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How can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention?
December 2, 2016 to March 3, 2017
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FQXi FORUM
December 9, 2016

CATEGORY: How Should Humanity Steer the Future? Essay Contest (2014) [back]
TOPIC: The "I" and the Robot by Cristinel Stoica [refresh]
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Author Cristinel Stoica wrote on Mar. 28, 2014 @ 17:08 GMT
Essay Abstract

Man is a lost child, trying to find his way. The main purpose of science, technology, ethics, politics, religion, should be to understand and support humans, their freedom and right to happiness. Can science explain us? Can politics and religion free us? Can technology replicate us? I argue that we know very little about life, consciousness, humanity. Hence, no ideology should be above man. If we accept this, we realize that we can accept others as they are, and not as enemies of our way of life. Our evolution continues, and everyone should be free to find and follow their own path, while happily allowing others to follow theirs. This freedom has to be protected by access to information, education, transparency and critical thinking.

Author Bio

I was math teacher, then computer scientist, and now I have a PhD in mathematics and work as a physicist. Prior to that I spent several years wandering, meeting people of various cultures, trying to understand what makes them different and what makes them similar.

Download Essay PDF File




John Brodix Merryman wrote on Mar. 29, 2014 @ 03:37 GMT
Cristinel,

I think we should try to distinguish between the element of consciousness and the thoughts it is expressed as. Think of consciousness as the medium and thoughts as the message. While information theory thinks any medium can express the same information, with consciousness, it is bottom up, not simply printed on. As you point out, we fight over our ideals, but the absolute is...

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on Mar. 29, 2014 @ 14:09 GMT
John,

Thank you for the visit, and for the comments.

Best regards,

Cristi



John Brodix Merryman replied on Mar. 29, 2014 @ 23:22 GMT
Cristi,

Thank you. It's not the usual FQXI sort of question and it will likely be interesting to watch this discussion develop.

Regards,

John M

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on Mar. 30, 2014 @ 06:38 GMT
John,

This question is different, indeed, but it has something in common with the previous ones: they all are the kind of questions one would debate with intellectual friends at a beer (in my case, a pepsi)! I will probably be more silent than usual, preferring to watch, because I expect this time the discussions will (and should) be less about physics and more subjective. But I think it will be fun!

Best regards,

Cristi




Anonymous wrote on Mar. 30, 2014 @ 15:16 GMT
Cristinel,

Your essay is interesting. I address a part of what you write with regards to this world being a simulation . The prospect the world is some extremely elaborate simulation is small, for beings in any universe have a limit on the amount of information and energy they can access. This includes us of course.

At the end you make some speculations about our minds being down loaded into computers. I tend to think the future may be largely a matter of interfacing the human with the cybernet. Immortality, or a sort of immortality, may come with the ability to clone up bodies, in fact a replacement body with our genome etc, and with clever cybernetic and neuro-cyber systems that permit a transfer from one body to another. I suspect that cerebral-cybernetic links will be commonplace in another 50 years. In effect the major nodes on the internet will be digital processor augmented brains.

That will change everything of course. A world where minds can literally meld together is one where concepts like national boundaries will dissolve away. Many of the ways that we currently organize ourselves will simply fade away.

Cheers LC

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on Mar. 31, 2014 @ 06:02 GMT
Lawrence,

Thank you for reading and commenting my essay. I look forward to reading yours, which I hope will be as good as your previous ones.

Assuming it is possible, maybe we will someday be able to download our minds into a computer. But before actually being able to actually do it, many will believe we can already do it, and this alone will change everything, as I sketched in my essay. I think that if we will really be able to copy our minds and paste them into computers, robots or clones, or merge with technology, the things will be even more surprising than we can imagine know (in better and perhaps in worse).

Best regards,

Cristi



Lawrence B Crowell replied on Mar. 31, 2014 @ 10:56 GMT
We are already in an age where the distinction between reality and fiction is blurred. I think Kurt Corbain had something with his song lyric “Here we are now, entertain us.” We now have large industries set up to manufacture apparent reality, not quite the same thing yet as virtual reality, but one which does successfully influence the minds of people. News is given in slick formats with panels that include women who display cleavage and provocative dress. It could well be that in a few more decades the level of confusion about what is real and what is manufactured to appear real will come to form the biggest part of most of our lives. This development could well be far along before we ever have the cyber-neural interface.

LC

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William Amos Carine wrote on Mar. 31, 2014 @ 02:04 GMT
Hey Stoica,

I do not get why judgment is a bad thing, can you please extrapolate? I think that being able to discern whether a being is capable of something or able to help you is very important, and don't think a person should have to give up that selection right. I also think that the job sap is one of those broad sweeping ideas that just sounds to good or easy. Could you flesh out some details on that point, so I get a better idea of what you mean? Other than those two points, I tended to agree or not get hung up about a sometimes lack of clearness, like what exactly you meant as freedom, because you seemed to be going down a sensible track.

Best,

Amos

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on Mar. 31, 2014 @ 06:51 GMT
Hi Amos,

> I do not get why judgment is a bad thing, can you please extrapolate? I think that being able to discern whether a being is capable of something or able to help you is very important, and don't think a person should have to give up that selection right.

Me too. I would elaborate more, if I would know to what part of the essay you refer. Perhaps the context of that phrase will answer you.

> I also think that the job sap is one of those broad sweeping ideas that just sounds to good or easy. Could you flesh out some details on that point, so I get a better idea of what you mean?

Again, it would be helpful if you say exactly what paragraph you refer to, because otherwise I may detail something else than you want to know.

I will assume you disagree with the idea about downshifting and outsourcing. There are people who have more than enough money and things, but don't have enough time, and there are people who hane enough time, but can't use it to make a living, because there are no good jobs there. What I say is that they can solve each other's problem. Those who want more time can downshift and give some things to do to the others that don't have the opportunity to make a living. And this is already happening (not at large scale), so it is not impossible. And it is not as bad as taking from the rich to give to the poor. Everything sounds too good or too easy, until you do it. I could downshift for many years while living in a relatively expensive capital of a not-so-rich Eastern European country, with a huge mortgage and two kids, without winning the lottery or having a self-sustained business. I did this to have time for (unpaid and self-financed) research, until one month ago when I finished PhD and got a job as physicist. This proves that it is possible to downshift even if you don't live in a well developed country.

Best regards,

Cristi




Joe Fisher wrote on Apr. 2, 2014 @ 15:50 GMT
My Dear Doctor Stoica,

As in prior contests, you have again written an extremely erudite essay that held my attention all the way through my reading of it. I do hope that it does well in the competition.

Please do not take this as a criticism, I merely wish to make a point. You wrote: “It is amazing how the universe works, as governed by laws which ultimately are simple, yet combined give such complex phenomena as those we observe.”

Based only on my own observation, I have concluded that all of the stars, all of the planets, all of the asteroids, all of the comets, all of the specks of astral dust and all real things have one and only one thing in common. Each real thing has a material surface and an attached material sub-surface. All material surfaces must travel at the constant “speed” of light. All material sub-surfaces must travel at an inconsistent “speed” that is less than the “speed” of light. Einstein was completely wrong. It would be physically impossible for light to move as it does not have a surface. Abstract theory cannot ever have unification. Only reality is unified because there is only one reality.

It is physically impossible for anyone to observe complex phenomena at any time; anywhere. The artificial intelligence builders have no idea what real reality is, and know even less about simplicity.

With warm regards,

Joe Fisher

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on Apr. 3, 2014 @ 05:21 GMT
Dear Joe Fisher,

Thank you for the comments. About your criticism to the theory of relativity, I think it is great that there are people willing to challenge the accepted theories. I wish you good luck in making an alternative theory, and propose experiments whose results will contradict any accepted theories, including Einstein's. If Einstein would be disproved, some will suffer, including me, but hopefully the joy of finding out how things really are will exceed any pain coming from realizing you're wrong.

