Author Topic: A Better Human  (Read 8452 times)


operation_jetpack

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Re: A Better Human
« Reply #21 on: June 06, 2008, 01:57:19 PM »
hm maybe we both are

what i got was that you thought eugene was disagreeing with you. when really what he was trying to say is that any genes relating to attractiveness may not do much soon due to plastic surgery and things like that.

eugene wasn't saying plastic surgery would produce a pretty kid.

Offline Matt Hudson

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Re: A Better Human
« Reply #22 on: June 06, 2008, 02:09:57 PM »
no, no, I thought he was simply saying genes, or rather evolution and natural selection no longer play a role in todays world.

Offline Andy Keller

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Re: A Better Human
« Reply #23 on: June 06, 2008, 02:26:21 PM »
I'm lost too.

All I caught was the shout-out to bunnies:

to multiply like bunnies

 ;)  ;D
"Do it, do it well, do it well and fast."

operation_jetpack

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Re: A Better Human
« Reply #24 on: June 06, 2008, 03:34:47 PM »
no, no, I thought he was simply saying genes, or rather evolution and natural selection no longer play a role in todays world.

nah nah, quite the opposite! plastic surgery is a part of the enviroment - so it's a way for uglies and insecure people (or people actually DO need it, like burn victims) to reproduce!

Offline David Wuffey Haimes

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Re: A Better Human
« Reply #25 on: June 06, 2008, 03:57:02 PM »
If I'm understanding this correctly, you're all saying the same thing different ways...
essentially that things like plastic surgery etc. (those things Eugene listed), there is no way to predict the way natural selection will affect our upcoming generations.
So things like plastic surgery are only going to disturb natural selection as they eliminate the idea of a "better" gene that is more suitable to the environment (in this case physical appearance). Plastic surgery causes the difference in physical appearance (ugly/attractive) to be meaningless, rendering natural selection upon this gene impossible to predict.
In the end I think I agree with Eugene... although it would be extremely interesting to see how humans develop genetically as parkour develops in society...
-David

operation_jetpack

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Re: A Better Human
« Reply #26 on: June 06, 2008, 03:59:01 PM »
unless there is a zombie apocalypse, parkour isnt going to be altering human evolution

or unless teh hotz women think parkour is way sexy!

Offline SkyNative

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Re: A Better Human
« Reply #27 on: June 06, 2008, 04:10:23 PM »
Back on topic...
I dont think good old fashioned evolution via natural selection is going to have any significant influence on the future of humanity. What will overpower it is technological evolution; we will be the designers of our own evolution through things like genetic modification, nanotechnology, and AI.
http://books.google.com/books?id=88U6hdUi6D0C&dq=singularity+is+near&pg=PP1&ots=v_dXnMvrNI&sig=R4JSUpH5vDyqDqVsso5iMGlMwH0&hl=en&prev=http://www.google.com/search%3Fq%3Dsingularity%2Bis%2Bnear%26ie%3Dutf-8%26oe%3Dutf-8%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26client%3Dfirefox-a&sa=X&oi=print&ct=title&cad=one-book-with-thumbnail

operation_jetpack

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Re: A Better Human
« Reply #28 on: June 06, 2008, 04:14:26 PM »
... I already said a good deal of that. unless that's what you meant by getting back on topic  :P

Offline GANinja443556

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Re: A Better Human
« Reply #29 on: June 06, 2008, 07:05:17 PM »
Eloi, and Morlocks are the two seperate species fromt he movie "Time Machine" Rent it at blockbuster.
I would actually recommend reading the book, but then that may just be me.

Offline Milquetoast

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Re: A Better Human
« Reply #30 on: June 06, 2008, 08:10:19 PM »
no, no, I thought he was simply saying genes, or rather evolution and natural selection no longer play a role in todays world.

