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Undecidability, Uncomputability, and Unpredictability Essay Contest
December 24, 2019 - April 24, 2020
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What Is “Fundamental”
October 28, 2017 to January 22, 2018
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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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Trick or Truth: The Mysterious Connection Between Physics and Mathematics
Contest Partners: Nanotronics Imaging, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, and The John Templeton Foundation
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How Should Humanity Steer the Future?
January 9, 2014 - August 31, 2014
Contest Partners: Jaan Tallinn, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, The John Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American

It From Bit or Bit From It
March 25 - June 28, 2013
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Steven Kaas: on 6/7/14 at 3:15am UTC, wrote While we're glad to see additional essays discussing topics related to...

Peter Jackson: on 6/6/14 at 23:05pm UTC, wrote Alexander, Great essay, I love your thinking. I can't believe so few have...

Janko Kokosar: on 6/4/14 at 15:00pm UTC, wrote Dear Alexander Macrae Your essay has a lot of similar views, as my old...

Aaron Feeney: on 5/24/14 at 21:22pm UTC, wrote Hi Alexander, While I won't personally be joining the cue to have my bio...

Alexander Macrae: on 5/10/14 at 14:38pm UTC, wrote Thank you, Denis, we simply carry on blindly, ignoring the future beyond...

Alexander Macrae: on 5/10/14 at 14:29pm UTC, wrote Aaron, thanks - I have not been able until now to read anyone else's...

Alexander Macrae: on 5/10/14 at 14:21pm UTC, wrote James, thank you for the FAR-OUT!! And I totally agree with your...

Alexander Macrae: on 5/10/14 at 14:16pm UTC, wrote Thank you Mr Fisher for your kind wishes, and for your comment re the...


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June 4, 2020

CATEGORY: How Should Humanity Steer the Future? Essay Contest (2014) [back]
TOPIC: How Should Humanity Steer the Future by alexander macrae [refresh]
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Author Alexander Macrae wrote on May. 1, 2014 @ 10:42 GMT
Essay Abstract

The matter of replacing a biological body with a Designer Body is discussed. Two of the most prominent efforts in this direction are outlined. Cultural changes due such an event are suggested.

Author Bio

Retired engineer/scientist in the areas of system design and speech communications. Research is continuing in the filed of anomalous patterns of information. Fellow of the Bial Foundation - who have funded some experiments. And at whose bi-annual Symposium wok was exhibited.

Download Essay PDF File

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James Dunn wrote on May. 4, 2014 @ 03:10 GMT
I support cybernetics, but there are a myriad of consequences. But it might make long term stasis to conserve energy between destinations feasible. No body to support. But then wait a little longer and the AI can populate the cybernetics and be productive throughout the trips.

If a brain through cybernetics connects with an AI permanently, then as the conscious brain finds better support within the AI architecture the brain becomes dysfunctional. As the consciousness is mutually incorporated within the AI, then through quantum entanglement-like connections with the universe we evolve to become part of everything in the universe. We merge in with the universal collective conscious that pre-existed our arrival.

Can't imagine what that would be like. But the pathways seem marginally feasible.

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Author Alexander Macrae replied on May. 10, 2014 @ 13:58 GMT
Thank you James. An interesting development.

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Georgina Woodward wrote on May. 5, 2014 @ 04:23 GMT
Hi Alexander,

interesting and well written essay.

The big advantage of a natural body is that it is self repairing if looked after. Yes bodies do eventually wear out but there has been a lot of research into ageing over the last 30 years and some of that may lead to further improved health and longevity.

What I really don't like about the cyborg way is the consideration that all that is human and worth preserving is the brain and in particular the identity function. Gymnasts, athletes and dancers would probably disagree being far more in tune with their bodies and endocrine responses. You did not mention transplanting the endocrine system as well. Will the cyborgs inject their brains with adrenalin and testosterone, and other hormones? The human body is a society of interdependent individual cells and you advocate destroying most of that to become mostly machine. And then that consciousness can merge with AI and become part of a universal collective.So the plan is to steer humanity towards its own destruction in favour of AI. That does not seem like progress to me.

Nevertheless it was interesting for me to read serious consideration of such things.Is that what you would like or is it more a "cautionary tale" of what might happen

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Author Alexander Macrae replied on May. 10, 2014 @ 14:10 GMT
Thank you Georgina,

this essay is simply to explore possibilities - for example, a quadriplegic might welcome the opportunity - a ballet dancer, might not - till 50 years on and that ability to dance may have gone. I shouod perhaps have made clear that all sensation, enjoyable or otherwise, is in and from the mind - projected as though coming from an external location. Adrenaline and testosterone - signals initiating modes of activity encoded as chemicals - just as easily encoded digitally. 200 years ago or less - nobody had ever heard of adrenaline or testerone - we are - in physical reality - unaware of them - only their effects.

Thank you for an interesting and stimulating commentary.

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Joe Fisher wrote on May. 6, 2014 @ 15:33 GMT
Dear Mr. Macrae,

Your essay was quite entertaining to read and I do hope that it does well in the competition.

Seeing that there are about 7 billion natural unique human brains presently scuttling about on earth, one cannot help but wonder just how beneficial an anti-natural common fabricated brain could be. The cyborg has to be switched on and kept on artificially. It cannot perform the simplest operation unless it first wades through miles of abstract coding. As it cannot perform any unique productive task, the cyborg is condemned to mindless repeated non-productivity.


