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How Should Humanity Steer the Future?
January 9, 2014 - August 31, 2014
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It From Bit or Bit From It
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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Michael muteru: on 5/16/14 at 11:22am UTC, wrote Dear Gene an astounding piece,very enlightening,currently voting may i...

James Hoover: on 5/15/14 at 22:26pm UTC, wrote Gene, Our mountain top experience, I assume, needs to be shared to avoid a...

Aaron Feeney: on 5/10/14 at 3:39am UTC, wrote P.S., I will use the following rating scale to rate the essays of authors...

Peter Jackson: on 4/29/14 at 20:38pm UTC, wrote Gene, Another very clear and pertinent essay, straight to the point. I...

Hoang Hai: on 4/22/14 at 2:36am UTC, wrote Dear Barbee Very detailed with extensive expertise, unfortunately I only...

Georgina Woodward: on 4/21/14 at 1:02am UTC, wrote Hi Gene, I enjoyed reading your essay. I think I can sum the message up as...

John Merryman: on 4/12/14 at 23:48pm UTC, wrote Jonathan, I make a similar point in my essay, that we are looking at...

Jonathan Dickau: on 4/12/14 at 18:19pm UTC, wrote For what it's worth.. I think you offer some useful perspective, John. We...


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FQXi FORUM
October 14, 2019

CATEGORY: How Should Humanity Steer the Future? Essay Contest (2014) [back]
TOPIC: Base Camp Four by Gene H Barbee [refresh]
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Author Gene H Barbee wrote on Feb. 11, 2014 @ 15:34 GMT
Essay Abstract

This is an opportunity to consider for a moment what the view might be as science climbs towards a summit. We appear to be on the verge of finding that the universe is teaming with life. This is great news but as we realize how inaccessible dialog will be perhaps we will still feel alone. To be fair, technology improvements have made an extremely positive impact on society. If there is a question about what more science can do for humanity it must refer to fundamental questions about existence that impact the way we act toward one another. If we can’t dialog across disciplines, bridge gaps and agree on more things of consequence we may not be able to steer the future in this area. If not the future will look a lot like the past and our planet will be too small to support high quality life.

Author Bio

Interest in physics and cosmology. Please contact me at genebarbee@msn.com to discuss or request additional supporting information.

Download Essay PDF File

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Joe Fisher wrote on Feb. 13, 2014 @ 14:55 GMT
Gene, I quite enjoyed reading your essay. Unfortunately, as I have pointed out in my essay REALITY, ONCE information precludes anyone from understanding reality. There are no such things as "laws of nature." The Universe was not created. The Universe is occurring in an infinity. There is no way any part of infinity could be older than any other part of infinity. There is no way finite information could be useful.

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Vladimir F. Tamari wrote on Feb. 14, 2014 @ 03:01 GMT
Gene,

I enjoyed the essay it quite relevant to the essay question, and bridges physics and what humanity needs. Both ends of the 'bridge' - the analysis of information and mental precesses etc. on the one hand, and the moving Base Camp Four section are excellent in themselves. But there is a vast chasm between the two - can it be crossed by computers, for example? By new communication methods? By St. Tenzing and a new religion of informatics?!

Cheers

Vladimir

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Author Gene H Barbee replied on Feb. 16, 2014 @ 15:57 GMT
Thanks for your comments. I agree with you that there is a huge behavior gap. Laws need to be strengthened for extreme anti-social behaviors but unfortunately incarcerating people is expensive and already too prevalent. I have heard many law abiding citizens say that they are not against further surveillance as a preventative measure. People are naturally aggressive and some of this behavior can be channeled through friendly competition. I play a lot of competitive tennis and we are friends before and after the matches. Education plays a role especially for children who often grow up modeling their parents poor behavior. Overall, as you suggest computers enhance communication and religion has traditionally helped people understand the value of becoming the best person they can be. The view I express in the essay is that we should value and cultivate our internal reality. I heard this expressed very well recently by an old person saying "it is your own fault if you don't value every precious moment remaining in your life".

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Feb. 19, 2014 @ 02:39 GMT
Hello Gene,

It's good to see you in this year's contest. I look forward to reading your essay and commenting. The abstract doesn't say enough to make it clear what you are talking about, but the theme sounds interesting.

Regards,

Jonathan

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Apr. 11, 2014 @ 04:32 GMT
A thoughtful essay, Gene..

I find a lot to agree with, in this work. I assume that Base Camp Four is meant to signify the 'Universe as Information' outlook, which we have now arrived at, and that we are not at the mountaintop view yet. At least you are trying to answer the essay question, about whether this outlook points us at a brighter future, and I evaluated your paper accordingly.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Author Gene H Barbee replied on Apr. 12, 2014 @ 15:23 GMT
Hi Jonathan,

Thanks for contributing another fine essay. Your emphasis on education as a means of improving our prospect for a bright future is on target. As an engineer engaged in industrial research I found that a playful approach to a problem was very productive. Later in my career I tried to understand what creates a productive environment. Actually, it wasn’t necessary. The...

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Apr. 12, 2014 @ 17:26 GMT
Pursuing this link further..

I think the fact of society becoming comfortable with the 'Universe as Information' point of view does present a unique opportunity in the history of mankind. Now the challenge is to control the framing of those concepts, or direct people's minds into a fruitful understanding of such things. I think the idea of a computing universe or mathematical universe is right on, to the extent that it guides people toward the understanding that there is a dance between the intrinsic realities of Math and what is possible to manifest. But I think this speaks to a broader issue of what is comprehensible, and what it is possible to learn about the universe, actually playing a part in determining what becomes real.

