A bit late this time, but that time thing, y’know …
You know what was brilliant about this conversation? It was all over the place.
You know what was the problem with this conversation? It was all over the place.
Better all over the place than nowhere at all, that’s what I say.
I admire Caroline’s temerity and tenacity in trying to provoke us into wakefulness, and I’m downright impressed by the quantity and quality of those who were willing to come forth and put their two-cents’ worth into making this all be more than just a whole lot of words. There’s a lot going on and a lot being addressed, but the plea this time was for some indication of what’s being done, and, even more importantly, what can be done. That’s a tall order.
The USA, though not alone, probably has more systemic problems with what it calls “democracy” than many others. The Founding Fathers may have wanted something else, but they certainly didn’t deliver on that and how that “system” is being managed these days – with its absolute rational duality and money=free-speech infection – doesn’t inspire any latent optimism in me that anything is going to get better soon. Gebser noted it, @johnnydavis never tires of reminding us, and I certainly agree, most modern-day “systems”, if not broken, are simply out of step with most of our needs. It’s time to go into in-spite-of-mode: just like most of learned more in spite of school, rather than because of it, so too, we need to manage our economic lives in spite of big corporations and we’ll have to manage our political lives in spite of government as well.
In the end, it all comes down to us … we humans, individually, and collectively, as far as is in our power. We should recall that any given person can probably only deal effectively with about 150 others. We’ve got limits, and so any individual efforts we make will rarely go beyond that. I’m not convinced that our individual reach extends any further than that even if we’re online. Any time we spend online is not with others in our local environment, so, in the end, we should probably just keep that in the back of our minds and use it to our advantage: every personal relationship needs to be intensified at every opportunity. Of course, it is fortunate that our circles of 150 overlap, so we end up having at least indirect effects on others, and vice versa, but the pithily repeated think-global-act-local starts looking wise in this light.
Personally, I don’t put an ounce of hope into AI. Our problem is not information, nor is it knowledge, it’s empathy more than than anything else. John nailed this one: it’s pseudo- not artificial intelligence, and we haven’t the slightest idea what we’re doing to ourselves brashly rushing down that path. The Kelleys and Kurzweils have apparently haven’t read any history: we’ve never gone to the upside on technology, so why would we think we would this time. If we ever had, we wouldn’t be facing a nuclear Armageddon, the planet wouldn’t be warming so quickly, there wouldn’t be continents of garbage swimming in the oceans, we’d have clean air and more hope for a future for our grandchildren. What is more, if you’re not programming your own “AI”, you can forget it. You’ll get what others will allow you to pay for (think only of the FCC ruling expected tomorrow on “net neutrality”), no more no less (unless, of course, there is a radical turnaround in our economic thinking, but to get there, we’ll probably have a meltdown or other catastrophe first).
No, if things are going to change for the better, we have to recognize that it’s up to us, so we’ve got to keep at it.