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IEET > Security > SciTech > Rights > Neuroethics > FreeThought > Personhood > Economic > Life > Access > Enablement > Innovation > Implants > Vision > Futurism > Staff > Kris Notaro

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How can Workers of the World Really Unite?


Kris Notaro
Kris Notaro
Ethical Technology

Posted: Mar 16, 2013

Social Darwinism, Ayn Rand’s objectivism, capitalism and eugenics are all catastrophes of human thought: How to create a federation of anarchist-socialist / anarchist-syndicalist workers. Warning: This is a techno-optimist and “politically”-positive article.

Workers of the world will unite, I hypothesize under several conditions.

A. Enhancement and “upgrading” brain/mind under the current system is available to everyone.

B. Unconscious robots replace human labor.

C. Current brain/mind renders capitalism as destructive, useless, and corrupt while embracing future technology and science.

D. A mix of the above happens before the wealthy upper class gets their hands on powerful brain/mind enhancements.

A diverse anarchist federation where technology (almost instantly) collects votes from informed, educated, healthy communities so that the "government" is the vote, and the 'minds' 'who' keep it going are simply robots, supercomputers and/or anarchist computer technicians. The vote would be as consensus like as possible abiding by traditional anarchist ideals. They would be collected on the supercomputers, hourly, daily, weekly, etc, and output immediately, perhaps after being run through a kind of ethical theory algorithm(s) before being presented to the conscious minds of the world.

Robots will replace human labor, leading to types of structural unemployment. Under this condition the robots must NOT be “conscious” not even as conscious as a mouse, or a worm. They have to be completely run by unconscious computer algorithms. If they are even conscious at the level of a mouse there will be protests for their liberation, leaving a post-work society to give up on robots bit by bit all around the world.

The federation of anarchist-socialist workers in a human-working society can have a number assigned to them very much like that of the numbers and letters assigned to every Ethernet/Network card on the planet, simply for voting purposes.

This will allow the rational human-working being to vote for such and such on the local to global level. However this is assuming a post-capitalist society, post-religion, and the lack of hackers and old government trying to hack the anarchist system of voting to implement capitalism again.

Power corrupts most people, historically, therefore the computer technicians (if needed) that run the the consensus worldwide voting system must be elected by the people and any corruption must be delt with. However, if we actually have this scenario play out, the workers of the world would be “brain/mind enhanced”. The likelihood of an enhanced conscious mind beyond the human to be corrupted enough to believe in the catastrophe known as capitalism, in my opinion, would be slim.


The techno-optimist and political-positive outlook on upgraded brains/minds assumes that A. We will live in a post-capitalist world. B. Everyone in the world who wants to be “upgraded” can be. C. After the upgrade, without anything but more knowledge and awareness of that knowledge leads the worker to accept anarchist-socialism out of awareness that this kind of social “structure” makes the most sense given the historical implications of other “ideologies”.

This does indeed assume that with a brain/mind upgrade people get the same kind of knowledge of political theory as everyone else. If education is the key to unlock the potential of mind, why not take an upgrade? Because this is in the anarchist context, the upgrade itself would not force the critical thinking brain to accept anarchist-socialism as fact, but a concept to consider. If it is the case, and I believe it is, that the upgraded mind will accept anarchist-socialism as the ultimate “structure” of society, then after thinking about their upgrade, they will indeed accept it.

If upgraded critical thinking leads to a new kind of social structure outside the realm of anarchism then so be it, however, that “structure” would most likely reject top down political power. In my opinion it will be, if different from what we know now, very close to anarchism, which was in the spotlight of political theory hundreds of years ago during the Enlightenment, the Spanish civil-war, the modern day globalization movement, and recently the Occupy movement to name a few.

Another likely condition is the lack of work because robots have replaced human-labor. In this case, we must have a guaranteed “income”: housing, healthcare, education, access to resources, etc. The anarchist-technoprogressive stance would be that EVERYONE who is replaced by an unconscious robot is given the resources for an anarchist-socialist society. Can science figure this out? Can an unconscious supercomputer figure out how to use the resources of the earth to have unconscious robots replace our labor, upgrade the human mind, and give people a life of happiness instead of wage slavery and the “race to the bottom” under capitalism?


In conclusion I feel that all these positive anarchist-socialist scenarios should happen, but we must have the technology to fix the ecosystem if the current ecosystem is indeed the best system for future life, etc – we can't live in a dystopian junk yard. I hope that people accept the upgrade, and I also hope that before we get to upgrading brains via computer, nanotechnology, and biotechnology that we can agree that the ultimate way to “structure” society is indeed anarchist-socialism.

The acceptance of anarchist-socialism under the human condition would eradicate any need for a “vanguard party”, dictatorship, or a war to destroy capitalism. We must create a future where the rich do not enhance and upgrade their minds before the working class.

This, in my view, that of the rich enhancing their minds before the working class can lead to un-fairness if they use the upgrade, extra memory, and awareness to their benefit - only making the “1%” that much more powerful.

Enhancing the mind, upgrading brains, and replacing labor with unconscious robots will happen, but how, and in which social order? It is up to you!


Kris Notaro, a former IEET intern, now the IEET's Managing Director, earned his BS in Philosophy from Charter Oak State College in Connecticut. He is currently the Bertrand Russell Society’s Vice-President for Website Technology. He has worked with the Bertrand Russell A/V Project at Central Connecticut State University, producing multimedia materials related to philosophy and ethics for classroom use. His major passions are in the technological advances in the areas of neuroscience, consciousness, brain, and mind.
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COMMENTS


I think it is very likely the rich will get there first, which raises the question:  If the rich get longevity and cognitive enhancement, will their attitudes and behavior change?





I think brain enhancements do indeed have the potential to increase altruism and compassion, but many disagree with me here, and I am still struggling with the question if enhanced intelligence also means enhanced morals and ethics.





Kris..

a few points and questions for you, please note these are not criticisms as we generally agree and aspire towards the same ideals for democracy and social justice, just the notions of getting there differ.


“Robots will replace human labor, leading to types of structural unemployment. Under this condition the robots must NOT be “conscious” not even as conscious as a mouse, or a worm. They have to be completely run by unconscious computer algorithms. If they are even conscious at the level of a mouse there will be protests for their liberation, leaving a post-work society to give up on robots bit by bit all around the world.”

Indeed, absolutely agree, yet can you ensure and promise it will stop here? Robot slaves, (because this is what we are still really discussing), must NOT be conscious entities, nor be attributed personhood? Yet like I said on the other article, Self-reflexivity and consciousness are deemed immeasurable, and does not intelligence account for value and worth and rights?

An example, just finished watching iRobot yet again! (yes I think it is that close and accurate for 2035), skip the melodrama, blasting guns and contemplate the social, political and philosophical messages – yes it really is all in there? First time round I thought this movie was pants, now, I feel this model of society should be discussed in high schools all around the globe.

“The federation of anarchist-socialist workers in a human-working society can have a number assigned to them very much like that of the numbers and letters assigned to every Ethernet/Network card on the planet, simply for voting purposes.”

