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The 2 Most Important Skills For the Rest Of Your Life | Yuval Noah Harari on Impact Theory
People often limit their creativity by continually adding new features to a design rather than removing existing ones.
When asked to fix something, we don’t even think of removing partsAcross many experiments, participants tried to fix problems by adding stuff.As a society, we seem to have mixed feelings about whether it's better to add or subtract things, advising both that "less is more" and "bigger is better." But these contradictory views play out across multibillion-dollar industries, with people salivating over the latest features of their hardware and software before bemoaning that the added complexities make the product difficult to use.A team of researchers from the University of Virginia decided to look at the behavior underlying this tension, finding in a new paper that most people defaulted to assuming that the best way of handling a problem is to add new features. While it was easy to overcome this tendency with some simple nudges, the researchers suggest that this thought process may underlie some of the growing complexity of the modern world.
Summary: Study explains the human tendency to look at a situation, or object, that needs improvement in different contexts, and instead, generally believe adding an element is a better solution than removing one.
Without a goal, we can't say whether or not something is good or bad. Without consciousness there can't be any goal.
The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins’ bestselling 1986 book that skewers the notion of intelligent design while celebrating the rational science of evolution, got its star turn today in Jeff Bezos’ final shareholder letter as CEO of Amazon.Specifically, Bezos quoted this passage on what the natural fight to stay alive means from a purely biological standpoint:“Staving off death is a thing that you have to work at. Left to itself – and that is what it is when it dies – the body tends to revert to a state of equilibrium with its environment. If you measure some quantity such as the temperature, the acidity, the water content or the electrical potential in a living body, you will typically find that it is markedly different from the corresponding measure in the surroundings. Our bodies, for instance, are usually hotter than our surroundings, and in cold climates they have to work hard to maintain the differential. When we die the work stops, the temperature differential starts to disappear, and we end up the same temperature as our surroundings.”Bezos point? That the struggle to stay alive is constant as our environment dispassionately seeks to return all of us to room temperature.
And that, from a business standpoint, doesn’t align with his Day One philosophy. He continued:“While the passage is not intended as a metaphor, it’s nevertheless a fantastic one, and very relevant to Amazon. I would argue that it’s relevant to all companies and all institutions and to each of our individual lives too. In what ways does the world pull at you in an attempt to make you normal? How much work does it take to maintain your distinctiveness? To keep alive the thing or things that make you special?”Bezos ends his letter with this message: “The world will always try to make Amazon more typical – to bring us into equilibrium with our environment. It will take continuous effort, but we can and must be better than that.”
Bezos point? That the struggle to stay alive is constant as our environment dispassionately seeks to return all of us to room temperature.
CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) is a revolutionary technology that gives scientists the ability to alter DNA. On the one hand, this tool could mean the elimination of certain diseases. On the other, there are concerns (both ethical and practical) about its misuse and the yet-unknown consequences of such experimentation."The technique could be misused in horrible ways," says counter-terrorism expert Richard A. Clarke. Clarke lists biological weapons as one of the potential threats, "Threats for which we don't have any known antidote." CRISPR co-inventor, biochemist Jennifer Doudna, echos the concern, recounting a nightmare involving the technology, eugenics, and a meeting with Adolf Hitler.Should humanity even have access to this type of tool? Do the positives outweigh the potential dangers? How could something like this ever be regulated, and should it be? These questions and more are considered by Doudna, Clarke, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, psychologist Steven Pinker, and physician Siddhartha Mukherjee.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT:0:41 Jennifer Doudna defines CRISPR3:47 CRISPR’s risks4:52 Artificial selection vs. artificial mutation6:25 Why Steven Pinker believes humanity will play it safe 9:20 Lessons from history10:58 How CRISPR can help11:22 Jennifer Doudna’s chimeric-Hitler dream- Our ability to manipulate genes can be very powerful. It has been very powerful.- This is going to revolutionize human life.- Would the consequences be bad? And they might be.- Every time you monkey with the genome you are taking a chance that something will go wrong.- The technique could be misused in horrible ways.- When I started this research project, I've kind of had this initial feeling of what have I done.
