Archive | February, 2020

Spike’s New Moral Society (SNMS-38)

26 Feb

Explaining the Law

I posted a portion of this before under the title “My Moral Constitution”. Through much discussion and reflection, it has developed into a kind of guideline for some future society that has achieved what might be called technological perfection. I envision a society in which senescence and disease have been conquered, all labor is performed by machinery, and fully immersive virtual reality has been perfected. I contend that such a society will require a straight-forward moral compass to keep it from drifting into decadence or possibly self-destruction. This is neither a religious doctrine nor a set of laws. It is a set of guiding principles from which a society with an implied religion and a set of laws could be constructed. Some will take offense at many of my precepts. I regard that offense as the price one inevitably pays for any such endeavor. In later posts I may explain and justify individual precepts in detail. This is a hubristic undertaking and I take full responsibility for my hubris.

SNMS-1: God exists.
SNMS-2: God is both Truth and a necessary consequence of Truth.
SNMS-3: God is omniscient.
SNMS-4: God is omnipotent.
SNMS-5: God is the creator of all that exists (the Universe).
SNMS-6: God is patient, tolerant, and forgiving.
SNMS-7: God created us with immortal souls and free will.
SNMS-8: Love is the perception of another soul as a part of oneself.
SNMS-9: God loves all souls with perfect, infinite love.
SNMS-10: God is omnibeneficient.
SNMS-11: God cannot communicate with us in any way that is statistically verifiable. God can only communicate with us through what appears to be coincidence.
SNMS-12: God guides us and protects us.
SNMS-13: The nature of God is the definition of Good.
SNMS-14: Faith is the belief that God exists as previously described. Faith is not about kowtowing to God or being rewarded for our good works; it is about believing in more than the material universe. Faith is not about believing that we will get what we want or think we need in this lifetime; it is about believing that we will ultimately get what we actually need.
SNMS-15: We may speak to God whenever we like and talk of whatever we please. This speech is often called “prayer”. God requires no such speech, but he welcomes it. Prayer should be commenced by addressing, “God.” Prayer should be concluded by saying, “Amen.”
SNMS-16: We should depend on God but not live as though we are dependent on God. To practice dependence on God is to repudiate free will.
SNMS-17: Belief in God should be implicit rather than explicit in our actions. Our faith should be practiced rather than professed.
SNMS-18: The behavior we exhibit toward others and the behavior we hope to experience from others should be consistent.
SNMS-19: We should strive to live and prosper and to help others live and prosper.
SNMS-20: We should strive to be like God. In this manner we effect Good.
SNMS-21: God’s methods and purposes are difficult for us to comprehend, but we are to assume that our choices and actions have meaning and value.
SNMS-22: The hardships persons experience are part of God’s plan for our completion. We should assume they are essential, even when they do not seem to make sense.
SNMS-23: God cares for us in this life and God will care for us in the time after this life. We should not neglect this life, or ignore the time after this life, but live in harmony with both.
SNMS-24: Humans will not be generated from modified or artificially constructed genetic material. They will always be the product of the joining of a natural male sperm with a natural female egg.
SNMS-25: Human life will be assumed to begin at conception with the joining of a sperm with an egg.
SNMS-26: During a person’s early morphology, their growth will be carefully monitored and controlled to ensure that they are delivered as a well-defined physical male or a well-defined physical female with an erotic compass oriented to their well-defined physical gender.
SNMS-27: Humans will remain human. They will not undergo extreme modifications of their minds or bodies. They will not migrate away from their natural biological basis.
SNMS-28: No brain altering protocol will be developed or disseminated that induces a modification of human will.
SNMS-29: Government will be in the form of a synthetic intelligence that is accountable to a democratically elected body of humans. This form of government is called a synthetic republic.
SNMS-30: Policing will be done by the aforementioned synthetic republic.
SNMS-31: Every human will be monitored and policed at all times by the synthetic republic. It will patrol and moderate their behavior but not report it to any human except upon legal warrant.
SNMS-32: Trade will be in the form of lightly but strictly regulated capitalism.
SNMS-33: Reality will be kept dignified and austere. Erotic impulses may be indulged only in virtual reality.
SNMS-34: Erotic impulses may be indulged in their most extravagant and lascivious forms in virtual environments where no others need be affected.
SNMS-35: In public, citizens will wear unprovocative clothing that does not emphasize their natural form and that covers their shoulders and the rest of their body from the bottom of their manubrium to the top of their ankles.
SNMS-36: The appearance and behavior of complex creatures may be simulated in virtual environments, but not the creatures themselves.
SNMS-37: Synthetic intelligence will neither be recognized as sentient nor afforded associated rights.
SNMS-38: The generation of synthetic intelligence by directly copying a human brain is strictly prohibited.

The Ten Year J.J. Abrams Production

12 Feb

When we look back on history, we realize that it was mostly centuries of almost nothing exciting happening punctuated with an occasional war or the intrusion of a new disease. Life was, for the most part, so boring that people had to invent stories with mysterious endings and hold public festivals just to make it bearable. A typical person might have been born, grown up, grown old and died without travelling more than a mile from their place of birth.

