American Parkour Forum

Parkour and Freerunning => Parkour And Freerunning => Topic started by: Matt Hudson on June 04, 2008, 07:32:34 PM

Title: A Better Human
Post by: Matt Hudson on June 04, 2008, 07:32:34 PM
DISCLAIMER:
All information herein is made up of fact, opinion, and speculation. Do not attempt to bash the author with mindless rabble, and tried insults. He does not care.
All contributions are extremely welcome however.

A Better Human

Introduction

Many often fantasize about what the human body is capable of, and fewer more try to achieve this. Be it Olympic athletes, or your average Joe, these few strive for a perfection they believe that is attainable. Through rigorous physical training, they push their bodies to the limits. They goals come from limits the set from previous perfectionist. So now lets delve into a world few know about, and only gasp at the results derived from said world. However, to get an understanding of what we're about to go through, we must start at the beginning.

Evolution

The evolution of humans is a long line, of slow changes. From bone structure, to intellectual advances, and more.
To start with we have the many human species of the past, all of whom were well adapted to their situations, and the circumstances of their particular time.
We have:

Australopithicus Ramidus

Australopithicus Afarensis

Australopthicus Africanus

Australopithicus Robustus

Homo Habilis

Homo Erectus

Homo Sapiens

Homo Sapiens Neandertalensis

Homo Sapiens Sapiens

To save time I will skip the explanation for each, you may do your own research, but I do not wish to.

As for the short on evolution, here is an exerpt:

In biology, evolution is the process of change in the inherited traits of a population of organisms from one generation to the next. The genes that are passed on to an organism's offspring produce the inherited traits that are the basis of evolution. Mutations in genes can produce new or altered traits in individuals, resulting in the appearance of heritable differences between organisms, but new traits also come from the transfer of genes between populations, as in migration, or between species, in horizontal gene transfer. In species that reproduce sexually, new combinations of genes are produced by genetic recombination, which can increase the variation in traits between organisms. Evolution occurs when these heritable differences become more common or rare in a population.

Now onto issues of my own mind, much of this will hardly be fact, but it does touch on a few issues I believe to be relevant to my overall cause.

The people of the past, or cavemen if you wish. Were well-adapted to their environment like I said previously, they weren't the best humans I believe, because their intelligence was lacking, but they were in an intense physical fitness due to their hunter-gatherer lifestyle. This is what humans we're made to do, be a part of the earth, not the center of it. However due to our growing curiosity and our drive for more, we have evolved into a people that is controlled by paper, and illusioned power.
Power, true power doesn't exist, it's all an illusion. There is however control, which is often misconstrued as power, but in fact the two are quite different, with some similarities. Control, is what humans do, power is the way of the wild. The lions have power, the gazelle do not. Alpha is powerful, Beta is submissive, such is the way of the wild, lion vs. gazelle.

Back onto topic though, with evolution it is simply take what is useless and throw it out, keep what isn't. This brings me onto present times. With the growing obesity issue it is clear that it is reeking havoc upon the world. Mother nature has seen that intelligence is the key to survival, and physical movements become less and less important in todays eye. There is plenty time in a day to exercise and get out and be active, yet people use excuses well enough you would have thought they were born with the skill. Motivation decreases for anything except money, and laziness is on the rise. I hear these words everyday, "I worked all day, I don't have to be active!"
Yes but would you like to? Most do, but then again don't, they want results, but they don't want to take the journey towards those results, nor do they want to even take the first step.
With evolution, in my opinion it seems it's seeing this and realizing, ok.. we're coming to a point where I can get rid of strength here, and put intelligence there.
Again in my opinion, evolution is simply the genetic form of adaptability. Think, if the world continues on the road it's headed, will there ever be a need to move again? No! Teleporters, remote controls, ear phones, voice-controlled devices, all created to make you as comfortable as possible(read: to move as little as possible) it's disgusting. The draft if ever reinstated will really be a good thing as far as exercise goes, as far as the down side of the draft, those pieces are apparent.(read: death)

Here is an excerpt Kate Hardings website. Her site in itself may not hold much as far as fact is concerned, but she took this excerpt from an article, of which I cannot find.
Below I will post more from her site, but the immediate below is something she "borrowed".

