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Old 03-22-2019, 04:08 PM   #1
bmwman91
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Post Manna, and The Second Intelligent Species

Anyone else here read these? I came across an excerpt from Manna on SlateStarCodex, and ended up taking the 30 minutes to read the whole thing. From there, I ended up spending an hour to read The Second Intelligent Species since it sounded interesting. For anyone who may read these, I recommend doing it in that order.

Manna (fiction)
There are two parts. The first seems fairly plausible, honestly, at least considering the current political climate and total regulatory capture by the neo-aristocracy.

The second part is pretty pie-in-the-sky, but it does sort of resonate with a smattering of ideas that I have had over the years relating to "what's the next evolution of human civilization?" Western civ as we have it now is largely an ancient setup, and it totally fails to incorporate the exponential technological progress of the last century into anything resembling a real common good. We are all still pretty hung-up on the horrific failures of the capitalism-alternatives which were also attempted in the last century. Basically, everything that does not appear to be a free market solution (of which many are not anyway) is labeled socialist or communist and tossed, regardless of the (in)validity of the use of those labels. I don't know too many people who really think that capitalism is "the best" in an absolute sense, but there are fair arguments for why it is less-bad or the least-bad of the various large scale systems that also got tried. At least in this case, the author comes up with something new'ish that isn't just some rebranding of existing systems, even though I suspect some will read it and think "communism."

Anyway, as a thought experiment in what could be the next great evolution in human civilization to take the torch from capitalism, it at least has some interesting points in how it incorporates current and soon-to-be technological advances, even if there are some huge gaping holes surrounding ideas of free will, human nature and energy production. The first part on its own was worth the read, if just as a warning.

http://marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm

The Second Intelligent Species (speculative non-fiction)
I have some mixed feelings about this one. I agree with much of the author's ideas about an objective evaluation of humanity as a whole and where we are likely to be with AI in the next 10-15 years (it is coming...I work in a field adjacent to this where it is likely that some of the core computer-vision stuff the author mentions will come from relatively quickly). Mainly, I think that he is 100% right that we will have ~40 million people in the US put irreversibly out of work due to automation within the next decade or so. Even without really awesome machine vision processing, many service jobs could be eliminated now, and it is already underway.

I have never really seen myself as a "progressive" type, and certainly not a socialist, but there needs to be a plan for the tens of millions of people who are displaced by automation. The 0.1% will reap all of the fruits of this automation if left unchecked, and I think that there must be a means by which to distribute the productive output of robots to the other 99.9%. First, history has countless lessons about what happens when double-digit percentages of the population are left destitute, so the automation age might be brought to an end by violent uprising. Second, I am not sure how a nation that claims to enshrine both western ideals of individual divinity and Christian ideals could possibly shrug off the idea of so many people ending up homeless and starving (unless they don't actually adhere to those ideals, which is sort of what I suspect).

A big draw for me was actually the early emphasis on Moore's "Law" and the rate of technological progress in the last ~40 years. A similar thing had occurred to me when I reverse engineered a Motronic 1.7, including one of the undocumented IC's on the board. The silicon is dated to more than 30 years ago, and one the one hand the amount of total human scientific knowledge required to make it still only exists in a few places on earth, while on the other hand chips today are >10,000X more densely constructed. While there are some hard quantum and atomic limits hitting silicon chip design now (for a while, really), we are pressing onward still. 3D stacked chips are a thing, and in 5 years the methods used now will likely seem rudimentary. Quantum computing is not far off at all, which will probably disrupt the entire foundation of computing and secure information exchange, as well as AI training speeds.

http://marshallbrain.com/second-inte...t-species1.htm


Motronic RE projects:
https://www.r3vlimited.com/board/sho...d.php?t=419240 (see end of first post for some of the IC decap stuff and buzzed philosophical rambling)

https://www.r3vlimited.com/board/sho...d.php?t=420029
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Old 03-23-2019, 04:08 AM   #2
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The title and first paragraph of your post made me not interested, can you give us a coherent overview of whatever this is supposed to be about.
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Old 03-23-2019, 06:52 AM   #3
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Homo Sapiens and Homo Dues are two books you may like.
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Old 03-23-2019, 10:42 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by TimeMachinE30 View Post
Homo Sapiens and Homo Dues are two books you may like.
Thanks, I will check those out.
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Old 03-24-2019, 06:37 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by bmwman91 View Post

I have never really seen myself as a "progressive" type, and certainly not a socialist, but there needs to be a plan for the tens of millions of people who are displaced by automation. The 0.1% will reap all of the fruits of this automation if left unchecked, and I think that there must be a means by which to distribute the productive output of robots to the other 99.9%. First, history has countless lessons about what happens when double-digit percentages of the population are left destitute, so the automation age might be brought to an end by violent uprising. Second, I am not sure how a nation that claims to enshrine both western ideals of individual divinity and Christian ideals could possibly shrug off the idea of so many people ending up homeless and starving (unless they don't actually adhere to those ideals, which is sort of what I suspect).
I haven't read either of the things that you referenced so I don't really have any comments about them, but this paragraph I find to be funny, because you claim to not be a socialist or a progressive, but then you describe a policy that is exactly that.

Additionally, this sounds a whole lot like the Guilded Age, where corporations and the men that owned them were reaping much of the reward for the efforts of the workers. The labor force will shift to AI, but ultimately there will be the same result, the men who own the corporations will reap all of the rewards.

Ultimately, we know what happened following the Guilded Age, an economic collapse, and then armed conflict. My bet would be that history repeats itself.
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