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Inequality

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jun 2015 at 01:35
I hear that folding laundry is extremely difficult for AIs.  I mean something that would take a 5 year old, five minutes, stretches out for hours.  Not all "intelligences" are equal.
I would recommend, the Emperor's New Mind, or other books by Sir Roger Penrose on the issue of the difficulty of (the impossibility of) making a theoretical Turing Machine.

Checked on my next door neighbor, he seems to be doing okay right now.  One day at a time.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jun 2015 at 07:32
I think people are missing the point on AI and that is that it need not be "intelligently" designed.  The same people that feel that something as complex as a spiderweb couldn't have arisen by "blind" chance confuse the ability to preform complex tasks, those that are difficult to design machines to do, with the magical kind of "intelligence".

While evolution could be said to be inherent under certain environmental conditions there is no evidence that those environmental conditions were designed to produce life.  It is also true that evolution unavoidably produces "intelligent" life but not by design.  Life is a process of organizing the "random" movement of molecules into "non-random" processes.  It is this process of "non-random" or "purposeful" organization that we perceive as intelligence. 

The way organism acquire information about their environment is necessarily a reflection of the environment they evolved in. There is nothing complicated about this idea as the eye is a reflection of the sun that provided the energy and direction of it's "design". The way organisms interact with their environment is by sensing, testing, and discriminating. Mechanical processes could be said to preform these tasks but the fundamental distinction between life and mechanical processes is flexibility. Machines that are sufficiently flexible take on a property we refer to as artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence if sufficiently flexible could be said to mimic life.

The distinctions that people make about human intelligence and the intelligence of other organism is mired in the confusion produced by complexity.  The old arguments of degree or kind and assignment of emergent properties to some levels of complexity implies the rather strange idea that something exist outside itself.  There is much evidence to the contrary and little to suggest that the mind exists outside the brain.  No intellectual sophistication is required to notice that a sufficiently damaged brain has no mind.

I'm not hostile to the idea of spirituality just the way it is defined.  The question of a brain having a spirit is outside the scope of this and perhaps any discussion we can have but someone will undoubtedly raise the question of Artificial Intelligence and a soul.  At some point the discussion becomes nothing but a redefinition of semantical uses.  It's not that semantics are irrelevant but more that they create a fog over very simple concepts.  The simple concept in question is that a calculating machine of sufficient complexity would be indistinguishable from a brain.

The argument over artificial intelligence often come down to the ability of humans to design something of sufficient complexity that it mimics life.  For machines to mimic life however they only need one property which is not intelligent design but reproduction.  Many people fail to see the important point here which is that it is not fidelity of reproduction but error that drives complexity.  As "random" mutations drive physical evolution it is likely that errors in machine reproduction and controlled selection would drive the evolution of Artificial Intelligence.

Machines have the advantage of not being confined to what in nature could be called random selective forces.  Much like the phenotype evolution in the domestic dog machines are subjected to selected selection accelerating the evolutionary process.  Selection for increased complexity to some degree mutes the arguments over emergent complexity as the undirected becomes directed even as it retains some degree of randomness.  When complexity is selected for it will emerge rapidly. 

As with all questions of evolution it is selection, environmental change and stability that determines how long or if ever it will be until artificial intelligence emerges from complexity.  Emergent complexity is a much abused concept however and should not be thought of as something outside itself.       


Edited by wolfhnd - 18 Jun 2015 at 07:33
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote literaryClarity Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jun 2015 at 07:49
Artificial intelligence has to be intelligently designed by definition.  It's not evolutionary intelligence.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jun 2015 at 10:49
Originally posted by literaryClarity literaryClarity wrote:

Artificial intelligence has to be intelligently designed by definition.  It's not evolutionary intelligence.

One of the traditional misunderstandings of human evolution is the artificial separation of  physical and cultural evolution.  Humans did not evolve large brains to make better tools, better tools allowed humans to evolve a larger brain.  Human ancestors were using tools long before a large brain evolved and it was those tools that made acquiring enough protein to support a large brain possible.  Cultural and physical adaptation co-evolved.

It is equally true that the genius that foments cultural evolution does not spring fully formed in the brain of the genius but it is that same culture that forms the brain of the genuis.  The genius and the culture co-evolve.  Neither the culture nor the brain were designed to produce the insights necessary to advance culture.

The human brain is predisposed to find purpose where there is none.  Just as primitive man attributed spirit to inanimate objects or a dog assumes their is an agent behind every noise.  So is the idea that are products are created out of nothing an exaggeration.  No amount of human genius could produce anything as complex as a single cell and there was no magical creativity employed in the design of the cell.

As science advances and becomes increasingly complex it is likely that progress will be made by the use of cellular automata as proposed by Stephan Wolfram.  Before you run off and find out who Wolfram is be warned that he did not invent the idea as he sometimes suggests but it existed in the culture before his arrival on the scene.  The key concept however is self organization and the application is only limited by processing power.  The emphasis behind this research is that of the hopelessness of understanding something more complex than your brain. 

Computing machines already are more complex than any individual can comprehend and it is likely at some point that they will have to be self designing and programming.  This self design can be thought of as self replication and by definition cannot be under the control of any individual.  Once machines are self designing (self replicating) it is reasonable to assume that the same principles that apply to physical evolution will apply to them.

Of course the debate over consciousness may prove to be irrelevant as competent machines need not be conscious whatever consciousness turns out to be.

 I suppose people see this as a prediction of a bleak future reminiscent of the movie terminator.  Humans however are remarkably adaptable and there is no reason to believe that intelligent machines and humans can't coexist. 


Edited by wolfhnd - 18 Jun 2015 at 10:59
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote literaryClarity Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jun 2015 at 11:02
I'm just saying that by definition artificial intelligence has to be designed.  Otherwise it is not artificial but something natural.  If it doesn't come by man then it has to come by god or something.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote literaryClarity Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jun 2015 at 11:16
I don't care for the useless philosophy not because I presume the only real understanding at this stage is that there is no real understanding but because the philosophy itself keeps changing.  People just say whatever.

