizations crumble through petty retaliations and primitive sex-crimes, launch wars by greed and paranoid religious absurdity- we will compete to make something better. And perhaps we can celebrate that we would live (or even die) in its shadow.

Wheather it is a binary circuitboard running software to process the steps- born out of CAD in a car company.

Wheather it is an accidental feat of natural selection, operating cells by strands of dna.

Or whether it is something that we have not yet quite grasped in our collective imagination.

They all have the comparable equivalence in terms of free will and rights to exist.

Some are simply growing better at it.
Last edited by Gaiaguerrilla on Sun May 25, 2008 10:10 pm, edited 6 times in total.

Gaiaguerrilla
Philosopher

Posts: 1301
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2006 4:25 pm

### Re: Technology - what is it good for?

Thanks faust for opening up this debate and opportunity for two sides to come together in a initial debate.

As for your humor of calling me a emo I must digress but at the same time I acknowledge your pigeon carrier jokes merely as slap stick comedy.

First and foremost I am not calling for the destruction of technological pursuits but instead I merely see them as being arbitrary distractions if not without any grand sweeping purpose behind them beyond mere survival instrumentations.

I also believe that the main focal point on technology for mankind rather ironically seems to be so pressing by that of appearances is because mankind naively believes that it can alter it's place on this planet if not for the entire cosmos much like it deludes itself that it alone can will the determination of the cosmos all by itself idealized by that of which is pure fantasy all the while at the same time it further embraces illusions by make believing that it's own species is somehow different from all the other animals that exist on this planet. By understanding quantum physics on the subject of cosmic degeneration or spacial entropy even if we do make it off our planet the future of all existence including ourselves eventually succumbs to annihilation which further illustrates my point that such a fanatical disposition in believing we can alter our state in the cosmos is a futile idea.

( Then of course there is our destruction of the natural world in the pursuement of technological ends along with whole extinctions of biological organisms which goes to great length in describing our collective hubris.)

Moreoever I am not sure how we can talk about technology without taking into account man's constructed mythological or existential idealistic narratives on life in that technology is always pursued with a sort of ideal goal along with justification in mind usually by that of tradition and cultural fanaticism.

Another point of my own beliefs is that with the growth of technology the more destructive our species becomes articulated by that of historical warfare and how societies reconfigure themselves on a social level which I shall illustrate more later on.

Essentially I don't have to take a position against technology because through my eyes the pursuit of technology has only brought about self destruction and repressed emotions in that we literally tear ourselves apart by our own technological artifacts with the pursuement of them.

Also technology is brought up by a old Socratic dictum that reason=virtue= happiness which I believe is a wide sweeping assumption. Humanism guided by technological aspects for some absurd reason believes that this world needs saving and that there is some final destination of man to achieve without ever bothering to explain itself further.

I like to illustrate technology merely as a relative arbitrary means of expressing mankind's own laziness and pursuit of convenient luxorious self indulgence in a selfish hedonistic framework as a form of delayment of a coming inevitable cosmic degeneration that includes mankind within it through that of existential annihilation.

(Nothing more.)

My opponent may speak of technological progress where I in contrast merely call it delayment, distraction and a instrumentation of selfish pleasure.

Now my opponent may describe me as a natural romanticist obssesed with past history and that of nature but one could easily say the same thing about his optimistic ponderings of the future.

Further more I would like to know why the meaning of life should be sought after in the future instead of the past.

A question in mind: What is the real point or fixation of technology beyond self indulgent pleasure and a appetite of desire who's hunger can never seem to be fulfilled?

I assert a articulation of the absurd as an example in that we live in a cosmos guided by aimless relativity by that of a purposeless existence yet ironically by that of technology we believe that we can reach a purpose.

What exactly is the goal of technology?

What is the hindsight of techology if not to make ourselves more mechanical until all originality of our biological selves is lost altogether?

When people say the goal of technology is to make life better what do they really mean?

How is technology not utopian in that through it we hope for empowerment or more control of cosmic existence for ourselves in that we perpetuate another myth where we desire to become like gods similar to our constructed mythological and religious narratives from which our cultural fanaticism derives?

Technological liberation and emancipation has always been utopian.

Further more my opponent's discussion on space travel in constructing a pattern of control in the cosmos beyond the borders of our own planet seems radically utopian which through a sort of christian framework guided by science fiction almost sounds like a outerspace exodus to some sort of universal utopic salvation.
The utopia is smoldering in ashes.

Hypocrisy can only exist in a moral world. In a amoral world there is no hypocrisy.

We live in a kill or be killed world.

Joker
Nihilistic Deconstructionist

Posts: 6765
Joined: Sat May 19, 2007 5:49 am
Location: Near snow covered mountains and pine forests five hundred miles from the nearest town or city.

### Re: Technology - what is it good for?

To briefly drop objectivity, I can well relate to the experience of isolation from the rest of humanity . . . some say we all do, but let me put it more bluntly. I'm content as a hermit, rejecting other people in person at every encounter to my discontent at the social norm of common endeavour. I would much rather ride a bicycle through hills, or write in a coffee shop, than watch TV or hang out at the mall, or the club. Even driving off to visit a friend? Why even have this pattern of "invitation -> appointment -> visit" day after day? Why not commune as humans once naturally did, coming and going by will alone? Why does it seem impossible that there are no others present like this, in my own life? Is it simply culturally unacceptable, today, for people to live a completely passive, naturalistic approach? Don't phone and make a reservation. Don't even lock the door. And don't push a "have to come and do this" scenario. Just walk in and out as natural.

As with our ancestors, there were no calls and reservations, there was agriculture and hunting parties, and war. But it was a tribal simplicity that is more wholly --compatible-- with human thought; Although not pleasant and bright. Murder, starvation, execution, banishment to name a few common consequence of the lifestyle.

Joker is consistent about his scepticism toward Human culture (of which technology is a product), and ridicule at the blatantly hypocritical plight of modern politick- in which we constantly play out a dubious plethora of relationships (macro and micro scales) with a sword in one hand and a rose in the other. "Nothing but undying affection and unconditional love for person X, . . . X must put up and keep up or suffer."

I have absolutely no argument against the scepticism of so-called Human cultural progress. Our standard cultural aspiration is constantly riddled with religious semantics and imagery of happy people everywhere, in co-operation. It is in constant denial of our demented and degenerate means of appropriation throughout history (always with, of course, cutting edge technology)- to come to our so-called fruitful and civilized techno-saturated lives. Don't the popculture genres make it clear to us- that we're often happy when certain villains suffer tremendously for their transgressions? That without cruelty we are obvious automatons. We never truly live for anything or belong anywhere.