I guess what I am really saying is that Evolution-via-Genetics is playing a quickly diminishing role in Natural Selection.  However, I believe that Natural Selection itself is still always in full-force.  It's just that with the rapid improvement of technology (as SkyNative mentioned) the Differentiator -- the factor that Natural Selection selects against -- is no longer all or mostly Genetics.  The "new"* main Differentiator has become "who has access to the new technology" and honest-to-goodness genetics is now taking a back seat.  In other words, the "new"* main Differentiator has become Social Class.

* - Social Class isn't really a "new" Natural Selection criterion -- it's been around for at least ten thousand years.  However, it is still much newer than Genes.

Offline Tyler Morita

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Re: A Better Human
« Reply #31 on: June 06, 2008, 08:50:58 PM »
I've felt this way for a long time, and perhaps I'm just crazy, but I think the process of evolution is hardly effecting humanity anymore.  Adaptation and selection for mutation requires environmental stressors....persistent environmental stressors.  Because of the level of mind, and the level of technology that we've attained, we can now shape our environment to suit our needs.  There are therefore no more persistent environmental stressors to enact genetic change, and so I agree with the general idea of the above posts...Genetics and natural selection is playing a diminishing role in evolution.

operation_jetpack

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Re: A Better Human
« Reply #32 on: June 07, 2008, 09:08:53 AM »
Right, it certainly is true. Naturual selection will always be at work though, it just selects most sets of genes to reproduce now! This just leads to a slowing in our evolution, that's all! Although I am a little curious about what you guys have to say about what SkyNative and I brought up - singularity (and not the Big Bang or black hole singularity)

Offline Milquetoast

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Re: A Better Human
« Reply #33 on: June 07, 2008, 02:55:23 PM »
Right, it certainly is true. Naturual selection will always be at work though, it just selects most sets of genes to reproduce now! This just leads to a slowing in our evolution, that's all! Although I am a little curious about what you guys have to say about what SkyNative and I brought up - singularity (and not the Big Bang or black hole singularity)

Ray Kurzweil sounds familiar, but I haven't read any of his books.  After reading the Cliffs Notes version of this book, however:

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

... here's what I think about it:

Of the 4 Postulates that need to be true in order for Kurzweil's conclusion to be true, the only one I know enough to talk about (and have a problem with) is the Law of Accelerating Returns.  To say that because technology has been improving at an exponential pace in the past 50 years it will continue to do so ad infinitum is optimistic, to say the least.  As any financial adviser (and many an infomercial) will tell you, past performance does not imply future success.

I agree with what Kurzweil said about Paradigms and Growth Phases in Ch2.  However, the problem with Paradigm Shifts is that if the next paradigm is not ready soon enough, there could be a long period of stagnation between paradigms.  The CMOS Paradigm is starting to run out of steam (currently in the Levelling Off Phase), so the question is when the next paradigm can be developed to take over.  If it takes 20 years to develop the next big thing, then his plan is already 20 years off.

I think the Singularity he postulates (where machines become smarter than humans) is an inevitability, but his timeline might be a little too aggressive and his description of what will happen when it arrives might be too alarmist.  Like Personal Computers, ATMs and the Internet, the advent of a world-changing technology usually does not come with a bang.  Instead, it slowly creeps up on us and it's only when looking back do we wonder how we ever managed to survive without it.  Also, even with super-smart computers, there will still be paradigms that need to live through the Growth Phases, and there will still be periods of stagnation where we need to wait for the new paradigm to get invented.  So, while things will be advancing pretty fast, I doubt that it will become a runaway reaction that asymptotically approaches infinity.

Offline Chris Lyons

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Re: A Better Human
« Reply #34 on: June 10, 2008, 04:40:40 AM »
I'm lost too.

All I caught was the shout-out to bunnies:

to multiply like bunnies

 ;)  ;D

my dad once said (jokingly of course),"Son, we Lyons breed like rabbits" So apparently I have a lot to live up to  ;D
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Offline Kevin Davies

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Re: A Better Human
« Reply #35 on: June 10, 2008, 06:40:04 AM »
I think the Singularity he postulates (where machines become smarter than humans) is an inevitability, but his timeline might be a little too aggressive and his description of what will happen when it arrives might be too alarmist.