Skip forward to the year 2020. Americans have Donald Trump as President. His antics and daily tweets are both unsettling and entertaining. The ongoing effort to drive him from office is a daily drama.

New technologies are introduced daily. Just yesterday, I learned that it is possible, for about $2000, to get a completely electric portable power source that is dead quiet and does what an old gas generator did.

Bluetti

Just today, I learned about advances in 3D printing that will make it possible to 3D print items that used to be impossible. Any day now, Samsung will unveil their folding smart phone. Someone else will unveil a product that no one anticipated and that solves a problem no one knew they had.

Every day, we get new images of the sun or the planets. Every day we learn something new about gravity and black holes. Yesterday, the Corona virus was threatening to become a global pandemic. Today, scientists announced that they have found a cure. In regard to diseases, just three days ago I learned that a new treatment for multiple sclerosis has been developed.  Maybe it will pan out or maybe it won’t.

Today, it dawned on me that, if we think of 2020 as the beginning of a TV series, we are entering upon a ten year drama the likes of which J.J. Abrams would be proud to produce. However, there are some vital differences.

Unlike TV series’ like Lost, everything that we see and hear is a real part of the plot. There is no filler or misdirection. If a politician seems to be covering up a crime, the reality of whether or not they are doing so plays inextricably into the narrative. If a scientist claims to have explained or solved something, either they have changed the world or they will be exposed as a fraud. Either way, it is a real part of the drama. This afternoon, I was fooled by a video of a combat robot developed by Boston Dynamics. The video was an elaborate spoof, but the ability to make the video and the sociological implications of being able to do so are very real.

Combat Robot

Another vital difference is the depth with which this series can be explored. A TV series is only as deep as the imagination and dedication of the writers and directors. In this real life series, a person can look into any political activity or scientific endeavor in as much detail as their ability and ambition permit.  A person could spend a whole year just trying to get a firm grip on the Donald Trump Impeachment saga. They could study science for years trying to understand if there is anything to claims that black holes do not actually exist.

In this real life TV series, everything is intertwined. Science, politics and economics are inseparable. The Internet had to be invented for Twitter to be invented. Twitter had to be invented for Donald Trump to become the tweeting President. Drones had to be perfected in order for Amazon to consider delivery by drone. Delivery by drone may change home delivery forever. Changes in home delivery change all of our lives. Unlike a fictional drama, the intertwining is real. It is not just possible, but inevitable that every single thing that is introduced or changes will affect the plot.

In fictional dramas, the introduction of unexpected new forces is often referred to as deus ex machina and is frowned upon. In this real-life drama, dues ex machina is a daily phenomenon that cannot be dismissed because it is not really dues ex machina at all. Just because we cannot see something coming, does not mean it was not truly in the story all along. No one anticipated Nancy Pelosi tearing up Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, but her doing so was not a plot contrivance. If anyone had really understood her and the situation, they might have anticipated it.

Nancy Tearing Speech

Yet, curiously, no one seems to be giving away the end of the story. We really do not know who will be elected President in November. Will America have a gay president that is married to a man? We really do not know if the mach effect thruster Professor Heidi Fearn is developing at NASA will culminate in a star drive. Could Jetsons style flying cars be next?

Allow me to digress for a moment. I have a movie sitting on my desk: Spiderman Far From Home. I have been having difficulty getting myself to watch it and have been wondering why. It should be a movie that I am excited to watch. However, this evening, I realized why I am having trouble dropping it into my DVD player. Nothing that any screen writer can pen or that any filmmaker can produce compares with the news that I can turn to at any minute. Nothing in any Marvel script compares to the real-life drama that plays across our TV screens and into our lives every day. No story we can read or see enacted compares with the real thing.

Perhaps the reason why movies are becoming so impatient and erratic is that they are trying to compete with real life. Perhaps the reason why we are losing interest in stories and storytelling is that the real-life story we are all living every day is so much more compelling and exciting.

Not only is it more exciting, but we are all active participants. Any one of us could record a video or think of an idea that will make at least an incremental difference to the plot. Everything that we see or read in the news has an effect on us individually. When the Me Too movement got started all of us had to immediately be on our guard not to do or say anything that could put us at odds with this political reality. When Donald Trump was acquitted in his impeachment trial, this influenced the stock market. When the stock market moved, many of us were able to look at our personal IRAs and see that they had changed. Every one of us has an affect on everything and everything has an affect on every one of us…instantly.

This story is building to a giant crescendo around the year 2030 when technology may eliminate jobs and cure every disease. Maybe robots and/or computers will take over the world. It may even culminate in something that futurists call the Technological Singularity. That is a whole topic in itself. In ten years, we may see the end of history as we know it. What then?

Maybe God will literally descend from the machine. About now, I am ready for anything.

In a way, this new reality is disconcerting. However, it is also the best show on television. J.J Abrams, eat your heart out! I guess we will all just have to stay tuned and enjoy the ride.

Keep watching. It’s a great show!