Despite this massive technophilia- the leaders of the world, and the cultural encouragements, are wholly unscientiffic . . . it almost seems to be their anathema.

In turn, this kind of argument only supports my claim that humanity shouldn't be assumed as the ultimate benefactor of its technology. The reverse also seems apparent. No study I know of yet can demonstrate how we deserve or need these vices. Likewise, I'm not aware of reasoning why our new little puppets (technology) should not eventually be benefactors themselves.

But one style of argument does counter my position. To summarize and paraphrase: "What's the point of influencing the universe, when it'll all be destroyed anyway?" Joker is probably referring to the astrophysicist's theory that the "big bang" we're experiencing the result of today seems inevitably followed by either a "big crunch" wherein everything is once again crushed back together like an autowrecker compacting an old car. Or, as an alternative, loosely fades into nothing as it endlessly expands and stretches all energy into virtually oblivion. Why have "imperatives" when it's all gonna end?

I don't have the qualifications to really articulate what physicists are claiming altogether, but I'm hamming it up anyhow, given that we need to complete the debate ourselves.

There are more optimistic theories such as Stephen Hawking's suggestion to pass a device through a black hole and potentially into another universe -- in theory, allowing some immortal sort of intelligence to float along the multiverse. On the contrary, it is said our concept of time is not really homogenous through a black hole, and may not have any similar concept at all on the other side. So immortal anything (an infinite, an absolute) is no guarantee anywhere. Or if black holes are rather universes in themselves instead of gateways, then some intelligence may eventually seek a means to create its own ideal universes through the production of carefully balanced black holes. Or computation could ultimately require zero energy to continue performing, and thus survive the expanse of the universe in its constant thoughts . . . like a virtual universe within a dieing universe, given that its parts can remain coupled in the endless stretch. Of course, if this is merely the classical sense of a digital machine, then it is nothing more than a machine to make the finite amount of different codes (incredibly large, but still finite). However, if it processes information outside the well known universe, then I suppose it already is in a sense escaping the collapse or expanse ("doom") of our own universe.

The destruction of the universe vs an immortal intelligence throughout the multiverse is all too speculative. Maybe we all die, maybe we can make something that always lives. Maybe something always lives whether we all die or not, maybe the destruction of things is a cosmic absolute- and an ends seems pointless without a potential eternal absolute. We are weighing out balances of infinities, which is lost without a complete overhaul of our understanding in these concepts. An example of something that may never be solved with human brains, no matter how many in collaboration.

I will take three steps, which I think outline from beginning to end, (1) where I share concensus with Joker, then (2) where Joker and me part ways (if not all out blatantly disagree), and then (3) where I become more counter-critical.

(1) Humanity doesn't much need technology, because technology in the future won't much need humanity.

If we really insist on the ideal that the human species is this intrinsically special thing that must continue in its own genus, than it should probably be accompanied with the knowledge that as we further develop technology, we further expand the gap of compatability between us and the environment we create.

HUMANS do not drive on roads. Cars do. They do not float through space. Satellites do. They do not farm food. Tractors do. We still do some of the amazing feats by our own volition, to learn about the universe and ourselves, such as guiding our classical computers through complex formula that a master mathematician understands. But how long before a roadsign will appear, requesting for us to step aside from the calculative process? How long before the automated tractor alerts us that we are in danger if we put hands on the steering wheel? As machines replace our natural occupancy, the common populace becomes occupied with its own artificial means to satisfy once useful and now useless social instincts. We addict ourselves to pornography, hallucinogens, artificial playmates; form gangs to satisfy our instinct for spontaneous social herding; fight and rape as adults, to circumvent our unfacilitated natural social needs, which would have been more naturally solved as chilren's quarrels in a more natural scenario. Alternatively, we have to be willing to take the tradeoff. A natural world will not bring happiness either. Those children's quarrels that will teach us to be better adults are ones where children might sometimes kill each other!

I believe strongly that the infantile psychological problems which arise with adults today are much more prevalant than with our bygone ancestors. Those ancestors were certainly not civil in every respect, but I'm sure we could have observed them with some pride, as being driven by their endless usefulness and necessity to the tribe. It is not necessarily because we are too lazy, that we fail in many respects today. Each individual is being raised with the ultimatum that they either quickly adapt themself psychologically to the rather alien technological disciplines (and risk an eventual psychotic breakdown), or fail as a "productive member" and revert into a social driftweed, searching whatever institution will feed them. As we develop technology, we become useless to the endeavors that technology undertakes.

If you want to be HUMAN, than do as Joker has implied with scepticism, and applaud the all-out destruction of the global institution. The world that we are moving toward, I am stern to believe, is not one where "everybody gets along." And why should it be? Why take every abomination in the history of mankind and assume that without retribution we will happily bury the hatchet? As our environment becomes less compatible, we become more volatile and inept. As our artificial environment is improved to better pander to us, it works harder to pull our weight along with it, to try and compensate (but avoid direct alteration) regarding our volatility and ineptness. A better school, a better hospital, a better infrastructure- all in absolute denial that as long as humans are better pandered to, their natural utilities to solve their own problems become useless.

They can, in theory, become benefactors of technology, useless ones nonetheless. That if you can diminish our instinct to desire control over everything (which got us to this level in the first place), then you can leave us to enjoy the fruits of our alterations and forbid our part to mediate the situation in our primitive hands.

(2) Human beings do not exist on a basis of permanence.

In considering evolution, we can take a more nihilistic road and say that it's just a sort of random mix of proteins into genes and then adaptations.

But suppose that there is some level of "purpose" in evolution, not in the absolute sense of a sentient designer, but in the sense that evolution was adapting to a simple need. In this sense, I would consider humanity as the "frontier machine." I don't think that we were designed to live out this immortal existence as a species, playing out a permanent role of the landwalkers piloting the ecosystem. I think that humans evolved to explore frontiers, then, when those frontiers are sufficiently explored as best as humans are capable, they are more prone to self destruct in social disarray.

We existed, serving the natural process of evolution to adapt and propagate, then, we developed the next order in reproduction as life would have it. At first the random mix of proteins to become an order of propagation was chaos into genetics. Then genetics adapted, until humans created new systems which can simulate, alter, or even completely reproduce genetics. Now, I feel there is a coming rise of post-genetic life form, or life forms of various propogation capability. Maybe not for a million years. Still, just another natural step from evolution. And surprisingly, quite possible within only a thousand or a hundred years.