Aging has plagued biological organisms since life first began on planet Earth and it’s an accepted and universally understood part of life. Sure, things like climate change pose significant threats to society, but aging will almost certainly still exist even if we ever manage to stop damaging our environment.That said, scientists aren’t the kind of people who just live with the cards life has dealt them, and are especially likely to use their understanding of the world to solve difficult and seemingly impossible problems — like aging.Dr. Aubrey de Grey is one such person. Through the co-founding of the SENS Research Foundation and his role as chief science officer, de Grey has set out to end biological aging. The foundation’s “About” page makes it clear that de Grey believes “a world free of age-related disease is possible.”Speaking at a Virtual Futures event in London on Wednesday, Inverse confirmed that de Grey truly believes in this goal, even going so far as to boldly state that the first person that will live to be 1,000 years-old has already been born. He also thinks science will have found a way to perfect anti-aging treatments within the next 20 years.
If or when humanity determines how to reject aging, de Grey foresees the development of rejuvenation clinics that will address seven issues related to aging: tissue atrophy, cancerous cells, mitochondrial mutations, death-resistant cells, extracellular matrix stiffening, extracellular aggregates, and intracellular aggregates.
Whatever the future conscious beings might be, they are extremely unlikely to appear suddenly out of nowhere in a single shot. It's much more probable that they will emerge as products of evolutionary process through natural selection in many generations. The process will be continued by artificial selection. The variations of their characteristics will shift from mainly provided by random mutation to a more directed intentional changes.
The article below says that life is abundant in the universe. We haven't made contact with extraterrestrial lives because of transportation and accommodation problems. If someday we eventually make first contact with them, it would be preferable to be on the side which has more advanced technology and philosophy.https://www.sci-nature.vip/2020/10/astronomers-admit-we-were-wrong100.html?m=1&s=03Astronomers Admit: We Were Wrong—100 Billion Habitable Earth-Like Planets In Our Galaxy AloneQuoteEstimates by astronomers indicate that there could be more than 100 BILLION Earth-like worlds in the Milky Way that could be home to life. Think that’s a big number? According to astronomers, there are roughly 500 billion galaxies in the known universe, which means there are around 50,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (5×1022) habitable planets. That’s of course if there’s just ONE universe.
Estimates by astronomers indicate that there could be more than 100 BILLION Earth-like worlds in the Milky Way that could be home to life. Think that’s a big number? According to astronomers, there are roughly 500 billion galaxies in the known universe, which means there are around 50,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (5×1022) habitable planets. That’s of course if there’s just ONE universe.
"...and we should do it now" (Elon Musk) Why?
Imagine you undergo a procedure in which every neuron in your brain is gradually replaced by functionally-equivalent electronic components. Let’s say the replacement occurs a single neuron at a time, and that behaviorally, nothing about you changes. From the outside, you are still “you,” even to your closest friends and loved ones. What would happen to your consciousness? Would it incrementally disappear, one neuron at a time? Would it suddenly blink out of existence after the replacement of some consciousness-critical particle in your posterior cortex? Or would you simply remain you, fully aware of your lived experience and sentience (and either pleased or horrified that your mind could theoretically be preserved forever)? This famous consciousness thought experiment, proposed by the philosopher David Chalmers in his 1995 paper Absent Qualia, Fading Qualia, Dancing Qualia, raises just about every salient question there is in the debate surrounding the possibility of consciousness in artificial intelligence.
Futurist Ray Kurzweil, the computer scientist behind music-synthesizer and text-to-speech technologies, is a believer in the fast approach of the singularity as well. Kurzweil is so confident in the speed of this development that he’s betting hard. Literally, he’s wagering Kapor $10,000 that a machine intelligence will be able to pass the Turing test, a challenge that determines whether a computer can trick a human judge into thinking it itself is human, by 2029.Shortly after that, as he says in a recent talk with Society for Science, humanity will merge with the technology it has created, uploading our minds to the cloud. As admirable as that optimism is, this seems unlikely, given our newly-forming understanding of the brain and its relationship to consciousness.
There will be some people or other conscious lifeforms who act as if there is no such thing as a universal terminal goal. Hence they effectively replace it with some arbitrarily chosen non-universal terminal goals.