The bottom line is if we take artificial intelligence seriously then artificial intelligence exists already.  Artificial intelligence has the connotation that something is more intelligent at the next stage of completion in evolutionary terms just the same way we perceive low level computing and high level computing of the human brain by measuring IQ.  The only thing set in stone is the difference between natural brains requiring oxygen and artificial brains running on hardware and programmed systems is that one was derived as made intelligence or designed intelligence.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jun 2015 at 11:12
Quote I hear that folding laundry is extremely difficult for AIs. I mean something that would take a 5 year old, five minutes, stretches out for hours. Not all "intelligences" are equal.

That's correct. Numerical computation is not very good at pattern recognition. Neural networks are better, and we'll start to see more of those appearing in computation of the next decades.
Quote I would recommend, the Emperor's New Mind, or other books by Sir Roger Penrose on the issue of the difficulty of (the impossibility of) making a theoretical Turing Machine.

I have news for you mate, you wrote this post on a Turing machine. All modern computers are Turing complete. We built a turing machine in 1956. I don't know what makes you think it's impossible.

Unless you mean a machine that actually has an infinite amount of tape. I can understand that having that much tape is pretty hard.

Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

Computing machines already are more complex than any individual can comprehend and it is likely at some point that they will have to be self designing and programming. This self design can be thought of as self replication and by definition cannot be under the control of any individual. Once machines are self designing (self replicating) it is reasonable to assume that the same principles that apply to physical evolution will apply to them.

I realise you are putting a lot of thought into your posts but you are coming from some deeply flawed ideas about technology. This is two of them.
I comprehend exactly how our computing machines work. I make them for a living. So do thousands of other individuals around the world. They are not complex once you understand them.
They are also about as capable of designing themselves as a spanner is of designing itself. It's good to have a spanner to design a better spanner. It's good to have a computer to design a better computer, but the computer does not do the designing. We are so far away from self-replicating computers [robots] that it's basically fantasy.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jun 2015 at 12:23
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:


I realise you are putting a lot of thought into your posts but you are coming from some deeply flawed ideas about technology. This is two of them.
I comprehend exactly how our computing machines work. I make them for a living. So do thousands of other individuals around the world. They are not complex once you understand them.
They are also about as capable of designing themselves as a spanner is of designing itself. It's good to have a spanner to design a better spanner. It's good to have a computer to design a better computer, but the computer does not do the designing. We are so far away from self-replicating computers [robots] that it's basically fantasy.

I think you missed the point as I'm arguing against your idea of complexity and self organization.  What allows you to design computing machines is a complex culture I'm confident you do not understand and exists not by design but mostly undirected cultural evolution.  I'm also confident that you could not build a computer from scratch as it is unlikely anyone has the requisite skills.  I would even question that you understand exactly how they work as the theoretical foundations for the components is itself extremely complex.

What I would agree with is that self replicating computers is basically a fantasy.  The question is how much different is it from going to the moon or finding a cure for cancer which a century ago were fantasies.  The fact that computer scientist take a pessimistic view of the future of computing potential is not surprising since the people in the horse drawn industry had a pessimistic view of automobiles.  If the views I held were not shared by many intelligent and thoughtful people they could be easily dismissed but that is not the case.         
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jun 2015 at 13:55
I have to apologize for the harshness of the previous post.  I have had similar arguments with biologists and neuroscientists.  There seems to be two camps; one believes in something I would call the magic of "emergent complexity" and the other believes human intelligence is a manifestation of degree not kind.  I subscribe to the second belief system.  To be fair the jury is still out.

What I have noted however is a tendency for highly intelligent people to underestimate the importance of culture in formulating their intelligence.  Not only is the development of the brain highly dependent on stimulus but what we think of as intelligence is largely transmitted culturally.  One of the best example perhaps is Einstein's reluctance to attribute his theories to his training and the work of others.  No doubt the sensation of discovery is almost magical but only a historian could unravel the tangled web of history that leads to new discoveries.  That the human mind is not aware of itself can be easily demonstrated  but the significance of this fact is just now becoming prevalent.  For anyone interested in the subject I would recommend they watch Daniel Dennett's    A Phenomenal Confusion About Access and Consciousness  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaCedh4Dfs4


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote literaryClarity Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jun 2015 at 17:05
That's a semantic flaw.  The very concept of access versus phenomenal consciousness is that it separates the access from the phenomenal.  It's a circular argument.  Why does God exist? because of Bible saying it.  But the Bible saying it is "access" and God is "phenomenal".  The actual truth is that the Bible is God but nobody is able to prove it because they don't want to say pieces of paper and text is phenomenal God.

The access is the phenomenal.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jun 2015 at 18:56
One thing we can say for sure is that there are many unknowns out there, particularly in regard to human consciousness and intelligence. It may be that these attributes are vastly complex, and far beyond our replication. Or, they may not. Many aspects of nature have seemed to be near magic to our ancestors, only to be unraveled and replicated by science at a later date.

We can see that biological organisms took on greater levels of complexity over time, and voila, we now have sentient beings. We can ascribe this to religious intervention, or to a certain amount of spontaneity. 

Man made systems are today gaining in complexity by leaps and bounds. Will something spontaneous happen? Will we reach a point were understanding builds upon itself to the degree that some sort of sentience can be programmed? 

