A response to @mattclarke's Brilliant piece on Different Immortality Tickets

in #deepdives7 months ago

I just read @mattclarke's profound post We Disagree on Masks and Vaccine Passports because our Immortality Tickets Look Different

What deep, insightful and intelligent analysis!

Matt, you are an intellectual giant my friend. And I thought you were just a cool Aussie Splinterlands Maverick. :-)

His post really explains why people have acted so crazily and why I've also observed anecdotally that religious people and people with more kids have often been on the forefront of opposing this psychosis.

As a father of 5 kids and a religious Jew, I certainly have my traditional tickets. I find myself with far more in common with religious Christians than completely secular people.

But I also read Kurzweil's The Singularity is Near well over a decade ago and for a time bought into his faith in radical life extension and AI becoming smarter than people. I have also been an avid consumer of SciFi on these subjects for over 35 years. I hold a BSc and am a believer in religion and genuine science.

But after a lot more research, analysis and observing the actual progress on these issues for years I've become very skeptical that either of these things are possible AT ALL, let alone by 2045.

Human Level AI is a Fantasy

In Life After Google George Gilder completely debunked the AI thesis, showing it is both mathematically impossible under Gödel's incompleteness theorems and practically impossible under current and near future tech models.

Kurzweil ignored what Apple's M1 chip has just proven - that continued improvements in raw processing power are not feasible unless energy consumption is radically reduced. The amount of power and cooling required to create a computer even theoretically as powerful as the human brain would require gigawatts of power, megawatts of cooling, enough real estate for a small farm and enough water for a small town.

At a few watts of power consumption and simple liquid plus evaporative cooling, the human brain blows away by 8-9 orders of magnitude every current and future computing technology on a processing power to energy usage ratio.

Radical Life Extension is a Dangerous Dream

Kurzweil wrote Fantastic Voyage - Live Long Enough to Live Forever in 2004 and The Singularity is Near in 2005 and the promises and projections in these books regarding radical life extension have proven to be mirages.

Kurzweil projected a continued increase in average life expectancy driven by medical technology. Instead, long before the COVID panic, life expectancy had started to fall in major western nations including the USA and UK and had plateaued elsewhere.

Medical technology has increased life expectancy in the developing world but has not delivered any substantial breakthrough leading to longer life expectancy in the first world. Nor is anything on the horizon. The human body and mind continues to be poorly understood and the human genome is proving much harder to decode than expected, if it is even possible.

Looking at theoretical physics or genetics I sometimes think that God is laughing at us, as the deeper we delve, the more complex and strange things become.

Wokeness is Destroying Innovation

Moreover, societies which produce fewer and fewer children, which are risk averse, suppress alternative ideas and focus on keeping the old alive for longer and longer are failing to produce the very innovations that are required for Kurzweil's dreams.

One of the main reasons Israel is so successful in high tech innovation (more unicorns than the whole of Europe) is that it is by far the youngest and most fertile OECD nation. Its population has traditionally embraced risk and understood, from living in a dangerous neigbourhood, that risk cannot be eliminated and tech superiority is necessary for survival.

While Israel's government has shamefully been one of the worst with COVID restrictions and lying about experimental jab risks, its population has been least compliant with these stupid rules and seems to have embraced the risk of the jab in order to get back to normal.

The US, Europe, Japan, Korea and China are all losing their technological edge. While there are some stand outs (South African Elon Musk) & blockchain tech, overall innovation is decreasing as their are few and fewer ambitious young people willing to take the risk on a radical business idea and stultifying over-regulation and risk aversion stifles entrepreneurship and innovation. Big Tech produces nothing new itself, just suppresses alternative ideas and buys innovative startups at increasingly unsustainable prices driven by central bank profligate money printing.

As Andrei Sakharov warned the Soviet leadership, without political freedom of expression there can be no intellectual freedom and without intellectual freedom, technological progress will the stunted. Big Tech is destroying the goose that laid its golden egg.

How Will the Woke Wage War?

Matt also identified another theme that I have been pondering for a while.

When much of society has few or no children and becomes very risk averse, hoping for immortality, who is willing to fight and risk life and limb for their beliefs. If you only have one child, are you willing to risk them in armed conflict? Is an over-protected bubble kid able to be a hero on the battlefield?

War is a young person's business. As a former Australian soldier and living in a society where most 18-20 year olds serve in the military and there are very real threats that have to be confronted every day, I can tell you that the willingness to fight is essential for survival.

Throughout history soft, complacent, risk averse civilisations have been conquered from within and without by relatively small numbers of tougher people willing to risk and die for their beliefs. Professor Jim Penman's BioHistory provides a detailed academic analysis of why this is the case. Another brilliant unsung Aussie intellectual giant.

The police and army of most advanced nations are not mainly composed of people who have bought into the woke, risk averse, Kurzweilian ideology. They are mainly composed of people who have bought traditional tickets to immortality. How long will they continue to obey the orders of woke elites that are contemptuous of their interests and worldview? How long will they continue to accept payment in rapidly debasing fiat currencies?

This is the true reason for the elites apoplectic response to the "Capitol Riots".