    In the nearer future, humans will evolve in 1,000 years into giants between 6ft and 7ft tall, he predicts, while life-spans will have extended to 120 years, Dr Curry claims.

    Physical appearance, driven by indicators of health, youth and fertility, will improve, he says, while men will exhibit symmetrical facial features, look athletic, and have squarer jaws, deeper voices and bigger penises.

    Women, on the other hand, will develop lighter, smooth, hairless skin, large clear eyes, pert breasts, glossy hair, and even features, he adds. Racial differences will be ironed out by interbreeding, producing a uniform race of coffee-coloured people.


I believe the above to be true, as evolution is already proving it, however there is the information below to take into consideration.


The descendants of the genetic upper class would be tall, slim, healthy, attractive, intelligent, and creative and a far cry from the “underclass” humans who would have evolved into dim-witted, ugly, squat goblin-like creatures.

Um, how is that different from the way people regard thin, rich people vs. fat, poor people now?

Oh wait, it’s not. Which explains a lot.

Arguing the science here would be just too much for my tiny, female, humanities-trained, goblin-like brain. Maybe the human race will be split into Eloi and Morlocks in 100,000 years — the great thing about being an evolutionary theorist (or a sci fi writer) is, you’ll never find out if you’re wrong. But let’s take a look at some of Oliver Curry’s assumptions about just which characteristics we’ll select for as we get “choosier.”

Okay, wait, first, there’s the assumption that we will get choosier. Note that he specifically says this is with regard to picking sexual partners, not mucking around with genetic engineering. So, everyone who can’t bag a tall, slim, healthy, creative person is just gonna… abstain from sex? ‘Cause… why again? Article doesn’t say.

It does, however, tell us just how we’re all gonna get prettier before we split off into the hottie and goblin sub-species.


Eloi, and Morlocks are the two seperate species fromt he movie "Time Machine" Rent it at blockbuster.

I may not have been clear before, but we do have active people in the world today, and those people will pass down good genes, the "others" will not. Sorry, good is not a good term, "preferable" is more acceptable I think.

More on Evolution later.

Physical

On a lighter note away from obesity, and such.
A better human will obviously be better equipped to handle the hardships thrown at it, a stronger body is a must for this. Yet the ability to remain lean while be incredibly strong is unheard of in this day and age. Imagine being able to lift 600 pounds in one arm, yet not being much bigger than Brad Pitt. Unheard of? Indeed.

Yet as time goes on, this will undoubtedly become reality, it's only a matter of how long will it take?

In the future, I believe physical abilities may break the impossible barrier. Such as lifting 1000lbs in one arm, whilst remaining the size of Brad Pitt. An impossible feat of strength by todays standards, but things change and the humans of the future could even look at this feat as weak.

However, I'm not trying to talk about what has happened, and what may happen. This is simply to explain what will happen.(more later)
 

Mental
As people grow and experiment, and invent. We are constantly given another brick for the wall, raising standards, and knowledge. And as a side-product, becoming more intelligent. Although genetics is helping out in that field, our ingenuity is far surpassing anything genetics, and mother nature could ever possibly hope to compete with. For Christ sakes we can completely change the appearance of someone with our technology today.
Uncontrollable A.I., two separate species of humans, complete destruction of our earth because of our actions. We have all heard the speculations of the coming human-created apocalypse, and some of the rumors may actually be true in the end. But lets take a walk down "Reality Road" and take a look at whats possible for the world.
With our growing intelligence, and ingenuity, would it be possible to completely change the earth into a better place to live? Or is this something that even we cannot control? For instance, we have the chance right now, the opportunity to really fix the Global Warming problem, yet we do nothing, because as I said before, paper and illusioned power are in the way.
In the years to come we WILL realize our mistake, and that we should have done something more about it.
(More Later)

Spiritual


Sorry guys, I just can't finish it right now, I'm going through a stressful time, and I'm going for a walk!

This forum is my only option as far as saving my work, so bear with me, as you will have the opportunity to witness it's creation.
See you all later!

Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: Ozzi on June 04, 2008, 08:06:36 PM
I think I have an idea of where you are going to, and I am liking it.