I would speculate that social security numbers be replaced with bio-metric scanning, and numbers are a little Orwellian to boot! I agree this is the only way to prevent every crime from rife identity theft, social welfare theft, to vote fixing, (yet no system is infallible)?

“Power corrupts most people, historically, therefore the computer technicians (if needed) that run the the consensus worldwide voting system must be elected by the people and any corruption must be delt with.”

How about removing all of these tasks from Humans altogether and letting super-computers, (much smarter than your average robot algorithm), police and regulate everything from voting, to social census and referendum, and oversee a new hybrid capitalism model to prevent Human corruption, speculation hedge betting, and Human greed on the large corporate banking scales we see today?

A working model view of the implementation of direct democracy, global crowd-sourcing and consensus, participation, and continued and perpetual referendum and data mining by super computers needs no enhanced Human minds at all? In fact, in my view of a more radical and technocratic future, Human minds and memes will be naturally enhanced and be encouraged towards education, wisdom, and social responsibility, through social contract and in return for the rewards and support of social welfare, (and this would include the use of robots for home and domestic help – i.e. as part of social welfare and healthcare provision etc)?

“If upgraded critical thinking leads to a new kind of social structure outside the realm of anarchism then so be it, however, that “structure” would most likely reject top down political power”

I don’t think you can rely entirely on direct democracy when faced with global risks, as these may be too slow to act? For example, in the case of existential risk, global dilemma and political impasse, (global conflict, war etc), an executive level of Human control is essential? Unless, you wish that supercomputers also oversee any executive level? In which case, there will still be requirement for Human executive level to intervene to ensure Humanism rationale, value and worth, and prevent logic, (any utilitarian difference engine), from creating adverse suffering in seeking best possible outcomes?

“Can an unconscious supercomputer figure out how to use the resources of the earth to have unconscious robots replace our labor, upgrade the human mind, and give people a life of happiness instead of wage slavery and the “race to the bottom” under capitalism?”

I would hope yes they would, and supercomputer(s) plural and used for various duties, especially as hinted at above to oversee fairness, justice, referendum and consensus, socioeconomic, and perhaps even as a global vanguard against war and state violation, (albeit with the safeguard of Human intervention -  we don’t want to encourage a terminator scenario?)

The implementation of perpetual data-mining and global analysis by supercomputers is also the first steps towards engineering “friendly AGI” and the evolution of the idealised CEV, (I have said this many times). And this will aide towards non-catastrophic scenarios of a singularity?

“The acceptance of anarchist-socialism under the human condition would eradicate any need for a “vanguard party”, dictatorship, or a war to destroy capitalism. We must create a future where the rich do not enhance and upgrade their minds before the working class.”

As mentioned above in the previous comment, money talks, so it is unlikely that the formerly known proletariat, (now known as the masses), will have the opportunities afforded by the already wealthy – so as I stated above, I don’t think this is particularly necessary, and also many conservative cultures around the world will reject any form of enhancement – does this mean they cannot participate in this new model global democracy?


The final question begs – how far are you willing to subscribe to a political technocracy in favour of achieving social justice for all, since this technocracy will conflict with the freedoms afforded by the social-anarchism you propose?





@CygnusX1

Thanks for commenting on my article….

I think that everyone should be allowed to participate in global direct democracy.

I believe in “experts”, not “leaders”, therefore, a genuine expert would be happy to help their fellow brain/minds out, and happy to be consulted, whereas a “leader” likes to think they know everything while craving power over other minds. So, it would seem, that we need to consult with experts before making huge decisions under global direct democracy in the human condition.

I think, but I am not sure, that in the future we will all be experts, attached to supercomputers, perhaps act as a hive mind, etc, therefore, we would just need to consult with ourselves, perhaps a supercomputer, etc, and then vote. I think a vote on a concept, idea, or action in an anarchist like fashion – that is, direct democracy and consensus based voting – would even ease the mind of an upgraded superintelligent brain that a select few are not in total control, even half control, not even 90 percent control over them, etc.

more later….





What we should do now is outlaw the Republican Party before it destroys the future. Can you imagine what kind of candidate the GOP is going to run in 2016?: we’ll be lucky if it walks erect.





From conversation on the IEET’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ieet.org

This article is rubbish, you wouldn’t have voting in a anarchist socialist society as its a classless society, voting only elects leaders and corrupt politicians! We need a new ideology rather than rehashing the old failed systems!

This is Kris, the author of the article, I can’t seem to be able to comment under my own FB account. Anyway, nearly all anarchist groups and organizations I have been a part of try to use consensus style voting, not to vote for politicians, but to sometimes vote on “committees”, but most of the time to vote on an idea, concept, or action, that is the essence of anarchism, there are no politicians, instead what you are voting on is on concepts, ideas, and actions. For example, if we had a global anarchist-socialist system where everyone got a say, collected by a supercomputer, we could vote on an action, like “lets take this step in geoengineering to combat global warming”, etc.

Hi kris, sounds more like the zeitgeist movement, where all the decisions are made by a super computer, that sounds like techno-communism to me or technocracy?

Kris here again - No - not at all, well anarcho-transhumanist, yes, free minds with the right to organize under a union in the workplace, yes. The right for worker-run collectives, organizations, factories, etc yes. Striving to have a worldwide system based on anarchist socialist ideals, yes. Please watch the documentary The Take to get an idea about how anarcho-syndicalism can work, then picture a future society where those workers do not have to deal with a crazy government, and using technology to vote…. This article is more about the evolution of homo sapiens integrating with their own technology, and take control of their own evolution, minds, and the striving to be free from a boss/leader/government. If robots are made to take our jobs, then those people who are replaced by a robot – logically, it seems to me, should have the right for a guaranteed “basic income” – housing, food, healthcare, etc.

There’s a lot of labels and good ideas but I doubt any of these ideas will come to fruitation in my life time. All I want in th uk is to get rid of this condem government and 3 party dictatorship and replace with something new.

Kris here - replace it with an anarchist-socialist system. Educate, agitate, and organize! Here in the U.S. we have to deal with “American Libertarians”, They are basically American Republican super capitalists. The republicans and Dems basically cater to big business, the military industrial complex, the prison industrial complex, the two party system, creating war, poverty, sweatshops, etc around the world. . The American Libertarian Party likes to claim they are anti-war, but really they are capitalist nationalists who Ayn Rand would love if she was around today. We can, in theory, use a lot of modern technology to dismantle this system, we just need to be creative and not re-invent the wheel so to speak when it comes to political theories – for socialist and anarchist thought has evolved greatly, and we should take some lessons for each, however in my case, I prefer anarchism over traditional socialist thought, even though both are realistically striving for the same thing. Anarchism to me, is superior to socialism for many reasons, but one big one is because it starts with the notion of dismantling unnecessary power immediately where socialism does not.





“The American Libertarian Party likes to claim they are anti-war, but really they are capitalist nationalists who Ayn Rand would love if she was around today.”