(3) Joker speaks in slippery-slope.

The essential disagreement that I have with Joker is not in regards to baseless ineptness of human culture or the ridicule of technology as the Human saviour. (I somewhat applaud that notion). The disagreement is, however, in the ultimate extremes. That humanity is in absolute denial, or that an attempt is entirely futile. Also that Joker asserts a dictum of the way things are (which is fine on its own), but may as well describe favourability or choice. "Technology in general is stupid." Can I consider that a claim on your part? Maybe it's true. But it's also thereby concise. Indeed, there are elements of society that are utterly absurd, and can't seem anything but futile. But build a foundation of cause and effect, more than extremes.

Joker wrote:Further more my opponent's discussion on space travel in constructing a pattern of control in the cosmos beyond the borders of our own planet seems radically utopianwhich through a sort of christian framework guided by science fiction almost sounds like a outerspace exodus to some sort of universal utopic salvation.

Gaiaguerrilla wrote:I'm disinterested in the hells and heavens we find in science fiction, where technology all too often takes on an ultimate role of destruction or salvation. Normally we ask about the benefit or danger of technology to humanity. Instead- I'm scrubbing humanity vigorously clean from the picture.

The progression of technology reveals no dictation about how humanity will fare. It doesn't really give us a solution, because each solution seems to come with another weapon or another complication of human life. Maybe one day, Skynet will be born and kill us all. Maybe one day, happy humans will come back from space and say they shook hands with aliens. Maybe one day, humans will all mope about how stupid they are in the face of their creation and kill themselves. I mark it as irrelevant because, not only do I not know, and probably never will know, these possible ends- But I also don't really care, when I consider that there is no bible that tells us life has to take the form of genetic mutation. Or that it has to be in human form. Humans can live or die. Either way, screw them. Is there something more holy about humanity than anything else? And I do not ask this in a sense of a moral nihilist. I ask in the sense of those that would very much like to see intelligence expand throughout the universe all the same. If this kind of goal were not to your liking, that's fine. But then why would living as a human matter?

Joker wrote:I also believe that the main focal point on technology for mankind rather ironically seems to be so pressing by that of appearances is because mankind naively believes that it can alter it's place on this planet if not for the entire cosmos much like it deludes itself that it alone can will the determination of the cosmos all by itself idealized by that of which is pure fantasy all the while at the same time it further embraces illusions by make believing that it's own species is somehow different from all the other animals that exist on this planet.

I agree completely.
Gaiaguerrilla wrote:As we bumble in our economical turmoil, deny the claims of our wasteful pollution, watch our protected civilizations crumble through petty retaliations and primitive sex-crimes, launch wars by greed and paranoid religious absurdity- we will compete to make something better. And perhaps we can celebrate that we would live (or even die) in its shadow.

Joker wrote:Then of course there is our destruction of the natural world in the pursuement of technological ends along with whole extinctions of biological organisms which goes to great length in describing our collective hubris.

gaiaguerrilla wrote:I see no reason to enter the debate between its destructiveness, risk, or benefit to the Earth's natural habitat. Ecological stabilization vs pollution. [. . .]I am also not certain that our ecosystem is infallible, that there is any reason we would not be knocked out of orbit by a comet in a century or so, without the careful plots of science preparing for one on a collision course with our planet. Like humanity and its future, technology takes no specific side in saving or destroying our world.

Joker wrote:Essentially I don't have to take a position against technology because [. . .]
Ah, but you did take the challenge. And you go on to justify why it's harmful.

Joker wrote:the pursuit of technology has only brought about self destruction and repressed emotions in that we literally tear ourselves apart by our own technological artifacts with the pursuement of them.

Nope, not the only thing it brought about. It also brought about satellites in space and quantum computation, to name a few things.

Joker wrote:Also technology is brought up by an old Socratic dictum that reason=virtue= happiness [. . .]

Well, I don't remember that quote, but hell with socrates anyway. I believe something similar. I don't think these concepts are equal. I do think virtue necessitates reason. Do you not? I don't really know about happiness. More reason, I guess.

Joker wrote:Humanism [is] guided by technological aspects for some absurd reason [and] believes that this world needs saving and that there is some final destination of man to achieve without ever bothering to explain itself further.

Really, is that so? Well I guess I'm not Humanist then. In fact they probably wouldn't like me very much.
Joker wrote:My opponent may speak of technological progress where I in contrast merely call it delayment, distraction and a instrumentation of selfish pleasure.

Do they really necessarily contrast?
Joker wrote:Now my opponent may describe me as a natural romanticist
yes
Joker wrote:obssesed
no. Sentimental.
Joker wrote: with past history and that of nature
yes
Joker wrote:but one could easily say the same thing about his optimistic ponderings of the future.
If you mean to say that I'm a romantic about the future of technology, then I'm guilty as charged. I hope it goes off to discover the universe and puts behind its maker who's suffering a late stage of senility.
Joker wrote:Further more I would like to know why the meaning of life should be sought after in the future instead of the past.
Entropy doesn't give us a choice. Even reminiscing the past is paid for with the passage of time into the future.
Joker wrote:A question in mind: What is the real point or fixation of technology beyond self indulgent pleasure and a appetite of desire who's hunger can never seem to be fulfilled?
Loaded question. The fixation of technology exists because it does fulfill hungers. Will it save humanity? Maybe not.
Joker wrote:I assert a articulation of the absurd as an example in that we live in a cosmos guided by aimless relativity by that of a purposeless existence yet ironically by that of technology we believe that we can reach a purpose.
If there is no purpose, then I'd suppose you don't debate anything wrong with pursuing technology. Another null set that can't prove either direction.
Joker wrote:What exactly is the goal of technology?
In my eyes? To further the progress of life as it continuously expands intelligence through the cosmos.

Joker wrote:What is the hindsight of techology if not to make ourselves more mechanical until all originality of our biological selves is lost altogether?
Furthering the aforementioned goal, with humans potentially in the dust.

Joker wrote:When people say the goal of technology is to make life better what do they really mean?

I don't know. Are they talking about human life? Beats me. But it is beginning to grow intelligence and propagate. Maybe they mean its own life.