Hard to say exactly, but I wouldn't assign it to science fiction just yet.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jun 2015 at 19:12
Omar, if you want to understand why there are inherent limitations as far as getting a Turing test to work, I would suggest looking at Roger Penrose.  Or you can pronounce that we "already have Turing machines" and thus criticize me.  But such an effort is really going after low hanging fruit.  I have your claim on one side which is so short and without detail, that I don't know what you are saying vs. on the other side a claim by Professor of physics who was knighted for his work in physics and who early on collaborated with Hawking.  I confess that it has been awhile since I looked at Penrose, and my understanding of him has never been complete, but I do understand _enough_ of him to recommend him to you as someone who will either (1) answer your questions, or (2) figure out why they are unanswerable.
Perhaps, the shortest way to put it, is that Penrose denies that a mechanical view of the universe can account for the universe as we know it must be, through quantum physics (and mathematics?).  But those are my words, not his and it is better to go to the source.

Literary: whatever<grin>.

wolfhound:  What do you mean by "emergent complexity"?  Do you mean it is emerging, it was emerging, what??  Also, difference in degree in what?  I mean, I know you are probably not talking about temperature or angle.  
When I was younger, I thought that everybody thought alike, and I didn't understand why they wouldn't all agree with me, and see the common sense of my perspective.  Now, I am older and I don't know half as much as I used to.  
But, my point is that now I see that there is, what I would call, a great more difference in kind.  People don't think alike, but don't worry, I have great confidence in education as it is taught today, paving out the difference and turning the mind as fertile as a blacktop parking lot:p
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jun 2015 at 21:17
Originally posted by franciscosan franciscosan wrote:

wolfhound:  What do you mean by "emergent complexity"?  Do you mean it is emerging, it was emerging, what??  

I'm actually kind of embarrassed as I have exceeded my ability for intellectual clarity here.  I'm neither a philosopher nor a scientist just a normally curious individual with my own prejudices.

The original concept of emergent complexity tried to explain how individual cells could combine to form something new.  The simple definition has always been the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts.   It's modern formulation involves chaos theory, and how simple rules produce complex systems.  All of the above seems like sound reasoning and may even be self evident to a degree.  Where I have a problem is when it is applied to human intelligence and people propose that intelligence is something distinct from it's parts.  The mind is manifestly not something separate from the brain nor is the brain something distinct from the culture it "evolves" in.   It may seem like a small distinction but I think it is important to realize that just as a computer is useless without it's programming so is a brain without a culture.  What we think of as a mind is the cultural programming of the brain and the brain rehassing it's experiences.

It is important to remember how old the use of tools is and how they have transformed human evolution.  Those tools are not just stone but also language and other aspects of humanness that are not tangible.  They exist outside the brain of the individual and give the illusion that cognition takes place outside the brain or the more graphical illusion of a homunculus they we prescribe personality to.  Just like a computer gives a non physical program a physical existence in the form of electrical charges culture incorporated into the brain has physical existence.  Culture itself is the manifestation of physical processes distributed over many individuals and has the nuances of swam intelligence.   

The distinction between human intelligence and other animals is largely a result of cultural programming the basic hardware is perhaps elaborated but basicly the same.  If animals were completely without culture then the argument that human intelligence is of a different kind not degree of elaboration may hold true but that is not the case.  Human may be uniquely able to take advantage of cultural transmission at the level necessary to display what we call creativity and personality but the evidence still suggests it is a matter of degree not kind.

I could be wrong but I doubt it. Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote literaryClarity Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jun 2015 at 23:13
You could be wrong.  Yes indeed very very wrong and in which case it is safe to say that it is very doubtable that doubting the small chance that you could be wrong is dubious in itself.

But I digress with my fancy language.  The words roll off my tongue so easily and I am very talkative so share my idea with everyone to show off you see? C'est pah vrai!  But whoa now I have to doubt my own existence because everything is doubtable you see?  Haha just kidding no I'm not going to delve into philosophy as I'm too embarassed to say I have not reached the level of god just yet.

But really it's semantics.  Seriously.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jun 2015 at 02:02
Originally posted by francisosan francisosan wrote:


Omar, if you want to understand why there are inherent limitations as far as getting a Turing test to work, I would suggest looking at Roger Penrose. Or you can pronounce that we "already have Turing machines" and thus criticize me. But such an effort is really going after low hanging fruit. I have your claim on one side which is so short and without detail, that I don't know what you are saying vs. on the other side a claim by Professor of physics who was knighted for his work in physics and who early on collaborated with Hawking. I confess that it has been awhile since I looked at Penrose, and my understanding of him has never been complete, but I do understand _enough_ of him to recommend him to you as someone who will either (1) answer your questions, or (2) figure out why they are unanswerable.
Perhaps, the shortest way to put it, is that Penrose denies that a mechanical view of the universe can account for the universe as we know it must be, through quantum physics (and mathematics?). But those are my words, not his and it is better to go to the source.

Well, I'd have to be really dedicated to read the whole book for the sake of an internet discussion. I did some googling on the book, Penrose and Turing to try to figure out what you meant.
I think I have identified the confusion.
Penrose appears to be claiming that a Turing machine cannot be used to make a conciousness because conciousness is non-algorithmic. Which is something I completely agree on, given we have had a good attempt at it since the book was written.
That's not the same as what you said, but I now understand that's what you meant.
A "Turing Machine" is literally just a computer. It was the theoretical test that a general purpose computing machine was possible.
The "Turing Test" is a test whereby a person believes they are communicating with a person but is actually comunicating with a machine. That was recently (in the last year I think) passed for the first time. A group wrote an chat app that managed to convince people that it was a little bit weird teenager who couldn't speak English properly.
So while a Turing machine has passed the Turing test, it cheated a bit.
Aside from the semantic misunderstanding I agree with your point.
Originally posted by wolfhnd wolfhnd wrote:

I think you missed the point as I'm arguing against your idea of complexity and self organization. What allows you to design computing machines is a complex culture I'm confident you do not understand and exists not by design but mostly undirected cultural evolution. I'm also confident that you could not build a computer from scratch as it is unlikely anyone has the requisite skills. I would even question that you understand exactly how they work as the theoretical foundations for the components is itself extremely complex.