Ill tune into the same channel at the same time tomorrow :D.
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: Andrew Robillard on June 04, 2008, 08:11:44 PM
the hunters were less hunter than you may think. for the most part they didn't actually "hunt" they followed the animals and fed off the remains when other predators were done etc. when people evolved they created bows and arrows and were able to hunt better but still relied on preying off of animals killed by some other means. but thats a different subject.

looks like a good post. can't wait for the next installment. i always like to push my own limits and enjoy pursuing them.
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: Ozzi on June 04, 2008, 08:24:56 PM
That is true, but they also stalked. They followed a animal until it was too tired to continue then attack with rocks and sticks. Saw that on history channel  ;D
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: Milquetoast on June 04, 2008, 09:03:13 PM
Evolution is an interesting topic that I (and I'm sure many others) have given some thought to in the past.  I think you have a good start there, Paddy, but I need to ask you to clarify something.  What is your definition of "better" and "best"?
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: Mark Toorock on June 05, 2008, 06:44:57 AM
I think this is the start of something very interesting!
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: David Glass on June 05, 2008, 07:25:00 AM
True growth is breaching the gap between the person we are, and the person we want to be

- David Glass
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: BearMills on June 05, 2008, 08:39:24 AM
Thank-you for posting this. This brings up topics in my mind and directing me in a way "are we the next evolution" like could parkour change this. Our bodies have never under gone such movement that we are in Parkour. Could the human body construct new genes, genes that are meant for this lifestyle. Have any of you got any thoughts on this?
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: David Glass on June 05, 2008, 08:50:37 AM
I think in evolution, mutations occur at random, and mother nature discards mutations based on environment adaptability.

i.e, a mutation may be slightly longer legs, which could improve your survivability, meaning you are more likely to reproduce and pass on the genes of "longer legs" (if you will).

One mutation over time is that we became smarter, and learned to adapt our environment to our needs. We learned to make fire, and build shelters to protect us from the cold. Intelligence seemed to make us more prone to survive rather than other mutations that made us adapt better to heat/cold and famine.

The fact that we move in ways we haven't in thousands of years may make us more prone to survive if confronted with incidents, however this is the result of training, and not genetic mutation, so unless we're willing to train our offspring, it's doubtful anything we do will be automatically passed down the gene pool

Now, on the other hand, genetic mutations that make us better suited for survival, say to build strength quicker, will inevitably be passed down, whether we take advantage of them or not. Case in point, Arnold's children, if he has any, may never lift weights, but they are likely more prone to get stronger than the average Joe, and their respective children are likely to carry that tendency.

Now, if some worldwide event causes us to require strength buildup, say a meteor crashes into the earth and as a result our gravitational forces double causing only those who can adapt quickly to survive, then, yes, inevitably, future generations WILL be stronger. I think the theory is called "Natural Selection"

Here's a link

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

Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: Matt Hudson on June 05, 2008, 12:08:14 PM
wow, wasn't expecting any replies.. lol
all will be answered in my article, if you have any questions afterward feel free to ask.
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: David Glass on June 05, 2008, 12:36:03 PM
Was just thinking.... screw genetics... I'm going bionic!
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: Andrew Robillard on June 05, 2008, 01:14:02 PM
Was just thinking.... screw genetics... I'm going bionic!

im going cyborg  ;) eventually. at least i hope to be able to help develop technologies that will help disabled people walk/grab/see/hear etc again.
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: bjkpersonal@aim.com on June 06, 2008, 02:38:16 AM
True growth is breaching the gap between the person we are, and the person we want to be

- David Glass

An essential part of the equation is making sure that the person you want to be is compatible with the person you can be.
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: Milquetoast on June 06, 2008, 03:17:36 AM
Was just thinking.... screw genetics... I'm going bionic!

im going cyborg  ;) eventually. at least i hope to be able to help develop technologies that will help disabled people walk/grab/see/hear etc again.