Joker wrote:How is technology not utopian in that through it we hope for empowerment or more control of cosmic existence for ourselves in that we perpetuate another myth where we desire to become like gods similar to our constructed mythological and religious narratives from which our cultural fanaticism derives?
To some it is indeed utopian. They think technology will solve all of Humanity's problems and make them like gods. Those people entertain me. A lot of people are more sensible.

You've also mentioned that technology is pursued on the basis of religion like Christianity. It reminds me of these Christian fanatics I knew that felt anything futuristic must be kind of atheist and therefore satanist. Please let me know if you've met such, as I would love to sneak a poster of Anton Lavay dancing to Ipod in their bedroom.

Gaiaguerrilla
Philosopher

Posts: 1301
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2006 4:25 pm

### Re: Technology - what is it good for?

We never truly live for anything or belong anywhere.

Says what or who? If anything we live for ourselves.

Despite this massive technophilia- the leaders of the world, and the cultural encouragements, are wholly unscientiffic . . . it almost seems to be their anathema.

It really is.

In turn, this kind of argument only supports my claim that humanity shouldn't be assumed as the ultimate benefactor of its technology.

Technology is a byproduct of culture existing symbiotically within it.

Technology independent and without people or culture is nothing at all.

Technology has always remain imbedded within cultural fanaticism along with all it's mythological and idealistic narratives.

How you are perceiving technology to have a independent existence beyond or without people is beyond my understanding.

Likewise, I'm not aware of reasoning why our new little puppets (technology) should not eventually be benefactors themselves.

How exactly? A.I. or robotics?

Why should they be anything at all beyond ourselves?

Joker is probably referring to the astrophysicist's theory that the "big bang" we're experiencing the result of today seems inevitably followed by either a "big crunch" wherein everything is once again crushed back together like an autowrecker compacting an old car. Or, as an alternative, loosely fades into nothing as it endlessly expands and stretches all energy into virtually oblivion. Why have "imperatives" when it's all gonna end?

That is exactly what I'm asserting.

But one style of argument does counter my position. To summarize and paraphrase: "What's the point of influencing the universe, when it'll all be destroyed anyway?" Joker is probably referring to the astrophysicist's theory that the "big bang" we're experiencing the result of today seems inevitably followed by either a "big crunch" wherein everything is once again crushed back together like an autowrecker compacting an old car. Or, as an alternative, loosely fades into nothing as it endlessly expands and stretches all energy into virtually oblivion. Why have "imperatives" when it's all gonna end?

I don't have the qualifications to really articulate what physicists are claiming altogether, but I'm hamming it up anyhow, given that we need to complete the debate ourselves.

There are more optimistic theories such as Stephen Hawking's suggestion to pass a device through a black hole and potentially into another universe -- in theory, allowing some immortal sort of intelligence to float along the multiverse. On the contrary, it is said our concept of time is not really homogenous through a black hole, and may not have any similar concept at all on the other side. So immortal anything (an infinite, an absolute) is no guarantee anywhere. Or if black holes are rather universes in themselves instead of gateways, then some intelligence may eventually seek a means to create its own ideal universes through the production of carefully balanced black holes. Or computation could ultimately require zero energy to continue performing, and thus survive the expanse of the universe in its constant thoughts . . . like a virtual universe within a dieing universe, given that its parts can remain coupled in the endless stretch. Of course, if this is merely the classical sense of a digital machine, then it is nothing more than a machine to make the finite amount of different codes (incredibly large, but still finite). However, if it processes information outside the well known universe, then I suppose it already is in a sense escaping the collapse or expanse ("doom") of our own universe.

The destruction of the universe vs an immortal intelligence throughout the multiverse is all too speculative. Maybe we all die, maybe we can make something that always lives. Maybe something always lives whether we all die or not, maybe the destruction of things is a cosmic absolute- and an ends seems pointless without a potential eternal absolute. We are weighing out balances of infinities, which is lost without a complete overhaul of our understanding in these concepts. An example of something that may never be solved with human brains, no matter how many in collaboration.

Of course Stephen Hawking along with other people's dream like possesive hope of escaping this cosmic fatality is of course speculation and fantasy.

It still remains that for all our pursuits, striving and reckless conflict can without a doubt be for nothing at all in the possible coming age where everything is annihilated.

Although I admit that this field of study is relatively new and that the future is virtually unknown I have seen no evidence of the contrary to dismiss cosmic degeneration.

Even if we did make it which is very unlikely we would be in a position of extreme alienation in that we would be surrounded by a foreign enviroment where the only thing surviving of our own natural world would be our physical form.

To call this progress I cannot help but feel a odd sort of pessimistic cynicism.

If we really insist on the ideal that the human species is this intrinsically special thing that must continue in its own genus, than it should probably be accompanied with the knowledge that as we further develop technology, we further expand the gap of compatability between us and the environment we create.

Which is a notion that I suspect to be correct.

HUMANS do not drive on roads. Cars do. They do not float through space. Satellites do. They do not farm food. Tractors do. We still do some of the amazing feats by our own volition, to learn about the universe and ourselves, such as guiding our classical computers through complex formula that a master mathematician understands. But how long before a roadsign will appear, requesting for us to step aside from the calculative process? How long before the automated tractor alerts us that we are in danger if we put hands on the steering wheel? As machines replace our natural occupancy, the common populace becomes occupied with its own artificial means to satisfy once useful and now useless social instincts. We addict ourselves to pornography, hallucinogens, artificial playmates; form gangs to satisfy our instinct for spontaneous social herding; fight and rape as adults, to circumvent our unfacilitated natural social needs, which would have been more naturally solved as chilren's quarrels in a more natural scenario.

Sure.

A natural world will not bring happiness either.

Why not?

Those children's quarrels that will teach us to be better adults are ones where children might sometimes kill each other!

Murder being a natural disposition predetermined in us.

I believe strongly that the infantile psychological problems which arise with adults today are much more prevalant than with our bygone ancestors.

Which illustrates a fine point of severe repression of emotion, feelings and instincts.

It is not necessarily because we are too lazy, that we fail in many respects today.

No?

Each individual is being raised with the ultimatum that they either quickly adapt themself psychologically to the rather alien technological disciplines (and risk an eventual psychotic breakdown), or fail as a "productive member" and revert into a social driftweed, searching whatever institution will feed them. As we develop technology, we become useless to the endeavors that technology undertakes.

And so with the progress of technology financial poverty and conflicting classism becomes even more abundant as more growing numbers born within the system are described as fail productive members of society deemed anachronistically incorrect or obsolete as they become seen as useless to the endeavors that technology undertakes which creates even more means of exploitation, extortion, and blackmail on these same disenfranchised individuals that a great deal of people in line await to capitalize on.

