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May 7Liked by David Mattin

Perhaps it goes without saying that "Earth" and "Machine" are (or at least should be) a false dichotomy. Just as a child who experiences secure attachment is well-suited to explore further and further from their home base, so too are we as humans set up to explore technological transcendence to the extent we remain rooted in our humanity. Likewise, not exploring suffocates our humanity. The dynamic is inherently complementary. Cheers on a great essay, and historical perspective.

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Thanks Josh! And wholeheartedly agree: I think the way of the future, in the end, must be to find a new accommodation between these two eternal parts of ourselves. That part that resolutely wants to remain human and creaturely, and the part that wants to transcend.

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May 10·edited May 10Liked by David Mattin

Excellently visioned. What possible future? Reading into fictional projections/predictions, I'm fascinated by the relevant writing of Octavia Butler in 'Parable of The Sower', The 'Culture' series by Iain M. Banks and 'The Borg' aspect in Star Trek. How will we unfold into the changes coming with the singularity? I think initially humans will want to find ways to live longer. That has been our driving force since day 1. Everything we do is to enable us to be in our bodies for longer, obviously being 'afraid' of dying and also prolonging being part of the life experience. The 70-90 years on average in the '1st world countries' is just not long enough to grow 'wise' what with all the time we waste with inefficient education methods and the pursuit of financial wealth above all else. When you live longer, you want a safer world in order to not be senselessly/accidentally killed since now you have 'time' to rather 'find yourself' as opposed to just survive, work, retire, die. We are really more than just an Ego consciousness btw. Once you can actually sit with yourself and stare into the abyss and get past the terrifying aspect of it, you discover that there is more to you than the Ego construct as captured and celebrated by the material/consumerist/celebrity/status superficial culture that has hijacked our existence of late through the maladaptive reward system that promotes individual excess and dominance as the primary success marker. Why do we end up in a dystopian environment when there is a major calamity? The main character of 'Parable of The Sower' Lauren Olamina I think is on the right track as a metaphor for understanding that 'what got us here, will not get us there'. Only once we can 'heal' our collective psychology to the point where we understand that the protection and facilitation of life itself is what allows for purpose and meaning to unfold. We put God in books and decided how we preferred God to be, relevant to our dominant cultures and their requirements, a process that unfolded over millennia, unconsciously and then consciously. We fool ourselves into thinking God is this one-dimensional. We have no idea as to the concept of omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. God is indeed CHANGE. But, CHANGE that revolves around life and how it is so uniquely unpredictable. That's why I imagine a future more of a combination of 'The Culture' Iain M. Banks and 'Commonwealth Saga' Peter F. Hamilton, rather than 'The Borg'. AI, Synthetics, Robots, in themselves are extensions of human drives that satisfy our quest for externalising and extending our innate exploratory and longevity needs. Isolated and in of themselves, they lose drive, 'The Borg, is ultimately boring and unimaginative, it will stagnate and become inert. Collaboratively with life and the human aspect, always questing by nature, together these elements can and will lead us to our true destiny of exploring all of creation, the stars and beyond. The use of, and justification of, violence as a solution to anything is and should be anathema to rational beings. We have to deal with 'senseless' violence from nature and uncertainty anyway, as it is part of the structure of growth and becoming. We need not add to that inbuilt 'violence' through stupidity, despotic agenda and rampantly enabled ego maniacs. The future is here, just not yet evenly distributed, but we're getting there (Thanks: William Gibson). If the bastards don't blow us up before we can get there, that is ;) We need the construct (civilization/the machine) to be a launch system, not a crutch. We are the surfer, not the surfboard. Life is the wave, and the ocean is the cosmos. Working with and enabling nature and life, is what allows us this experience, as it is. Parallelism rather than dominance. Less left brain, more right brain! ;)

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Thanks for reading Erlank. 'Life is the wave, and the ocean is the cosmos': this feels true to me.

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May 9Liked by David Mattin

This is an amazing piece in many ways. The perspective that we are already living in the Singularity, for me, makes more sense than simply waiting for a specific event (like timing the Bitcoin halving). I like the perspective that we should shift our awareness to the impacts gradually happening all around us. The 'split' might also be as simple as those who are totally immersed in the amazing capabilities of Social Media- and the tech world that controls it. Fantastic article!

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Thanks for reading! More on this theme coming soon.

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I think this essay brings a real logic to the futurist and trans humanism. Things happen as a process, They are built by human hands, And if this is the fourth industrial age, More and more will be built by tools that we call artificial intelligence. The critical thing I read was that it’s a process and that has been true throughout hundreds of thousands of years. I also believe that longevity will be a focus, and I also believe this essay will be the hot topic for many presidential elections to come. Job well done

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Reading this brings to mind William Paley’s ‘watchmaker analogy.’ You seem to be making a similar argument from design. Paley argued that just as the function and complexity of a watch implies a watch-maker, the function and complexity of the universe implies the existence of a universe-maker. His watchmaker was divine; your’s reads as an intelligently guided process, with a (hoped for) terminus in the birth of a hybrid (human/machine) — a new (divine) watchmaker.

AI forecasting reminds me of Galbraith’s quote: “The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.” According to the AI ‘fatecasters,’ we’re either one “whoops” away from oblivion or a few station stops from Nirvana. Nietzsche said “Man is a rope, tied between beast and Übermensch—a rope over an abyss." Here we are, straddling the AGI abyss, with the promised “superior being” and its new values tugging at one end, and enslavement or worse at the other. But sure, trust the process and the AI priesthood. What. Could. Go. Wrong.

Which brings me to my last comment: I’m always perplexed when friction (in the Clausewitzian sense of the term) seems to be nulled out. You: “Even once technologies of machine-human intelligence fusion are safe and effective…” 😳 Paul Virilio: "When you invent the ship, you also invent the shipwreck; when you invent the plane you also invent the plane crash; and when you invent electricity, you invent electrocution...Every technology carries its own negativity, which is invented at the same time as technical progress."

The singularity passage — long form or short — won’t cure friction. Alignment won’t cure friction. Super-intelligent entities (you cite corporations and States) act egregiously all the damn time (Gemini creates novel Founding Fathers, power grids get fed a diet of Iskanders). Nature exercises indifferent influence all the damn time, too (squirrels gnaw through your wiring insulation, the tsunami visits your reactors).

Until now, human or nature-induced friction was noisy, messy, but manageable. But taking the long or short stroll through the ‘black hole’ hand-in-hand with our AGI bestie is a winner-take-all roll of the friction dice. Either we reach the Empyrean together, or it ends in divorce, and permanent second place. For us.

You quote Vernor Vinge describing passage through a singularity knothole where “the world will pass far beyond our understanding.” Was it ever in our grasp? I don’t think it was, or will be. Back to our watchmaker, then: John von Neumann said “There probably is a God. Many things are easier to explain if there is than if there isn’t.”

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