Well, if you're really interested, you should probably try to get into Dean Kamen's (of the Segway fame) company, DEKA Research since they already have a working artificial arm prototype:

http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/update/dean-kamen-cyborg-arm-part-ii-261933.php

... as for artificial legs, they're quickly catching up to real legs in terms of sprinting ability, and the always-poignant William Saletan has written an excellent piece on the topic:

http://www.slate.com/id/2191801/
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: KC Parsons on June 06, 2008, 04:29:33 AM
Natural Selection doesn't really take precedent in today's world... Since it's based on ability to survive and reproduce, which most any human being can in this world, we have a whole slew of genetic differences and such.

If something were to happen that require a certain trait, say a meteor crashed into the earth and wiped out most technological structure we had, and reverted a lot back to hunter-gatherer, then yes, the more physically fit would survive, and over time, those who possessed more physically advanced traits would be those left.

Iinteresting stuff to think about. Hope you can finish it soon
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: Chris Lyons on June 06, 2008, 05:04:09 AM
no time to read or post on this, but it sounds like were being supervillans... geneticaly engineered humans and whatnot..


keep in mind that i only read the topic subject... :-\
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: Milquetoast on June 06, 2008, 05:27:37 AM
I think you have some good ideas Paddy, but trying to predict any type of human evolution a thousand years into the future (let alone 100,000 years) is simply impossible.  Here are a few counter-points:

1. Physical attractiveness only has an indirect relation to reproductive success.  With changing values about having children, the availability of contraceptives and so many other ways to flaunt social success, being naturally physically attractive really does not have much to do with having more (or more successful) children anymore.

2. Physical attractiveness is a fashion trend that differs between cultures and changes through time.  The current infatuation with anorexic and physically "fit" (more masculine) women is an extremely recent development.  Remember that it was only 50 years ago that Marilyn Monroe (~size 12) was considered to have the perfect female form.  If anything, what the general populace finds attractive is merely a reflection of the stereotypes that predominate the social classes of the time.  Back when starvation was still a major issue, a fuller more voluptuous female form was desired because that implied that the person was of higher social standing and could afford to be fed.  Now that the poor have to stick with cheap fast food and only the rich could afford personal trainers to help tone their bodies, a "fitter" form is preferred.  Another good example is the desired / preferred skin tone.  Caucasians in well-developed nations prefer tans while East Asians in less-developed nations avoid it like the scourge.  Why?  It's not because of some innate desire to be "light coffee colored", but rather a reflection of what a tan implies about your social class.  In well-developed nations, having a tan implies that you are rich enough to afford long vacations on the beach as opposed to being stuck indoors all day working.  In less-developed nations, having a tan implies that you need to work in the field tilling crops as opposed to having a nice, cushy office job.

3. Plastic surgery.  With plastic surgery quickly becoming safer, cheaper and more socially-accepted, looking attractive is having less and less to do with genetics (and thus is beyond the control of traditional evolution and natural selection).  Why worry about being fat if you can afford liposuction?  Why worry about not being muscular if you can afford pec and tricep implants?  Why worry about being ugly if you can afford to redo your entire face?

4. The environment changes, and so do the social classes.  Even if you could identify a trait that is highly desirable now and that trait allows its wielders to multiply like bunnies, there's no guarantee that that trait will still be desirable or successful in the future.  Both the environment and social classes change through time.  If another famine strikes the West, you can bet that Marilyn Monroe will start looking a lot more attractive to that generation.
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: operation_jetpack on June 06, 2008, 09:58:20 AM
Eh I don't know about claiming that humans will evolve to a point in which they don't need to move due to teleporters, remotes, etc. Natural selection doesn't throw out what's useless unless doing that makes the organism more adapted to the enviroment! We still have tonsils and wisdom teeth after all, and as long as people with those (some don't) are able to reproduce, they'll be around for a while.

People who have the ability to move will always be around, especially since reproduction requires quite a bit of movement!

If you want some interesting hypothesis (plural for that??) then try looking beyond biology with artificial intelligence - maybe biology is just one step in the course of evolution. The idea is that the ability to store information is growing rapidly and so is our ability to create programs/software which display the behavior of animals. So one hypothesis is that the artificial intelligence we create becomes smarter than us, and of course be able to copy itself. Obviously a little science-fictiony right now, but it certainly is plausible (at least more plausible than the Terminator or the Matrix).

If you're curious, or it sounds a little crazy, I have some lectures from a professor I had this semester on this!