Meanwhile through all of this alienation, desensitization, disarray, confusion and chaos more levels of energy in violence, conflict, social upheaval or war is transformed into being.

If you want to be HUMAN, than do as Joker has implied with scepticism, and applaud the all-out destruction of the global institution. The world that we are moving toward, I am stern to believe, is not one where "everybody gets along." And why should it be? Why take every abomination in the history of mankind and assume that without retribution we will happily bury the hatchet? As our environment becomes less compatible, we become more volatile and inept. As our artificial environment is improved to better pander to us, it works harder to pull our weight along with it, to try and compensate (but avoid direct alteration) regarding our volatility and ineptness. A better school, a better hospital, a better infrastructure- all in absolute denial that as long as humans are better pandered to, their natural utilities to solve their own problems become useless.

Would you have us become mere slaves to our artifacts trapped in cage like confines of our own making?

They can, in theory, become benefactors of technology, useless ones nonetheless. That if you can diminish our instinct to desire control over everything (which got us to this level in the first place), then you can leave us to enjoy the fruits of our alterations and forbid our part to mediate the situation in our primitive hands.

So you would have us be living unics half the men that we used be without instincts, emotions, feelings and the inner workings of our own nature in ruin where we become slaves to our own constructed dependencies as we lose a sense of all survivability altogether.

In considering evolution, we can take a more nihilistic road and say that it's just a sort of random mix of proteins into genes and then adaptations.

That is certainly my assertion.

But suppose that there is some level of "purpose" in evolution, not in the absolute sense of a sentient designer, but in the sense that evolution was adapting to a simple need. In this sense, I would consider humanity as the "frontier machine." I don't think that we were designed to live out this immortal existence as a species, playing out a permanent role of the landwalkers piloting the ecosystem. I think that humans evolved to explore frontiers, then, when those frontiers are sufficiently explored as best as humans are capable, they are more prone to self destruct in social disarray.

We existed, serving the natural process of evolution to adapt and propagate, then, we developed the next order in reproduction as life would have it. At first the random mix of proteins to become an order of propagation was chaos into genetics. Then genetics adapted, until humans created new systems which can simulate, alter, or even completely reproduce genetics. Now, I feel there is a coming rise of post-genetic life form, or life forms of various propogation capability. Maybe not for a million years. Still, just another natural step from evolution. And surprisingly, quite possible within only a thousand or a hundred years.

How do you come up with such a purpose?

How is it that from random evolution from a even more random big bang of all existence that you derive a purpose?

I'm disinterested in the hells and heavens we find in science fiction, where technology all too often takes on an ultimate role of destruction or salvation. Normally we ask about the benefit or danger of technology to humanity. Instead- I'm scrubbing humanity vigorously clean from the picture.

How is it that technology is to exist without people?

If people should die off before the planet collapses as remarked by the documentary entitled life without people from the history television channel over 500 years nature will merely make forested and jungle gardens out of cities or sky scrapers thus proving that technology can only be willed by people alone.

The progression of technology reveals no dictation about how humanity will fare. It doesn't really give us a solution, because each solution seems to come with another weapon or another complication of human life. Maybe one day, Skynet will be born and kill us all. Maybe one day, happy humans will come back from space and say they shook hands with aliens. Maybe one day, humans will all mope about how stupid they are in the face of their creation and kill themselves. I mark it as irrelevant because, not only do I not know, and probably never will know, these possible ends- But I also don't really care, when I consider that there is no bible that tells us life has to take the form of genetic mutation. Or that it has to be in human form. Humans can live or die. Either way, screw them. Is there something more holy about humanity than anything else? And I do not ask this in a sense of a moral nihilist. I ask in the sense of those that would very much like to see intelligence expand throughout the universe all the same. If this kind of goal were not to your liking, that's fine. But then why would living as a human matter?

If technology offers no insight or solution what exactly does it do?

Is there something more holy about humanity than anything else?

Of course there isn't.

the sense of those that would very much like to see intelligence expand throughout the universe all the same.

Why even bother?

But then why would living as a human matter?

That has always been for individual people to decide and why everytime the subject has been scaled objectively has failed.

I see no reason to enter the debate between its destructiveness, risk, or benefit to the Earth's natural habitat.

I see no reason why we shouldn't considering that without a natural habitat to sustain ourselves on this earth we lose any existence that we have.

Ecological stabilization vs pollution. [. . .]I am also not certain that our ecosystem is infallible, that there is any reason we would not be knocked out of orbit by a comet in a century or so, without the careful plots of science preparing for one on a collision course with our planet. Like humanity and its future, technology takes no specific side in saving or destroying our world.

Nothing is infallible and neither are we.

Ah, but you did take the challenge. And you go on to justify why it's harmful.

I was merely saying that there is no reason why I myself should take a active role in destroying technology since I believe inevitably that the pursuement of technology is leading towards a self destruction in contrast.

You are correct. I did take the challenge.

I do justify the pursuement of technology as being harmful but it should be noted that I care not to described anything as being right or wrong as that is just pointless.

I'm merely describing my own sentiments as a walking observer much like a doctor will tell a man that over-consumption of alcohol is harmful simultaneously being unconcerned if the act itself is right or wrong.

I'm only here to give a diagnosis of what I see and observe as a defence. Nothing more.

If there is no purpose, then I'd suppose you don't debate anything wrong with pursuing technology. Another null set that can't prove either direction.

Points to previous post.

Nope, not the only thing it brought about. It also brought about satellites in space and quantum computation, to name a few things.

Which equals nothing without people valuing them.

Well, I don't remember that quote, but hell with socrates anyway. I believe something similar. I don't think these concepts are equal. I do think virtue necessitates reason. Do you not? I don't really know about happiness. More reason, I guess.

I put more emphasis on emotions, feelings and instincts then I do with reason.

Reason to me is another failed expiriment created by Socrates much in the same way as god is with theists.

Reason and technology to me is headed in a direction of purging all emotion, feeling, or instinct for some mass mechanical uniformic super identity which I feel is the opposite of life's diversity.

Mass and quantified assimilation consequences of both extreme technology or categorization guided by reasoning seems to myself to be the direct opposite of individuality which is somthing I pride myself in.

Really, is that so? Well I guess I'm not Humanist then. In fact they probably wouldn't like me very much.

You sound more like a transhumanist.

