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Evolution

DrDaron5
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9/4/2016 10:11:36 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
Often we discuss the idea of evolving

Evolving is an inevitable process for any organism

Of course , there are 2 types of evolution
- Natural: The Textbook Example of evolution. Improving, strongest survives.
- Assisted: Using Technology to enhance us. NanoTech, Genetic Engineering, Cybernetics.

Eventually, we could reach the ability to make ourselves into Multi-Dimensional beings.

But, the big question to many is,

Should we?

As for my stance, I believe we should.

Why?

Think about it,

We only improve by evolving, and if we choose not to, we are limiting ourselves.

The biggest thing one must realize however, is that no matter what, Evolution will happen.

But it's still interesting to discuss, so what do you think?
keithprosser
Posts: 2,053
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9/5/2016 2:12:59 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
Of course , there are 2 types of evolution
- Natural: The Textbook Example of evolution. Improving, strongest survives.
- Assisted: Using Technology to enhance us. NanoTech, Genetic Engineering, Cybernetics.


I'd quibble about the 'textbook example'. Strictly speaking, Natural selection is not about improvement or the 'strongest' surviving. Evolution occurs because the mechanics of biological reproduction produces variation, not because evolution as a goal or aim.

Artificial selection - in the sense of humans controlling breeding to produce desirable traits has been going on for hundreds or thousands of years in the acse of in non-human species. That is how we got our various sorts of dogs and apples.

We human have also applied the principles of artificial selection to our own species were it is usuall called 'eugenics'. When we have tried eugenics in the past there results were not good, because any objectivity in selecting desirable traits was swiftly forgotten about and it became a tool of narrow-minded bigotry and moralisation. In the US many non-white women were forcibly sterilised, virtually no white women were.

We have been using technology to improve on ourselves from the year dot. Crutches are a technologic fix to improve on what nature provided a lame individual with. Stents and pace-makes ditto - they are only more recent. Many people use theraputic drugs such as insulin to improve their quality of life. There is no doubt that ultra modern technologies like nano-technoloft and cybernetics will be used in the same way, indeed they probably are already.

Behind the OP is the vision of a grand plan, of using the tools of modern science to acheive some vision of the future. That sounds good, until you ask 'whose plan, whose vision?'. The lesson we should have learned form our dabbling with eugenics is that we are very bad at choosing long term goals, and even worse at sticking with them and applying our selves consistently to them. The only way something like it could happen if someone - or some elite - had the power to impose their plan and their vision.

I don't trust anyone to have the wisdom to do that. I distrust grand plans for the future. I am proudly British and of the British way of doing things - muddling along, reacting to circumstances and hoping for the best. It's not ideal, but the alternatives seems to end up in total disaster. Grand plans are favoured by dictators and tyrants, or people who like the idea of dicatorships and tyrannies. Freedom requires the ability to react to circumstances, even if it occasionally that means having to regret the choice that was made - at least we can learn from the experience. Having a plan set in stone doesn't allow for that.

So I'm all in favour of using all and every technology for theraputic applications. But as soon as someone starts talking about using them for some grand plan for 'improving mankind' I am going to be very, very suspicious of their real motives.
Furyan5
Posts: 1,228
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9/5/2016 8:33:55 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 9/4/2016 10:11:36 PM, DrDaron5 wrote:
Often we discuss the idea of evolving

Evolving is an inevitable process for any organism

Of course , there are 2 types of evolution
- Natural: The Textbook Example of evolution. Improving, strongest survives.
- Assisted: Using Technology to enhance us. NanoTech, Genetic Engineering, Cybernetics.

Eventually, we could reach the ability to make ourselves into Multi-Dimensional beings.

But, the big question to many is,

Should we?

As for my stance, I believe we should.

Why?

Think about it,

We only improve by evolving, and if we choose not to, we are limiting ourselves.

The biggest thing one must realize however, is that no matter what, Evolution will happen.

But it's still interesting to discuss, so what do you think?

