The Future is Bright
Debate Rounds (4)
Of course, I'm expecting that many will have strong arguments against this, so I'm interested to see how things turn out.
My first arguments for a bright future:
Firstly, the consistent rate of medical advances has, throughout history, improved lifespan and happiness. A new understanding of human anatomy changed the way injuries were treated in the 16th Century. Infection rates in hospitals plunged following the revolution in sanitation in the 19th Century. The treatment of disease was forever altered following the discovery of antibiotics in the early 20th Century. It is unreasonable to expect this trend to suddenly end, especially not with the promise of future computational breakthroughs (see below).
Secondly, positive psychology will provide us with a new, scientific approach to the causes of happiness. Positive psychology is the branch of psychology concerned with researching happiness and social wellbeing and how it may be obtained. The science is a new one, but already challenges conventional attitudes towards the role of money, social status, and climate in molding a person"s mood and happiness.
Thirdly, there will be an increase in computing power. A drastic one. Quantum computers, have the potential to utterly change the perceived limits of computer power. The technology is still in its infancy at the moment, but promises to supersede any current computer within the next few decades.
These are my three primary, but not only, arguments for a bright future. Later, I may mention others, such as an increase in quality of media, the dismantling of oppressive political and economic regimes, and the effect of education, but right now I want to get the ball rolling.
The future does not look bright. From a technological standpoint, our technology is rapidly advancing and the robotic revolution could be upon us any day now. From a political standpoint, democracy is beginning to decline throughout the world as more nations begin to look to other forms of government and the current democratic governments in power fall into economic and political decay. To wrap it all up, from the moral standpoint, we see atheism on the rise and now the world's code of moral ethics is in danger of being thrown off to the side.
THE TECHNOLOGICAL STANDPOINT:
As highlighted in my first source , the robotic revolution is upon us. As according to Natural News, within three generations the working class of the world could be eliminated as they are replaced by these robotic laborers. In a new Oxford study , it has been shown that, currently, 47% of all jobs are at risk of being replaced by robots. I have a question for my opponent in his rebuttals. When robots inevitably control the working class world and we work to create the first sentient robot, what are we to do when the first sentient robot leads the entirety of the world's workforce against all of mankind? We cannot kill them with mere bullets for they do not bleed and, as they grow in knowledge of the world, we will fall. Humanity will fall to our own creations. We cheer for the Terminator films as science-fiction now but what will we think when that actually happens?
That is not a bright future to me.
THE POLITICAL STANDPOINT:
As I stated above, democracy is in decline. With the Middle East facing its very own series of revolutions, it is looking to other forms of government. Some temporary democracies may be in place but other uprisings are occurring as cries of corruption and poll rigging run rampant through these governments. On top of this, we're watching the decline of freedom in the world.
"In its annual survey, the monitoring group Freedom House, which uses a range of data to assess social, political and economic freedoms, found that global freedom plummeted for the fifth year in a row in 2010, the longest continuous decline in nearly 40 years. In fact, there are now fewer elected democracies than there were in 1995." 
This is not the example of a bright future for the next two centuries. If our current political standpoint in the world is a nice aim at our trajectory for the future, this is the opposite of bright. In fact, I would go as far as to say we are looking at a rather bleak future where governments don't listen to the people they rule. All this will lead to is dischord and civil wars across the planet as people attempt to overthrow tyrannical governments and these tyrannical governments plunge into wars with other countries to advance their own sinister agendas.
THE MORAL STANDPOINT:
Atheism is on the rise. 
Now, I'm not stating that an atheist cannot be a moral person however, they don't have to live by a strict moral code, unlike those that belong to a religion. All religions have their own code of conduct and, as such, the devout tend to live a more "moral" life than those that aren't under the fear of not getting into their respective paradises. I would be happy to elaborate further upon this if my opponent finds it necessary.
I eagerly await my opponent's rebuttals.
Question 1: Why would a sentient robot lead machines against humankind?
Robot psychology is, unfortunately, not recognized as a serious subject is most computer science faculties around the world. Perhaps because of this, we cannot be sure what a robot would or wouldn"t want to do. But what won"t help is simply projecting current human societal wants and desires on to them. To do so would be to fall foul of a variant of the Flintstone Fallacy.1
In short, this fallacy is when we assume that someone of a different time and species would have the same concerns and attitudes that our current society does. Just like cavemen didn"t really have to worry about their company jobs or morning commutes, neither would a sentient machine be concerned with such very human concerns as personal power or prestige.