Best regards,

Cristi



Joe Fisher replied on Apr. 3, 2014 @ 15:14 GMT
Dear Doctor Stoica,

Reality is not experimental. The only thing that has ever occurred in a laboratory is unusual activity performed by unrealistic people unnecessarily. I do thank you for your extremely gracious comment.

With warm regards,

Joe Fisher

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James Lee Hoover wrote on Apr. 4, 2014 @ 17:47 GMT
Christinel,

The specter of cybercitizen seems hopeful if it in fact provides opportunity for other pursuits. I can't quite visualize the interrelationship of cybercitizen and biological citizen. The corporate push for cyber connections is profit-based, not exactly geared toward our freedom. How do we uncouple profit motives and where it takes us from our own interests? How do we get government to provide a "healthy planet, access to education [for all] and freedom"?

Dealing with the future is difficult. Our own visions sometimes pose more questions than answers. I know my vision is probably too "what should be" and not enough specifics of how it can be accomplished.

Jim

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on Apr. 4, 2014 @ 19:16 GMT
Jim,

> The specter of cybercitizen seems hopeful if it in fact provides opportunity for other pursuits.

Perhaps yes. My concern was that cybercitizens will appear and be acknowledge as citizens before actually existing as real persons, assuming this will ever be possible.

> I can't quite visualize the interrelationship of cybercitizen and biological citizen.

People have interrelations with memories they have about other people, with their pictures, with posters of Elvis, with imagined entities or deities, with cats, dogs, with their Poh, their diary etc. Many still reject interracial or intercultural relations, but they existed forever. If cybercitizens will have the slightest resemblance with biocitizens, or even if they will just have some similar goals, it is not inconceivable that they will have various types of relations.

> The corporate push for cyber connections is profit-based, not exactly geared toward our freedom.

I think so. They want to make people adopt what they push.

> How do we uncouple profit motives and where it takes us from our own interests? How do we get government to provide a "healthy planet, access to education [for all] and freedom"?

One cannot deny that there is progress in the social sector, even though the corporations and the governments may not necessarily want this. This is because there is a request, a pressure from the population: to sell them your products, to make them elect you, you have to offer something. While politicians and salespersons promise more than they actually give, if the population continues to ask, little steps are made toward their direction. So the "push" from people actually matters, in time.

> Dealing with the future is difficult. Our own visions sometimes pose more questions than answers. I know my vision is probably too "what should be" and not enough specifics of how it can be accomplished.

Humans are autonomous beings, capable of setting goals and of trying to accomplish them by various means. The exact future situations are difficult to anticipate. Yet, if people have some goals in mind and try to reach them, then they will find what should be done in specific situations. So I think it is important first to have the goal. But, if you don't find your goal, others will make you follow their goals. For instance, if someone's goal is to become rich by selling you something, it will make you want that thing first. So people should take care to know what their goals are, rather than allowing others to decide for them. And those trying to tell you what your goals should be are many: corporations, politicians, religions, any kind of groups will try to sell you their own goals. This is why I think that introducing critical thinking as early as possible in schools is so important. This will allow people to decide what their goals are. This is of course not enough, but when you know what you want, you get closer and closer to your goal. I think this is the way toward freedom.

Best regards,

Cristi




Author Cristinel Stoica wrote on Apr. 6, 2014 @ 11:11 GMT
The future of mankind is open. One cannot anticipate what will they be confronted with well enough to give them prescriptions. Any rule we would give now, later may become inadequate and even oppressive. Therefore, in my essay I avoided to give universal rules, and I emphasized that the best we can do is to make sure people will have the tools and know how to use them, as they will freely decide based on their specific situations. The tools I proposed are critical thinking, education, and the ability to be free and allow others to be free.




John C Hodge wrote on Apr. 7, 2014 @ 02:39 GMT
Your essay outlines many of the issues we face. There are more.

Your statement in the comment section is correct. Was this an alternate abstract? “The future of mankind is open. One cannot anticipate … allow other to be free.”

“Often, ideologies trying to build an utopian world for mankind, failed really badly.” Very good. Too bad the true believers still exist is ever...

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on Apr. 7, 2014 @ 06:35 GMT
Thank you for your comments. I appreciate you took time to read it carefully and answered with arguments, some supporting, some completing, and some opposing my own arguments. I agree with your most comments, particularly that "we should care and try to find differences for that leads to greater understanding."

> "Why would we want to download into an inferior structure?"

When one is dying, he will want to survive by any technology will be available at that time. An "inferior structure" will be preferable to a superior, but dead body. I mentioned that the download will be made in a robot or a clone. I suspect that artificial intelligence will be claimed first to be obtained in computers, so this is why this is the dominant scenario I discussed.

> "Perhaps 'survival is the most important'."

Yes, this is what I thought when I included life as the first most important things in the world.

> "What about fullfilment?

I agree with you again. I kind of see fulfillment as a necessary condition for happiness.

> "I'm retired yet I like to think I contribute and work. Downshifting to me is reprehensible."

By downshifting I don't mean retirement or laziness. I mean that people are forced to spend the majority of their lives working for their bosses's dreams, neglecting their own personal life and personal dreams. If you don't have time for spouse, children, friends, work less. If you don't have time to work at what you really love, work less at your job, and use the time to do what you want. Society doesn't offer to everyone their dream jobs. I had to work as computer programmer for many years, but I really wanted to do physics. I reduced the full-time job as programmer to a part time job, and used the remaining time to study physics, and do research, without being paid (and being paid at half as programmer, and missing the possibility of a career which full-time employment offers). So it is not about "not contributing". We contribute also by spending time with family and friends. We contribute also by working at our own dreams, even if we are not paid.

I did not say that my "downshifting and outsourcing" proposal will solve all third's world problems, or at least the majority of them. It is an example of doing something which people will willingly do, if they are made aware. As opposed to other solutions, which involve forcing rich to give to the poor, this is voluntary. I try to always have in mind that all measures have to be made without violating people's freedom. Donations are also voluntary, but we can donate fish, and also help people be fisherman.

Best regards,

Cristi




Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Apr. 8, 2014 @ 20:58 GMT
Hi Cristi,

I enjoyed your essay, and I hope you do well. I think perhaps you have been a bit optimistic about how some transitions will be handled, or could be integrated into society, though I appreciate that this does not arise out of consideration to a particular ideology - in your view. The notion of how machine consciousness might accommodate a human awareness is predicated on a level of sophistication modern computers do not have, and may require more time to develop. Once we can build R2D2 and C3PO, this might be possible.

I do have some promising ideas on how a more subtle computing machine could be built, and I think that most of the core technologies already exist in sufficient measure to construct a self-aware machine, but what most folks are doing in this area is rather naive - in my opinion. I'll offer that FQXi selected my grant proposal for a detailed review, but did not end up funding my project - which would have allowed me to research this area more aggressively. Perhaps details could be discussed off-line.

But overall, you presented your case well, and you offer some hope for humanity. That is good.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on Apr. 9, 2014 @ 05:21 GMT
Hi Jonathan,

I am happy to hear from you. Thank you for the comments. While, as you said, modern computers do not have yet the required level of sophistication to allow machine consciousness accommodate a human awareness, my point is not that we will obtain it. One may obtain it or not. My point is that the strong AI supporters don't care about human awareness, but only about behavior, about mimicking human consciousness, including the appearances of awareness. This is easier to be done, so it will be done sooner, and then, it will trigger some important changes in out society. Of course, more radical changes will appear if real AI, with genuine awareness, will be created, but such kind of speculations are well covered in the literature.