If you are saying that knowledge really resides in the collective understand of human culture, and each individual merely accesses that information, then yeah of course. Thousands of individuals around the world understand how to build a computer because thousands of individuals around the world understand how to build a computer. We all learn from each other and divide up tasks to make a something would take a long time, a short time.
But that's quite different from saying that one individual can't build a computer, or that it's too complex for one mind. It's not a matter of understanding, it's a matter of man-hours. The theoretical foundations are simple but the practical implementation of a state of the art machine is time consuming. One person building ENIAC in their shed from base materials (sand, clay etc) is theoretically possible, it would just take a long time.
Quote What I would agree with is that self replicating computers is basically a fantasy. The question is how much different is it from going to the moon or finding a cure for cancer which a century ago were fantasies. The fact that computer scientist take a pessimistic view of the future of computing potential is not surprising since the people in the horse drawn industry had a pessimistic view of automobiles. If the views I held were not shared by many intelligent and thoughtful people they could be easily dismissed but that is not the case.    

Your previous assertion was (as I understood it) that AIs will eventually be able to evolve on their own, like life, and exceed humans. What I'm trying to say is that there are fantasies (like going to the moon) where you can see how you would do it but you can't make it possible. This would be like a space elevator. There are other fantasies which where lack the fundamental understanding even to know what direction we should be heading in. Making an evolving consiousness is in this category. Modern science has no understanding of conciousness. If you say that complexity will deliver us a greater cultural conciousness and we don't need to understand it to build it, then I would say that's a guess and a stab in the dark. There is no science to support that claim.

The other thing to consider is why online gaming is more popular than single player games. Some of our best AIs are in computer games, yet as anyone who has played them knows, all AIs have habits and weaknesses that humans can identify after playing against them a few times. In a terminator style world it would be reasonable to expect that even a great AI has that weakness.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jun 2015 at 07:10
I have heard that making a computer that is a Master at the game of Go is immensely challenging, considering that everything is positional (unlike Chess) and that one can always expand the board, adding to the compexity.

Thank you Omar, for listening to what I mean:) not what I said:(  I don't mean to imply that one has to read Penrose's books, I am just saying that, while my understanding is not sufficient, I think that some very good answers can be found in the direction of Penrose's work, and that my contact with his work, is through looking at a couple his books, or at least the introduction to a couple of his books, and maybe half way through.  I have (obviously) a vague understanding of the problem, when Penrose gets to his solution, he completely looses me.  But like Feynman reportedly said about quantum physics, if you think you understand quantum physics, you probably don't.  Usually, I prefer knowing what I am talking about:P, but here I thought that the next best thing, pointing out someone (Penrose) who knew what he was talking about, would have to suffice. 

My apologies LiteraryClarity, I have a Master's in philosophy (which shows that I am overeducated, and perhaps, underskilled), you were making a big deal about philosophy, and so I couldn't resist giving you a little jab, meant in all playfulness.  I don't really mind you criticizing philosophy, in the hands of so many, it does often echo sophistry.  I hope that it doesn't do that in my hands, although sometimes I may get carried away by the chase.

Wolfhound, I love it!  You have confessed your sins, and from the Great Cybernetic God of the Internet, you can now be absolved of them.  As Dirty Harry says, "a man's gotta know his limitations."  I hope that it is okay that sometimes here one's reach is further than one's grasp.  On the other hand, if I go too far out on a limb, it is nobody's fault but my own if someone saws it off.  Of course you think you are right, and the nature of the beast is that you should stick to it, unless or until someone shows you otherwise.
But one word of warning, and maybe LiteraryClarity will appreciate this, I had a professor who taught Hegel, and he said, "Hegel is profound and obscure, but just because _you_ are obscure, don't think that you are profound."
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jun 2015 at 09:44
It's not so much that I think I'm profound as there are profoundly intelligent people which I have come to agree with.  It's actually the over confidence of those with opposing views that worries me.

"I'm an optimist on developing artificial intelligence, but not very optimistic about convincing others that anything we do can be counted as much more than a trivial re visitation of things that have already been done. I think that engineering “grumpiness” is a key to understanding that no matter how far we get, accomplishing anything really interesting will still seem to be a long way off. 

First let me say that I'm grumpy too. I can't help it. It's really more difficult for me to get a cuddly feeling from a robotic baby seal than it is for an old woman in Japan. I know too much about what's under the hood, or its skin? And my problem, which I'm certain is shared by other engineers and scientists, isn't just an emotional one. 

My optimism also comes from knowing what's under the hood. My optimism regarding artificial (meaningful) self-awareness for example comes from the design of robots that learn and adapt. In a design by Peter Nordin (related article), robot software learns about the physical robot it runs by exercising its actuators and discovering their effects. The robot uses this self-knowledge to efficiently begin learning more complex behavior and ultimately about its environment and how to effectively interact with it. Instilled with “motives” their behavior becomes useful. It's also been demonstrated that robots can learn from direct human verbal interaction as a replacement for programming. (For example: English translation of Swedish documentary) Self-aware robots can distinguish between themselves and others and learn through interaction how they should treat others, a pathway to robot ethics. "


We are not going to settle this here so I will move on.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jun 2015 at 10:23
The reason artificial intelligence was brought up in the first place was to illustrate the profound nature of inequality.

No matter how intelligent or talented you are there will always be someone more intelligent and talented than you.  Equality is fundamentally about equal opportunity.

Artificial intelligence illustrates the inequality of genes better than any other subject.  While we have made significant progress in genetic engineering biology places severe limitations on how intelligent a human can be "designed" to evolve.  An artificial life form does not have these biological limitations nor would it's evolution be restrained by random selection.  Humans and machines do not have an equal opportunity to evolve.

So how would a highly evolved artificial life form view the question of equality?  Would such an agent view biological life as "sacred"?  Is our obsession with equality just a collective expression of the "parliament" of the genes?