Rightist American libertarians/Libertarians are well nigh indistinguishable from Republicans. Good news is some form of Occupy is absolutely sure to return, things usually only change superficially in the meatworld.
Occupy began as you know in 2011—and you also know 2013 is little different from 2010. We have not nearly reached the stage in our evolution… unlike material progress, it is all micro-increments. But as Pete, you already know all this.





Capitalism works pretty well on those rare occasions it’s been sort of tried. It is PRECISELY free markets that will give us the technology necessary for transhumanism and post-scarcity.

I do not see worker-owned cooperatives as being in any way incompatible with free markets, presuming they are producing goods and services that people actually want.

Yes, it is likely the rich will “get there first”. The rich also got cell phones, computers, television sets, automobiles and radios first. This didn’t prevent other people from getting them, as well.

BTW, if EVERYONE has cheap robots, this effectively “redistributes the means of production” so you don’t have to make people dependent on income taken from others by force. For someone claiming to be an anarchist, you sure sound statist to me.





Intomorrow why are you picking on Republicans? At least they had an anti-war candidate seeking the nomination in 2012, unlike the Democrats. You sound pretty fascist to me, seeking to “outlaw” a party.

Functionally, there isn’t much to choose between the two parties; you have the party of war and debt, against the party of debt and war.





Thomas,
you present the freemarket view succinctly above; you covered several matters well in a couple of paragraph. However except for what you wrote on ‘bots, Republicans make almost identical points; and they and their ilk are still in charge of calling the shots—no question about that whatsoever IMO. None.

“Yes, it is likely the rich will ‘get there first’. The rich also got cell phones, computers, television sets, automobiles and radios first. This didn’t prevent other people from getting them, as well.”

It isn’t the rich I worry about—it is control freaks; old-fashioned control freaks who want to act as spoilers; and most of all..

“I do not see worker-owned cooperatives as being in any way incompatible with free markets, presuming they are producing goods and services that people actually want.”

This is the collateral question: what if people (the ‘public’) remain foolish? Something I always come back to is how we attempt to interest the public—a public that doesn’t even know how a lightbulb works, that thinks God, rather than Thomas Edison, invented it—in radical technologies. We expect such a public to make coherent decisions when the majority don’t even know how a telegraph works? Giving people freedom is one thing; expecting them to be wise in their choices is another. There it gets fast. Freedom to Fail for the dumb public has some truly negative connotations. Smith’s invisible hand of the Market worked adequately in the past; yet in a world where the destructive power of each individual is magnified by technologies? Don’t know about that.





Thomas Edison was a capitalist. Several people ‘invented the light bulb’ independently, but we only remember Edison in the US, because he invented the power company.

You sound like you want to impose on people by force. That sounds pretty “foolish” from here.





Edison ‘invented’ the lightbulb—and a thousand other things—is shorthand. If one says Tom Watts runs a company—such does not mean you would run it alone, does it? Don’t have to read out all the drivers of a corporation.

“You sound like you want to impose on people by force.”

Force? Didn’t realise I was such an Alpha male to be able to use force—thanks for the compliment. Way it’s going I’ll wind up a superhero. Perhaps you saw the hammer in my toolbox and figure there’s also a sickle in the garage?





Thomas, everyone deserves a fair, educated, healthy life. Statist? No, under anarchism what you may think of the State, or resembles what you think a State might be, is actually consensus style and direct democracy voting on an idea, concept, or action. Lets say we have 7billion minds hooked up to a supercomputer to vote on an action to take place, like that of “lets build houses for every worker that lost their job due to robots”

The direct democracy way, under consensus style voting, even under 7billion minds, would require that, lets say, 97% or more of the people who vote, vote YES. 1 percent shares their feelings which is filtered and read by the supercomputer, 1% votes NO, and 1% abstains. It is then passed (after a bit of rapid discussion via new technologies to exchange feelings – philosophically sometimes called qualia), and action is then taken, (in this case, building houses for people who lost their jobs because of robots) without the need for a “State” to implement it.





Force? some of us aren’t considered forceful enough. Do you actually think anyone at IEET would enjoy the state using force against others? Tom, we at IEET must look dashing in our jackboots.
What concerns me most is not what is said, it’s wondering if they are being contrarian; if some want to confront statists, they can go to a govt. site—why come to IEET for that? Someone else might write we are ineffectual progressives whereas you might think we somehow want to strongarm civilians in pursuit of power.
Not that you are wrong about the state necessarily…
Wrong Website.

 





@ Kris

I would view Direct democracy referendum and voting as more refined than your example and question, “lets build houses for every worker that lost their job due to robots”. And this is important because “informed democracy” is crucial, as opposed to knee-jerk and “mob rule democracy” which would be worse than the representative democracy we have today, where political parties will be appealing directly to emotions and feelings and to any measure of trickery and sensationalism to get what they want, (no change from today then)?

For example, I would propose your question “lets build houses for every worker that lost their job due to robots” would need to take shape and form as to avoid any leading bias, which can be overcome by asking each online question in various ways to help avoid bias, (perhaps even designed by impartial algorithm itself)?

Here’s an example to explain further..

Typical example would include

[Opening abstract for building houses for unemployed.. including more information, pro’s and con’s, economics facts, benefits and downside and further links for more reading, if voters wish to become further informed. Perhaps even political comment from those opposed and in agreement – although celebrity is what sways political bias and voting/voters today, take care! – anonymous and pertinent opinion, perhaps voted in referendum itself as valuable may also be data-mined and included?]

Then perhaps continuing with the questions..

“Do you think we should build houses for the unemployed?” YES/NO

“Have you weighed all of the advantages for this?” YES/NO

“Have you weighed all the consequences for this?” YES/NO

“Do you still think we should build houses for the unemployed?” YES/NO

This last question should obviously NOT be used to filter out perceived invaluable votes, and especially not used to swing referendum results, (although we should be safe as impartial computers are doing the data-mining?) It serves a more important function to gather information as to how voters are making decisions and whether they have voted without reasoning with the provided information – which may also be an indicator as to any problem with the way the question has been asked and worded, or to problems with the information provided etc?

Ultimately, and this is also important, questions should be continually asked and continually repetitive and results continually evaluated, any pertinent questions will continue to be raised frequently as the political/financial landscape will be always changing, and voters themselves may change opinions over time as more facts and consequences come to light?

For example the question you posed above may eventually transform as “let’s get robots to build houses for every worker that lost their job/for everyone”?

This is an enormous positive because the continual ebb and flow of voters, locally, state wide and nationally and even globally will not resolve to make finite decisions so easily and policy decisions will hopefully not be made rashly? This procrastination and slowness is also the downside of informed democracy, which is another reason why we presently employ “representative democracy” and “trust” political representatives to make decisions for us?

Crucial and more important referendum questions will always be managed at the top of the list and asked frequently, (sited next to your Google ads?).. another example perhaps..