Furthermore, if sentient machines do arise in the future, they may well be given equal standing with humans. As long as eight years ago, a report by a UK government agency2 recommended that future AIs be given citizenship.3 AIs would be given equal status with humans, equal opportunities and an equal shot at happiness " why would they spontaneously decide to conquer the world?
Question 2: What "alternate forms of government" are the people of the Middle East turning to?
The Arab Spring wasn"t perfect. Many nations which participated are not yet perfect democracies. But let"s just take a refresher on the outcomes of the spring:
Libya used to be a military dictatorship. Now, they are a parliamentary republic under a government freely elected in 2012 and a voter turnout higher than the US.1, 2, 3
Tunisia had its first free elections in October 2011 " the first in 45 years.4, 5
In Egypt, despite efforts made by the army to retain absolute control, the populace remains set on democracy. Due to that, the army has not been able to establish a dictatorship, and has been compelled to hold elections.6
These democracies are not "temporary" " they are either steadfast or not yet born.
However, I will still say that my opponent was right on one matter. Across the Middle East, peoples and populations are turning to one form of government. Democracy. There is not a state in the region where dictators have gone unchallenged. There is not a state in the region where dictators have been able to seize power. There is not a state in the region where democracy has not made advances, and I am unable to see this as a bad thing.
Question 3: Is it the number of free countries which matters, or is it the free people?
My opponent provides a very interesting source, which is in turn about another source " the Freedom House organization, which I fundamentally agree with. It promotes personal and political liberty globally, and helps to build a bright future. However, it has a habit of twisting the truth in order to maximize support. For example, it relies predominantly on measuring the percentage of countries which are free instead of focusing on population.
This means that, in their statistics, Brunei, with a population of 416,000 and judged to be "not free",7 carries just as much weight as India, which has a population of 1,220,800,000 and is judged to be "free".8
India has almost 3000 times the population, but only the same weight in their rankings.
That"s unequal representation if ever I"ve heard it.
Question 4: If morality is decaying, why aren"t crime rates rising?
Fact. Crime rates are dropping in the western world. Every decade sees fewer murders, robberies, assaults and rapes than the last " despite a rising population. How can this be if we are to believe that people are losing their moralities?
Take the United States. My opponent points out that the popularity of atheism is growing in the U.S, which it may well be. However, crime is not. Crime is dropping " one may even call it a plummet. In just twenty years violent crime rates per 100,000 people have plummeted from 741 to 387. At this rate the people we should be worrying about are lawyers, who may not have anybody to defend before the two centuries are up.
And, finally, take a look at source number 10 below. It"s a table listing various global crime rates by country. You may notice a pattern in the data. Japan is almost always the safest nation in the study, and even when it isn"t it still usually makes the top five. At this point it might be worth pointing out that Japan is one of the most irreligious nations on earth.11
This is NOT, repeat, NOT to say that atheism brings down crime rates. But what it does show is that it does not raise them.
So, finally, in conclusion:
THE TECHNOLOGICAL STANDPOINT: Faster computers, more efficient machines, cleaner energy.
THE POLITICAL STANDPOINT: More freedom for more people, greater government transparency, fewer dictatorships.
THE MORAL STANDPOINT: Pretty much the same as now, but with less crime.
THE HEALTH STANDPOINT: Better treatments, more happy people, lower mortality rates.
THE HAPPINESS STANDPOINT: Greater happiness for a greater number of people.
It won"t all be rosy. But it will be rosier than anything humankind"s experienced before.
codemeister13 forfeited this round.
People are living for longer and happier now than they ever have in any century previously. The next two centuries won't change this trend.
You have read the arguments for this point of view - that positive psychology will finally help us to understand what happiness is and how we can find it, that medicine will improve, simultaneously saving lives and improving them, and that advances in computing power will allow innovations and breakthroughs across all fields of research.
These are not the only arguments for this viewpoint. Far from it. However, they are the ones which excite me the most.
You have also read the arguments against this viewpoint. That people are turning away from democracy, that they are losing their sense of right and wrong, and that machines will rise up against humanity.
And, finally, you have read the reasons why those arguments do not make sense.
That there is more democracy in the world than ever before.
That people commit fewer crimes year after year.
And that we are fairly confident that, in fact, a robot will not decide out of the blue to murder humanity.
And again in the interest of fairness, I must also declare that the first person to comment on this debate, "Hazzaboy98", is somebody I know personally, and that this relationship may have swayed his opinion prematurely to my side. However, this is not to say that is opinion is unfounded.
So, finally, I place my trust in the debate.org community. I trust you to weigh the arguments for and against the motion, and then to vote for the side which you believe has been the most convincing. The best of luck to my opponent.
codemeister13 forfeited this round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Geogeer 2 years ago
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