In brief; one could re-phrase 'Cogito ergo sum' to be 'It computes, therefore it is.' In plain language; what is real exists because it makes sense in an internally and externally consistent way. If it did not make sense at the root definition of its foundations, it would not exist in the form we observe. So the role of Physics is to discover what rules the constituent fundaments of reality are following, and to describe them in a way that is humanly comprehensible. My guess is there is a requirement for both computability and geometric constructability, for things to manifest in physical form.

That's all for now,

Jonathan

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John Brodix Merryman wrote on Apr. 12, 2014 @ 17:56 GMT
Gene,

I hadn't commented previously, as we have a significant conceptual difference, but after reading your exchange with Jonathan, I thought I'd make some effort to breach it.

As I see it, information is one side of an indivisible coin with energy. Energy is what manifests information and any expression of energy amounts to information. Frequency, amplitude, spectrum, force, velocity, even binary digits require some polarity of force to be expressed.

So there is no information without the energy to express it. No structure to the void.

Now what Jonathan argues is we need to maintain a child's appreciation for exploration and reserve the adult need to constantly frame, monetize, debate, judge, etc.

So what I would argue is that this reflects that dichotomy. The child is like energy, constantly expanding out, pushing the boundaries, even disrupting old orders and ways of thinking. Meanwhile the adult perspective is just that need to order, structure, judge that raw and undisciplined energy. Much like this dichotomy of energy and information.

Thus the bottom up childlike view is information is something to be tested, like water wearing stone. Meanwhile the top down adult view, is this energy is to be constrained and channeled, because obviously it is only as information and structure what it can be effectively put to use.

I could go on, especially in the ways this creates the effect of time, as energy pushes outward into the future, while information and the collection and ordering of which defines and creates this sense of the past, but I find this line of reasoning to be not particularly appreciated by most professionally minded people, so I would understand if you were to politely disagree and drop the subject.

Regards,

John M

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Jonathan J. Dickau replied on Apr. 12, 2014 @ 18:19 GMT
For what it's worth..

I think you offer some useful perspective, John. We need more of that child-like energy - always pushing at the edges of calcified knowledge like water wearing down stone. This is what I see to be the main advantage humans have over machines; so why would we want to constrain what makes us human anyway? I think we should celebrate whatever advantages we have, for as long as 'the machine' will allow. But ultimately; we must realize one profound clue to be a literal truth - in our quest for the stars. We must become like little children, to enter the kingdom of heaven.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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John Brodix Merryman replied on Apr. 12, 2014 @ 23:48 GMT
Jonathan,

I make a similar point in my essay, that we are looking at theology backwards. An absolute is basis, not apex, so a spiritual absolute would be the essence of being from which we rise, not a moral, intellectual and judgmental ideal form from which we fell. The new born babe, not the bearded old man, so to speak. Obviously one more idea not likely to garner an audience anytime soon. ;-)

Awareness is that energy expanding out. Thought is the structure and form it manifests. As babies, we don't remember much, even though we are quite aware, because the thoughts don't form coherently and when they do, is when we start to have memories.

Regards,

John M

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Georgina Woodward wrote on Apr. 21, 2014 @ 01:02 GMT
Hi Gene,

I enjoyed reading your essay. I think I can sum the message up as 'we are getting there'. The 5 principles given at the end are good and give a clear 'destination' to steer towards. I found your discussion of reality, especially the information /physical reality duality interesting as reality in the context of physics is a topic I have spent a lot of time considering.IMHO It is important to consider how the different kinds of physics theory fit together with the different kinds of reality.I hope your essay generates a lot of interest.

Good luck, Georgina

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Hoang cao Hai wrote on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 02:36 GMT
Dear Barbee

Very detailed with extensive expertise, unfortunately I only allowed for 10 points.

Best wishes - Hải.CaoHoàng

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Peter Jackson wrote on Apr. 29, 2014 @ 20:38 GMT
Gene,

Another very clear and pertinent essay, straight to the point. I think last years was very undervalued, I hope this does much better.

Though quite different subjects I saw a couple of pleasing commonalities in our views, particularly in observed dependence, which I feel is far more fundamentally important than most realise.

I was a little disappointed yours ended so soon, but the points were important and made well. It was also a far smoother and easier read than many! Well done.

I hope you'll read (and understand) mine. I hope simplify some impossibly bizarre and nonsensically unreal 'science'.

Very best of luck with yours.

Best wishes

Peter

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James Lee Hoover wrote on May. 15, 2014 @ 22:26 GMT
Gene,

Our mountain top experience, I assume, needs to be shared to avoid a future like the past, communicating common purpose for a viable future. That is my view in my essay, on one hand seeing beyond the arcane and self-centered and the other seeing within the human brain which is a microcosm of the universe.

Good thoughts and organized well, Gene.

Jim

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Michael muteru wrote on May. 16, 2014 @ 11:22 GMT
Dear Gene

an astounding piece,very enlightening,currently voting may i give you 7/10.On your portrayal of reality-in its Abstract or physical forms information theory carries the day at sub-planck scales. the universe is just the sum total of sorting/coding algorithms at play evident as motion.In my essay i potray the reality we inhabit,challenges and solutions, you can rate/view it under http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/2101,titled LIVING IN THE SHADOWS OF THE SUN: REALITIES, PERILS ESCAPADES MAN, PLANET AND KARDASHEV SCALE.MAKING THE GREAT TRANSITION by Michael muteru ,Thanks

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