“Do you think we should arm and aide rebels in Syria?”  YES/NO

“Do you think we should not interfere with the conflict in Syria?” YES/NO

“Have you weighed the consequences for taking action in Syria?” YES/NO

“Do you still think we should intervene with the conflict in Syria?” YES/NO





Also we can tell Thomas Watts ideology is dead, which includes libertarianism and its ilk. Ideology died when Communism died- almost a quarter century ago. Libertarians are reduced to calling others ‘statist’ because they do not know what else to do.
Notice Watts leaves himself wiggle-room here:

“You sound like you want to impose on people by force.”

Not ‘you want to impose on people by force’, but “sounds like you want to impose on people by force”

When you don’t know what to do, you write,
“you want [or it sounds like you want] to impose on people by force.”

Frankly IMO govt. will *never* be small, men want power more than they want freedom; it is so in every neighborhood in every nation. War can be diminished, war might end someday—but men will not relinquish their grip on others and if they feel they must use the State to do so then they will do so.

However libertarianism and its ilk makes sense as parlor-talk.





...“men will not relinquish their grip on others and if they feel they must use the State to do so then they will do so.”

That is, if men sense they can press their advantages via the State, they will continue to do so and nothing minarchists, anarchists, etc., say will change their minds. Such is the way it is now, there is no evidence at this time men will budge on that. None.
Small govt. hasn’t existed since the 1920s; the wars, other social catastrophes, bloated the State. If someone says they don’t like the nanny state but they want the nanny state to assist their own people, such is permissible—people only really deep-down care about their own people. Their families, friends, dynasties.
Yet when govt. controls 46%, 47%, of the economy, when virtually everyone’s family has their hands out; when they point their fingers at others, saying,

“You sound like you want to impose on people by force.”

Perhaps small govt. is about parlor-talk.





@Intomorrow, I totally agree with your points.

Some links, the Wiki on DM has many other links as well:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_democracy

http://www.starhawk.org/activism/trainer-resources/consensus.html





I have a couple of things to say here.

1. Kris’s article makes a pretty big assumption that no one has addressed.

“The techno-optimist and political-positive outlook on upgraded brains/minds assumes that A. We will live in a post-capitalist world.”

This is a pretty big assumption to base an entire argument on. We don’t know what that type of society would look like, it has never existed in the modern era. To make such large assumptions on what such a future might hold seems counterproductive to me, beyond the context of simple thought experiments on possibilities, if we aren’t also talking about how to get there and WHY (which seems to be the giant pink elephant in the room on IEET) we need to move past capitalism, classism, into systems of equitable production and real democracy. This article is a great thought experiment and has provoked some interesting and revealing comments, which means it is quite applicable to this site and its audience.

(not meant as a dig on you Kris, I am just hoping to provoke more thought about the why’s and how’s related to this issue).

2. In terms of capitalism working in “rare occasions where it’s actually been tried” I’d definitely challenge that point. You could list instances as much as you want. They’d be idealized and no doubt stripped of their contradictions via your interpretation, just as many on the socialist left idealize the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, Venezuela et all simply because they are socialist to some extent, despite also having major contradictions and problems. There may be people who fight for “pure capitalism”  out of the desire to manifest these idealized instances into a larger reality, but they are making massive assumptions about the generalizability of those instances, ignoring contradictions, and are just as irrational as those who on the left make arguments for soviet-style socialism. Idealizing either of these cases is highly problematic and counterproductive.

Capitalism has NEVER been good for everyone, and by its nature really can’t be. It is designed to exploit labor through wage slavery, centralize wealth, and hold the world hostage in times of crisis. This pattern repeats itself throughout the history of capitalism and really is indisputable (unless you want to re-hash your idealized utopias of capitalism and ignore their obvious contradictions). If you think capitalism works, ask the 2/3 of the world that struggle to feed themselves daily, ask the descendants of slaves (and for that matter modern-day slaves), ask people that have died in wars to secure resources for powered elites, ask workers who toil everyday on the job to enrich their bosses barely ever seeing any of the wealth they create, I could go on, but you should get my point. Socialistic methods have improved the lives of millions throughout history and while not without fault, they certainly offer greater prospects for the future than idealized forms of “capitalism” that produce the ideal form of a “free market”, which could only exist in an ideal form because in reality it is forced to confront social systems of power and exploitation. Also, such a system would heavily rely on the “benevolence” of the rich, who in large part have been incredibly detrimental to human life. If you aren’t convinced, refer to prior list of people for whom capitalism has failed.

In summation, this article is pretty good at provoking some of these thoughts, however the comments seem to be based on idealizations of reality, purposefully excluding contradictions and problems inherent in all of these systems. Some folks are all too eager to imply something in the words of others, too, but that’s a whole different story.





“Intomorrow why are you picking on Republicans? At least they had an anti-war candidate seeking the nomination in 2012, unlike the Democrats. You sound pretty fascist to me, seeking to ‘outlaw’ a party. Functionally, there isn’t much to choose between the two parties; you have the party of war and debt, against the party of debt and war.”


Come to think of it, Tom, you are on the surface correct, but there’s more to it: Ron Paul and his son are a bit too grassy knoll. You are almost certainly right that it would be fascist to outlaw a party. Yet if the GOP messes things up really bad, which they might do, then outlawing would be preferable to having them ruin America.
Since the demise of Communism, the Republican Party has been on a downward spiral, running one mediocre candidate after another.. even their grass roots is continually dissatisfied. If the GOP worsens, they may drag America down with them. In the ‘80s, America matched the GOP—now events are outstripping the party, being as it is one of the most backward-looking parties in the world. And the reason is not a hard one to figure: some extremely old-fashioned citizens make up the interior of the US and they keep the GOP a going concern. You may write the alternative is other than the Democratic or Republican parties; yet America has not evolved past the Dem-GOP duopoly at this time. Middle America is stuck firmly in the past.

Obama did not invade either Afghanistan or Iraq, he had to pick up the pieces from the last decade; deeming Obama a jingoist is absolutely absurd: he is forced to go along because the alternative is McCains & Romneys, who are aggressively nationalistic. Plus the GOP is the party which would accept conscripting youths (unless their general position on the Draft has changed recently).

You may be correct on not outlawing the GOP. Even if they were to ruin America we might have to go down with the ship as Romans did starting with Commodus or whomever. But to portray Obama as a nationalist—when he has to do everything possible to disguise his dislike of nationalism—is truly far-out. Or libertarian-contrarian. If the latter is the case, an apology to you may be in order. A libertarian must in many instances need be a contrarian, IMO; such is part of what it means to be libertarian.





@ wcstrong

“Also, such a system would heavily rely on the “benevolence” of the rich, who in large part have been incredibly detrimental to human life. If you aren’t convinced, refer to prior list of people for whom capitalism has failed.”

I would agree that “benevolence”, (in most circumstances), conflicts with the Human condition and it’s attitude towards status seeking and “more” than rational self interest - which is the main crux for the attack on Libertarians per se?