Best regards,

Cristi




Wesley Wayne Hansen wrote on Apr. 17, 2014 @ 19:12 GMT
Cristi,

Yes, critical thinking is paramount; if critical thinking were more prevalent there would probably be significantly fewer individuals willing to risk life and limb fighting in some emotionally justified war, wars generally designed to enrich the already overflowing bank accounts of the oligarchs. Organizations such as Al Queda would most likely cease to exist as well. This is...

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on Apr. 18, 2014 @ 05:19 GMT
Wes Hansen,

There are some questions people have asked for millennia, and tried to answer them. Just because we are more aware of our problems than of those with which people were confronted in the past, and because we are more advanced technologically, we tend sometimes to consider that their answers are not good enough for us, and that we are much smarter and we would not do the same mistakes they did. But people answered important questions over and over again from ancient times, and also made the same mistakes all over again. Technological progress just gives us more efficiency both in solving problems, and in making mistakes. I appreciate you took time to present some pieces of ancient wisdom, which always remain of actuality. The key to freedom is to search inside, but also to search outside, and try to understand those from other cultures and other times. We will see that, while the problems appear to be different because the historical and cultural contexts are different, at the root they are very similar. When we see this, we learn several things: to love those that are different, because they are not that different, to be more focused on important things, and not on fashionable problems whose importance is limited in time and space, to appreciate people from different places and epochs and learn from their wisdom, which they gathered with sacrifices and tried to pass to us, to make our lives easier. Thank you for the enlightening comments.

Best regards,

Cristi




Jayakar Johnson Joseph wrote on Apr. 18, 2014 @ 04:27 GMT
Dear Cristi,

Though both the robotics and the human are systems that are controlled externally, the robotic is finite whereas humans as individuals are part of the infinite sequential control system of the universe and in that Humanity is external, that is causal for the Climate change on Earth.

With best wishes,

Jayakar

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on Apr. 18, 2014 @ 05:21 GMT
Dear Jayakar,

Thank you for pointing this out.

Best regards,

Cristi




KoGuan Leo wrote on Apr. 20, 2014 @ 14:15 GMT
Dear Cristi,

Beautiful work, I really enjoyed reading it. I will write more comments on your essay later. Best, Leo KoGuan

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on Apr. 21, 2014 @ 17:23 GMT
Dear Leo,

Thank you for the feedback. I look forward for your comments.

Best regards,

Cristi




Vladimir Rogozhin wrote on Apr. 23, 2014 @ 12:33 GMT
Dear Cristi,

With great interest I read your essay. Deep set of ideas that make us think about the future path of Humanity. Beautiful conclusion with which I fully agree:

«We have to learn to be free, and to allow others to be free, because this is the only way our children will be happy and free. Then, they will be able to focus on any problems the future may reserve them.»

In support, I send you greetings musical...

Thank FQXi that brings together people for "brainstorming" on very important topics of modern Humanity!

I wish you good luck!

All the Best,

Vladimir

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on Apr. 23, 2014 @ 14:03 GMT
Dear Vladimir,

Thank you for the nice comments and for the refreshing music clip. I did not have the chance to read your essay yet, but I look forward, since it seems very interesting to me. I wish you good luck too!

Best regards,

Cristi




Chidi Idika wrote on Apr. 24, 2014 @ 03:18 GMT
Hi, Cristi!

Good to see you around, this year. I'll be sure to read your essay and come back here.

Regards,

Chidi

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on Apr. 24, 2014 @ 03:57 GMT
Hi Chidi,

Good to see you too. Look forward to discuss more about our essays.

Best regards,

Cristi




Hoang cao Hai wrote on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 01:38 GMT
Dear Author Cristinel Stoica

An analysis and arguments very interesting for demand of freedom.

10 points for freedom .

Hải.CaoHoàng

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 06:39 GMT
Dear Hải.CaoHoàng,

Thank you for reading and commenting my essay.

Best regards,

Cristi




Rick Searle wrote on May. 2, 2014 @ 02:58 GMT
Hi Cristinel,

Very nice essay. I wish I had taken note of it earlier given how relevant it is to the themes of my own.

http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2063

I would ,however,take issue with two of your statements:

"Often, ideologies trying to build an utopian world for mankind, failed really badly. When people didn't care about the ideals promoted by an ideology,...

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Rick Searle wrote on May. 2, 2014 @ 03:00 GMT
Hi Cristinel,

Very nice essay. I wish I had taken note of it earlier given how relevant it is to the themes of my own.

http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2063

I would ,however,take issue with two of your statements:

"Often, ideologies trying to build an utopian world for mankind, failed really badly. When people didn't care about the ideals promoted by an ideology,...

view entire post


report post as inappropriate

Author Cristinel Stoica replied on May. 2, 2014 @ 05:52 GMT
Dear Rick,

Thank you for the interest in my essay, and for defending so well the contrary of a viewpoint I raised. I think it is great that, if I forget to be balanced, the readers can help me with this.

In the text you quoted, by "idealization of man" I meant "a simplified model that is supposed to work, like a bed of Procrustes". I hope this clarifies your issue.

I haven't read yet your essay, but I see now from it and from your blog that you are interested so much precisely in utopia and dystopia, so definitely you are more at home with these topics than I am.

I agree that utopian ideas have an important positive side. People need to trust their future, they need to try to improve the present, and this may require a belief or hope in a better state.

This being said, my point is that it is in the human nature to try to explain the failure to reach an objective, especially a social one, by the fact that others don't care about it or even oppose it. I can see this in the discussions in politics, religion, human rights, global warming, etc. Would it be too strong the claim that at the root of any large scale act of repression or violence, there is the idea of the aggressors that the things ought to be in a certain ideal way, and the victims are to be blamed if the things are not like this or if they seem to endanger their ideal?

Best regards,

Cristi




Rick Searle wrote on May. 2, 2014 @ 15:57 GMT
Cristi,

"Would it be too strong the claim that at the root of any large scale act of repression or violence, there is the idea of the aggressors that the things ought to be in a certain ideal way, and the victims are to be blamed if the things are not like this or if they seem to endanger their ideal?"

Very interesting question. I am not sure how to shake out how violence is used as the worst form of "tool" to create the future rather than being used as a means to reach some "ideal". The slave system of the 18th-19th century was extremely cruel and violent, but it had nothing to do with "ideals" just shaping the world to fit exploiter's interest by force. Again it was the dehumanization of the other that justified such violence. Ideal can't just mean some yet to be realized future state. Can it?

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on May. 2, 2014 @ 19:34 GMT
Rick,

You are right that "it was the dehumanization of the other that justified such violence".



Michael Allan replied on Jun. 6, 2014 @ 14:35 GMT
I agree with Rick, Cristi, your claim is too strong. The slave traders who descended on Africa didn't think, "[Our] victims are to be blamed". Nor were their actions motivated by ideals. They were motivated by greed, plain and simple.

Likewise for the Vikings who terrorized the dark ages. They weren't chasing ideals, but material interests. - Mike

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on Jun. 6, 2014 @ 18:53 GMT
Mike, if you read my reply, you can see that I agreed with him before you did :)




Wesley Wayne Hansen wrote on May. 2, 2014 @ 18:01 GMT
Contemplative Practices and Mental Training: Prospects for American Education

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on May. 2, 2014 @ 19:35 GMT
Thanks, very interesting!




Chidi Idika wrote on May. 4, 2014 @ 13:20 GMT
Dear Cristi,

Let me say congratulations on your last outing. As for differentiating between the "I" and the robot I agree with you that:

“Until we will have an explanation of what we are, let's just accept our existence as an axiom, and see where this takes us.”

So here is the core axiom/thesis I present:

an “I” is an elementary quantum of action or (more generally) a natural unit, and vice versa. In classical or intuitive terms this would be what we mean by an “observer” or “reference frame” (in GR it’s perhaps a “space-time”, in the Standard Model of particle physics it is probably the “virtual exchange” between observables/particles).

