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January 9, 2014 - August 31, 2014
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Peter Jackson: on 6/5/14 at 14:28pm UTC, wrote Mark, I found that a well aimed, well written and thorough presentation....

Margriet O'Regan: on 6/4/14 at 8:09am UTC, wrote Hello Mark ~ I thoroughly applaud your three recommended changes. If you...

Alex Hoekstra: on 5/28/14 at 20:47pm UTC, wrote Hi Mark, I wanted first to express my gratitude for the consideration you...

Aaron Feeney: on 5/11/14 at 1:53am UTC, wrote Also, if you do decide to read my paper, please read my conversations with...

Aaron Feeney: on 5/10/14 at 2:30am UTC, wrote P.S., I will use the following rating scale to rate the essays of authors...

Georgina Woodward: on 5/9/14 at 4:36am UTC, wrote Hi Mark, you've chosen some interesting big issues to discuss. Each...

Ross Cevenst: on 4/30/14 at 11:21am UTC, wrote Hi Mark, You seem to have a written an article that lays out some measures...

Joe Fisher: on 4/28/14 at 13:38pm UTC, wrote Dear Mr. Aldridge, I thought that your essay was very well written and I...


Steve Dufourny: "I must explain what is the real meaning of Spherisation in my theory.It is..." in Mass–Energy Equivalence...

Georgina Woodward: "Hi Robert, thank you. I now understand the difference between decisions and..." in Schrödinger’s Zombie:...

Robert McEachern: "Making a decision, means selecting between discrete, a priori established..." in Schrödinger’s Zombie:...

Steve Dufourny: "Hi Eckard,you seems persuaded by your Words and thoughts.I don t understand..." in First Things First: The...

Eckard Blumschein: "In Darwinism/Weismannism there is no first cause, just a causal chain...." in First Things First: The...

Steve Dufourny: "lol no indeed it is not a lot,like I said I liked your general ideas.I have..." in The Demon in the Machine...

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First Things First: The Physics of Causality
Why do we remember the past and not the future? Untangling the connections between cause and effect, choice, and entropy.

Can Time Be Saved From Physics?
Philosophers, physicists and neuroscientists discuss how our sense of time’s flow might arise through our interactions with external stimuli—despite suggestions from Einstein's relativity that our perception of the passage of time is an illusion.

A devilish new framework of thermodynamics that focuses on how we observe information could help illuminate our understanding of probability and rewrite quantum theory.

Gravity's Residue
An unusual approach to unifying the laws of physics could solve Hawking's black-hole information paradox—and its predicted gravitational "memory effect" could be picked up by LIGO.

Could Mind Forge the Universe?
Objective reality, and the laws of physics themselves, emerge from our observations, according to a new framework that turns what we think of as fundamental on its head.

October 15, 2019

CATEGORY: How Should Humanity Steer the Future? Essay Contest (2014) [back]
TOPIC: Does Our Civilization Have a Destiny by Mark P Aldridge [refresh]
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Author Mark P Aldridge wrote on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 15:49 GMT
Essay Abstract

Human civilization has reached the point where it has the capacity to ask, "Where should we go?" and, "Is this all there is?" In order to avoid or adapt to the consequences of resource constraint and climate change, human civilization should first develop and adopt three major changes. First, it should strive to understand the human brain and augment it in such a way so as to avoid short and long term goal misalignment and self delusional thinking. Secondly, it should strive to create a system that will incorporate the will of and educate the entire planetary population in regards to issues regarding our species. Third, it should adopt a policy of population limit and control such that our species is under no fear of resource failure. Only after having adopted these reforms, can our species truly make decisions regarding its future.

Author Bio

Originally from Oklahoma, Mark Aldridge is a pharmaceutical chemist by training. His intellectual interests include science, technology, education, philosophy, economics, neuroscience and transhumanism. He lives in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Download Essay PDF File

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Gbenga Michael Ogungbuyi wrote on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 22:02 GMT
Dear Mark,

I am particularly interested in your essay because of the rhetorical title you gave it. It is worth pandering on "Does our civilization have a destiny?"

I employ you to read my article, "STRIKING A BALANCE BETWEEN TECHNOLOGY AND ECOSYSTEM" including leaving a comment base on your observation and possibly giving a rating.

God bless and good luck


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Turil Sweden Cronburg wrote on Apr. 27, 2014 @ 18:04 GMT
Mark, are you aware of the psychological research done last century by Abraham Maslow, and the follow-up research done by many different folks, which defined the conditions when a human brain/mind functions at it’s peak ability to think in long term problem solving mode aimed in highly pro-social directions? You suggest an artificial intelligence might be needed to get us to think more effectively, but it seems like it would be guaranteed to fail since we’re biologically compromised as it is. It would be akin to adding another room onto a house that’s on fire. (Not that extreme, perhaps, but still, when you mess with mentally/physically ill individuals, without actually healing them, you risk creating a whole lot of clever psychopaths!