And your quote reinforces Kris’ notion that minds will require augmentation to see the logic and to help overcome this Human condition, (correct me if I’m wrong here?)

However, personally I still have more faith in changing global Human consciousness, (Ooo.. that dodgy word again?), and hope that the world will unite to find solutions to global problems, and that includes rich Libertarians, because it’s their planet too?

Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, (and others), seem to hold some promise? Not that I would bank hard money on this, only to highlight that there are “some” that see that the world needs changing?

http://givingpledge.org/

Back to your point highlighting the “how”?

I would also say that we cannot just ditch Capitalism we “must” seek a hybrid solution, one that the “free market” ideal can support, above and beyond what is required to raise “all” peoples from poverty? And investment in technology, (from where?), helps?

Africa, given the right access to education and afforded the right opportunities, can utilise free market ideology to escape poverty, as indeed India and China are doing now?

The problems often associated with socialism and transposed as communism is that this is driven by coercion and supported by force, where labour and wage slavery is still supported and taxes are still taken by force, (only a different flavour of state Capitalism)?

So yes, indeed we need to think of “how”, which is mostly the area of input lacking at IEET? How do we inspire and convince folks that direct democracy is the way to go? How do we implement this?

And just to add to what I have already said above - why wait for brain and intelligence augmentation? The opportunity for change is available right here, right now - and effort needs to be applied now to reap success later?





Tom, read this,

An Iraq War veteran who joined the U.S. Army two days after 9/11 has written a powerful open letter to former President George W. Bush and ex-Vice President Dick Cheney accusing them of war crimes, “plunder” and “the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.”
Tomas Young, who was shot and paralyzed during an insurgent attack in Sadr City in 2004, five days into his first deployment, penned the letter from his Kansas City, Mo., home, where he’s under hospice care.
“I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney,” Young wrote in the letter published on Truthdig.com. “I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.”
The 33-year-old, who was the subject of Phil Donahue’s 2007 documentary “Body of War,” continued:
I joined the Army two days after the 9/11 attacks. I joined the Army because our country had been attacked. I wanted to strike back at those who had killed some 3,000 of my fellow citizens. I did not join the Army to go to Iraq, a country that had no part in the September 2001 attacks and did not pose a threat to its neighbors, much less to the United States. I did not join the Army to “liberate” Iraqis or to shut down mythical weapons-of-mass-destruction facilities or to implant what you cynically called “democracy” in Baghdad and the Middle East. I did not join the Army to rebuild Iraq, which at the time you told us could be paid for by Iraq’s oil revenues.
Young believes he was injured fighting the wrong war:
I would not be writing this letter if I had been wounded fighting in Afghanistan against those forces that carried out the attacks of 9/11. Had I been wounded there I would still be miserable because of my physical deterioration and imminent death, but I would at least have the comfort of knowing that my injuries were a consequence of my own decision to defend the country I love. I would not have to lie in my bed, my body filled with painkillers, my life ebbing away, and deal with the fact that hundreds of thousands of human beings, including children, including myself, were sacrificed by you for little more than the greed of oil companies, for your alliance with the oil sheiks in Saudi Arabia, and your insane visions of empire.
“When Tomas Young saw President Bush on television speaking from the ruins of the Twin Towers, his life changed,” his bio on the “Body of War” website reads. “As his basic training began at Ft. Hood, he assumed that he would be shipped off to Afghanistan where the terrorist camps were based, routing out Al Qaeda and Taliban warriors. But soon, Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq.”
In an interview with Truthdig.com, Young—who suffered an anoxic brain injury in 2008—said he had been contemplating “conventional” suicide, but decided to go on hospice care, “stop feeding and fade away.”
He said, “This way, instead of committing the conventional suicide and I am out of the picture, people have a way to stop by or call and say their goodbyes,” Young said. “I felt this was a fairer way to treat people than to just go out with a note.”


Tom, it would be entirely contradictory to write Bush himself is culpable when he has not been informed and intelligent enough. But Cheney is to be held responsible. And, again, blaming Obama for what happened is ludicrous.





@ Cygnusx1

I would argue that assuming humans need augmentation in order to dismantle systems of oppression, capitalism, et all is an argument often deriving form a point of privilege, a disregard for the intelligence of the working and underclasses, and in that sense can be taken as racist (since people of color represent a majority of the people that make up the working poor). Now I am not saying that your are arguing this or that you or anyone else making these assumptions is intent on doing so from these positions. My observation, however, is that such positions are tekn by people who do not seek to improve the immediate condition and instead hail for some future period where such conditions would “magically” heal themselves. This is patently absurd, we make history, history makes us, and if we don’t move then our future will be made by those who do move, those with the most influence and money, etc. This is how our society has worked throughout modern history.

People at IEET seem all to ready to praise white elites like they are godsends. Warren Buffet is a fatcat assclown that profits from the despair of others (he profitted form the economic collapse of 2008). Bill Gates projects a positive image through institutions like the Gates Foundation, which many consider admirable, but what I would argue is just the ruling class buying alliegance from the working and underclass whilst exploiting them at the other end to the fullest extent. Don’t even get me started about Microsoft and how messed up they are. And don’t get me started on how the Gates Foundation is a giant white-man’s burden machine that is there to maintain poverty through acts of charity instead of acts of solidarity. They seek to aid so that others become dependant instead of working to create a society where they are not needed. It is the PR arm to make up for all the messed up crap that is microsoft. And Thomas Edison is a completely differemnt story. People on here are all too willing to praise capitalist elites that exploit millions while ignoring the billions that are marginalized by capitalism, some of them to death.

You interpretation of socialism is really quite limited, based on historical contexts that you seem to barely understand. Socialism is about socializing production and wealth to improve society and our lives. This does not inherently require a command economy circa USSR, China, etc. Many of these cases became that way due to outside interference by capitalist powers as was the case in the USSR, China, Korea, etc. etc. Who knows what would have happened should these nations of people be allowed to work out their political process absent of outrside influence. You can’t talk about the history of socialism without talking about the history of imperialism. Regardless, in ALL of these cases there were/are radical/revolutionary leftists that are pushing/pushed for greater democracy, liberation, etc. etc. against the very forces through which you define ALL of socialism. So your interpretation is based largely on propagandistic arguments made by the west (britain, the USA, etc. etc.) during the cold war, a history taught to you by the capitalist powers and the leaders of industry and nothing else. “Free Markets” exist(ed) in many of these countries, where many things are provided for free through the collective wealth of the masses. This is NOT the same as the capitalist so-called “free market” which has little to do with freedom more than it is about the capitalization of wealth and the manufacturing of poverty.

Mixing socialism and capitalism is like mixing oil and water. They don’t mix. And when people try to mix them, they usually end up with Fascism. You can’t be free and give away the value of your labor to someone else for a return of value less than your labor. Capitalism is based on this exploitation. The “Free Market” is a joke, an idealism that fails reality. The only freedom that exists under capitalism is the freedom of the rich to do what they want, when they want, and our ability to respond to their actions in mass. They can do what they want and they are too big to fail, we can act against them screwing up our lives and all our rights are taken away. This relationship is inherent in classism, which is a product of capitalist modes of production. You cannot mix the two. That’s all I’m gonna say for now.