This goes to say that we are each our own “universal constant” (think, "invariance"; “conservation law”; “phase space”).

So at last, quantum gravity is a fractal landscape, some will say it is “foamy”.

I invite your esteemed critique.

It is well said: “No ideology, no religion, no science or technology can help you be free, if you let others think for yourself. The antidote is critical thinking.” - Stoica.

Best Regard,

Chidi Idika

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on May. 4, 2014 @ 19:15 GMT
Dear Chidi Idika,

Thank you for the interesting comments. You say "an 'I' is an elementary quantum of action or (more generally) a natural unit, and vice versa." Indeed, the question is whether the "I" is reducible to something else, or if it is irreducible, perhaps similar to the quantum of action.

Best regards,

Cristi




Douglas Alexander Singleton wrote on May. 4, 2014 @ 20:40 GMT
Hi Cristi,

I finally read in more detail your essay and like it very much. First it was a good touch to leave a disclaimer under the abstract (something I should have done). This is not my area (but then again no one is really an expert in this i.e. how to structure humanity) and one of the bad features of physicists/scientists is they tend to think they know more than what they do once...

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on May. 5, 2014 @ 06:58 GMT
Hi Doug,

Thank you very much for your kind and helpful comments. I agree with all of them, and I find particularly important what you pointed out about critical thinking. I agree that, for some reason, it is not well mastered even by some of those teaching it, or those claiming they rely on it. One can hear people using critical thinking to support any kinds of ideas, from young earth creationism to any political orientation to any sort of paranormal ideas and conspiracy theories. In the example you gave, there was a misunderstanding of how statistics works, which someone who is more prepared in this area can see easily. Maybe in most cases the mistake is visible for someone who knows better, but, as in the case of the common fallacies, a wrong argument can be accepted too easy by many. In math and logic, it is more rare to find people misusing arguments, because we can verify them anytime anywhere, with just pen and paper. But even in math and logic people may misuse arguments once in a while, so I would expect that in the case of critical thinking this happens more often. However, I would expect that if it spreads more, and people become more aware of its tools, they will become more and more immune to fallacious arguments. At this point, I would expect that if the majority would know even the basics of critical thinking, the improvement would be significant, but perhaps I am too optimistic. Another downside may be that people will become more heated in debates, because they may think that if they know a bit of critical thinking they are always right. Thanks again for your comments. I liked your essay very much, and I wish you good luck with the contest.

Best regards,

Cristi




Anonymous wrote on May. 5, 2014 @ 09:13 GMT
Hi Cristinel.

lots of great thoughts, what is it to be human?, the importance of man, consciousness and happiness. You have written "Our evolution continues, and everyone should be free to find and follow their own path, while happily allowing others to follow theirs." It sounds really good but isn't there a problem when different ideologies or lifestyles are mutually incompatible.Can cyborg supermen live at peace with neo-feral humanity and/or Borg-like hive mind post humans and/or ordinary un enhanced people? Can neo nazis live peacefully with socialists and/or with anarchists? It may be that we are moving from old kinds of division to new kinds, that will not bring tolerance.

If "I" is just a program run on the brains wetware does it make a difference to the value of mankind? Can synthetic intelligence in human form have have human rights, what if it isn't in human form but is a simulation of a human mind? Cristinel, I find it all bewildering and a bit frightening.

Quote"You have brains in your head.You have feet in your shoes You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.You'll look up and down streets. Look 'em over with care.About some you will say, "I don't choose to go there."With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you're too smart to go down any not-so-good street." Dr.Suess

Yes its great to have the freedom to decide where to go but I'm afraid history shows people have often gone down the not so good streets.

Good luck, Georgina

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on May. 5, 2014 @ 11:27 GMT
Hi Georgina,

Thank you for the comments. You said "You have written 'Our evolution continues, and everyone should be free to find and follow their own path, while happily allowing others to follow theirs.' It sounds really good but isn't there a problem when different ideologies or lifestyles are mutually incompatible." I share your worries, but I don't understand your point. Are you saying that tolerance is a problem, because there is intolerance? I don't understand.

Best regards,

Cristi



Georgina Woodward replied on May. 7, 2014 @ 22:47 GMT
The problem is how to attain or maintain tolerance when there are mutually incompatible ideologies and lifestyles. Everyone should be free to follow their path sounds good but what if it is detrimental to the lives of others? What if doing that prevents others from following their own path? I'm questioning whether the noble sentiment is too idealistic to be practical. There is a TV programme called "Neighbours at War", which shows how even minor disagreements, or differences in lifestyle, can cause prolonged hostility and conflict.

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on May. 8, 2014 @ 05:18 GMT
Hi Georgina. It is true that there are people with mutually incompatible lifestyles and ideologies, and this is rather the rule, than the exception. But I don't get the argument that tolerance is useless, because there is intolerance in the world. You mentioned "neighbors at war", isn't the reason they are at war precisely the lack of understanding or at least of trying to understand one another? Intolerance causes more intolerance, so fighting it back doesn't solve the problem, it amplifies it. In the history, there are examples of "neighbors", at larger scales, who were at war for generations, and neither of them know how it started, both sides only know some of their side who were killed, and just want to avenge them. Now, I don't claim that if someone attacks you, you should stay "tolerant" and wait it to pass, to avoid amplifying the conflict. I never said to tolerate intolerance, and tolerance doesn't mean to accept others as they are even if they are intolerant.

You asked "how to attain or maintain tolerance". The answer is "simple", by promoting tolerance. I mentioned education, critical thinking (even its introduction in schools), promoting acceptance of those different so that we can understand them and they can understand us, and see that we are not a threat to one another. A large number of conflicts, perhaps most of them, are due to misunderstanding.

There are indeed violent actions done with the purpose of gaining or conquering. In general, even people doing such violent acts invent justifications for them, such as "I will rob this guy, rich guys deserve to be robbed, they rob us all the time", or "I will rape this b***h, she asked for it", or "they are a threat to our traditions/way of life/etc". Most of these justifications can be washed away by a real understanding of the other person/side, and by critical thinking. But this requires a specific form of education, which is based on tolerance. The possibility that they will go to prison/be bombarded is not enough to stop them, the best way is to reach their mind and heart. But first, let's make ourselves non-violent and able to understand others, otherwise this will not work.

Some may thing that life is a jungle, and you have to be aggressive in order to survive and do something good for yourself and the loved ones. It is precisely this way of thinking that creates violence in the world. It is true that in some critical situations this may be needed, but on long term, other kind of action is needed. Think at some martial arts like Aikido, in which violence is the last resort, and is allowed only after trying all non-violent ways.

Each one has his/her lifestyle or ideology. By adopting it, you also spread it in the world. You adopted it from somewhere, in turn, others will inherit it from you. So, be a member of the society you want to live in. This doesn't ensure that you will change the entire world by this, but this will spread slowly to your family, friends, coworkers. Lifestyle is viral.




Mohammed M. Khalil wrote on May. 5, 2014 @ 14:42 GMT
Hi Cristinel,

Great essay! It is well argued, and beautifully written. Good luck in the contest.

Best regards,

Mohammed

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on May. 5, 2014 @ 19:03 GMT
Hi Mohammed,

Thank you for the nice comment. I look forward to read your essay. Good luck in the contest!

Best regards,

Cristi




James Dunn wrote on May. 7, 2014 @ 04:09 GMT
As an author, I scored you a 10.

Concurrently Maximizing Freedom while also Maximizing Security is essential if we are going to pursue and use space/time manipulation tools. Any secret will be available, anyone anywhere can be remotely killed ...

DARPA QUEST currently is making many billions of dollars available for the development of quantum physics related tools.

I only know of one method of two systems that together provide a system that supports both Freedom and Security without having to give up one to have the other.