Do they really necessarily contrast?

Both are polar opposites.

Entropy doesn't give us a choice.

Explain that.

Even reminiscing the past is paid for with the passage of time into the future.

Not really. I believe it is called collective memory.

The fixation of technology exists because it does fulfill hungers. Will it save humanity? Maybe not.

I disagree.

Desire is elastic. It has no end.

Technology doesn't fulfill any hunger considering that desire is elastic but instead remains only as a means of creating new hungers to fight over of an appetite that is already insatiable.

In my eyes? To further the progress of life as it continuously expands intelligence through the cosmos.

Why even bother?

You've also mentioned that technology is pursued on the basis of religion like Christianity. It reminds me of these Christian fanatics I knew that felt anything futuristic must be kind of atheist and therefore satanist. Please let me know if you've met such, as I would love to sneak a poster of Anton Lavay dancing to Ipod in their bedroom.

In my eyes philosophy and science has it's origins in the absurdity of religion.

( Technology being a subset of science.)
The utopia is smoldering in ashes.

Hypocrisy can only exist in a moral world. In a amoral world there is no hypocrisy.

We live in a kill or be killed world.

Joker
Nihilistic Deconstructionist

Posts: 6765
Joined: Sat May 19, 2007 5:49 am
Location: Near snow covered mountains and pine forests five hundred miles from the nearest town or city.

### Re: Technology - what is it good for?

As the debate comes to a close, I'm in no position to backtalk again. Something I'm surprisingly content with, because I believe there are elements that I and Joker will not (and may not need to) convince each other on.

I will finalize my approach in saying that there is a very fundamental difference in values, which cannot be really argued on either pole. (1) The human legacy, and each individual's chance to experience life, vs (2) the propagation of life by all means.

I'm sure it's obvious which sides I and Joker represent. I have some prediction on the judge's reactions, that they will all be tempted to call us both completely insane, which only makes the debate more rewarding to me.

I do believe, that irregardless of value, it is very probable that as a result of humanity (before we all-out destroy ourselves, if that happens) there will exist an era, maybe short, wherein a life form will exist very independantly of human beings, and will have been born quite directly by our knowledge more than our breeding. Perhaps it will be a satellite macrocosm of organelles, fiber-optics, and quantum computation which gradually procreates, which can leapfrog orbit between planets, and deliver tiny seeds of itself to distant solar systems. An artificial panspermia (perhaps continuing a legacy of former panspermia). Again, I'm being entirely speculative as to how such a life form comes about or what it's actual composition is. I justify only my main principal on this artificial procreation, and my value toward this as an ends as well as a means.

The greatest irony here is that Joker and I would probably very much enjoy the same sort of news, we simply justify it in very different ways. I confess a feeling of rejoice when the WTO was knocked over. I might even rejoice to see the Swiss banks collapse and the (supposed) modern financial certainty fall to anarchy. I will confess that people may be afraid of my ideals much more than Joker's. If an alien life form came to Earth and told us they are invading, Joker might take up arms to help his fellow humans, if not for morals but for the enjoyment. I would probably just defect.

We are in strong agreement, I believe, about the futility of modern approach to "bettering" humanity. No matter how cheery the politicians appear, and how much headway science seems to make, this does not seem to mean anything as a way to enhance and better human affairs.

We both believe that if there is such a thing as Humanity reconciling itself with its past, and purging it from its growing perversion, it would be to return to the manner that they were biologically suited for. Certainly, with war and pain and cancer and death. That's the trade.

There is a painstaking absurdity in our order of things when we simply declare: "All of the horrible things we used to do doesn't matter now because this machine fixes everything." Even if there is such a fantastical machine that seems to fix our social problems instantly, this does not give us a past to take pride in, and therefore neither a future we can embrace with confidence.

There are few things I would enjoy more today, then to be able to look back on certain historical events and say that we took on the stupid people that would assimilate us into their absurd dichotomy. I would have enjoyed more histories of rivalry on account of individuals. How I would have loved to learn that people heard the church sentence Gallileo to lifelong house arrest, then take up swords and spears, yelling that any priest laying a clasp on him will be killed. Only an example among thousands. I would like to see humanity handle its history in a way that perhaps is not the most "humane" but indeed, I would hope is more --human-- than what I am familiar with.

The nature of humanity is not happy and peaceful. But likewise, it is the Emporer's New Clothes, that we suppose with our big media, that all these useful gadgets will bring humanity to some "real" nature which is docile and purely calculative. We are savage warriors, like it or not, and perhaps with a little more brevity we would have had a greater honour to that savagery.

This is the point where myself and Joker seem to disagree, and I am unsure if it will ever meet. Our disagreement more fundamentally isn't really about technology, but about morals. I am convinced that there are morals out there just as much as pioneer quantum physicists were convinced that there are particles no microscope can see. How do I prove it? I'm at a standstill. It is those morals I use to justify humanity returning to its primitive state. But then it is also morals I use to justify why technology has to be pursued for the propagation of new life (not the betterment of Human life).

It's been a pleasure, and a useful opportunity, Joker, to have you on this debate. Although I'm anxious to see who's "victor," I'm content that we've accomplished the real spirit of debate, that people often generate much greater information in the face of a challenge, than as a group conversation or monologue. I feel that I've done my job so long as anyone who reads this will never look at their toaster oven the same way again.

Gaiaguerrilla
Philosopher

Posts: 1301
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2006 4:25 pm

### Re: Technology - what is it good for?

Gaiaguerrilla wrote:As the debate comes to a close, I'm in no position to backtalk again. Something I'm surprisingly content with, because I believe there are elements that I and Joker will not (and may not need to) convince each other on.

I will finalize my approach in saying that there is a very fundamental difference in values, which cannot be really argued on either pole. (1) The human legacy, and each individual's chance to experience life, vs (2) the propagation of life by all means.

I'm sure it's obvious which sides I and Joker represent. I have some prediction on the judge's reactions, that they will all be tempted to call us both completely insane, which only makes the debate more rewarding to me.

I do believe, that irregardless of value, it is very probable that as a result of humanity (before we all-out destroy ourselves, if that happens) there will exist an era, maybe short, wherein a life form will exist very independantly of human beings, and will have been born quite directly by our knowledge more than our breeding. Perhaps it will be a satellite macrocosm of organelles, fiber-optics, and quantum computation which gradually procreates, which can leapfrog orbit between planets, and deliver tiny seeds of itself to distant solar systems. An artificial panspermia (perhaps continuing a legacy of former panspermia). Again, I'm being entirely speculative as to how such a life form comes about or what it's actual composition is. I justify only my main principal on this artificial procreation, and my value toward this as an ends as well as a means.