Also, in reference to the first paragraph of the cvomment above, if we are here now having this conversation, then any humans can have this conversation. Humans have the capacity to discuss these points WITHOUT augmentation of any form. Social structures, power, classism, racism, sexism, etc. are greater barriers to understanding than genetics, biology, or any “inherent” trait in the human genome.





@ wcstrong

We seem to be talking at cross purposes, and I think you also misconstrue my position?

Firstly, I do not share the view that Human minds need augmentation to pursue true(r) democracy and social justice, I thought I was clear about that?

Secondly, I would agree that my knowledge of both “real” socialism and Marxism is limited, but my point that Socialism commonly “transposed” and commonly understood and associated with communism rings true enough? And the latter manifests as no more than “State Capitalism” and simply more wage servitude, only with communism you are “forced” to get out bed in the morning, and with Capitalism you are “coerced”? - same difference, and agreed, same old problems of social injustice?

So what would you propose? As I said, who will invest in the future, in the technology we need pursue egalitarianism? Everyone assumes we can switch from “social” system A to system B, but there will be incremental change and I still think we need a hybrid system?





Cont..

This “Hybrid” system is not so mysterious to imagine, it is really just re-focus on social justice, and the type of movements and change of social consciousness we see today around the world?

Yet I will ask you again “how” do we inspire and instigate direct democracy?

Seems we do need investigate further the Human condition? Are Oligarchs and Libertarians really a different species? Is any Human really that different? Absolute power corrupts absolutely?

But I leave you with this final thought - how do we encourage philanthropy? How do we convince the masses to take responsibility and seek empowerment?

The answer lies with the phrase “Quid pro quo”?





Workers must cease their own racism, workers are not without culpability despiyte what Mr, Strong may think- to write otherwise is to reduce workers to puppets. Workers must care about other nations as well.





@ wcstrong

“And don’t get me started on how the Gates Foundation is a giant white-man’s burden machine that is there to maintain poverty through acts of charity instead of acts of solidarity. They seek to aid so that others become dependant instead of working to create a society where they are not needed. It is the PR arm to make up for all the messed up crap that is microsoft.”

Well this is debatable, as I say we should not discourage philanthropy but encourage it, and the investment requirement in world changing technology, especially with healthcare and towards renewable energy, mitigating climate change etc?

However, I see your point regarding PR. Perhaps and more simply, Gates and Buffet have reflected on their more than comfortable situations and the world’s situation and realise they can do something about it? Normally this is also driven by some personal situation or occurrence that prompts reflection? Who knows?

Not sure if you have already seen this presentation, if not, then it is worthy as the questions posed are highly relevant - presented by a self confessed Capitalist to boot!

http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/newton-thomas20130310


“And Thomas Edison is a completely differemnt story. People on here are all too willing to praise capitalist elites that exploit millions while ignoring the billions that are marginalized by capitalism, some of them to death.”

Agreed with this, Thomas Edison was the patent king?





I’m not quite sure why this imagined techno-anarchist future would be any more realistic than previous radical leftist (especially communist) utopias that turned out to be so horrendous. The latter suffered from the extent to which they made assumptions about human nature that are simply not compatible with our (unenhanced) reality. The most successful societies in practice have been those that have struck a balance between capitalism and socialism, with anarchistic ideals having some (mostly, but by no means wholly, destructive) influence around the edges. So the question, presumably, is: how is technology supposed to change this.

My concern with this article is that it places way too much emphasis on the imperative need to build such a future, and not very much on explaining how it can be made realistic. It is normative rather than reality-based. But the normative case for (extreme) socialism was never its weak point. We can all - except the most deluded free-market libertarians, of which there admittedly remain a stubbornly and depressingly high number - deplore the evils of capitalism. The question is whether imagined alternatives are likely to happen as intended, or turn into something even worse.

I think we need to stake out some kind of middle ground between Kris’s “we’ve got to get the rich’s filthy hands of this technology” and Thomas’s “we’ve got mobile phones now, wadda you worried about?” CygnusX1 is right: we cannot just ditch capitalism (which, in any case, is not in itself an ideology so much as an ongoing historical phenomenon). And
I also agree that we should not be curlishly condemning well-intentioned phianthropy (even by those who may have exploited people in other ways: at least they’re giving SOMETHING back, or trying to). By contrast DON’T agree that the main problem with socialism/communism is its reliance on force. All extant political systems rely, to some extent, on force and coercion. Socialism works fine when blended with a suitable mix of (partial) democracy and (partially) free markets. Pacifism, in general, doesn’t.

In summary,  like other commentators I think it’s great that Kris has imagined a future that he regards as positive, because I still believe that the bet counterweight to present and future dystopias is the courage to imaging utopias and aim to make the, happen. But we need to be Flexible in our utopias, and ask ourselves whether they are actually reality-compatible on the timescale we are envisaging.

The rich WILL get the enhancements first. How could it be otherwise? And in general, they will use them to make their own lives, and that of their lovers, friends and family, better, which is primarily to say more fun and pleasurable (and longer). But the rich are not wholly without empathy, and like Gates and Buffet, can probably be persuaded to invest in a bit of social entrepreneurship. This, above all, is what we need to encourage - and preferably without promoting the limiting and disempowering belief that it is somehow wrong to be rich.

We need to nudge the future in the direction we want, not try to force it, against all known and observable models of human behaviour, to conform lock, stock and barrel to our normative preferences.





“It is impossible to generate a mass progressive movement on the basis of such a motley coalition: most of the working-class citizens victimized by the system are cultural conservative…”
—Francis Fukuyama, Current Events magazine, Feb. 2012.”

The above is the central difficulty.

Now, we don’t want to give up, Satre called such quietism; we don’t say leave it to others because we can’t or don’t want to change the situation—but we don’t want to be progressive sheeple any more than we want to be conservatives licking Massa’s jackboots. The proletariat cares more for drink and cigarettes than progressivism.. and if we don’t want to admit it we are cowards. Strong isn’t wrong but he repeats too many platitudes.





@wcstrong: I’m by no means a fan of Gates or Microsoft but even I must point out how completely off base you are with your criticism of his charity work. He may very well be motivated by reasons of securing a positive legacy (as if that’s so terrible), but the notion that his work serves to make the poor dependent and disempowered is ridiculous. Unlike other charities that only make “give a man a fish” type donations, his work tackles structural problems keeping the cycle going, such as cures for highly lethal diseases like malaria, and improving their sewage/sanitation systems to tackle water-borne diseases, another huge killer.

Your characterization of this work as a “white man’s burden” is pretty distasteful and seems to serve no other purpose other than to discourage charity work that can be dismissed on such flippant racial terms.