Top/Down ethical monitoring and enforcement

(ethical qualified doctors of science and philosopy elected as Representatives of their State's Constitution to build NSA monitoring systems and monitor that the information collected is consistently applied to all peoples and corporations):

http://eliminate-all-corruption.pbworks.com

Bot
tom/Up broad ethical consideration "capacity"

(teaching Common Sense):

http://www.ua-kits.com

Common Sense =

Self-esteem (social group skills) + Logic + Predicting Consequences

If someone has an equally viable alternative to eliminate all corruption, I would like to hear your perspectives.

Corruption = unethical allocation of resources and/or opportunities

in a legal system that enforces ethics

Corruption = illegal allocation of resources and/or opportunities

Treason = intentional weakening of security to promote unethical allocation of resources and/or opportunities

Racketeering = any coalition that intentionally promotes illegal allocation of resources and/or opportunities

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James Dunn replied on May. 7, 2014 @ 04:38 GMT
Regarding the Domain of Science:

Based upon my attempt to relate quantum entanglement to relativity:

Axiom of Choice extended to include Relativity:

http://vixra.org/pdf/1402.0041v1.pdf

Axiom of Choice provides a limit for mathematics to be expressed.

My version attempts to provide a limit of mathematics related to physics.

The effort is to produce a common framework where all physics observations, including instantaneous features, have an intuitive set of relationships; duality, QE, time, space, GR, sub-atomic particles, en-route photons, fringe patterns ...

The intent is to provide a model that can potentially be implemented in a quantum computer (parallel processor).

Then use this system and QE to sympathetically couple features of our universe to a detection device that does not measure the observed properties, but observes the related adjacent systems of connections. Like QE, one or a few states change, not entire systems.

Relativity floating on vast systems of quantum causality connections.So there is much more that we do not see, than what we observe. But in relativity there is no such thing as nothing.

Just my efforts

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on May. 7, 2014 @ 06:29 GMT
Hi James,

Thank you for the interesting comments, regarding the need for elimination of corruption, and the importance of education, and other interesting things you say. It is good you defined the term "common sense", because perhaps it seems to me it is commonly used with a different meaning. Indeed, the prerequisite of any communication and common effort is the existence of a common ground of knowledge and thinking tools.

Best regards,

Cristi




Thomas Howard Ray wrote on May. 8, 2014 @ 12:54 GMT
Cristi, I didn't need any salt. Your essay was sweet to my tongue and satisfying to my belly.

Absolutely I agree that "Freedom to choose one's own destiny is more important than protection against failure."

And as big a Karl Popper fan as I am (his program of conjectures and refutations directly corresponds to your statement above), I find aside from pure science that I lean more to rational idealism than to critical rationalism.

This essay deserves to be rated high, and I wish you well with it!

Best,

Tom

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on May. 8, 2014 @ 14:42 GMT
Tom,

Thank you for the comments, you are too kind. Your essay is on my list and I look forward to read it soon, especially since you lean to rational idealism.

Best regards,

Cristi




Christian Corda wrote on May. 12, 2014 @ 07:05 GMT
Hi Cristi,

I have just read your intriguing Essay. Here are my comments/questions:

1) I agree with you that we know very little about life, consciousness, humanity. Humility should have to be the starting point for researchers and scientists.

2) Your beautiful statements that "It is amazing how the universe works, as governed by laws which ultimately are simple, yet combined give such complex phenomena as those we observe. What can be more wonderful than this regularity, parsimony, symmetry, beauty?" are in agreement with Einstein's famous aphorism that "The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible".

3) I agree that "failure seems to be the way we learn". I add that "experience is the sum of all our failures".

4) The idea that machine feels like the human is fascination on one hand. On the other hand, it put fear in me.

5) I like your distinction between subjective science and objective science. What do you think about deterministic science and probabilistic science (Einstein versus Bohr)?

6) I find intriguing your idea that "God is the one who serves us " and the explanation your give on this issue.

7) The issue that "seeing those not sharing their ideas as being evil" sadly works also in science. Critical thinking must be introduced also in physics and in science in general.

8) "For people to be free, they have to be informed" is a key statement. On the other hand, information is often manipulated.

9) I had in mind to read some book of Asimov before reading your Essay. Now, my desire of such a reading is increased.

Your Essay enjoyed me a lot. Thus, I am going to give you an high score.

Best luck in the contest.

Cheers, Ch.

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on May. 12, 2014 @ 08:05 GMT
Dear Christian,

Thank you for reading and commenting my essay. I like your comments, and I will address those that are questions, or those where I feel the need to comment.

> 4) The idea that machine feels like the human is fascination on one hand. On the other hand, it put fear in me.

I have the same feeling. This may remain forever a mystery: even if we will have evidence that a machine is like a human from behavioral viewpoint, we will never know if it really feels the same. Probably here is the distinction between subjective and objective science.

> 5) I like your distinction between subjective science and objective science. What do you think about deterministic science and probabilistic science (Einstein versus Bohr)?

I think that, on the one hand, science in general is not about certainty, but also not probabilities, I mean, even the probabilities are uncertain. Because we don't know the space of all theories which are candidates to describe our universe, and we don't know a measure on this space.

But related to Bohr vs. Einstein, I agree with both of them, and I don't think there is an actual contradiction here. While their debate involved determinism vs. indeterminism, perhaps the most striking problem was that of reality.

I agree with Bohr that we can't go beyond the probabilities in predicting the outcomes of measurements. We can't really beat the Born rule and Heisenberg's uncertainty. Even of there are hidden variables predicting the outcomes, they seem to stay hidden. But I also think that hidden variables are not needed, in the sense de Broglie and Bohm and even Einstein wanted. Moreover, reality seems to be manifest only when you look, as Bohr said.

But I also agree with Einstein, in the sense that I think that there is an order, there is reality, and determinism is not in conflict with the observations.

Now, where I disagree with both Einstein and Bohr is in the way they choose to implement their ideas. Einstein hoped that there is a more complete description of QM, and the main or perhaps only candidate he considered are hidden variable theories. Bohr considered that we should not ask more questions about reality, the probabilities of the outcomes are everything.

I think that their positions can be reconciled if we reject the solutions they proposed. Briefly: I think that the wavefunction is real (even if it lives in the Hilbert space), and is governed by the Schrodinger equations, which is not only linear, but also deterministic. I don't think that the wavefunction collapse violates the Schrodinger equation, more precisely, I think that it takes place unitarily. Here is a brief explanation of this idea video. I also wrote a bit about this possibility in 1, 2, 3.

If I am right, then Einstein is right that the laws are deterministic, but Bohr is right about probabilities too, but in the sense that they are due to the initial conditions. Einstein is right about the reality of the world, but Bohr is right too, in the sense that this reality depends on the observations we make. More details can be found in the links I gave.

But, to make them both right, I think we should reject Einstein's idea that QM is incomplete 4, and Bohr's idea that clicks are all there is 5.

> 6) I find intriguing your idea that "God is the one who serves us " and the explanation your give on this issue.

Thanks. Some may regard is as blasphemy. I don't want to mean that humans are mightier than God, but that if there is an almighty God, He would serve juniors like the humans, rather than asking them to praise Him. He would be more humble than us, because He would not have an inferiority complex to compensate.

> 7) The issue that "seeing those not sharing their ideas as being evil" sadly works also in science. Critical thinking must be introduced also in physics and in science in general.

I agree, this is the place to start with introducing critical thinking.

> 9) I had in mind to read some book of Asimov before reading your Essay. Now, my desire of such a reading is increased.

I had that book in mind when I wrote the essay :)

Thanks for the comments. I loved your essay very much when I read it. Good luck in the contest!

Cristi



Christian Corda replied on May. 14, 2014 @ 08:22 GMT
Thanks for your reply Cristi, in particular for clarifying your ideas on the Einstein-Bohr controversy.