The greatest irony here is that Joker and I would probably very much enjoy the same sort of news, we simply justify it in very different ways. I confess a feeling of rejoice when the WTO was knocked over. I might even rejoice to see the Swiss banks collapse and the (supposed) modern financial certainty fall to anarchy. I will confess that people may be afraid of my ideals much more than Joker's. If an alien life form came to Earth and told us they are invading, Joker might take up arms to help his fellow humans, if not for morals but for the enjoyment. I would probably just defect.

We are in strong agreement, I believe, about the futility of modern approach to "bettering" humanity. No matter how cheery the politicians appear, and how much headway science seems to make, this does not seem to mean anything as a way to enhance and better human affairs.

We both believe that if there is such a thing as Humanity reconciling itself with its past, and purging it from its growing perversion, it would be to return to the manner that they were biologically suited for. Certainly, with war and pain and cancer and death. That's the trade.

There is a painstaking absurdity in our order of things when we simply declare: "All of the horrible things we used to do doesn't matter now because this machine fixes everything." Even if there is such a fantastical machine that seems to fix our social problems instantly, this does not give us a past to take pride in, and therefore neither a future we can embrace with confidence.

There are few things I would enjoy more today, then to be able to look back on certain historical events and say that we took on the stupid people that would assimilate us into their absurd dichotomy. I would have enjoyed more histories of rivalry on account of individuals. How I would have loved to learn that people heard the church sentence Gallileo to lifelong house arrest, then take up swords and spears, yelling that any priest laying a clasp on him will be killed. Only an example among thousands. I would like to see humanity handle its history in a way that perhaps is not the most "humane" but indeed, I would hope is more --human-- than what I am familiar with.

The nature of humanity is not happy and peaceful. But likewise, it is the Emporer's New Clothes, that we suppose with our big media, that all these useful gadgets will bring humanity to some "real" nature which is docile and purely calculative. We are savage warriors, like it or not, and perhaps with a little more brevity we would have had a greater honour to that savagery.

This is the point where myself and Joker seem to disagree, and I am unsure if it will ever meet. Our disagreement more fundamentally isn't really about technology, but about morals. I am convinced that there are morals out there just as much as pioneer quantum physicists were convinced that there are particles no microscope can see. How do I prove it? I'm at a standstill. It is those morals I use to justify humanity returning to its primitive state. But then it is also morals I use to justify why technology has to be pursued for the propagation of new life (not the betterment of Human life).

It's been a pleasure, and a useful opportunity, Joker, to have you on this debate. Although I'm anxious to see who's "victor," I'm content that we've accomplished the real spirit of debate, that people often generate much greater information in the face of a challenge, than as a group conversation or monologue. I feel that I've done my job so long as anyone who reads this will never look at their toaster oven the same way again.

It should be noted that I respect my opponet in that he like myself has a ability to see the absurdity of pursued events by whole civilizations within mythological narratives and fanatical cultures.

And although I disagree a great deal with his beliefs or iniatives on technology I very much respect a great deal of his thinking not to mention I find it interesting.

I will close with a couple of stances of my own beliefs in contrast and agreement with his own:

1. I agree with my opponent that improving mankind is a absurd futile idea that is fruitless if not existentially bankrupt.

2. Technology is a byproduct imbedded within mythological narratives and fanatical cultures in that technology itself can only exist symbiotically within them.

Technology is nothing independent on it's own or without people.

3. Technology since it's creation has always been imbedded with mythological narratives and fanatical cultures meaning that it has always been utopian.

It is no surprise that the first historical scientists who were alchemists were infact practicing theologians and priests at the same time.

4. By understanding the cosmic degeneration or spacial entropy theory by that of quantum physics there exists a great deal of possibility that all our strives, endeavors, and ideals could be for nothing at all in pure vain.

5. Why even bother spreading our imagined intelligence out towards space? What is the point?

6. Why support technology for it's own sake independently and beyond people? That doesn't make much sense to me.

7. I agree with my opponent when he says that eventually the pursuement of technology will eventually make us biologically obsolete within our own technological constructs.

To quote him he says:

If we really insist on the ideal that the human species is this intrinsically special thing that must continue in its own genus, than it should probably be accompanied with the knowledge that as we further develop technology, we further expand the gap of compatability between us and the environment we create.

This is one of the reason why I find myself more in tune with nature because I believe when technology further expands the gap of compatibility between us and the enviroment that we create we lose original meanings of our own natural biological self in the chaos by that of self mutilation or castration.

Not to mention inequality grows even further bringing about more violent competition from all of this when we design social terms such as individuals being obsolete useless non-productive individuals described through that of intellectual judgement which in a way parallels older historical religious judgements.

At the turn of the 19th century we came to declare that god is dead yet presently god has only revived itself as being described as the future guided by technology under the designated ideal known as futurism.

What I am seeing today mirror reflects a new religion or what I like to call montono-theism in that the new religion is one of technological ritual guided by naive faith of the future.

8. Technology has a way of giving fuel to overpopulation or overcrowded locations which puts stress on the natural enviroment not to mention it creates even more scarcity of resources which leads to more violence and inequality for the living conditions of people.

9. Technology as it grows also has a way of increasing the level and energy of warfare which becomes very dangerous for everything that exists on this planet articulated best by the latest world wars or by that of super weapons still being designed today.

10. As said before:

I do justify the pursuement of technology as being harmful but it should be noted that I care not to describe anything as being right or wrong as that is just pointless.

I'm merely describing my own sentiments as a walking observer much like a doctor will tell a man that over-consumption of alcohol is harmful simultaneously being unconcerned if the act itself is right or wrong.

I'm only here to give a diagnosis of what I see and observe as a defence. Nothing more.

11. Technology has come to be a illusive instrument where we naively categorize a unique or special perception of ourselves foolishly believing that we are somehow different from all other animals on this planet.

Technology almost seems to be reviving the old myth of free will in that we foolishly believe that we alone on a micro level can change a already pre-determined universe.

Determinism shows how such a perception is fleeting.
The utopia is smoldering in ashes.

Hypocrisy can only exist in a moral world. In a amoral world there is no hypocrisy.

We live in a kill or be killed world.