Richard Dawkin's book The Selfish Gene has been roundly criticized as pop science but couldn't the critics just be an example of gene snobbery?   To quote from the book "I shall argue that the fundamental unit of selection, and therefore of self-interest, is not the species, nor the group, nor even, strictly, the individual. It is the gene, the unit of heredity."  What he is saying is that to understand how altruism or morality can be promoted you have to understand the limitation placed on us by genetics.  Of course even at the genetic level there is a certain enforcement of equality.  To prevent chaos there are mechanisms in place to prevent mitotic drivers and mutations.  These same concepts can be expanded to include political arrangements.  In my next post I'm going to discuss the co-evolution of democratic equality and science having already mention the parliament of the genes.

I think the fundamental misunderstanding about artificial intelligence is the idea of it being artificial.  It's as if the product of human endeavor is not "natural".  As I discussed earlier human "creations" are no more unnatural than termite mounds or beaver dams.  The idea of man being separated somehow from nature is one of the dark products of theology.  As altruism is present in most social animals the assumption that artificial life would lack these qualities or that morality is tied to spirituality I find presumptuous.  The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.  




Edited by wolfhnd - 20 Jun 2015 at 10:32
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To illustrate the relationship between equal justice and democracy I'm going to discuss science and how intolerant hierarchical societies are natural hostile to equal justice.

The question of why science developed faster in Europe than it did in other parts of the world doesn't have a simple answer but I think it is in part because of democracy or at least the idea of representative government.  Below I outline my thinking as a continuation of the idea that non compromising absolutes are hostile to democracy and it's success.  It also should be clear that an assumption is made that democracies are stable not because of agreement but because of tolerance.  

The co-evolution of democracy and science is no accident.  Science struggles in an authoritarian environment.  Social Systems based on a hierarchy of obligations may be highly successful but they do not evolve science readily because they have no need for it.  Authoritarian system that are based on a hierarchy of obligations such as historical China and Sharia law could be seen as stable successful authoritarian systems.  Western systems could be characterized as based on rights such as the divine rights of kings and are comparatively unstable.  It's only when rights became characterized as non exclusive or democratic that science blossomed in Europe.  What characterizes the democracy of sciences is the rejection of absolute truth not it's embrace.  Science can be seen as co-evolving with democracy to favor theories over authority.  Theories validated by democratic agreement in the community with the understanding that nobody can make the claim of absolute truth.

It is inherent then that democracies become unstable platforms for scientific advancement at least in part due to a lack of tolerance.  Intolerant societies reject the necessary acceptance of change for science to blossom.     
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It is a question of what you juxtapose to nature.  Are you talking about natural/artificial, natural/customary (traditional), nature/nurture, God and nature?

Monotheism is necessary for modern science.  If you believe that every gust of wind, each time an object falls or every fire is a different spirit, you will never get anywhere scientifically.  Far from being an obstruction to science, religion, in the form of monotheism, is a necessary precursor for modern science.
Instead of looking at natures, this nature, that nature and so, one has, yes, heirarchical system which can ultimately be traced to an overarching Nature, which in Greek was called phusis, or physics.  Democracy is not so much conducive to science.  Modern science is itself authoritarian, you either agree with it or be denounced as irrational, "unscientific," beyond the pale of fair minded individuals.  Modern science is not democratic, science does not care for a vote, or at least it shouldn't.  Propaganda makes that a difference for this, but not generally a positive one.
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For science to flourish it was necessary to replace the centralized authoritarian system of religion with the democracy of ideas.  In science the ideas of each man are judged not by a centralized authority but by his peers.  Those ideas however had first to be freed from the religious and philosophical idea of revelation and based on an equality of access to reproducible evidence.  As the central idea of religion is revelation in has no place in the scientific world.

That science retains the trappings of authoritarianism of earlier systems is only a testament to the perverse need of men to secure dominance over others.  Ultimately however science cannot be contained by authority as it is in it's very nature non dogmatic as ever scientific truth is understood to be an approximation. 

As with all democracies there is a test for voting rights.  You can become a voting member by academic success, by recognition of your work by your peers, and by demonstrating competence in reproducible evidence.

It is also true that the best ideas need not be adopted by the voting members at any given time.  As with all democracies it takes time for new ideas to be accepted by the majority but it has been proven over time that sound ideas will win out.  When no one has an ultimate veto as in hierarchical systems enforcement of unwarranted theories is almost impossible.

Religion represents the very opposite of equality as it necessarily enforces dogma not evidence on it's subjects.  Even those religions that reject hierarchical structure always defer to an ultimate authority not based on evidence but on faith.  The tyranny of faith resides in it's inability to be challenged or tested.
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Fran I didn't get the quote and how it applied to anything here.  Profound and obscurity.  Nothing applies.  I have always been saying that when we derail the thread it just gets into the problem of semantics and I was proven right again.  You guys can't even agree that the term artificial intelligence applies to intelligent systems that have been designed by man.  Then this philosopher starts coming in with his rounds of "But sir, but sir, but sir, but sir."  Movin goal posts is what he's doing.  Tryin to get a perpetual conversation going talk talk talk but no sense no sense no sense.
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The original thread is on "inequality," I take that to mean economic inequality or political inequality.  In a democracy, there should be somewhat of an equality of opportunity.  I believe that we should not necessarily worry about equality of result.  Ultimately, the way to compensate for differences in result is to handicap some, while "lifting" up others.
Of course, we can talk about AIs, which is something with which I imagine nobody here has a direct familiarity.  Or we can talk about science, but AIs and science are both originally sidetracks from the main topic.  
How do you want to define the topic, literaryClarity?  If you find that it has bogged down, then come up with a new start.  We will follow your lead, if you are a suitable leader.
I am not sure how we got onto AIs and so forth, but when people start talking about machines "thinking" or "knowing" then, yes, semantics are going to enter into the conversation from those (like me) who are skeptical about the applicability of those terms.  I have never seen a computer half as smart as my mother's silky terrier, or for that matter, the spider in the corner of my bathroom. 
If you want to complain, then fine, but if you want to start us out fresh, on a whole new footing, then I would welcome your leadership.
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AI was brought up to illustrate that equality is not just an economic or political issue but exists as a physical reality.  We could just as well as used some other absurd analogy such as aliens to illustrate the point but AI is real and relevant.