Cheers,

Ch.

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Edwin Eugene Klingman wrote on May. 12, 2014 @ 22:46 GMT
Dear Cristi,

I enjoyed your essay immensely. While I have well-defined ideas about consciousness, and why an AI 'substitute' will not work, I have discussed these in previous contests on other threads and will forego such discussion here.

I generally agree with your statements you make about life and consciousness. Recall that the American Declaration of Independence states that "among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness... that to secure these rights, governments are instituted..."

So I fully agree with your axiom one.

I also agree that "often ideologies trying to build an utopian world for mankind, failed really badly," invariably leading to repression. Instead "one should always let humans to be what they want." As you note, "the origin of any ideology that pursues an utopian dream relies on some assumptions about what people need most."

I believe a new ideological push is underway under cover of 'equality' as the utopian ideal. As I expect the same results as the other failed utopian totalitarian schemes, I try to analyze this idea using the tool of statistical thermodynamics. I hope you will read, comment upon, and score my essay. Recently some who do not like the message have knocked my score down pretty low.

I also end up with a (too brief) proposal for changing the basis of education from pay-to-learn to paid-to-learn.

It's good to see your essay earning its deserved place in the contest.

Best wishes,

Edwin Eugene Klingman

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on May. 13, 2014 @ 05:06 GMT
Dear Edwin,

Thank you for the comments, and for the too generous words. I am happy to see how much we agree. Your essay is on my to do list.

Best regards,

Cristi




Ajay Bhatla wrote on May. 14, 2014 @ 04:39 GMT
Cristi,

Thanks for the disclaimer, but I think your message got through to me.

"Freedom to choose one's destiny" and "We have to learn to be free and allow others to be free" hits the right chord with me.

The freedom to make decisions and take actions with science as a tool is my way to steer the future.

Hope I understood your message. Please let me know what you think of mine (here)

- Ajay

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on May. 14, 2014 @ 06:19 GMT
Hi Ajay,

Thank you for the comments about my message, and for making me aware of yours. I look forward to read your essay.

Best regards,

Cristi




Israel Perez wrote on May. 15, 2014 @ 02:10 GMT
Dear Cristi

I read your essay which I found very interesting, easy to read and well written. You touch a series of topics and ask many philosophical questions that are highly controversial and may lead to long discussions.

For instance, the idea of a simulated reality remind me of the philosopher Nick Bostrom who also put forward this idea about a decade ago. In my view this...

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on May. 15, 2014 @ 05:54 GMT
Dear Israel,

Thank you for your comments, which I find interesting but surprising, giving me the feeling that you misunderstood my essay.

You say that I discuss the idea of simulated reality, and you seem to believe even that this occupy the first half of the essay: "After discussing the simulation you move on to other quite different topic ... " and you refer to something in page 5....

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Israel Perez replied on May. 19, 2014 @ 13:26 GMT
Dear Cristi

Thanks for your reply.

You said: you seem to believe even that this occupy the first half of the essay.

Not at all, I perfectly understand what you did. But you indeed discuss the topic of simulation.

You: ..remind me of the philosopher Nick Bostrom". Did you already read some of my ideas in his works?

In your essay you deal with the topic of a...

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Gbenga Michael Ogungbuyi wrote on May. 15, 2014 @ 05:25 GMT
Dear Cristinel,

What a well articulated, structured and scientific article! I wondered why I have not read your essay. It held my interest through out.

I employ you to read my article STRIKING A BALANCE BETWEEN TECHNOLOGY AND ECOSYSTEM using this direct link http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2020

Your comments and rating will be anticipated!

Wishing you the very best in this competition

Regards

Gbenga

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on May. 15, 2014 @ 05:56 GMT
Dear Gbenga,

Thank you for the kind words, and for making me aware of your essay, which I look forward to read.

Best regards,

Cristi




KoGuan Leo wrote on May. 15, 2014 @ 08:30 GMT
Dear Cristi,

"Why not simply follow our own dreams?" I answered this question in the affirmative in my essay. I proposed the Scientific Outlook Free-Lunch Economic System powered by KQID's engine. In this system, Buckminster Fuller's rationality becomes true and true: "We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living.... We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian-Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist." I proposed that we adopt Xuan Yuan Aanti-entropic Operating System 2.0 to bring about Da Tong or great harmony in this world.

I enjoyed reading your wonderful essay. I rated it a full mark: ten (10).

I wish you the best and good to exchange ideas with you,

Leo KoGuan

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on May. 15, 2014 @ 11:51 GMT
Dear Leo KoGuan,

I think many people would do great things, given the means and opportunity. But the majority have to struggle for survival and for having a roof and a bed, and if lucky, access to minimum health care and education. While Fuller may have been overly optimistic, it is clear that there is plenty of room for better. Thank you for the kind comments, and for letting me know about your essay. I look forward to read it.

Best regards,

Cristi




Member Marc Séguin wrote on May. 16, 2014 @ 03:58 GMT
Cristi,

Thank you for a fascinating essay. You really cover a lot of ground... the importance of freedom, the elusive definition of "I", the philosophy of Artificial Intelligence, the ontological status of simulations, the origin of altruism, the fact that the well being of human beings is the ultimate value, the danger of ideology, the importance of education without manipulation, the role of religion, the impact of the Internet, the future of work, the coming of the cybercitizens...

Concerning education, your write that

"For people to be free, they have to be informed, and to understand what's going on, what choices they have, and what are their consequences. [...] But by education I don't mean manipulation. This is why education must include critical thinking."

I wholeheartedly agree with you. In my essay, "To Steer Well We Need to See Clearly: the Need for a Worldwide Futurocentric Education Initiative", I propose that we should work hard to put together a "futurocentric curriculum" aimed at schools but also at lifelong education, in order to raise the level of public interest and knowledge about the topics that are the most relevant to the future of humanity. The risk of disinformation and manipulation is already high enough when we merely try to describe the current status of the world, so any discussion about the future is likely to be even more "ideologically loaded", with all the manipulating attempts that it entails. So, as you say, education must focus on critical thinking... but for most people, critical thinking is what other people should have in order to see that it is their own point of view that is correct! So we have a lot of job to do...

If you have time to read my essay, rate it and comment on it, it would be quite appreciated. I am also interested in finding out the opinion of others concerning which are the most important topics that should be part of a futurocentric curriculum...

Marc

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on May. 16, 2014 @ 07:05 GMT
Dear Marc,

I am happy you visited my page and read my essay, and I thank you for the comments. I agree with your comments, and I you said so well that "education must focus on critical thinking... but for most people, critical thinking is what other people should have in order to see that it is their own point of view that is correct! So we have a lot of job to do...". You know, just like pseudoscience contains elements of science, one can speak of "pseudo critical thinking", which uses elements of critical thinking as just other tools for manipulation. About a futurocentric curriculum, this seems important to me. I look forward to read more about it in your essay.

Best regards,

Cristi




Eckard Blumschein wrote on May. 17, 2014 @ 08:26 GMT
Christinel,

You did perhaps understand humanity not as mankind. Otherwise, you missed the topic. At least we might agree on that humanity is not a system that is waiting for a recommendation how to steer.

Eckard

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on May. 17, 2014 @ 12:30 GMT
Eckard,

Interesting remark. Now, that you mention, I think that the meanings of the word "humanity' are interdependent, in the sense that I think humanity as mankind needs humanity as a virtue. In my opinion, my essay is concerned with the topic of the contest, which I understand to be the future of mankind, and how to make it better. One can object that I did not focus on political and social solutions applied to the entire mankind. Indeed, I focus on the individual, and empowering him or her with freedom, education and critical thinking. The reason is that I think that no viable solution can ignore the individuals, this would lead to intolerance and dictatorial regimes. So I think my essay is topical. I avoided discussing other things I find interesting, if they did not serve the topic as I understood it. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to clarify this.