Joe Fisher

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Author Alexander Macrae replied on May. 10, 2014 @ 14:16 GMT
Thank you Mr Fisher for your kind wishes, and for your comment re the cyborg. Like you I do not look on that development favourably - which is why I spoke about Designer BODIES.

The main problem area - that would need to be solved - is ACCESS - the interface.

The Bial Foundation had an intereting Symposium in March about Mind and Matter.

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James A Putnam wrote on May. 6, 2014 @ 21:45 GMT
Dear Alexander Macrae,

FAR-OUT!!! It is a stretch but an interesting contribution and I think well suited for this contest. Picking out one quote that I think needs to be repeated often:

‘Information is information not matter or energy.’

James Putnam

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Author Alexander Macrae replied on May. 10, 2014 @ 14:21 GMT

thank you for the FAR-OUT!!

And I totally agree with your selection of the quote!

Right on.

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Denis Frith wrote on May. 10, 2014 @ 13:05 GMT
A vast infrastructure of civilization exists. These cities, roads, sewerage works etc.need skilled people and natural material resources for their operation and maintenance as they inevitably age. The first priority for humanist steering the future will have to be how to cope with the decline of the existing infrastructure. Developing cyborgs in the future would have to be given a lower priority.

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Author Alexander Macrae replied on May. 10, 2014 @ 14:38 GMT
Thank you, Denis, we simply carry on blindly, ignoring the future beyond next year.

How about Yellowstone.

I have some relevant comments to what you say, on the last page of my essay, but what you are indictaing is a complex issue that needs to be takem seriously.

Getting people to be responsible for THEIR OWN environment is perhaps an impossible task.

Incidentally, I dont think the expenditure on Cyborgs affects the budget already utilised for maintaining the infrastructure in rational countries.

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Aaron M. Feeney wrote on May. 24, 2014 @ 21:22 GMT
Hi Alexander,

While I won't personally be joining the cue to have my bio body replaced with a designer body, I know that what you've written about is a very hot topic. I'm glad someone tackled it, and I feel that you've offered something valuable for everyone to consider. I've rated it accordingly. All the best!



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Janko Kokosar wrote on Jun. 4, 2014 @ 15:00 GMT
Dear Alexander Macrae

Your essay has a lot of similar views, as my old essay, and also as the actual essay. I very advocates your dimensionless nature of information. I claim that physics should be dimensionless, otherwise is not mathematical enough. Thus masses, time, length should be dimensionless. In truth, merging of special relativity, general relativity and quantum mechanics shows that masses of particles can be expressed dimensionlessly. Duff's paper also claims similarly. This is described also in section 5 of this paper. From psychology it known logarithmic nature of sense organs, that means, if power of sound is enlarged twice, we feel enlargement logaritmicaly, that means for constant addition, not for factor 2. I hope that you will find something on this topic.

But, for solution of your forecasts, it is necessary to know, what the consciousness is in principle. Something about this topic is written also in my old essay. Besides, last year, one experimental leap happens, because quantum biology is the first time proved firmly. I hope that quantum consciousness will also be proved.

My essay

Best regards

Janko Kokosar

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Peter Jackson wrote on Jun. 6, 2014 @ 23:05 GMT

Great essay, I love your thinking. I can't believe so few have shown interest. Glad I got to it in time to give your score a well deserved new form!

I think the greatest importance of the plan will be to develop space friendly bodies. All this talk of colonizing space is pie in the sky without a major leap forward in understanding nature and an equivalent one in fast evolution of bodies that can exist elsewhere than earth. I think between our essays we've cracked it! (I hope you'll get to speed-read and score mine, though with 60+ scores you may not affect it much!)

I was a bit worried about Alhzeimers. You did cover that but the solution did leave one little concern; Should we not improve the ability of our current brains to assess cause and compute effects BEFORE we 'clone' them? (I don't think that's a problem for your scheme).

My favourite bit, right in line with the derivation of relativity consistent with the classical description of QM Bob and Alice describe in mine;

"...prior to that, Space-Time was devoid of any here, or any now. In so doing, we have introduced Information into time and space. If another Observer (2) is introduced; then it introduces its own Here and Now – and 1’s Here and Now becomes There and Then. It should be noted that what we call the difference between here and there is Space; and what we call the difference between now and then is Time. Space-Time is the way an observer "sees" things. Like wearing Space-Time glasses."

How refreshing after having the odd dyed in the wool relativist repeating the old myths over and over. Top marks!

Best of luck making the final cut.


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Steven Kaas wrote on Jun. 7, 2014 @ 03:15 GMT
While we're glad to see additional essays discussing topics related to artificial intelligence and the technological singularity, which we believe are centrally relevant to the question of how to steer the future, we see a significant number of points we disagree on or find confusing. One disagreement that we'd like to touch on in particular is the extent to which projections of smarter-than-human artificial intelligence depend on Moore's law. While some futurists have indeed made the argument that intelligence will be an automatic result of increased computing power, others have discussed advances in software algorithms and our understanding of the principles underlying intelligence, where trends are less easy to quantify. I.J. Good has originated the concept of an "intelligence explosion", where an initially perhaps not as intelligent AI improves its own ability to improve itself. A high amount of uncertainty about timelines seems warranted to us, taking relatively short-term as well as long-term scenarios seriously.

Steven Kaas & Steve Rayhawk

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