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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Vladimir Rogozhin: on 5/31/14 at 12:41pm UTC, wrote Dear Sebastian, Contests FQXi - it's original ideas. You take a deep...

Sebastian Benthall: on 5/30/14 at 14:54pm UTC, wrote You got it! Thanks for the comment.

Sebastian Benthall: on 5/30/14 at 14:54pm UTC, wrote Hi Petio, Can you elaborate on what makes this theory especially valuable,...

Sebastian Benthall: on 5/30/14 at 14:52pm UTC, wrote Peter, Thanks for this response. I suppose the way I see it is that...

Sebastian Benthall: on 5/30/14 at 14:49pm UTC, wrote I'm trying not to take the rating process too seriously. I'll review and...

Sebastian Benthall: on 5/30/14 at 14:47pm UTC, wrote Thank you, Georgina. That's a good point about people living off the grid....

Sebastian Benthall: on 5/30/14 at 14:41pm UTC, wrote Thank you, Joe. That is kind of you to say.

Sebastian Benthall: on 5/30/14 at 14:41pm UTC, wrote Hi James, I don't disagree with you in spirit. Certainly there are...


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FQXi FORUM
October 19, 2019

CATEGORY: How Should Humanity Steer the Future? Essay Contest (2014) [back]
TOPIC: Cybernetic Governors by Sebastian Benthall [refresh]
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Author Sebastian Benthall wrote on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 15:50 GMT
Essay Abstract

We cannot steer the future of humanity alone. Humanity must steer itself through design of cyber-infrastructure that governs it. To understand and control the future of humanity, we must look to the processes that design these cybernetic governors.

Author Bio

Sebastian Benthall is a PhD student at UC Berkeley School of Information studying scientific software development as distributed cognition using statistical model selection techniques. He has a B.A. in Cognitive Science from Brown University.

Download Essay PDF File

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James Dunn wrote on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 20:20 GMT
Cyber-space systems have mass efforts to both corrupt (unethical allocation of resources and/or opportunities) and enforce egalitarian use (NSA, cyber security, anti-virus, spybot detection...). Currently the NSA supported sub-directorates (homeland security, CIA, FBI ...) are NOT ethically monitored. As such, cybernetic governors to steer humanity cannot be ethical.

First create ethical Representatives to monitor the vast systems of information exchange, create uniform methods of dealing with people and corporations (coalitions) with equal regards, then I will be open to cybernetic governors.

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

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Author Sebastian Benthall replied on May. 30, 2014 @ 14:41 GMT
Hi James,

I don't disagree with you in spirit. Certainly there are unethical cybernetic governors operating today.

The problem is those cybernetic governors are the ones steering humanity.

In my opinion, acknowledging that that is the locus of power--the steering wheel--is the first step to reclaiming ethical governance.

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Joe Fisher wrote on Apr. 28, 2014 @ 15:10 GMT
Dear Mr. Benthall,

I found your essay to be very interesting and I do hope that it does well in the competition.

Joe Fisher

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Author Sebastian Benthall replied on May. 30, 2014 @ 14:41 GMT
Thank you, Joe. That is kind of you to say.

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Georgina Woodward wrote on May. 8, 2014 @ 01:04 GMT
Hi Sebastian,

I like that you have a clear answer to the question and your essay clearly lays out the ground that leads to that conclusion. An interesting proposition. Not without difficulties as James has noted. There is also the possibility of a backlash such as people going "off grid" to keep control of their private lives and maintain their independence. Will such people be suspected of having something to hide because their opinions and metadata are not open to scrutiny? I wonder.

An enjoyable, relevant read. Good luck, Georgina.

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Author Sebastian Benthall replied on May. 30, 2014 @ 14:47 GMT
Thank you, Georgina.

That's a good point about people living off the grid. I guess I wonder how much those people abdicate responsibility for steering the future.

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Peter Jackson wrote on May. 15, 2014 @ 17:28 GMT
Seb,

An interesting and original aspect. But do you not think that the 'collective' always produces the camel? I tend to the belief that it's the brilliance of the individual that really advances human understanding, a view that has much empirical evidence if we look. How do we retain that exceptional ability in a cyber society?

I see you're no engaging with the process here. That's a shame as there are many brilliant individual essays which make up the whole. I hope you get to read some. Mine's a romance with logical QM.

Best of luck in the contest.

Peter

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Author Sebastian Benthall replied on May. 30, 2014 @ 14:52 GMT
Peter,

Thanks for this response.

I suppose the way I see it is that extraordinary individuality is a function of ones extraordinary position within the network of human interaction. So these are not actually in contradiction.

Thank you for the encouragement to engage the process. I was busy with my qualifying exams. I'm taking the opportunity of the extension to engage more now.

Best regards,

seb

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Aaron M. Feeney wrote on May. 22, 2014 @ 18:49 GMT
Hi Sebastian,

I found your article very interesting and insightful. As I understand it, the information infrastructure has, in a sense, become our civilization's nervous system, and therefore, those who control the traffic and processing within that infrastructure have their hands on a significant steering wheel to govern and guide the course of humanity. You have presented an excellent concept of critical importance. I have rated your essay accordingly, and I wish you the best here and in all things.

Warmly,

Aaron

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Author Sebastian Benthall replied on May. 30, 2014 @ 14:54 GMT
You got it! Thanks for the comment.

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Vladimir Rogozhin wrote on May. 31, 2014 @ 12:41 GMT
Dear Sebastian,

Contests FQXi - it's original ideas. You take a deep analysis of of modernity and give clear and distinct ideas in the spirit of Descartes. I totally agree with you that there is no other way for Humanity: «How should humanity steer the future? Humanely. How must it steer the future? Through the cybernetic systems that with increasing intelligence dictate how humans communicate with and control each otherour cybernetic governors. Peeling back the recursive layers to the heart of these systems, we find the cybernetic governance of the scientists and programmers that build these systems. That's it. That's the steering wheel.»

If you do not mind- the high ethical scientists and programmers. We need a "Great Common Cause" to save Peace, Nature and Humanity. Modern information systems - a great helper. Great Dream always go alond with Freedom without fear, Hope, Love, Justice. It's time. We start the path. New Generation of the Information age tells us the right path. High score. I invite you to comment and appreciate my ideas.

Best regards,

Vladimir

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