Best regards,

Cristi



Eckard Blumschein replied on May. 29, 2014 @ 07:28 GMT
Christi,

I shoehorned my reasoning into an interpretation of Nobel's attitude. As far as I know, he always considered the society, not individuals. You are of course correct in that the society consists of individuals whose feelings are important. Total steering each individual would be horrible.

Is humanity in the sense of unrestricte freedom a sufficient virtue? I would like to question this unless we are ready to balance human rights by adding tabooed human obligations to the notion of humanity. Isn't this a truly basic question?

I see restricting loyalty to a nation, loyalty to some we and even to my I, not always completely tolerable from the perspective of mankind.

Best regards,

Eckard

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on May. 29, 2014 @ 11:20 GMT
Eckard,

That's an excellent observation. Society is made of individuals, but is not just a sum of individuals. It is like interference, sometimes constructive, sometimes instructive. In my essay, I emphasized the freedoms of individual, but I think this affects society in a constructive way. There are so many social tensions, which take us so much resources, which have their origins in the...

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Don Limuti wrote on May. 19, 2014 @ 20:58 GMT
Hi Cristi,

1. Excellent Essay

2. Also liked your Q&A with Christian Corda, I am closer to Einstein than to Bohr.

3. Do you think the myth of Procrustes, is evidence that the ancient Greeks had a sense of humor?

Thanks,

Don Limuti

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on May. 19, 2014 @ 21:36 GMT
Hi Don,

Thank you for reading and commenting the essay and also some comments, and for your kind words. I look forward to read your essay.

> 3. Do you think the myth of Procrustes, is evidence that the ancient Greeks had a sense of humor?

Ancient Greeks had a sense of humor - they coined the term "comedy". Although it seems that it is considered that they separated tragedy from comedy, I tend to agree with you that the myth of Procrustes has comic elements.

Best regards,

Cristi




Peter Jackson wrote on May. 24, 2014 @ 15:13 GMT
Cristi,

I've saved your essay as I knew it'd influence my final moderation. I wasn't disappointed as again it was wide ranging and original with some interesting views. I did need that odd pinch of salt but as a debater you did a good job of covering the ground and raising the issues. We both tend to challenge conventional views with sound propositions, but in different ways.

Here...

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on May. 24, 2014 @ 19:16 GMT
Hi Peter,

Thank you for reading the essay and for the nice comments.

You ask very rightfully:

"May it not be as dangerous to let everybody wander aimlessly in different directions when we may need to work together to advance understanding. I'm thinking of the planets ecology, where lack of understanding of nature and the common will to make the necessary sacrifices may consign us to extinction?"

I agree that people can use their freedom to do bad things. On the one hand, I think that when they do this, they affect others' freedom in a negative way, so I don't think such a behavior would actually be in conformity with guaranteeing freedom for everyone. But here is a blurred line, since when people have to share the same resources, anything can be viewed as a violation of freedom for others. On the other hand, I also think that education (without manipulation) and critical thinking are important in defining freedom, so perhaps these may help people see better where are the limits you mention. What better antidote to the "lack of understanding of nature and the common will to make the necessary sacrifices" which you mention is, than education?

Thank you for the comments, and for the brief summary of your essay, which I look forward to reading! Good luck with the contest!

Best regards,

Cristi




Anonymous wrote on May. 25, 2014 @ 14:17 GMT
Dear Cristi,

Thanks for submitting your thoughtful and wide-ranging essay.

There seems to be a strong consensus in many essays that advanced computer systems will have a major impact. Having been involved with software all my life (including AI), I agree, though the claims in my essay for what they can do were a bit more muted ( Three Crucial Technologies - your critical comments...

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on May. 25, 2014 @ 16:13 GMT
Hi Tee,

Thanks for your comments, but I think you misunderstood my words.

You said: "You kept saying that God punishes those who do not worship Him."

I don't understand why you claim I "kept saying" this. What I said is that there are people who claim this.

> But isn't it more important to love and be loved?

It would have been easy for me to say "love is the...

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Torsten Asselmeyer-Maluga wrote on May. 27, 2014 @ 11:50 GMT
Dear Cristi,

nice essay, very insightful. I enjoyed it and you got 8 points.

Best

Torsten

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on May. 27, 2014 @ 16:21 GMT
Dear Torsten,

Thank you for reading and commenting my essay. I also liked your essay. I wish you all the best!

Cristi




Alex Hoekstra wrote on May. 28, 2014 @ 20:06 GMT
Hi Cristinel,

I wanted to thank you for a thoughtful, thorough examination of what it means to have a sense of self in a universe like ours. I appreciated the consideration you put into your evaluation of education (what it ought, and ought not to be), and I'm in agreement as per its importance. I am, though, given to wonder whether education (even if separated from manipulation) will provide sufficient tools for humanity to escape the cognitive paradigm emergent throughout our species' evolutionary history, at the very least to the degree necessary to evade our species' demise (whether at our own hands, or if not, by failing to prevent existential threats from flowering).

Again, I just wanted to thank you for the thought you put into your work, and tell you how stimulating it was. I wish you well in the competition, and look forward to hearing more from you soon.

Best regards.

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on May. 28, 2014 @ 22:27 GMT
Hi Alex,

Thanks for the comments, and for such a great question: " whether education (even if separated from manipulation) will provide sufficient tools for humanity to escape the cognitive paradigm emergent throughout our species' evolutionary history, at the very least to the degree necessary to evade our species' demise". If our evolutionary history is responsible for this cognitive paradigm, then it did a great job. I don't want to say at all that this paradigm is good enough, but it is really something, much more than what we would have without evolution. So if we arrived here, even if this place is not perfect, I think it is justified to hope for even more. Especially since I consider education (including using our own minds) to be a bit better than evolution, which is blind.

Thank you for the comment, and good luck with the contest!

Best regards,

Cristi




Janko Kokosar wrote on May. 28, 2014 @ 20:07 GMT
Dear Cristi Stoica

You write a nice essay. It can be used also as a reference. But, I disagree with one detail.

"There is nothing in science that could prevent us to build automata that do what we do. If these automata don't feel what we feel, at least they can do what we do when we feel what we feel. Maybe someday one can replicate a person, so that observers chatting with it don't distinguish the copy from the original. But you are inside yourself, so you know better than what an outside observer knows. You know that you are. Can science explain this?"

Probably you want to say that we cannot distinguish a philosophical zombie from conscious person. I wrote about this in old essay, but something also in this essay. I try to distinguish this distinction with quantum consciousness. It is well to broke this problem into fundamental units and I hope that I succeeded.

You also write: "So how can we help humanity, when we don't know what humanity is?" Thus you are answering on my question in my essay, why humanity need theory of everything. I claim that consciousness belong to theory of everything, where belongs also quantum gravity theory.

In old and new essay I try to prove that consciousness is more important than matter. I think that you claim the same.

If you will read my essay, you will see that I have a lot of similar ideas and views as you. For instance, I wrote that almost everyone, can work something useful.

You mentioned also to live in virtual reality. Here it is an interesting question for me, what is the minimum of real matter needed for someone who live in virtal reality. This is connection of quantum gravity physics, information and consciousness ...

Best regards

Janko Kokosar

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on May. 28, 2014 @ 22:17 GMT
Dear Janko Kokosar,

Thank you for the comments. You said "Probably you want to say that we cannot distinguish a philosophical zombie from conscious person." Well, I mean that one can't distinguish them, by objective means, or from the outside. However, one can't deny the subjective side of the problem, which tells us that we are more than philosophical zombies. Perhaps quantum mechanics can shed a light on this, because it suffers, in a way, from the same feature: one can only hope that there is some reality underlying the measurable outcomes.