Bad news. The next step in evolution is not biological. From here the technological evolution takes over. We did our bit. It's pretty obvious we can't go any further.
Z_ONE
Posts: 89
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9/5/2016 8:58:47 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 9/4/2016 10:11:36 PM, DrDaron5 wrote:
Often we discuss the idea of evolving

Evolving is an inevitable process for any organism

Of course , there are 2 types of evolution
- Natural: The Textbook Example of evolution. Improving, strongest survives.
- Assisted: Using Technology to enhance us. NanoTech, Genetic Engineering, Cybernetics.

Eventually, we could reach the ability to make ourselves into Multi-Dimensional beings.

But, the big question to many is,

Should we?

As for my stance, I believe we should.

Why?

Think about it,

We only improve by evolving, and if we choose not to, we are limiting ourselves.

This statement is proven to be false because of entropy which is something than none of us can control. I have heard a few physicists believe we can control entropy but that's nothing but a lie. Because of entropy, we are constantly changing until we're destroyed.

The biggest thing one must realize however, is that no matter what, Evolution will happen.

But it's still interesting to discuss, so what do you think?
keithprosser
Posts: 2,053
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9/5/2016 9:41:04 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
I can accept that technology can produce great and rapid changes in human society, but I don't see it changing human individuals to the same degree. Not in the foreseeable future any way - I can't forsee much about the unforeseeable future!

I think there will be little innate difference between a human baby born in 2016 and a human baby in 3016, altough the societies they live in will be completely different and post-natal intervention and modification will probably be more routine and more radical than occurs today.

The other scenario to consider is that we gain the ability to modify the genomes in a way the change become heritable without intervention from then on. That might work well for eliminating some congenital diseases but it will be a long time before we can manipulate the genome to produce a specific changes (such as improved intelligence with not unfortunate side effects) by genetic engineering any better than we could do now by old-fashioned eugenic methods.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not a Luddite and I welcome anything that improves people's quality of life. Gene therapy? Why not? But I draw the line if it means turning humanity into a society of clones where everyone represents somebody's idea an 'ideal human'. A world where everyone looked like a Greek god and had an IQ of 140 might sound good, but I like the idea of a world with individuals being individuals, warts and quirks. If we can do that but without - say - inherited heart disease all the better.
Furyan5
Posts: 1,228
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9/5/2016 12:19:59 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 9/5/2016 9:41:04 AM, keithprosser wrote:
I can accept that technology can produce great and rapid changes in human society, but I don't see it changing human individuals to the same degree. Not in the foreseeable future any way - I can't forsee much about the unforeseeable future!

I think there will be little innate difference between a human baby born in 2016 and a human baby in 3016, altough the societies they live in will be completely different and post-natal intervention and modification will probably be more routine and more radical than occurs today.

The other scenario to consider is that we gain the ability to modify the genomes in a way the change become heritable without intervention from then on. That might work well for eliminating some congenital diseases but it will be a long time before we can manipulate the genome to produce a specific changes (such as improved intelligence with not unfortunate side effects) by genetic engineering any better than we could do now by old-fashioned eugenic methods.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not a Luddite and I welcome anything that improves people's quality of life. Gene therapy? Why not? But I draw the line if it means turning humanity into a society of clones where everyone represents somebody's idea an 'ideal human'. A world where everyone looked like a Greek god and had an IQ of 140 might sound good, but I like the idea of a world with individuals being individuals, warts and quirks. If we can do that but without - say - inherited heart disease all the better.

Compare human evolution over the last ten thousand years with technological advancement over the last hundred. We have hardly changed except that our bodies are now immune to a few more viruses than then. It's impossible for any human to know everything there is to know and we are adding to that knowledge daily. Within your lifetime, computers will surpass humans in mental capacity. Honestly, where do you think it's heading?
Z_ONE
Posts: 89
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9/5/2016 12:31:53 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 9/5/2016 9:41:04 AM, keithprosser wrote:
I can accept that technology can produce great and rapid changes in human society, but I don't see it changing human individuals to the same degree. Not in the foreseeable future any way - I can't forsee much about the unforeseeable future!

I think there will be little innate difference between a human baby born in 2016 and a human baby in 3016, altough the societies they live in will be completely different and post-natal intervention and modification will probably be more routine and more radical than occurs today.

