Thursday, 6 July 2017
The Moral Compass of Higher Intelligence: Preface
A wave of divisiveness engulfs this world. Extreme right wing populism is gaining momentum, because many people believe the lies of the demagogues. People believe that their kind should come first and that others should be excluded. They build walls, like between Israel and Palestine and are planning to build one between the USA and Mexico.
Excluding others not only happens on the political plane. Economic exclusion is becoming a more and more frequent phenomenon. People losing their jobs, being evicted from their houses whilst a small group of extreme rich billionaires, the top 0,1% owns as much as the bottom 90%. This is not a scenario of a third world country where such a partitioning is common, this is the reality of the USA!
Strangely enough, the poor and dispossessed hardly organise in cooperatives, guilds and unions. No, there is a general trend that they admire the usurpers. “Exclusivity” is something people crave for. And the poor and dispossessed do not adopt a different more inclusive lifestyle, no they too try to pick every little grain that is still left joining the general tendency to egoism: I first, my kind first.
This tendency towards exclusion and divisiveness are expressions of different types of discrimination. We discriminate with regard to gender (sexism), race (racism), economic status (classism) and religious beliefs (this has no official name, but I’d like to call it “cretism” from the Latin word “credo”).
Moreover as a consequence of the hoarding and overconsumption linked to the reign of egoism, we deplete all mother Earth’s natural resources and we pollute this planet with our vehicles, factories and overconsumption so that many of the huge agglomerations have turned into literal shitholes. The emissions resulting from our massive burning of fossil fuels have resulted in a climate change beyond compare as regards the speed with which the climate is changing. This brings the risk of a runaway scenario in which the air becomes so saturated with carbon dioxide that the resulting greenhouse effect will warm up temperatures which may even make life impossible on earth. Earth could become a second Venus, where temperatures are as high as 462°C!
We are like bacterial colony in a petri dish. We thrived, we boomed with an explosion of population and now we start to really deplete the last resources. What biology tells us is that such a colony will soon herald its own demise. The crisis of survival in the last stages is called a Malthusian crisis after the 19th century biologist Thomas Malthus.
Is this what history has taught us as a viable and sustainable way to survive? Is this an intelligent strategy of the evolutionary search engine?
In my previous series, “Is intelligence an Algorithm?” I have already argued that natural intelligence seeks to cooperate, that the so-called Nash equilibrium results in a win-win situation wherein the overall output is higher than when the contenders would have continued to compete.
Today I read an article by Krnel about morality. Whereas I agree with his intent, I have a slightly different philosophical stance on this topic which I will try to explain in this series (in the last paragraphs of this article you’ll find a hint as to why my stance is different).
In this series I will argue that if we seek the best solutions to our global problems by applying the natural algorithm of intelligence we actually acquire what is a kind of natural morality intrinsic to complex systems that manage to survive.
I will not make many friends with the series, because I am going to challenge your very belief systems. I am going to turn upside down your comfort zone. I am going to tell you an inconvenient truth. I will question what truth is, whether objective truth exists at all. I will question what morality actually is. I will question your religions and only distil therefrom what is universal and in line with Nature’s natural intelligence algorithm. But I will denounce all the nonsense in religions that make man suffer. I will denounce capitalism, communism and anarchism. And I will denounce our corrupted ways of living, which are rapidly sending us towards a point of no return: The extinction of our species.
Is then everything lost?
No, Nature has its intelligent ways to survive even the advent of a destructive variant of a species. When bacteria or eukaryotic unicellular organisms reach the Malthusian crisis, they do something very interesting: They sporulate. The entirety of their intelligent knowledge is so to speak stored in a spore in which their genome is safely packaged in a way that can withstand extreme environmental changes. Once the metaphorical environmental “storm” is over and conditions are favourable again, the spores break open and the organism can come to life again.
We are already sporulating. The whole creation of the internet in which all our knowledge is packed, and the not-so-far-in-the-future awakening of the internet as a quasiconscious entity, lays the foundation for the creation of life, of our successors in a distant future. They might even bring back to life human beings as in the film “Artificial Intelligence” by Steven Spielberg.
This series will explore two avenues:
The first one will describe what we can still attempt to do to save our Earth and learn how to live in a responsible manner. How we can transform the manure of our corrupted ways into a blooming awakening into a sustainable respectful all-inclusive society. The remedy? Turning inwards to our innate intelligence and spirituality.
The second avenue will explore the ways how we can effectively sporulate our knowledge into an artificial substrate, which may allow one day to raise us from death again, but now with the knowledge what we should learn to avoid.
My plea will be moralising. Not because I believe in good and evil, not because I believe in right or wrong, or any other “absolutes”, but because I am pragmatically convinced that intelligence is more successful than ignorance. That usefulness yields better results than futility. Yes, that morality is an innate aspect of intelligence. What I understand under “morality” will be the topic of a next essay.
This is my new project and my new topic for my next book.