You said "Here it is an interesting question for me, what is the minimum of real matter needed for someone who live in virtal reality. This is connection of quantum gravity physics, information and consciousness ...". Well, that's a good question, with the implications you mentioned, and whose answer I don't think I can even roughly approximate.

I didn't get a chance yet to read your essay, but I look forward to read it soon enough. Good luck at the contest.

Best regards,

Cristi




Ray Luechtefeld wrote on May. 29, 2014 @ 17:18 GMT
Hi Cristinel,

Thanks for the lovely essay. I found that it resonated with my essay on computationally intelligent personal dialogic agents. I'd appreciate a rating, if you can do that, since I am a bit short on ratings.

If you haven't, I suggest you read "I and Thou" by Martin Buber. Thinking about your essay in light of Buber's work raises some interesting perspectives.

Ray

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on May. 30, 2014 @ 12:24 GMT
Hi Ray,

Thank you for the nice comment, and for the suggested reading by Martin Buber. I look forward to read your very interesting essay. Good luck in the competition!

Best regards,

Cristi




Michael Allan wrote on May. 31, 2014 @ 11:03 GMT
Hello Cristinel, May I post a short, but sincere critique of your essay? I'd ask you to return the favour. Here's my policy on that. - Mike

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on Jun. 1, 2014 @ 06:02 GMT
Hello Mike,

Sure, sincere criticism is always welcome. I look forward to read your essay and comment on its page.

Best regards,

Cristi



Michael Allan replied on Jun. 3, 2014 @ 13:01 GMT
Thanks Cristi,

A. I see you as a faithful apologist for contemporary ideals. Your essay contains a contradiction that isn't so much a fault in your own thinking, as a fault in the society you speak for. The section titled "Undefining the man" (p. 1) immediately contradicts itself by defining him. It affirms a utopian ideology of individual freedom that simultaneously confesses to be intolerant of competitors. It will not tolerate ideologies that affirm an "idealization of man, a simplified model", yet itself affirms just that. "One should always let humans be what they want" is the rule, yet this rule is immediately broken by rejecting other definitions of humanity, or more complex definitions, for fear they'll undermine freedom and lead to violence. Even your harmless looking axiom 1 ("The most important things in the world are life, consciousness, happiness") is quickly rejected because "assumptions about what people need most" lead to "building a dystopian, repressive world", or even "horrific oppression measures including genocides" (p. 6).

Again, I don't think you introduce these inconsistencies yourself. I think they originate in modern society and you faithfully reveal them. To be completely faithful to that society, you must now ignore my critique.

B. "Perhaps there should be a subjective science", you suggest, to "study that interior activity that can't be verified by outside observers." (p. 4) I'm not an expert here, but I read that the subjective world is grasped by our "aesthetic-practical" and "moral-practical" complexes of rationality (Habermas, Reason and the rationalization of society, p. 238). More specifically it's grasped by a combination of eroticism and morality. As you foresaw, there's a big X to exclude any objective peeping Toms.

Mike

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on Jun. 3, 2014 @ 17:24 GMT
Dear Michael,

Thank you for the comments, which reveal how you see my essay. I see it differently, but you are free to understand it as you want.

A. For example, you say "The section titled "Undefining the man" (p. 1) immediately contradicts itself by defining him." I don't think I defined man, you are just playing with the words. If you found a definition I gave to man, you...

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Donald C Barker wrote on Jun. 1, 2014 @ 02:12 GMT
Hello C

I found your essay interesting but would like to add one extremely important addition to your abstract's final sentence (and something that needs to be expanded into the text). Your final sentence stating that "freedom has to be protected by access to information, education, transparency and critical thinking" is correct, I believe, but freedom will only be maintained if "accountability" is assured and rapidly addressed. Basic human behavior is genetically constrained and has not changed in millennia and most people not held accountable for their behaviors will attempt to get all they want by what ever means they cam.

Cheers,

Don Barker

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on Jun. 1, 2014 @ 06:28 GMT
Hello Don,

"freedom will only be maintained if "accountability" is assured and rapidly addressed. Basic human behavior is genetically constrained and has not changed in millennia and most people not held accountable for their behaviors will attempt to get all they want by what ever means they cam."

Yes, you are right that the temptation to abuse freedom to break others' freedom exists and should be prevented. Holding people accountable for their behaviors is a tool that is and should be better used to maintain freedom. On the other hand, we already established that people tend to abuse their power, and this applies also to those who are in charge with the law. People are punished for any kinds of reasons, and currently this is used more as a tool against freedom, rather than for freedom. Who will guard the guardians? An open society seems to me a good starting point, and I defended this in the text. Thank you for emphasizing the complementary aspect and giving me the opportunity to detail.

Best regards,

Cristi




Chidi Idika wrote on Jun. 3, 2014 @ 09:13 GMT
Hi Cristi,

Just to so I will appreciate to have your frank comment and voting on my perhaps unconventional thesis. And why not?

Have mine. And Regards,

Chidi

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on Jun. 3, 2014 @ 13:39 GMT
Hi Chidi,

Thank you for reading my essay and for your comment. I look forward to read your essay.

Best regards,

Cristi



Chidi Idika replied on Jun. 6, 2014 @ 03:56 GMT
Many thanks, Cristi, for your crisp observation at my end. It helps the lonely wanderer to find he still could be located somewhere on the map.

Wishing you the best,

Chidi

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James Blodgett wrote on Jun. 6, 2014 @ 06:54 GMT
Hello Cristinel

Your philosophical essay would benefit by considering utilitarianism. (The greatest good for the greatest number.) You would also be a good person to consider the limits of utilitarianism.

You see humanity as the measure of all things, perhaps even if replicated. If humans are good, aren 't more better? (Until we hit limits. ) Consider two poles of future...

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on Jun. 6, 2014 @ 19:22 GMT
Hello James,

Thank you for the interesting comments. Your arguments for utilitarianism make me eager to read your essay. I also find interesting your comments about having more humans. Thank you and good luck in the contest!

Best regards,

Cristi




Christine Cordula Dantas wrote on Jun. 6, 2014 @ 12:13 GMT
Dear Cristinel (Christian?)

I have just read your essay, and my initial suspicion that we had a lot in common (not only similar names) was confirmed. Yours is in my opinion one of the best essays in this contest.

The reasons I find this are: (1) the essay is well-written and adds value and material for thought; (2) the fundamental points are clear and highly relevant: the connection...

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on Jun. 6, 2014 @ 18:51 GMT
Dear Christine,

Thank you for reading and commenting my essay. Your comments show that we have a lot in common, so I will read your essay soon and comment. My first name is indeed Cristinel, although "Cristian" is more common in Romania too. The feminine version is "Cristina". Good luck in the contest!

Best regards,

Cristi




Wilhelmus de Wilde wrote on Jun. 13, 2014 @ 15:20 GMT
Dear Christi,

Congratulations with your high score and admission to the finalists pool.

I hope that the discussions continue so I have the pleasure to sent you the link to my essay : "STEERING THE FUTURE OF CONSCIOUSNESS" and hope that you will place a comment on my thread.

Good luch with the "final judgement" and

best regards

Wilhelmus

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on Jun. 13, 2014 @ 18:15 GMT
Dear Wilhelmus,

Thank you for the comment, and I agree the discussions can continue. Thanks for the link to your essay, I will comment.

Best regards and good luck,

Cristi




Rick Searle wrote on Jul. 6, 2014 @ 02:59 GMT
Hello Cristi,

I posted an article giving some publicity to your piece:

http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/searle20140705

Cong
rats on being a finalist!

Rick Searle

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Author Cristinel Stoica replied on Jul. 6, 2014 @ 06:48 GMT
Hi Rick,

I enjoyed very much reading your article on the website of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, and I thank you for also mentioning my essay, among some excellent essays you presented. I am happy your excellent essay is a finalist!

Best regards,

Cristi




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