I don’t agree that there is a technological stagnation. Tech moves in fits and starts, and to the extent that it is true that most of the low-hanging fruit has been plucked, keep in mind that the definition of “low-hanging fruit” changes over time.
But where there is stagnation it’s because we’ve given up nearly completely on basic research, forsaken undertaking large, outlandish projects, and also that the best minds have been driven to finance, law and other well-remunerated but generally-harmful pursuits rather than doing anything useful.
That one factor I think explains a whole lot — if you’re a lawyer busy destroying an innovative company or idea with a patent lawsuit, you’re a huge long-term harm to society. Same with bankers and nearly everything they do.
Stagnation in some areas isn’t occurring because there’s nothing left to discover, to achieve, to imagine but rather that the entire idea of human progress now has got its head pushed underwater and is drowning under the weight of a system that does not value it.
Because I like a challenge, and liked the model’s look (tall/gracile) I decided to see if I could figure out who this person is.
And I did. Her name is Maria Ryabushkina. If you click on this next link at work, you gone get fired — but apparently she models a lot.
I didn’t look at all the photos because they were very boring and too photoshopped, but I do like this photo of her. She’s not been photoshopped all to hell so she looks like a real human being still. And she’s smiling in an authentic way. And her hair looks great.
I was ten years old in 1986. I remember that year very well.
The reason for my better-than-average recall (for me) is because that was the year that I became functionally an adult — it was when my cogitation noticeably transitioned from some remaining childish notions to fully fleshed-out and abstract. I don’t think I’ve gotten really that much smarter since then, just learned a few more facts.
I could’ve functioned just fine in the adult world at 10 years old if you’d transplanted my brain somehow into an adult body. Which explains why I was vastly bored and disgusted with everything around me for the next eight years.
In many ways, I was a better thinker then because I was more open to new ideas than I am now.
My fifth grade teacher luckily recognized this and pretty much exempted me from class and let me do what I wanted. She was great. Just an empathetic, intelligent and hysterically funny teacher. The kind of teacher that is now leaving the field in droves, I might add. (I just did.)
But this shows how small a town I lived in: the teacher that I mentioned above, some nosy Googling tells me, is now married to a former friend of my dad who was an uncle of my dad’s closest childhood friend — all of whom are also related to me by blood in various ways. So I was actually a relative in some way of my first grade and fifth grade teacher, and also probably others — and now am by blood and by marriage.
The teacher mentioned above called me “Mr. Science” because she (to her credit) quickly realized that I knew much more about science than she did, and allowed me to explain science- and tech-related things both to her and to the class. Endear me that did not, but by that point I was well past giving a crap.
1986 is a year I remember well, as years go.
It was also the year of the flood, which I’ll write about later.
I used to be in a unit that did these. Heavy drops always go first for just this reason. Paratroopers follow. One can see why the opposite might be a problem.
My unit used to drop tanks from the air. This is no longer done, but wow was that a sight to see. They were M551 Sheridan light tanks — “light” in this case still means they weighed 34,000 pounds each.
Below is a pretty decent video of what I used to do for a living. I’ve jumped out of both those aircraft types onto that specific drop zone many times.
Consciousness as result of sexual selection – a showy peacock’s tail, a bower bird’s staged abode — functional purpose being attractive to a potential partner but in this case not (only) resident in one sex.
As such like most sexually-selected traits, it reduces fitness but also advertises one’s high levels thereof.
This is probably not a new idea. Truly novel ideas are very, very rare. But I thought of it myself and I’m pretty proud of that.
Chances of being true, even partially? I’d say five percent. Or about the same or better as any other idea about consciousness.
I’ve never done it. I’ve seen others do it, yes. But I have no idea what it feels like.
Not when I’m sleeping. Not when I’m resting. Not when I’m wide awake.
Even alcohol doesn’t work. It changes my demeanor not one whit.
Yes, I can feel its effects. I hate that it makes me slower. Mostly alcohol just annoys me because it means I could not fight and could not run very well if needed. But I don’t really feel any different other than slightly stupider. And grumpy at my slowness.
Even with four glasses of wine in me.
Reasons I don’t mingle with normals: this one is among them.
Though I am very interested in AI, I think the focus on consciousness is probably misguided.
I used to believe the direct opposite of this by the way, but I’m not sure anymore that consciousness is even important, much less necessary to create even a human-level AI.
Cognition without consciousness. Intelligence without same. Seems outlandish — because we get to define “consciousness.”
But consciousness itself just might be an adaptive trick to boost limited mental capacity to something actually useful in the world. More useful than not possessing it, that is. Not necessary for anything less limited. Or it might be something else altogether. But I’m no longer convinced it’s necessary. In fact it might even be harmful.
Of course one can argue that if you’ve simulated consciousness, then that is no different than consciousness.
I don’t have a strong rebuttal to that contention.
It’s only contingently the case that the withdrawal reflex is adaptive. It’s completely unconscious. I don’t see any reason why other more complex actions that in humans are “conscious” could not be arrayed just as the withdrawal reflex.
I know, it sounds ridiculous to talk this way as our entire mental architecture is against it — but I can imagine an “empathy reflex” or a “navigation reflex” with no gestalt, with no “thinker” needed or present.
It seems to me that what we think of as higher-level thought is just an accident of adaptation, that this can exist just as well without the architecture of consciousness in a different environment.
Meaning without a “meaner.”
These ideas could be completely wrong. I don’t know. But I’d rather have big questions out there than spend my life in boring certitude.