On a similar note, I also have a lecture on the simulation hypothesis too, if you're interested.
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: Matt Hudson on June 06, 2008, 01:48:19 PM
I don't want to get into this to much, as I am trying to explain as much as possible in my article, however I don't sincerely believe that humans will evolve into what Kate Harding suggested, or rather the person she borrow the "excerpt" from.
I am still researching, and putting my thoughts into order, because the day after I started, I forgot most of what I had in mind, so it's going to be a minute.

Also.
if two people are well simply put "ugly" and get plastic surgery to be "pretty" and they have a kid that kid is still going to be "ugly"
it's all about genetics, not looks. looks can be deceiving.

I'm not going to work on my article today, instead I'm going to write down everything I can remember wanting for this article, revising, and editing, and getting everything together, just incase I forget again in the future. lol
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: operation_jetpack on June 06, 2008, 01:50:30 PM
I don't think you got that guys post. I think he was making a point about what Kate had to say about humans evolving to be more sexually attractive - that you can't predict if it's going to go that way with plastic surgery allowing ugly genes to reproduce. So really, you're agreeing with Eugene because you admit that the ugly genes will stick around despite plastic surgery.
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: Matt Hudson on June 06, 2008, 01:55:12 PM
wow, I'm lost.  ??? :)
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: operation_jetpack 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.
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: Matt Hudson 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.
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: Andy Keller 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
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: operation_jetpack 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!
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: David Wuffey Haimes 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
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: operation_jetpack 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!
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: SkyNative 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 (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)
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: operation_jetpack 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
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: GANinja443556 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.
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: Milquetoast 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.
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: Tyler Morita 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.
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: operation_jetpack 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)
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: Milquetoast 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.
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: Chris Lyons 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
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: Kevin Davies 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. 
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: BearMills 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
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: Andrew Robillard 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.
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: operation_jetpack 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!
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: Chris Lyons 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.
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: BearMills on June 10, 2008, 07:42:00 PM
I LIKE STAYING OLD SCHOOl
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: Milquetoast on June 10, 2008, 10:10:48 PM
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.

Well, I have been in the software engineering field now for about a decade and a half now (if you include the years in college) and I think it's going to take a little more than a single major breakthrough in either design methodology or algorithms.  I mean, we're talking about simulating a human brain here.  Not building a faster searching algorithm or even proving P = NP.  Besides, there's also a problem of loading the data / emulating the human experience in order to even test a system.  For example, Neural Networks are pretty good AI models that show a lot of promise.  However, there are countless learning paradigms associated to train machines because no one's quite sure about the best way to teach machines.

Although, despite my doubts, I have to say that Kurzweil deserves some credit for putting his money where this mouth is:

http://www.longbets.org/1

For those who don't know, the Turing Test is the test (proposed by the Father of Computer Science, Alan Turing) to see if an AI has reached the level of human intelligence.
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: Andrew Robillard on June 11, 2008, 07:13:12 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.

Well, I have been in the software engineering field now for about a decade and a half now (if you include the years in college) and I think it's going to take a little more than a single major breakthrough in either design methodology or algorithms.  I mean, we're talking about simulating a human brain here.  Not building a faster searching algorithm or even proving P = NP.  Besides, there's also a problem of loading the data / emulating the human experience in order to even test a system.  For example, Neural Networks are pretty good AI models that show a lot of promise.  However, there are countless learning paradigms associated to train machines because no one's quite sure about the best way to teach machines.

Although, despite my doubts, I have to say that Kurzweil deserves some credit for putting his money where this mouth is:

http://www.longbets.org/1

For those who don't know, the Turing Test is the test (proposed by the Father of Computer Science, Alan Turing) to see if an AI has reached the level of human intelligence.

thanks for your post. it is very interesting and i will post a more detailed response as soon as i finish reading it.
btw, what kind of software engineering do you do, like what have been your past job requirements, fixxing software for a company, designing new software, working on AI, building new algorithms, making OS, etc?

EDIT: ok. heres my thoughts. personally i side with Kapor. I think it can be done.