As for Buffett, profiting from misery is always a morally ambiguous situation, though far from tantamount to causing it. Singling out one of the few billionaires vocally calling for a more progressive taxation and distribution of resources strikes me as a particularly counterproductive direction to funnel your rage.





Thanks everyone for all your comments, great discussion!

I want to just say that when I said “The techno-optimist and political-positive outlook on upgraded brains/minds assumes that A. We will live in a post-capitalist world” what I meant was two things:

1. I should have said “modern capitalism” because it does seem that very radical reform can lead to assumption B. (because as we know, modern capitalism is a horrible catastrophe for millions, even billions of people)
2. Statement A. was leading to the claim that “This does indeed assume that with a brain/mind upgrade people get the same kind of knowledge of political theory as everyone else. If education is the key to unlock the potential of mind, why not take an upgrade? Because this is in the anarchist context, the upgrade itself would not force the critical thinking brain to accept anarchist-socialism as fact, but a concept to consider.”

I envisioned a world where modern day capitalism can be destroyed (and forgot to write about radical reform) by two ways.

1. Humans as we are now either radically reform capitalism to the point where our “political system” today is unrecognizable to a purely non-upgraded, non-implanted, non-genetically modified, etc homo sapien world.
2. The upgrade happens first leading the capitalist to be mindful, knowledgeable, and compassionate. The same goes for the working class who get “upgraded” leading to an “enlightened” posthuman world.

There are many points to this article, for example, the point that robots and supercomputers cannot be conscious, because if they are, they will live a slave like existence.

The main point of the article was actually to imagine a way to use technology to educate minds and implement a worldwide consensus based voting system, hence anarchist-socialism.

I want to clarify that we will have to understand consciousness, awareness and memory in order to implement this system. There are two possibilities outside mind uploading and technologies similar to that. A. Everyone is connected to the Internet with sped up cognition, consciousness and awareness, and B. A chip that is added to the brain will have so much information on it, that it practically renders education obsolete – and this is coming from someone who wants to be a professor!

Also, without attaching your brain to a local and global network of other minds, and supercomputers to help collect and output votes, how else, in the human condition can we do it? If Direct Democracy and Consensus based voting is what we want, but at a mass scale, how in the world would can we do that with our current technologies? It seems rather impossible to me. Right now we have governments, a system where consumers “vote” with money, capitalist leaders, aka CEOs, lobbyists, and “representatives” calling the shots, but is that what we want? Is that really the system of the future as more and more people become educated to how flawed it is - enabling privilege to the extremes?

No, something tells me this is not the system we want to live under, we want to be free while also in charge of our own lives, and from my education and experience Anarchism is our best chance at actually having a fair world. So do we do it under the current system now, or just nudge the capitalists to be more empathetic, altruistic and compassionate? Do we simply radically reform the system, or do we finally say enough is enough and take over our workplaces, etc, in the tradition of anarcho-syndicalism?





“is that what we want? Is that really the system of the future as more and more people become educated to how flawed it is - enabling privilege to the extremes?”

These are two different questions, of course. Whether it is what “we” want depends who “we” is. It’s certainly not what I want, not ideally, but then again I can imagine a lot worse. As to the second question, does education regarding the flaws inherent in the current situation me necessarily translate into effective, organised action to change it. I think not.

“we want to be free while also in charge of our own lives, and from my education and experience Anarchism is our best chance at actually having a fair world.”

I want much more tha just to be “free while also in charge” of my life. One can be all of that and still be miserable, and that is NOT what I want. Alsodo we want that collectively, for everyone, or do we want it primarily for ourselves and those we are closest to. The evidence overwhelmingly suggests the latter. That said, I’m curious to learn more about why your education and experience had led you to conclude that anarchism is our best chance at actually having a fair world. Once again, the question that must be addressed, in my view is: how the hell do you make it work?

So do we do it under the current system now, or just nudge the capitalists to be more empathetic, altruistic and compassionate? Do we simply radically reform the system, or do we finally say enough is enough and take over our workplaces, etc, in the tradition of anarcho-syndicalism?”

Of course there is more we can (and should) do than “just nudge the capitalists to be more empathetic, altruistic and compassionate”. By the way,  the rich and powerful are not “the capitalist”, they are just the most successful and/or privileged ones. We are all, to varying degrees and with very few exceptions, capitalists. How do YOU pay your bills?

If you want to go ahead, say “enough is enough” and take over your workplace, be my guest. Just don’t take over mine, because I WILL call the police (in the tradition of fascism, if you want to call it that). I don’t want to see mass revolutions. Mass revolutions occasionally produce good results, but that is very uncertain. That said, I can understand that some, with different personalities and in different circumstances, might feel differently.





I suppose, in the end, it is a anarchist-techno-positive rant. However, there is nothing more I would like to see than Consensus decision-making actually come to life at the local to global scale. I do not, I suppose, think there must be a violent revolution of the ‘anarchists vs. the capitalists’ but the only reason I say that, is because of the time we are living in - revolutions and ‘evolutions’ in the information technology sector happen everyday.

The future of mind, awareness, consciousness, combined with the future of nanotech, BCIs, genetic engineering, etc lead me to conclude that we will be able to have consensus decision-making on the local-global scale, at the speed of light, and within seconds. conceptualizing about it something perhaps we should start doing today - but that does not mean we do not need to be out in the streets helping people in need, educating people, protesting for a better system. This is futurism, but as anarchists we are the “watchdogs” of both dictatorship driven socialism, and, well, given how many people actually control capitalism, dictatorship driven capitalism.





@Pete:
“Mass revolutions occasionally produce good results, but that is very uncertain. That said, I can understand that some, with different personalities and in different circumstances, might feel differently.”

Yes. We reckon with how workers, even with the advances of the 21st century, are often treated like cattle; but we don’t want to change their lives superficially, which is what old time progressives do or want to do. If you do a survey of what workers do outside their jobs, you’ll find a live-for-now outlook. Whereas religion can offer an afterlife, the lower classes want the Now.

@Kris:
“but that does not mean we do not need to be out in the streets helping people in need, educating people, protesting for a better system.”

Right. Please remember though, that aside from W. Europe and the East & West coasts of the US, most people live in backwaters. I notice more n more how when one tries to change anything, a reaction sets in to counteract change. As you know the progressive-reaction cycle is virtually universal; however in a backwater the reaction negates 99% of the effort and outcome of change—sometimes 100 percent. A reason so many have given up; a reason so many sold out. If you cant beat ‘em join ‘em has been the slogan.
Satre wrote ‘I know not whether socialisation can be achieved yet I strive to achieve it for someday.’ Yet before socialisation we require civilisation.. what we know today is still controlled barbarism, mostly a quite animalistic life- or existence. Before we can send the the second stage rocket of socialisation into orbit we must first have the first stage booster of civilisation to blast off. What the ‘Old Left’ has always done is merely give workers shorter hours and slightly (adj. for inflation) better wages, benefits so they can have sports, alcohol, gambling, tobacco, etc. Bread and circuses. More disposable income and spare time for workers to get sloshed and watch footballers clobber each other, plus other un-progressive activities. You’ve come along way, baby- you now get your own cigarettes: Virginia Slims.

