How Humanity Lost Control and Humans Lost Liberty: From Our Brave New World to Analogia (Sequence Introduction)
In this sequence of posts, we will exam how our global civilization has found itself wandering, staggering, and rocketing through, and now beyond Our Brave New World.
Superintelligences exist and they are misaligned with the interests of both humanity and individual humans. These superintelligences have their own emergent goals and patterns of behavior. In fact, humans have already lost much meaningful control over these superintelligences and their behavior. This is the birth of Analogia.
Across ~25 posts gathered across ~6 major parts, this sequence will explore how humans, machines, and civilization have coevolved to present a world of increasing complexity, one dominated by hybrid superintelligences, and one in the process of developing machine superintelligences.
In Part I, we will map how over-digitizalization, when coexistent with over-population and over-organization, has brought us to the fulfillment of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World of mass manipulation of the general population by the more narrow interests of both individual groups of humans and of machines. It is from Our Brave New World, that Analogia has arisen. Analogia is a world where much of humanity has embraced over-digitalization and its continual encroachment into our analog, natural world, the world that, throughout all of human history has always been considered the “real world”, the one our biological minds and biological bodies inhabit. It is a world where the digital world has begun to assert control over the analog world. As a brief detour in Part I, we visit an abridged aversion of Olaf Stapledon’s “The Other Earth.” An early cautionary tale. (Chapters 1-7, planned titles with planned posting dates)
Ch 6: Over-digitalization (4/30)
Ch 7: Welome to Analogia! (5/31)
In Part II, we will step away from the diagnosis of Our Brave New World and the troubling signs of Analogia. Here, we will turn to speculative fiction for some inspiration on the range of outcomes, challenges and opportunities, for living in Analogia. First, I turn to Samuel Butler’s description of The Book of The Machines for a speculation on how a society settles its uneasy relationship with machine evolution. Then, we visit E.F. Forster’s short story “The Machine Stops.” Here we see a world where humans have become quite reliant on their machines, in an altogether unhealthy manner. Finally, we take a journey through history from the eyes of Olof Johannesson. Its viewpoint is one not to be dismissed lightly, we do so at our own peril. I share these narratives to help us create our own vision of the future, one more kind to freedom, love, and intelligence. (Chapters 8-10)
Ch 8: The Book of The Machines
Ch 9: The Machine Stops
Ch 10: The Tale of the Big Computer
In Part III, we will examine the landscape where information, evolution, and machines meet. I first provide a brief overview of the the evolution of machines as it has been documented by recent historians and observers. Then I provide a discussion on the evolution of organizations as well. As we will see, these two things, organizations and machines, have been coevolving together into new and less well described things. With this illustrated, we examine descriptions of some of these new hybrid things so that we can better understand their emergent behavior along with their power and influence. This discussion will force us to zoom out to a broader discussion on the conceptual differences between information, knowledge, and understanding. As we will see each of these distinct concepts play important and differing roles in shaping the current structure of control and power in our current world (Chapters 11-14)
Ch 11: The Evolution of Machines
Ch 12: The Evolution of Organizations
Ch 13: Hybrid Intelligences, Hybrid Organizations, and Cyborgs
Ch 14: Information, Knowledge, Understanding
Part IV examines governance, control, and symbolic systems themselves. Here we will take up cybernetics, control, and governance together so that we can better see the important questions each of them poses. Then, we will focus specifically on the incompleteness theorem, decision making generally, and discretionary agent behavior within organizations specifically. This will require us to visit with the differences between knowledge and symbols that represent knowledge as these distinctions will further aid us in understanding how to think about AI Governance and how we might govern superintelligence. (Chapters 15-19)
Ch 15: Governance, Cybernetics, Control
Ch 16: Decision Making, Incompleteness, and Discretion
Ch 17: Knowledge & Symbols
Ch 18: AI Governance
Ch 19: Governing Superintelligence
Part V examines guiding value frameworks for navigating the world including the perennial philosophy, effective altruism, and long termism with commentary from The Mystic, The Wizard, The Saint, The Revolutionary, and The Optimizer. (Chapters 20-23)
Ch 20: Ethics, Morality, Religion
Ch 21: The Perennial Philosophy
Ch 22: Long-termism and Effective Altruism
Ch 23: The Mystic, The Wizard, The Saint, The Revolutionary, and The Optimizer
Part VI provides some Tentative Conclusions (Chapter 24 & 25)
Ch 24: Pharmako-AI
Ch 25: Tentative Conclusions
Posts are planned to appear monthly beginning November 30, 2021 for approximately 2 years. After the completion of each major part, I will take a one month break from new posts and instead respond to comments, reflect, and research further before completing the next part. The first will appear on November 30th, 2021. We will begin with a more extended introduction to the broad contours of the arguments presented here.