"The brain is self-organizing, which means that it is created with relatively little innate knowledge. Most of its complexity comes from its own interaction with a complex world. Thus it will be necessary to provide an artificial intelligence with an education just as we do with a natural intelligence."

because of this i think that if someone creates an algorithm that learns based on its environment and has a basic understanding of emotions that can develop based on its observations of other humans displaying emotion. If someone could create this algorithm you could create "life experiences" for the AI that it would "learn" from and develop into a more intelligent being.
The thing is that according to Kapor the AI would develop its intelligence at a much faster rate than humans can and its intelligence would continue to grow exponentially.

also the article mentions that there have been AI's that have passed closed versions of the turing test, i.e. tests confined to a specific topic. This means that there are already self sufficient AI's that can do specific jobs, just no AI's that can emulate the full capacity of a human and the human brain.

at least thats what i got from the article.

EDIT: I agree with Kurzweil not Kapor. sorry. got the names mixed up.
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: Milquetoast on June 11, 2008, 08:47:29 PM
thanks for your post. it is very interesting and i will post a more detailed response as soon as i finish reading it.
btw, what kind of software engineering do you do, like what have been your past job requirements, fixxing software for a company, designing new software, working on AI, building new algorithms, making OS, etc?

EDIT: ok. heres my thoughts. personally i side with Kapor. I think it can be done.

"The brain is self-organizing, which means that it is created with relatively little innate knowledge. Most of its complexity comes from its own interaction with a complex world. Thus it will be necessary to provide an artificial intelligence with an education just as we do with a natural intelligence."

because of this i think that if someone creates an algorithm that learns based on its environment and has a basic understanding of emotions that can develop based on its observations of other humans displaying emotion. If someone could create this algorithm you could create "life experiences" for the AI that it would "learn" from and develop into a more intelligent being.
The thing is that according to Kapor the AI would develop its intelligence at a much faster rate than humans can and its intelligence would continue to grow exponentially.

also the article mentions that there have been AI's that have passed closed versions of the turing test, i.e. tests confined to a specific topic. This means that there are already self sufficient AI's that can do specific jobs, just no AI's that can emulate the full capacity of a human and the human brain.

at least thats what i got from the article.

Unfortunately, I haven't worked with anything nearly as exciting.  Outside of academia, there really aren't that many R&D jobs going around.  All of my jobs in the past have been designing, implementing and maintaining large enterprise applications to spec.  However, I do still remember much from my AI, OS and Algorithms classes and have been trying to keeping abreast of new developments in the fields.  Now, before I get carried away on another long post, I just want to say up front that my experience by no means qualifies me to make a better guesstimate than anyone out there.  I'm just making a random guess like everyone else, and there is a good chance that I could be very wrong.

I think you mean you agree with Kurzweil, right?  Kapor predicted that no computer will have passed the Turning Test by 2029.  You and Kurzweil may very well be right...  20 years is a long time and there could be amazing developments in this period.  In fact, think of it this way: if, in 5 years' time, we could come up with enough hardware to simulate a blank human brain and enough understanding of the human brain to come up with an exact replica of how human brains learn, then we would have a whole 15 years to "raise" this computer AI.  Even if all we could manage to do is raise it at normal human pace, we'd still have a 15-year-old "brain" by 2029.

However, as of right now, my money is still on Kapor.  Again, I do believe such a development is an inevitability, but 20 years feels a little too aggressive to me because there is still so little we know about how the human brain works.  But don't get me wrong -- I hope Kurzweil is right.  I hope he is right because I'd much rather live in an exciting, fast-paced world than the current one I'm living in.  :)
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: Andrew Robillard on June 11, 2008, 09:58:53 PM
ya. i really want to do R&D but im probably not going to become a professor, don't like teaching and i kinda want to get paid better  :P, so we'll see what happens. The article mentioned something about humans having fully virtual experiences in the near future which is something i've wanted to work on since i was a kid. AI, nanotechnology, and biotechnology i think it would be called (like cyborg sort of stuff, i.e. the blind lady that just recently got an implant in her brain connected to a camera that has so far allowed her to see a few dots and patterns of light) have also interested me a lot too.

but we'll see where i wind up by the end of college.