 

 





“However, there is nothing more I would like to see than Consensus decision-making actually come to life at the local to global scale.”

I can think of several things I would “like to see more”, but I certainly see the attraction. Having worked in public policy for many years, though, I have seen how slow and tedious consensus-building can be. If we are to speed it up, we will need technology that address hearts and minds: i.e. that makes people willing to change their minds. That is always the sticking point. And once that happens, do we not have a Borg-like collective? Is that what we want? Is there a way to have one without the other? Is there even a clear conceptual difference between the two?

Majority voting allows us to comply with the majority view while maintaining enough autonomy to say, “But I would have preferred otherwise.” It provides valuable information to the electoral process, in a way that “well let’s just pretend we all agree” doesn’t.

When you’ve worked in policy, you do not have to be particularly elitist to despair at the way in which what the public are willing to accept and what kind of policy is likely to respond best to their fundamental aspirations seem to be two completely different things. We say we want one thing, we strive for another, we continually sabotage ourselves, and in any case find happiness elusive. Consensus decision-making will not change that, and I have the impression that people’s commitment to such idea (which is a kind of reaction to coercion and oppression) tends to make things worse in general.





@Peter, Matrix movie like downloading of information into ones mind would reduce the amount one needs to be educated? While we don’t download info into our minds yet, (except with our senses) when do you think we will be able to? And imagine, during all those meetings you went to where people constantly had different views because of ignorance or the like they were able to to hook right into YOUR qualia/feelings, the Internet, and/or a chip with tons of information on it. Would their position change? Would your position change? Would more get done if the brain is shared and enhanced? How long do you think before these scenarios take place? Do you think that mind sharing, information downloading, and enhancement should be made legally available to every single person who wants regardless of their income?





@Kris
These are good questions. Indeed, the purpose of education will change dramatically once information can be downloaded directly into our minds. Already just having google, Wikipedia and the rest of the Internet is massively changing the need for, purpose of and practice of education.

When do I think we will be able to do this? Your guess is probably better than mine. What I do know is that the prospects scares me. Can I, can you, can anyone, possibly imagine what it would be like to be in a meeting where people could hook straight into each other’s qualia/feelings? Would we even still have an autonomous sense of identity at all? This is precisely the kind of thing I mean when I speak of a Borg-like collective. Would more get done? Yes, probably (then again, look at how the Internet has vastly increased our ability to waste time and stress ourselves out with unproductive “work”). But would “we” be the ones doing it? Or would it be this futuristic collective, of which my brain was just a participating component, without any individual autonomy?

Back when I was going to meetings “where people constantly had different views because of ignorance and the like” I found this kind of thing quite exciting. Then again, they were VERY boring meetings…





“Do you think that mind sharing, information downloading, and enhancement should be made legally available to every single person who wants regardless of their income?”

Let me rephrase the question thus: do I think making mind sharing etc legally available to everyone is remotely realistic, and if so would it address the concerns I raised above?

Here’s how I think it’s LIKELY to play out. These applications will be developed by defence research orgs like DARPA, and eventually commercialised. Companies whose employees do limited mind-sharing (there will be huge teething problems dealing with the psychological and interpersonal issues that will arise, but doubtless they will be solved through a process of trial and disastrous error) will have a huge competitive advantage over those that don’t, so the technology will proliferate. Then it will metastasise into the leisure field. Some couple will find it romantic. People in clubs will find it “better than sex” or any empathy drug. The feeling of connection and togetherness will be utterly compelling.

It will not be legally available to everyone regardless of income, but there will be a commodification process, just like with mobile phones, and it will eventually become commonplace, even for those with low income.

Actually, when I write about it like this, the prospect doesn’t scare me quite so much. I’m not the same person I was five minutes ago anyway - as these two comments demonstrate smile - so why should I care whether I eventually blend into some kind of Borg-like collective? It’s got to be better than dying anyway.

Perhaps what scares me though is the sense of inevitability. Will it be possible to opt out? Would you be one do the autonomy die-hards, or would prefer to be a component of the Borg? Perhaps it boils down to whether you like going to football matches.





@Peter - hehe, at least we made those kinds of meetings boring - you know, instead of war or something. But seriously, if it goes form DARPA, then to corporations, then to the people who can afford, then to lower income people, then to “developing countries”.....  I just think that is unacceptable. And yes, I think being an autonomous agent will change - the people who resist it might opt for a on/off switch, or the like.

Back to brain enhancing technologies not being available to everyone - to me that is 100% unacceptable, therefore, in the human stage of the game we should continue to nudge or dismantle that system… I really do not think I will ever lose my idealism, there is no reason to settle for less.

That is why to this day I do not buy new clothes made in sweatshops, nor shoes. I support “dumpster diving” whenever possible in our consumer driven society. I also try to donate and protest whenever possible, but this is not enough to dismantle the wage slavery, race to the bottom system.





“but this is not enough to dismantle the wage slavery, race to the bottom system.”

I certainly agree with that. Exercising consumer choice, making donations, protesting in various ways, all that helps to keep your idealism alive (there is nothing like taking action to keep a dream alive, even if the action is largely symbolic), but currently I don’t see much sign of that kind of thing dismantling the current system.

And to be honest, I’m not sure I’d want it to. it really depends what would be likely to replace it. And whether I would be able to thrive in that post-capitalist world.

In any case, I don’t want my life to be a choice between acute suffering and the slow death of boring meetings. But what you call “unacceptable” is already a benign scenario compared to many possible alternatives.

It’s not that I don’t care about the suffering of the masses. But then again, it’s not exactly what I think about when I wake up in the morning. We all have our concerns, our anxieties - the rich and the poor alike. Whatever we have, enhanced homo sapiens will always want more. Now of course we can define “more” to mean “more justice”, “more fairness”, “more well-being for the many, and not just the few”, and to some extent we can even allow those ideas to become deep-seated desires (especially when we act on them). Perhaps it’s just that I don’t share your disgust at the injustice of the world. Perhaps I want to have some fun in my life, and what you advocate seems too much like hard work, with little reward. Or perhaps I fear the consequences it could have for my own lifestyle and relationships.

I’m also somewhat sceptical as to whether that kind of thing really makes the world a happier place, and I don’t think that’s JUST excuse-making.





The ideal for promoting direct democracy through continual online referendum and consensus permits consideration for all political viewpoints and positions? There are many, like myself, who value a hybrid of solutions from opposing political camps and parties. The ability to pick and choose the most favourable options from each camp will naturally help guide political opponents towards consensus and agreement also?

Literally every dilemma a nation faces can be put to the vote and referendum, and as suggested before, this eases the burden of responsibility, (and powers), for political representatives? Although they may now have to work harder to convince us they have the best solution and option?

Cyprus is a prime example where consensus gained from the people could have been managed better and by way of informing citizens to make the correct choices, and there was certainly enough time elapsed for the govt to do this?





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