AI is relevant because, as has been discussed, the increasing trend toward automation is likely to increase inequality as workers are displaced.
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Yea why don't we talk about aliens.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2015 at 19:48
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:


Policy is limited by popular support, political will, and technical competence. The first element is probably the most volatile, and can be swayed as much by fashion and trend as much as by educated consensus. 

After billions invested in promotion, the politics of the far right are now popular in many segments of Americans society, with the same fervor that bell bottomed pants and peace symbols were in the '60s.

Those policies were always popular in the US. The problem is there was not enough political talent or choice (Republicans of the 70s are to the left of today's Democrats) to tap into that resource... Until racial integration came along and you started seeing 35% of union members voting against their own interests.

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

This was not always the case. In the '50s, a relatively prosperous time, the tax system assumed a steep curve, with top rates at 90%. Times changes, as do fashion.....and spin efforts.

That is a lie propagated by ideologue pundits and some economists who should know better. 30% of Americans were either dirt poor (90% of Blacks and nearly all Hispanics) or on the edge in the 1950s. The high taxes were not for the benefit of the people, it was to pay out the 180% of GDP debt racked up during WWII and build up the US arsenal to what it is now. Even the great infrastructure projects were directly connected to defence since without Highways you cannot transport troops if the Ruskies invaded nor transport materials for manufacturing as the US realised in WWII (the Interstate Route system was inadequate). 

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

The thing that holds back initiatives such as a more progressive tax system, and greater spending on social programs, is the belief that it cannot be done. An invisible hand will creep through the marketplace, they would maintain, and slap people about the head and shoulders for trying such heresy. History, I'd say, proves otherwise (as do some prominent economists), but belief can often trump reality.

The thing that hold out progressive taxes is idiots who raise signs like "Keep the Government's Hands out of my Medicare!". This idiot will believe anything.

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

Other regions accept a higher tax, higher service economy, and they can hardly be said to be hard done by.

Not necessarily. All the ascending fascist parties on Europe right now are about as right wing as the Teabaggers in the US when it comes to economics and their supporters know that. As I said earlier Europeans accepted those high taxes when they were the recipients, when the brown people and those who belong to the religion that shall not be mentioned start taking it (who by the way are 3% of the total European population and Except in France are within the national rates) they began to turn on the system.

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

Who should get what is of course a complex question. Clearly paying everybody $30/month, Cuban style, is not on. I'd also float the idea that assuming a hedge fund manager who makes $30 billion in a year is earning every penny, is equally unsustainable and nonsensical. 

Seeing how many hedge funds collapsed or suffered major losses, a fund manager making $30 billion actually earned it.


Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:


Our movement into the affluent, egalitarian society we have come to see as normal today really began with the active promotion of a middle class. The financial and tax reforms that flowed from the great depression, and the social programs after WW2 expanded that vast middle ground, and made the successful society of the 50s and 60s.

This was not out of the goodness of politician's hearts. People were afraid from a revolution, a socialist revolution. Once enough useful idiots were created by the system (the allure of the American dream in the US, owning a government subsidised house and a car) they were used to burn the bridge they crossed. In Britain, the most socialised of all post WWII countries, the unions simply went too far in the 70s and the people got Thatcher.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jun 2015 at 21:14
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:


Policy is limited by popular support, political will, and technical competence. The first element is probably the most volatile, and can be swayed as much by fashion and trend as much as by educated consensus. 

After billions invested in promotion, the politics of the far right are now popular in many segments of Americans society, with the same fervor that bell bottomed pants and peace symbols were in the '60s.

Those policies were always popular in the US. The problem is there was not enough political talent or choice (Republicans of the 70s are to the left of today's Democrats) to tap into that resource... Until racial integration came along and you started seeing 35% of union members voting against their own interests.

Not enough talent? That begs the question of why not, in a community of 315 million diverse people, nominally at least a functioning democracy.

There has been a rightest trend in the US that is long standing, but today such notions have been honed to a fine edge by the very small minority that benefits the most from them. The ideologues and the ultra rich got their start with the Reagan administration, and have been tenacious since.

Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

This was not always the case. In the '50s, a relatively prosperous time, the tax system assumed a steep curve, with top rates at 90%. Times changes, as do fashion.....and spin efforts.

That is a lie propagated by ideologue pundits and some economists who should know better. 30% of Americans were either dirt poor (90% of Blacks and nearly all Hispanics) or on the edge in the 1950s. The high taxes were not for the benefit of the people, it was to pay out the 180% of GDP debt racked up during WWII and build up the US arsenal to what it is now. Even the great infrastructure projects were directly connected to defence since without Highways you cannot transport troops if the Ruskies invaded nor transport materials for manufacturing as the US realised in WWII (the Interstate Route system was inadequate).

Yes, there was poverty back then, but it also also indisputably a time of rising wealth, and increasing equality. After the poverty of the depression, and the sacrifice of the war, there was some trepidation that the unwashed masses might just renege on their duties unless the pie starting getting cut in similar size pieces. And so FDR's reforms were kept, and even upgraded. A middle class with wages meant the purchase of consumer goods, and hence the industry and employment that flowed from that. It was  a heck of a lot better than depression politics and business as usual. 

The large debt acrewed from the war shrank rather drastically with the growth in GDP, and that was what enabled the pay off of the debt. Politicians are still hoping for the same sort of thing today, although it is more problematic, as we don't have the particular circumstances of the post war era. The progressive tax structure was instrumental in providing for a more socially just society than what had preceded it. Taxes are at historic lows today due to the obsession with self interest in society, and the voracious efforts of the ultra affluent to maintain their position.