The other scenario to consider is that we gain the ability to modify the genomes in a way the change become heritable without intervention from then on. That might work well for eliminating some congenital diseases but it will be a long time before we can manipulate the genome to produce a specific changes (such as improved intelligence with not unfortunate side effects) by genetic engineering any better than we could do now by old-fashioned eugenic methods.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not a Luddite and I welcome anything that improves people's quality of life. Gene therapy? Why not? But I draw the line if it means turning humanity into a society of clones where everyone represents somebody's idea an 'ideal human'. A world where everyone looked like a Greek god and had an IQ of 140 might sound good, but I like the idea of a world with individuals being individuals, warts and quirks. If we can do that but without - say - inherited heart disease all the better. : :

I can't wait until we start experiencing life from many different bodies in all the various worlds that are planned for us.
keithprosser
Posts: 2,053
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9/5/2016 4:29:55 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 9/5/2016 12:19:59 PM, Furyan5 wrote:

Compare human evolution over the last ten thousand years with technological advancement over the last hundred. We have hardly changed except that our bodies are now immune to a few more viruses than then. It's impossible for any human to know everything there is to know and we are adding to that knowledge daily. Within your lifetime, computers will surpass humans in mental capacity. Honestly, where do you think it's heading?

The OP seemed to suggest evolution of humans into a different sort of biological species, but that doesn't strike me as a realistic prospect. As you say, F5, we haven't changed much biologically despite going from hunter-gatherers on the African savannah to stock-traders in Wall Street. I don't care for fantasising about the far future, but in the near future the only significant changes we see will be social.

Nor do I see technology as the principle driver of change in the foreseeable future. What will drive major social change (rather than minor social change like an uptick in mobile banking services usage)are changes in the availability resources, such as the energy we need for our profligate life styles but even more so the availability of food, particularly in light of the unconvincing response to on-going climate change.

Currently food production and consumption are very closely matched and food stocks remain reasonably good - about 9 months supply for somethings like cereals. But if production does fall it will not be easy to relocate production from traditional areas to new areas that may have become more suitable for crops - it would require moving entire populations, and that would not be welcomed by the people already in those areas.

A 'resource/food crunch' may be a 'nightmare scenario' that we either won't have to face or we will - for once - be a problem we actually solve by collective action. But I see it as more worrying prospect than any 'technological singularity' which is a problem only someone isolated from the primitive realities of that underpin our civilisation would care about.

It may well be in the future forums like this are done using real-time IP8 3D video-links and voice driven commands, but who'd cares about that if we're all starving?
Furyan5
Posts: 1,228
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9/5/2016 4:55:58 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 9/5/2016 4:29:55 PM, keithprosser wrote:
At 9/5/2016 12:19:59 PM, Furyan5 wrote:

Compare human evolution over the last ten thousand years with technological advancement over the last hundred. We have hardly changed except that our bodies are now immune to a few more viruses than then. It's impossible for any human to know everything there is to know and we are adding to that knowledge daily. Within your lifetime, computers will surpass humans in mental capacity. Honestly, where do you think it's heading?

The OP seemed to suggest evolution of humans into a different sort of biological species, but that doesn't strike me as a realistic prospect. As you say, F5, we haven't changed much biologically despite going from hunter-gatherers on the African savannah to stock-traders in Wall Street. I don't care for fantasising about the far future, but in the near future the only significant changes we see will be social.

Nor do I see technology as the principle driver of change in the foreseeable future. What will drive major social change (rather than minor social change like an uptick in mobile banking services usage)are changes in the availability resources, such as the energy we need for our profligate life styles but even more so the availability of food, particularly in light of the unconvincing response to on-going climate change.

Currently food production and consumption are very closely matched and food stocks remain reasonably good - about 9 months supply for somethings like cereals. But if production does fall it will not be easy to relocate production from traditional areas to new areas that may have become more suitable for crops - it would require moving entire populations, and that would not be welcomed by the people already in those areas.