Joker
Nihilistic Deconstructionist

Posts: 6765
Joined: Sat May 19, 2007 5:49 am
Location: Near snow covered mountains and pine forests five hundred miles from the nearest town or city.

### Re: Technology - what is it good for?

All right. Y'all have to give me some time to read through this. Been busy lately.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

"Why, I haven't been that entertained since the stock market crash of 1929! Ha! Ha! Ha!... So many orphans."

"I want to watch the scum of the world struggle to climb up the hill of betterment only to repeatedly trip and tumble down to the fiery pit of failure."

"With all due respect’ is a wonderful expression because it actually doesn’t specify how much respect is due."

gib
resident exorcist

Posts: 9311
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm

### Re: Technology - what is it good for?

Well, I've had time to read through this whole thread and think over the strengths and weaknesses of each debater's points.

It's a difficult decision to make... but I pick Gaia as the winner... just by a hair though.

WEAKNESSES

Gaia -

Beating around the bush a bit. Although I think Gaia did get his point across overall, he left it up to the reader to extract that point concisely. Based on the quote:

Gaiaguerilla wrote:we will compete to make something better. And perhaps we can celebrate that we would live (or even die) in its shadow.

I gathered that his point is that the advent of technology as the next "intelligent" agency on the planet is not only inevitable, but something we can take pride in as its forefathers, even if that means perishing in its dust.

I also gathered from his closing statement

Gaiaguerilla wrote:But then it is also morals I use to justify why technology has to be pursued for the propagation of new life (not the betterment of Human life).

that his position is a moral one, that it's only right to persue technology for the greater ends we are destined for.

But he said a lot of things, and I'm not sure if it's fair to take the above as the central tenets driving his entire position.

Joker -

Misunderstanding of Gaia's arguments. Joker's rebuttals frequently made reference to anti-utopian rhetoric, which, although it may be sound, really didn't have much to do with the angle from which Gaia was arguing. Gaia made it clear that

Gaiaguerilla wrote:To justify the pursuance of technology, I will not take on an angle regarding its physical benefits vs the dangers it poses [...] I will also not take on any angle regarding our hopes and fears of a supposed "future world" with or without technology.

Joker also misunderstood the evolutionary perspective Gaia was speaking from as he said

Joker wrote:Technology is a byproduct of culture existing symbiotically within it.

Technology independent and without people or culture is nothing at all.

Technology has always remain imbedded within cultural fanaticism along with all it's mythological and idealistic narratives.

How you are perceiving technology to have a independent existence beyond or without people is beyond my understanding.

But it was clear from Gaia's arguments that future technology will depend on humans as much as humans depend on the apes we decended from. The prospect that technology could evolve into something more sophisticate and "intelligent", something capable of maintaining and replicating itself, seems to have been lost on Joker.

Another of Joker's weaknesses seemed to be a lack of supporting argument to defend his position. His approach seemed to hinge more on rhetorical spiel rather than well structured arguments founded on solid reasoning.

STRENGTHS

Gaia -

Substance - Gaia had a lot of substance to his arguments, and with an eloquent style of articulation, was able to pull it off gracefully. He had a lot to say, illustrated his points with plenty of imagery, and was sufficiently clear in saying it (although this is different from getting his central claim across, which remained somewhat ellusive as pointed out among his weaknesses).

Joker -

Concise and to the point - Although Joker could have connected the dots a bit more rather than spew out his usual rhetoric, what he did say was very clear and to the point. There was no question on what his position was and why he believed it. He also followed the debate closely as he responded directly to the great majority of Gaia's claims, being clear on where he stood with respect to them.

This is my take on how the debate went. In my view, the weaknesses and strengths weighed equally on both sides, but at the end of the day, I think I'm leaning more towards Gaia.

So, for me, Gaia's the winner.
My thoughts | My art | My music | My poetry

"Why, I haven't been that entertained since the stock market crash of 1929! Ha! Ha! Ha!... So many orphans."

"I want to watch the scum of the world struggle to climb up the hill of betterment only to repeatedly trip and tumble down to the fiery pit of failure."

"With all due respect’ is a wonderful expression because it actually doesn’t specify how much respect is due."

gib
resident exorcist

Posts: 9311
Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 10:25 pm

### Re: Technology - what is it good for?

Okay, I have been waiting for Wonderer, but I cannot wait any longer.

I have Gaia as the winner, also.

Faust
Unrequited Lover of Wisdom

Posts: 16910
Joined: Sat May 21, 2005 6:47 pm

### Re: Technology - what is it good for?

My pick is joker.

There were many bright ideas presented by both sides (and a few dimmer ideas), but for me the debate hinged on Gaia needing to justify what i dubbed "the birth argument".

Stephen hawking might feel comforted by the idea that when the earth is dust there is some metal box floating around in some parallel universe, but frankly what does that do for me? I could care less about the survival of the human race altogether. The reason why i do care is emotional attachment and physical desire.

One consensus i think i saw was the fact that morals and subjective values cannot provide a stable ground to justify "greater goods" in terms of a completely unpredictable future.

The back up for the birth argument was indeed a moral one. But i myself do not share those morals. I feel that the betterment of human life is of paramount importance over creating a new life for some sort of insurance after the inevitable demise of the human race.

One example that was given was a type of machine which leapfrog orbits to deliver seeds to distant planets. I couldn't help but think, "why not have the machine deliver human seeds?"

The counter argument for a mechanical new race is also a moral one in favor of humans over machines. This leaves the pursuance "birth" neither right nor wrong.

I think joker caught a hint of that and voiced it by stating indifference and pointlessness.

There was alot more to the argument than just "birth" but i feel that alot of it, though interesting and valid, strayed away from Gaias overall assertion: "the pursuance of technology in hopes of giving birth"

Joker had his work cut out for him, It was a decent debate from both sides and there is merit due to both participants.

But in light of the pivital point from the opening party not being sufficiently justified in a less subjective sense left me to side with the defense.

"Technology: what is it good for?"

"Don't know. You can use your time and try to find out but that's up to you. I'll be dead nd gone so to each his own"

Sorry for my long delay (things have been hectic) and thanks to the debaters for having me.
Whatever makes you happy.

Wonderer
Wonderer

Posts: 6216
Joined: Tue Dec 25, 2007 10:06 pm

### Re: Technology - what is it good for?

Okay. Decision goes to Gaia. Thanks for coming.

Now move along.

Faust
Unrequited Lover of Wisdom

Posts: 16910
Joined: Sat May 21, 2005 6:47 pm