It was the realisation that their Washington bubble was very fragile and could be punctured almost by accident by a large disorganised protest of disaffected people and the police couldn't or wouldn't protect them.
Now they've called in the National Guard and treated these patriotic Americans like sh-t, making them sleep on cold marble floors without proper equipment. I await with interest to see how these soldiers react to the next installment.
They have fenced off The People's House from The People and become afraid of those they are supposed to represent.

History shows that such situations are unsustainable.

Belief Systems can create and destroy Civilisation

Traditional religions like Christianity, Judaism and others and the traditional ways of life that go with them have stood the test of time because they are powerful cultural technologies that increase and preserve civilisation and enhance themselves. They create positive feedback loops.

The new religion of woke, risk averse, Kurzweilianism is self-destructive and delusional. It creates negative feedback loops that destroys the very things that it needs to survive and succeed.

COVID restrictions which destroy the lives and education of the young and drastically reduce birthrates in order to give another year or two's life to the old and sick are a grotesque example of this.

Not just a Faustian Pact, a Civilisational Suicide Pact!


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The amount of power and cooling required to create a computer even theoretically as powerful as the human brain would require gigawatts of power, megawatts of cooling, enough real estate for a small farm and enough water for a small town.

Thanks for sharing all this. I haven't spoke to George Gilder in over a year, but at that time he was working on his next book, Life after Silicon, where he said will delve into the fact that carbon-based computation (like goes on inside the human brain) dwarfs anything any non-organic 'machine' or machine-learning algorithm could ever produce (and power consumption per computational cycle is a huge part of that).

I have long agreed with Gilder's notion that computers and AI can never replace human intelligence and, as such, is not to be feared (at least on that basis).

Here is a clip where Gilder ends saying:

The human mind is the paramount manifestation of intelligence in the universe, and AI is just a machine that scarcely competes at all.

As I teach my students, there are two things humans are uniquely able to do, which machines will never be able to replace: judgment and creativity.

I define 'judgment' as the ability to make a rationally irrational decision. It's that point at which I decide to go against what all the 'historical data' would say is the 'best' or 'optimal' decision; however, that decision to go against what the 'data' say, is not merely randomly going against historical precedent -- it is rational.

I am rationally choosing to exercise my 'judgment' in contradiction to what the 'data' say I should do. Machines will never be able to perform that function (imho). If they ever ARE able to do that, then (and only then) they would merit the term 'artificial intelligence'.

Similarly, creativity involves knowing the boundary between merely being novel and being novel yet truly interesting and insightful. Machines can create something entirely 'new' but the machine cannot distinguish between whether something is 'new enough' to be considered artful or 'too new' to the point of being incoherent and chaotic. This is not to say that a machine cannot create something that humans might view as 'creative'. The problem is that the machine has no way of knowing or sensing whether it is being creative or merely chaotic.

As such, the human link to creativity can never be replaced by machines. Machines can be a 'tool' to help creative humans increase their creativity, by helping them push the boundaries and explore novelty at an accelerated pace, but the true act of creativity ultimately resides solely within the realm of the human mind.


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I absolutely agree with you on the complexity problem. The more we learn, the more we realise we don't know. Appreciate the share and praise mate.
There's something incredibly satisfying in finally putting these thoughts down on chain.
I imagine its how an artist feels when they finish a piece. It has to come out of you; and it's a weight off your shoulders when it finally does. The fact it's effectively permanent now, is so fulfilling.

Absolutely!
I've been thinking about many of these issues for a while, but the connection you drew between COVID crazy and different tickets to immortality was something new and profound.

You inspired me to put these thoughts down on chain.
Maybe someday future historians and philosophers will find our work.

I have a big one brewing about the fundamental, underlying difference between the Left and Right.
I don't want to post until I'm sure I've done it justice. Love the process, though. Thanks, again for your support, mate.

Wow! What a great post. Couldn't agree more with you. The Wokies are on a self destructive path while thinking the opposite. Truly amazing. The scary thing is that they are going to try their best to take the rest of us down with them. Meanwhile I personally am sitting this whole thing out on a island in Thailand. Population here 10,000 and zero crime, zero drama, and nobody even interested in talking about the mess the world see's itself in. I just follow the news sources I trust, which mostly have been banned from Youtube over the past year, kick my feet up and watch the drama unfold from the comfort of my island. Life is good here. I hope you and your family are doing well too in Isreal, but I hear they are rolling out vaccine passports and dividing the population into two groups, the vaxed and the not vaxed. Maybe you could do a post updating us on how things are in Israel in that regard.

Following, and added to my auto votter to give you a little extra guaranteed support to you blog.

Keep up the great work!

I'm off to check out the original post you responded to.

-Dan

Thanks.
Yes, the Green Passport is very concerning but I'm hoping the Supreme Court will stop it and a new government (without Bibi) will repudiate his draconian COVID policies.

There's a lot of people out there caught up in the mystique of "artificial intelligence"

I had a mate send me a video of some outputs from a neural net trained on death metal tracks recently

His comment:

"So spooky..."

I didn't even know where to begin explaining that there's no actual knowledge there; there's no agency, no being

Just domain-specific statistical modeling

It can be done with any form of data

Entertaining, for sure

But not artificial intelligence

And certainly not something encapsulated in the concept artificial general intelligence

I wish more people would recognise their ignorance and read about things they don't understand...

Your post has been voted as a part of Encouragement program. Keep up the good work!

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