A 'resource/food crunch' may be a 'nightmare scenario' that we either won't have to face or we will - for once - be a problem we actually solve by collective action. But I see it as more worrying prospect than any 'technological singularity' which is a problem only someone isolated from the primitive realities of that underpin our civilisation would care about.

Or someone who doesn't believe humans are the be-all and end-all of creation, but merely a link in the chain. At one stage, single cell organisms were the most advanced species on the planet. It's arrogant to believe we always will be. One large meteor and humanity is doomed.
Look at the links between mind and machine. A camera connected directly to a human brain, allowing a blind person to see. How long till we can connect directly to the Internet? Upload our very personalities? Some say never. I say it's inevitable.

It may well be in the future forums like this are done using real-time IP8 3D video-links and voice driven commands, but who'd cares about that if we're all starving?
keithprosser
Posts: 2,053
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9/5/2016 5:36:39 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
That seems like moving towards a society where post-natal modification into cyborgs is considered normal, rather than one where the the human genome is permantly modified by technological means. It may be that soon babies get fitted with a USB port shortly after birth but it will be a lot longer before babies are born with one already in wired up and ready to go.

What technology we can expect in the next 20-30 years is a different issue from how the human race will evolve as a biological species.

But even in terms of technological change and cultural change I think we can get carried away. If we compare the life of the average person in 1916, 1966 and 2016 the biggest change - IMO - was between 1916 and 1966. In 1916 child labour, disease, early death and poverty was the norm, women didn't vote and often died in child-birth and so on. In 1966 we had international flights on jet aircraft, colour TV, motor cars were common, mass media and the telephone put people in instant contact with each other across continents. In three more years man would land on the moon. Are things in 2016 so very different from 1966? We still go to work, possibly for even longer hours and for more years that we did then. In 1966 TV had fewer channels and there was no BBC i-player but what we watch now is probably worse quality than then too!

The rate of progress - real progress - has flattened and while we aren't in decline yet, we may be near the peak. Mobile phones will get fancier and computer games more realistic, but will there be much substantial rather than incremental, cosmetic change in the near future? I have my doubts. If we are still on DDO in ten years time we will have to compare notes!
Furyan5
Posts: 1,228
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9/5/2016 8:11:52 PM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 9/5/2016 5:36:39 PM, keithprosser wrote:
That seems like moving towards a society where post-natal modification into cyborgs is considered normal, rather than one where the the human genome is permantly modified by technological means. It may be that soon babies get fitted with a USB port shortly after birth but it will be a lot longer before babies are born with one already in wired up and ready to go.

What technology we can expect in the next 20-30 years is a different issue from how the human race will evolve as a biological species.

But even in terms of technological change and cultural change I think we can get carried away. If we compare the life of the average person in 1916, 1966 and 2016 the biggest change - IMO - was between 1916 and 1966. In 1916 child labour, disease, early death and poverty was the norm, women didn't vote and often died in child-birth and so on. In 1966 we had international flights on jet aircraft, colour TV, motor cars were common, mass media and the telephone put people in instant contact with each other across continents. In three more years man would land on the moon. Are things in 2016 so very different from 1966? We still go to work, possibly for even longer hours and for more years that we did then. In 1966 TV had fewer channels and there was no BBC i-player but what we watch now is probably worse quality than then too!

The rate of progress - real progress - has flattened and while we aren't in decline yet, we may be near the peak. Mobile phones will get fancier and computer games more realistic, but will there be much substantial rather than incremental, cosmetic change in the near future? I have my doubts. If we are still on DDO in ten years time we will have to compare notes!

You're on.
Stymie13
Posts: 2,162
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9/8/2016 2:53:04 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
Isn't a larger question; the rapid development of technology has not changed our base psyche. That part of evolution is painstakingly slow.
Furyan5
Posts: 1,228
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9/8/2016 11:55:07 AM
Posted: 3 months ago
At 9/8/2016 2:53:04 AM, Stymie13 wrote:
Isn't a larger question; the rapid development of technology has not changed our base psyche. That part of evolution is painstakingly slow.

That's because we still carry that old reptilian brain. The technological evolution will allow the logical portion continue without the constraints of emotional ties.