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Joe Fisher wrote on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 13:38 GMT
Dear Mr. Aldridge,

I thought that your essay was very well written and I only have one minor quibble about it that I hope you will not mind me mentioning.

I do not understand why the predominantly white male government of the United States of America is willing to spend billions of dollars to fund programs for predominantly white male scientists to explore space, listen out for messages from outer-space, and for predominantly white male scientists to build a workable piece of artificial intelligence: while at the same time, nine billion dollars have been cut out of the food-stamp program that helps the poor.

This costly artificial intelligence program you are proposing will only be able to communicate in white male scientists’ scientific language will it not. I mean the thing is not suddenly going to burst into rapping is it?


Joe Fisher

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Ross Cevenst wrote on Apr. 30, 2014 @ 11:21 GMT
Hi Mark,

You seem to have a written an article that lays out some measures to improve humanity's future - improving human cognitive ability, establishing a more democratic version of the UN that focuses on planetary survival, and taking non-oppressive measures to limit population.

I feel the main thing missing is more detail as to how these would navigate the social and political minefield that each might encounter. In particular a super-democracy seems to be an immense challenge, as even at a national level democracies face the challenge of balacing the demands of populism and technocracy, majority will and minority protection, and apathy and the power of interest groups.

Still its a topic well worth consideration, so thanks for your essay!

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Georgina Woodward wrote on May. 9, 2014 @ 04:36 GMT
Hi Mark,

you've chosen some interesting big issues to discuss. Each solution will come with its own set of problems.

I'm not sure that enhancing intelligence of the world's population is desirable.This may be controversial, but I think there is something to be said for simple, humble, practicality and sociability. Scientists are probably biased in thinking that intelligence the pinnacle of our evolution. I am not advocating ignorance but saying intelligence alone is not what makes us human. It is perhaps instead our social lives and structures and dexterity allowing various engineering feats, from tying fishhooks, and weaving nets, to carving templates for machine components and drawing engineering designs, that differentiate us from the rest if the animal kingdom and have aided and continue to aide our survival and civilization.

I'm not convinced that it is lack of intelligence that causes misalignment of long and short term goals. It is rather the incentives that exist to put immediate wants ahead of long term needs. Credit card mentality sold to people as normal and desirable; Politicians seeking re-election as examples.

I've probably said enough. Thought provoking essay, Regards, Georgina

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Aaron M. Feeney wrote on May. 11, 2014 @ 01:53 GMT
Also, if you do decide to read my paper, please read my conversations with Michael Allan, Tommy Anderberg, and Robert de Neufville on my page as well. A great deal of clarification is available in those stimulating conversations.

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Alex Hoekstra wrote on May. 28, 2014 @ 20:47 GMT
Hi Mark,

I wanted first to express my gratitude for the consideration you put into your work. Yours is honestly one of the best entries I've read in this essay contest, and I hope sincerely to see yours counted in the final round, and given the same amount of consideration by readers and judges that you put into writing it.

I specifically admire the order in which you detailed your proposal. First and foremost, the mind. Given that first step, though, one wonders whether the subsequent items on the agenda are even vaguely predictable to us, here on step zero. (They make sense to us, here and now, of course, but you might be inclined to join me in not trusting the judgement of the humankind of today.)

No matter what, thank you for the thought you put into this, and know that I'm wishing you the best regards, in this essay contest and in all other endeavors, from one limited consciousness to another.


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Margriet Anne O'Regan wrote on Jun. 4, 2014 @ 08:09 GMT
Hello Mark ~

I thoroughly applaud your three recommended changes.

If you care to read & rate my essay you'll see that I consider nature to not only always operates as to these three directions but in us humans has almost achieved its processorial endpoint - specifically a life form that can live in perfect harmony with its surrounds (animate & inanimate alike) doing so moreover without inflicting any waste, loss or damage on anything or anyone.

The 'endpoint selected' life form will most definitely be well nigh omniscient - that is to say, possess enough knowledge & intelligence to steer itself as to nature's best 'intentions' for it - a happy, healthy & long life for all.

I hope you get a chance to read & rate my essay which stands second in the 'submissions date' listing.


Margriet Anne O'Regan

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Peter Jackson wrote on Jun. 5, 2014 @ 14:28 GMT

I found that a well aimed, well written and thorough presentation. Certainly top marks for aim 1 and the need to; "mitigate our cognitive flaws" which I also identify and also use. It's a shame so few have shown interest.

Our titles are also quite similar, recognising the real chance we DON'T have long term future. I'm ambivolent on the population control as I take a more positive stance, showing that your part 1 will release major advancements allowing us to populate the near universe to ensue our future Earth's Goldilocks zone has a strict time limit.

I hope you get to read and comment on mine, taking a rather different tack and a 'quantum' leap! Well done for yours and best wishes.


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