I have the opportunity to work with some very "smart" software and I can tell you that this singularity is still VERY far away.  Computers are still very very stupid.  There are very smart people who program computers and computers are able to do calculations very very fast, but even the very best artificial intelligence is still dependent on how smart the people programming it are.  For example I work with some very sophisticated data mining software that that knows how to "read" and understand written text.  It can go and read millions of documents in a day and find trends and relationships in a few hours that would take a human years to do.  But it is still limited by what algorithms it is programmed with and still requires a human to determine is what it comes up with is useful or not.  There are things like Bayesian algorithms and other such things that try to learn as they go, but these things still require human input and often fail spectacularly on things an average adult could easily figure out. 

Offline BearMills

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Re: A Better Human
« Reply #36 on: June 10, 2008, 07:15:51 AM »
I think the Singularity he postulates (where machines become smarter than humans) is an inevitability, but his timeline might be a little too aggressive and his description of what will happen when it arrives might be too alarmist.

I have the opportunity to work with some very "smart" software and I can tell you that this singularity is still VERY far away.  Computers are still very very stupid.  There are very smart people who program computers and computers are able to do calculations very very fast, but even the very best artificial intelligence is still dependent on how smart the people programming it are.  For example I work with some very sophisticated data mining software that that knows how to "read" and understand written text.  It can go and read millions of documents in a day and find trends and relationships in a few hours that would take a human years to do.  But it is still limited by what algorithms it is programmed with and still requires a human to determine is what it comes up with is useful or not.  There are things like Bayesian algorithms and other such things that try to learn as they go, but these things still require human input and often fail spectacularly on things an average adult could easily figure out. 

UGHHH i hate smart talk i cant understand it. lol im only 15
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Offline Andrew Robillard

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Re: A Better Human
« Reply #37 on: June 10, 2008, 09:18:46 AM »
lol. this thread is gettin a little complicated. and im a computer major  ;).

anyways i believe it was the mayans who predicted that the world as we know it will end in December of 2012, i believe December 21st but im not sure, and a new race of sentient beings will take over the planet. What if its the robots. What if someone makes a huge breakthrough in AI, some makes a working self progressing artificial intelligence. the next race of sentient beings could be robots.

omg  :o :o :o

lol. i don't really believe this btw. though i do believe in the possibility of AI being able to run without human interaction is approaching. all it really takes is one major breakthrough in software design, like a new algorithm that no ones thought of yet.
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operation_jetpack

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Re: A Better Human
« Reply #38 on: June 10, 2008, 10:04:06 AM »
lol. this thread is gettin a little complicated. and im a computer major  ;).

anyways i believe it was the mayans who predicted that the world as we know it will end in December of 2012, i believe December 21st but im not sure, and a new race of sentient beings will take over the planet. What if its the robots. What if someone makes a huge breakthrough in AI, some makes a working self progressing artificial intelligence. the next race of sentient beings could be robots.

omg  :o :o :o

blah blah! :)


OMGZ! teh reapers and forerunners and protheans are comin for us guys! we better hide!

Offline Chris Lyons

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Re: A Better Human
« Reply #39 on: June 10, 2008, 06:33:21 PM »
What if someone makes a huge breakthrough in AI, some makes a working self progressing artificial intelligence. the next race of sentient beings could be robots.

lol. i don't really believe this btw. though i do believe in the possibility of AI being able to run without human interaction is approaching. all it really takes is one major breakthrough in software design, like a new algorithm that no ones thought of yet.

I agree, one would think that whoever was smart enough to create a self sufficient AI would also be smart enough to put in a 'failsafe' to prevent a singular electronic entity from switching the roles of man and machine.
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