As for the highway system, yes, there have been murmurings about it being all about defense. But when you look at it, this is actually pretty absurd. Who is going to mount a massive, globe spanning, air-sea invasion in the nuclear age? A few bombs would end any such folly, if there was even any need or desire for it after an exchange of missiles. Evacuate the cities on the interstates? How long does it take you to drive home in a normal rush hour? Ad a few million more cars, with hysterical drivers, and see how fast things move.

I'm not trying to paint the '50s as perfect, but just pointing out that some reforms had been proven by then, and taken to heart, such as social security, unemployment insurance, public education, banking reform, and a progressive tax system. That's why the '50s looked rather different than the '30s.





Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

The thing that holds back initiatives such as a more progressive tax system, and greater spending on social programs, is the belief that it cannot be done. An invisible hand will creep through the marketplace, they would maintain, and slap people about the head and shoulders for trying such heresy. History, I'd say, proves otherwise (as do some prominent economists), but belief can often trump reality.
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

The thing that hold out progressive taxes is idiots who raise signs like "Keep the Government's Hands out of my Medicare!". This idiot will believe anything.

Yep, this is a problem, the uneducated and/or apathetic citizen.

Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

Other regions accept a higher tax, higher service economy, and they can hardly be said to be hard done by.

Not necessarily. All the ascending fascist parties on Europe right now are about as right wing as the Teabaggers in the US when it comes to economics and their supporters know that. As I said earlier Europeans accepted those high taxes when they were the recipients, when the brown people and those who belong to the religion that shall not be mentioned start taking it (who by the way are 3% of the total European population and Except in France are within the national rates) they began to turn on the system.

Sure there are some extremists in Europe, but how many in Scandinavia, Germany, France, or the UK would accept the American financial arrangements for medical care or education? A small minority, I'd suspect. Medical care and higher education that is in financial reach are considered basic elements of society in much of the richer nations; the most opposed can be found in N America.

Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

Who should get what is of course a complex question. Clearly paying everybody $30/month, Cuban style, is not on. I'd also float the idea that assuming a hedge fund manager who makes $30 billion in a year is earning every penny, is equally unsustainable and nonsensical. 

Seeing how many hedge funds collapsed or suffered major losses, a fund manager making $30 billion actually earned it.

When I said "made" 30 billion, I meant he extracted that amount through his salary and benefits. How much better the company is I don't know, but I am aware that huge amounts have been paid out to CEOs who have done little or nothing to warrant even a modest wage.

Even putting the moral issue aside, that sort of inequality is unsustainable, as it would lead to the downward spiral seen in the great depression, as working wages evaporated, and with them demand for services, and the employment that provides.

Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:


Our movement into the affluent, egalitarian society we have come to see as normal today really began with the active promotion of a middle class. The financial and tax reforms that flowed from the great depression, and the social programs after WW2 expanded that vast middle ground, and made the successful society of the 50s and 60s.

This was not out of the goodness of politician's hearts. People were afraid from a revolution, a socialist revolution. Once enough useful idiots were created by the system (the allure of the American dream in the US, owning a government subsidised house and a car) they were used to burn the bridge they crossed. In Britain, the most socialised of all post WWII countries, the unions simply went too far in the 70s and the people got Thatcher.

Al-Jassas

True, self interest can find strong political expression, and today the cult of self is riding high (although there are some encouraging signs that this is eroding lately). The worst possible outcome may be if 51% either see themselves as affluent and part of the system, or at least about to gain entry soon, and the other 49% are casually outcast. Leaders can then point to the fact that the "majority" like things as they are, so no need to change.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2015 at 01:24
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

 

Not enough talent? That begs the question of why not, in a community of 315 million diverse people, nominally at least a functioning democracy.

There has been a rightest trend in the US that is long standing, but today such notions have been honed to a fine edge by the very small minority that benefits the most from them. The ideologues and the ultra rich got their start with the Reagan administration, and have been tenacious since.

I am talking about the post WWII era until the ascendency of Reagan. Virtually all Republicans were either bland (Dewey), strong statists (Eisenhower, Nixon), originally Jewish and too socially liberal (Goldwater) or outright dumb (Ford). 

Reagan changed everything, he ruled liberal California and showed that you can make people feel good about voting against their interests.

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

 


Yes, there was poverty back then, but it also also indisputably a time of rising wealth, and increasing equality. After the poverty of the depression, and the sacrifice of the war, there was some trepidation that the unwashed masses might just renege on their duties unless the pie starting getting cut in similar size pieces. And so FDR's reforms were kept, and even upgraded. A middle class with wages meant the purchase of consumer goods, and hence the industry and employment that flowed from that. It was  a heck of a lot better than depression politics and business as usual. 

The large debt acrewed from the war shrank rather drastically with the growth in GDP, and that was what enabled the pay off of the debt. Politicians are still hoping for the same sort of thing today, although it is more problematic, as we don't have the particular circumstances of the post war era. The progressive tax structure was instrumental in providing for a more socially just society than what had preceded it. Taxes are at historic lows today due to the obsession with self interest in society, and the voracious efforts of the ultra affluent to maintain their position.

As for the highway system, yes, there have been murmurings about it being all about defense. But when you look at it, this is actually pretty absurd. Who is going to mount a massive, globe spanning, air-sea invasion in the nuclear age? A few bombs would end any such folly, if there was even any need or desire for it after an exchange of missiles. Evacuate the cities on the interstates? How long does it take you to drive home in a normal rush hour? Ad a few million more cars, with hysterical drivers, and see how fast things move.

I'm not trying to paint the '50s as perfect, but just pointing out that some reforms had been proven by then, and taken to heart, such as social security, unemployment insurance, public education, banking reform, and a progressive tax system. That's why the '50s looked rather different than the '30s.