something interesting to see with the AI though would be to explore whether or not different AI's with the same exact algorithm but possibly different learning environments would develop different "personality traits". It'll be interesting to see to what extent an AI will be able to mimic humanity or if it will just become one central AI with a bunch of "drones" as a result of a network.

also i wonder if humans or AI ever become directly linked to each other through some sort of internet type network whether or not a separate consciousness would develop as a result of so many consciousness' communicating with each other continuously. Even if its something thats barely there that we aren't really aware of but has some sort of impact on thought process.
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: BearMills on June 12, 2008, 06:19:36 AM
ya. i really want to do R&D but im probably not going to become a professor, don't like teaching and i kinda want to get paid better  :P, so we'll see what happens. The article mentioned something about humans having fully virtual experiences in the near future which is something i've wanted to work on since i was a kid. AI, nanotechnology, and biotechnology i think it would be called (like cyborg sort of stuff, i.e. the blind lady that just recently got an implant in her brain connected to a camera that has so far allowed her to see a few dots and patterns of light) have also interested me a lot too.

but we'll see where i wind up by the end of college.

something interesting to see with the AI though would be to explore whether or not different AI's with the same exact algorithm but possibly different learning environments would develop different "personality traits". It'll be interesting to see to what extent an AI will be able to mimic humanity or if it will just become one central AI with a bunch of "drones" as a result of a network.

also i wonder if humans or AI ever become directly linked to each other through some sort of internet type network whether or not a separate consciousness would develop as a result of so many consciousness' communicating with each other continuously. Even if its something thats barely there that we aren't really aware of but has some sort of impact on thought process.

My future~
WWF Photographer (World Wildllife foundation)
Zoologist-studying Monkeys and Cats
MarineBiology- Dont know yet
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: Milquetoast on June 14, 2008, 02:08:19 AM
This is going to be a long one, Robillard, so...  My apologies in advance.  Yeah, the future does sound exciting, does it not?  Although, I wonder if kids in the future will find all this stuff to be no different from how we see a TV or a personal computer (actually, I'm sure they will) and keep looking forward to the next big thing.  That is human nature, is it not?

I'm sure that eventually AIs "born" with the same algorithm but "brought up" in a different environment will start exhibiting differences.  However, how much difference they'll exhibit and how different the environment will have to be will depend on how many sensory inputs they have and whether or not they "learn" from all of them.  Having said that, however, my guess is that "snapshots" will be taken of fully-functional, mostly-educated AIs and sold / distributed like any other OS release.  These AIs will have identical personalities out of the box, but their personalities will slowly drift apart as they learn from their operating environment (basically, the Users)...  Until they get so bloated with virii, spyware and broken registry keys that the User gets fed up and does a wipe-and-reinstall.  ;)

As for the drone vs. individuality question, it will depend on technological advancement in the field.  We already have drone AIs with limited intelligence out there.  That's how Google and every other major search engine builds their indexes.  They send out webcrawlers that scour the web for pages and build this huge full-text index based on what the crawlers find.  Based on certain rules, the "hivemind" determines how relevant a particular page is with a particular keyword.  We'll have to wait a bit longer for functional AIs with individual (and evolving) personalities, I'm afraid...

Technically, humans are already directly linked to each other via the Internet.  It's just that the interface is still very primitive and clunky.  There are also, arguably, already countless separate "consciousnesses" developed as a result of the connections.  Take APK, for example.  By virtue of the Karma system, Mod system and -- most importantly -- good old fashioned praise, shame and ridicule, a tone is constantly being set.  Ideas and various forms of behavior are constantly being reinforced or shot down.  If one were able to read every post, every Applaud / Smite and every Moderation, they'd be able to understand the "consciousness" of this system and be able to come up with a plan to game the system.  Even though you and I do not have access to detailed stats and do not read every single post (at least, I don't and I hope you don't either  ;)), we learn enough about what is acceptable and what is not on this board and act accordingly.  In other words, the feedback from APK already has an influence on our thought processes.

But, I think I know what you're getting at.  Will humans ever be directly jacked in?  I think it's only a matter of time before we're technologically capable, but whether or not we'll get through the ethical implications and whether or not it will be desirable is yet to be seen.
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: Clive Vella on June 14, 2008, 05:50:31 AM
I haven't had the chance to read the full thread, but have you guys mentioned the mental part of being 'naturally attractive/better' to procreate a new survivable generation?

