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Old May 5 2012, 10:43 PM   #90
Crazy Eddie
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

RAMA wrote: View Post
the latest link about how social communication helped our brain evolve had a dual meaning...it also contains info on how cooperation was more important in evolution than "survival of the fittest".
Which is a non-sequitor, since the ability to work cooperatively IS a fitness trait. You're putting yourself in the awkward position of arguing that technology will free us from the forces of evolution while at the same time insisting that our evolution into a more altruistic species is inevitable. In fact, it doesn't work that way; technology or not, we will evolve into whatever is best suited for the environment, whether that means evolving into a race of cyber-enhanced liberal arts philosophers or into a gang of gun-toting bible-thumping neoconservatives with a direct-brain interface to FOX news.

Ah but technology is starting to affect evolution
No it isn't. Evolution happens on too long a timescale for technology to be a factor, except insofar as the extinction rate of species who don't react well to industrial pollution (extinction, unlike evolution, happens VERY quickly).

Social evolution is another matter, but its cycle still moves too slowly for technology to be a prime factor.

and will eventually become evolution
No it won't.

Well, what I am seeing here is you simply think things are going to stay the same, that humans will not progress socially, and often concurrent with technological advancement (which we have), that dictators and force will trump the means being created to create change (in the face of evidence), that wealth is not being spread amongst the world's citizens which is demonstrably untrue according to the UN data...
First of all, I'm not arguing that humans will not progress socially. I'm saying that IF we do, it will have next to nothing to do with technology. In point of fact there are a number of places where progressive social development is more likely to occur among populations who LACK access to wealth or technology and therefore lack an incentive to keep things the way they are. That's my point about technology not driving evolution: depending on the environment, progressive development might actually have a negative effect on the existing power structure and they would instead employ that technology to stifle such development.

Second of all, dictators and force DO trump the means you're talking about. The reason there are fewer military dictators in the world today is because so many of them have been forcibly overthrown, either by a well-armed rebellion seizing a moment of weakness, or were toppled from outside by a superior foreign power. In very few cases were these dictators removed without a fight, and in NO cases were they removed purely by college kids networking on facebook. Local grassroots movements cannot topple the remaining dictators until and unless they are able to marshal superior firepower than their masters; all the smartphones and tablet computers in the world aren't going to change that (hell, the Palestinians have been using smartphones as their primary means of communication since mid 2003; how's that working for them?)

Third, we talked about the statistics. The wealth isn't being distributed more evenly among the people, it's being distributed among the nations. In a depressingly large number of cases it is in fact still controlled by the same people as before, they just happened to have moved their operations into the third world for tax purposes.

you are far too enamored with conflict in my opinion to see that for the first time in history things are actually changing.
Things are ALWAYS changing, Rama, and they always will be. We've already passed SEVERAL singularity events with respect to our ancestors, and yet history continues to repeat itself along similar lines in each new iteration of the cycle.

It's not that I'm enamored with conflict, it's just that I am severely unimpressed by the lofty promises to Singularity Prophets who assume that new technology necessarily means a newer and better paradigm for everyone. I'm sure that somebody said the same thing about electricity during the Enlightenment, or for that matter about chemistry during the Renaissance. And though it is indeed true that chemistry has allowed us to manufacture new medicines and helpful new substances, just as electricity has brought heat and light to our homes and powered vital life-benefiting technologies the world over, those benefits find a perfect balance with the negative aspects of their use. When you a wire electricity to every home in your country, you're suddenly in the position of fighting wars to protect your fuel supply; when you develop new medicines and new material substances using chemistry, you also have to deal with a biblical flood of highly addictive substances manufactured in basements and sold on the streets.

It is not a theory or even a guess, it is a FACT that not everyone who adopts the new technologies will use them for things that are beneficial to anyone. The best we can do is take the good with the bad and hope the good outweighs the bad. Most of the time it does... but only just, even in times of exponential growth.
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