 

The rising wealth was a result of the US being for 15 years after the war the sole industrial power in the world with the British idiotically and systematically destroying their industry through nationalisation. Not to mention the flood of money coming from processed WWII checks for GIs returning home.

The US nearly rolled back everything FDR passed during Truman (46 destruction of the Dems) but it was Soviet threat that saved the Dems again and returned a solid left wing majority that remained for 50 years.

As for debt, I know enough about debt dynamics to follow prof. Krugman's points (remember my discussions with the late Graham). My point is on a Gold standard paying out debts was paramount and this is why huge tax rates were imposed at the time. By the late 60s taxes were virtually half what they were 10 years before. Taxation was definitely not for redistributive purposes. The Great Society program, the largest welfare program in the US (larger than anything FDR put together) was instituted during a general reduction of taxes period.

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:



Yep, this is a problem, the uneducated and/or apathetic citizen.

Actually exit polls say otherwise. The real revelation of the last presidential election is that it was a white/non-white affair. An absolute majority of Whites, regardless of gender, income or education level (except post grads) voted republican and even homosexual whites voted in large percentages for the Republicans and the majority knew exactly what they voted for.

This is no simple case of apathy, society in the US has actually broken down on a class/race basis and the only unifying feature left is urbanisation and even that is fading away.

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:



Sure there are some extremists in Europe, but how many in Scandinavia, Germany, France, or the UK would accept the American financial arrangements for medical care or education? A small minority, I'd suspect. Medical care and higher education that is in financial reach are considered basic elements of society in much of the richer nations; the most opposed can be found in N America.

UKIP in the UK, PVV in the Netherlands, FN in France all advocate strong for free market (as in US style) reforms to the economy and in the case of UK full  privatisation of the NHS and opening the door for free market competition. Not to mention full dismantling of the welfare state as we know it there. These parties are either in 2nd, 3rd or 4th place in their respective countries.

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:



When I said "made" 30 billion, I meant he extracted that amount through his salary and benefits. How much better the company is I don't know, but I am aware that huge amounts have been paid out to CEOs who have done little or nothing to warrant even a modest wage.

Even putting the moral issue aside, that sort of inequality is unsustainable, as it would lead to the downward spiral seen in the great depression, as working wages evaporated, and with them demand for services, and the employment that provides.

The correct action would be to ban these institutions in the first place. These institutions largely are destructive and as in the recent case of Argentina, could do serious harm. In the old days their activities were covered by banks but the destruction of the old banking system through shadow banking gave way to these institutions which will not exist in an actual free and transparent economy.

Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:



True, self interest can find strong political expression, and today the cult of self is riding high (although there are some encouraging signs that this is eroding lately). The worst possible outcome may be if 51% either see themselves as affluent and part of the system, or at least about to gain entry soon, and the other 49% are casually outcast. Leaders can then point to the fact that the "majority" like things as they are, so no need to change.

And this is exactly the situation today. We live in a "Hunger Games" world without the entertainment of those films as many pointed out.

People focus on the disparity between the Rich and the Poor. Actually the disparity is between the various races/classes not across the board.

Just look at cannabis stats between Whites and Blacks in the US and the gall of the people claiming there is no racism any more.

Indeed a black kid from an upper middle class family has less chance to reach the same status as his parents than a poor white kid from a poor family becoming one of the 1% (using statistical methods, not based on an actual study).

This is no accident, this is by design. You already guaranteed Rich vote (regardless of race or class thanks to tax policy), you guaranteed upper middle class votes who are overwhelmingly White suburbanites. You already guaranteed the white racist vote regardless of class or income. These are enough voting blocks to guarantee winning any election and forcing any false choice policy because it is these people who are all the TV programs and policy decisions are geared to. 90% of income earners in the US earn below $250k a family yet when you hear politicians talk you would think this was the average income in the US.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2015 at 02:37
What is a cannibis stat?  I mean, I live in a state where it is legal and I don't know what you are talking about.  Of course there is racism.  I don't think that President Obama would have been elected if some people weren't bending over backwards to show that they're "not racist," which in itself is racist.  But that racism has changed over time, for the better.  Next door neighbor to my mom (in "white" suburbia), is a big black dude who rides a Harley and wears skull rings and skull t-shirts (when he rides), my mom thinks he's a big teddy bear.  Look at commercials, they say "black is the new white" (yeah I've heard about that women's prison show, they ripped off the saying.)  Black actors are often used in commercials these days, and they even use them for the dufus parts where the guy doesn't know he could 'save 10%' on insurance, or 'could have had a V8.'  Nobody thinks twice about what race in commercial parts with a black man (actually biracial) in the White House.  Excuse me, the _black_actors_ think twice about it, and I am sure a third time all the way to the bank.  We are still working on racism and that will continue on.  But some of us are working on it by making it an issue, and others by not making it an issue, except when it really is.  As the Republican MLK jr. said, "judge by the content of his character, not the color of his skin."  As far as class is concerned, I thought people knew that WWI showed that people had more loyalty to their nationality than to their class.
lies, damn lies and statistics, I am not sure I should trust your judgment about black youths in upper middle class family, although one thing is that blacks often seem to want to show off the trappings of wealth, while Warren Buffet drives an old pickup.
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wolfhnd View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolfhnd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2015 at 03:17
It's hard to say what the future will hold.  The next major economic crisis could see millions of people in the streets calling for the heads of the 1% reminiscent of the French Revolution. As CV pointed out it is more likely that there are enough people who think they have a shot at "making it" that things will go on in the short term pretty much as they have.

While I would like us to take control of our cultural evolution I don't see that happening.  If the choice is between a revolution and the status quo then I will take the later.  That is why my interest in income disparity focuses more on economic stability than social reform.  The recent housing crisis indicates to me that the people running our private financial institutions are both irresponsible and clueless.  While we cannot fix the clueless part surely there is something we can do to lower the risk of economic collapse by making the economic system look less like a ponzi scheme.
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