Is it theoretically possible to create consciousnesses in software that is comparable (or better) to our human capacities? Are we going to eventfully write enough code that the code itself becomes self aware?
If you found yourself on a deserted island, with no hope of being found, what might be your biggest priorities. If you chose to live, it would no doubt be water and food, followed by some sort of shelter.
When you look at your arms and legs, clearly they are yours, or at least part of what makes up “you”. But you are more than just a body. You have thoughts flowing through your mind that belong exclusively to the subjective “you”.
So who exactly are you? Are you the whole package? I am going to suggest that you are not.
Are you actively chasing your dreams? You should be.
HOW IMPORTANT IS BEING AMBITIOUS TO YOU?
Ambition is best described as a strong desire to do or to achieve something beyond the everyday tasks of life. Who doesn’t want to accomplish something notable? Its easy to say we value ambition. Its actually doing something about it that we’re talking about here. Ambition without action is just talk. Being ambitious is all about walking the walk; actively pursuing a worthwhile goal.
When people talk of individual freedom, many things come to mind. Of primary importance is the question of whether you are free to do what you want to do.
Someone locked in a room tied in a straight jacket is clearly less free than you are at this moment. You are more free because you have more options.
In a broader sense, we can say that a free society is more valuable than an oppressed society precisely because one is more able to do as they wish. Few would argue that this freedom is worth having. But is this truly what it means to be free?
We are lucky to live at a time when so many fascinating things are happening in science. Yet when I partake in any discussion, I’m often amazed at how many people carry misconceptions about what science is and how it works.
This is tolerable given that we all have varied backgrounds and have studied different things. But I feel compelled to offer clarity in five areas that seem to endlessly provide confusion.
The Following is Entirely Paraphrased from the work of Daniel Kahneman (“Thinking Fast and Slow”)...
You have been given the option to take a vacation. For the price of only two weeks of your earnings, you can go anywhere you choose for two weeks. You will not have to spend a single penny more no matter how extravagant your choice. The caveat is that when you return, all pictures and videos will be destroyed. You will take a pill that will remove the entirety of the vacation from your memory. You will have no recollection of the vacation.
It is always exciting to wake up to news that NASA has advanced their knowledge with a discovery of a new distant planet, particularly when they fall within what is known as the habitable zone. The implications are huge.
There exists a trend in the Western World to focus on the negative. The more we have, it seems, the more we have to take for granted. Yet much of this pessimism is grossly unwarranted.
Perhaps no one expresses this better than Matt Ridley, author of The Rational Optimist.With a keen sense of perspective, he provides the following anecdote that will leave even the most cynical of mindsets second guessing themselves.
…and I bet you don’t appreciate it nearly as much as you should. In fact, I will go as far as saying Science is so important and beneficial that its near scandalous if you give it anything less than giant praise.
How do I get away with saying that? Well, the facts overwhelming and clearly illustrate that the benefits of science are enormous – facts that you likely take for granted. Lets consider just a couple areas of benefit and see how much you agree.
The Following is Entirely Paraphrased from the work of Daniel Dennett...
You wake up one morning and find yourself in a closed room without windows. You have a bathroom, and a food supply, everything you need to survive. You look around the room and see what seems to be thousands of tiny lights and buttons. Too many to count. Perhaps millions.
The continued advancement of 3D printers offers some compelling possibilities. If they even come close to what some have in mind, they may provide a technological singularity that would change the way we look at society.
Imagine having a printer in your home capable of printing any of the physical items you need. For some, this may seem far fetched, but 3D printers are already capable of printing more than you may think.
TRANS·HU·MAN·ISM (TRANZˈHYO͞OMƏNIZM) / NOUN / – THE BELIEF OR THEORY THAT THE HUMAN RACE CAN EVOLVE BEYOND ITS CURRENT PHYSICAL AND MENTAL LIMITATIONS, ESPECIALLY BY MEANS OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY.
It sounds like science fiction, but many believe there is a real chance we will evolve with technology – giving ourselves cybernetic implants and supersonic body parts allowing us to become bionic versions of ourselves. With the help of technology, we’d overcome many of our physical limitations.
Some people love this idea, but many find it horrifying and unnatural. Putting aside what may be possible, is the idea of improving ourselves significantly with technology really so bad?
For centuries mental disorders such as schizophrenia and epilepsy were a total mystery. Witnessing someone experiencing the then unknown effects of these disorders led to lots of confusion.
People were not just perplexed, they were afraid, and assumptions were made. As a result, in a lot of cultures people with epilepsy or schizophrenia were shunned and sometimes even thrown in prison. It was believed to be a sign of attack by demons or in other cases just witchcraft, an accusation that often lead to execution.