A man who is strong and agile, and has all the characteristics of what modern times consider a good-looking man doesn't mean he would be the first choice as a parent to a new generation of men.

A man who is all of the above, and also has a strong character and will, will most probably always be the first choice by anyone to follow or to procreate with. (If any of you ever heard about being an "Alpha Male", that is what I'm trying to point out)

So even though beauty will become artificial (I think someone mentioned plastic surgery) there will still be a major factor affecting who will be chosen or not, as mankind is also a very mental and emotional being, and in a society like ours it is considered very important, even though many neglect a proper way-of-mind.

Felt to urge to point these out, even though it was quite a mediocre explanation, also my first post. Hope I did not run too off the topic, but I am very keen on the subject even though I have no academic background.



Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: Terry McIntosh on June 14, 2008, 09:32:51 AM
o.0
<.<
>.>
 ???  [WTF]  ???

all this talk of humanity evolving or having robots take over... i'll just cross that bridge if a have to because im sure i will be dead when it becomes an issue.
Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: Andrew Robillard on June 23, 2008, 08:24:51 PM
this is a very interesting video i found, eugene and anyone else interested may want to take the time to sit down and watch the thing all the way through (yes i know its long but well worth it) maybe watch it in segments cause my head hurts now lol.
anyways he offers interesting data and ideas about the exponential growth of technology and evolution, including a lot of research and data to back up his claims. he talks about the paradigms and overcoming them and patterns inherent in overcoming them.
and about the human brain being complex and having to figure it out for AI, he addresses that too. mostly along the lines of once we understand one section, the next becomes that much easier to map, which makes the next one even easier, etc. growing exponentially till we have the entire brain mapped out.
he also predicts that we will probably have chips (micro computers) implanted in our retina, clothing, skin everything creating fully virtual worlds were we can see virtual objects and interact with them. change our surroundings and fully immerse our senses creating the feeling we're actually there and be able to convey though emotions to other people, be able to just plug in and feel the emotions of someone else, all by the 2020's.
He also describes technology we have today that has cured type 1 diabetes in rats. basically synthesized red blood cells that control the release and flow of insulin in the body. this is also supposed to be able to improve the efficiency of our body and allow us to do things like stay underwater for hours at a time without a taking a breath.
it's very interesting stuff, sorry i don't know who the speaker is but he is speaking at the TED convention, i think its called, held in Canada like every year i think.


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enjoy.

EDIT: and to add one more 20 min video. here is one about brain theory and intelligence. Basically that intelligence isn't based on behavior (like the turing test suggests) but rather that intelligence is based on predictions that we make from our memories of past events. its another really good watch, the speaker is Jeff Hawkins.
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and finally, i think. a much shorter video. only about 6 minutes, about machines that actually evolve and become self aware, kinda like i suggested earlier, rather than being programmed and already having a plethora of knowledge.
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Title: Re: A Better Human
Post by: Milquetoast on June 30, 2008, 03:39:28 PM
Thanks for the links to the videos, Robillard.  TED is an excellent (and I would argue extremely important) annual conference in California.  The videos are very enlightening, and while I'm still not convinced of Kurzweil's projected timelines, I feel even more reassured of the inevitability of it all.  Well, at least we're just 2 years away from his closest predicted milestone.  In the video, he predicted that we'll get computers stitched into our clothing by 2010.  I've read about prototypes of this for a while now, so I'll assume he meant commercially.  We'll know if he's accurate or not in about 2 years.

I think Hawkins might be onto something.  Our "old view" of intelligence as behavior might be exactly what's throwing off research into intelligence.  However, even if he is correct, I don't believe that invalidates the Turing Test in any way.  The reason I say this is because the Turing Test is not meant to test if a machine actually behaves and reacts identically to a human being, but rather if a machine can pretend to do so.  In other words, it's kind of like a game where the machine is trying to outsmart and fool the judges into thinking that it's a human being.  In fact, in order for a machine to pass the Turing Test, it will have to do exactly what Hawkins suggests we do -- predict what a human would do and act accordingly.