Episode Twenty Two – Biases, AI and Current Affairs


And here is our response:

It is reasonable to postulate that we may very well enhance or even replace various parts of our body with mechanical or electrical components. It is conceivable that we might find a way to enhance our cognitive functions.

Despite what many people might believe, I think this is a very attractive idea with a great deal of merit. If we can find ways to safely enhance our bodies so that it is more capable and more efficient, then I see no reason why some of us should not choose to do so.

Certainly, it is not something which should see any legislative interference. If someone wants to do this stuff, let them. Even if it is provably dangerous, they should have the right to modify their bodies as they see fit. It is their body and they should be allowed to do as they wish with it.  Which includes undergoing risky procedures. They have the right to undertake such risks if they choose.

Imagine if we could have our eyes enhanced or possibly replaced so that we had greatly superior vision.

Or we could have enhancements to our muscles to make them stronger and more effective. Or nanite implants to make our brains more powerful and perhaps more resistant to damage and the effects of aging.

Imagine if you could greatly enhance your vision using bionic implants! I would consider it.

But I do not see that it will ever be total. I do not see humans becoming robots. Not completely.

It might be that these implants or improvements start to alter human evolution at some point. We might speculate that we might evolve to better exploit such implants. Might these implants be able to hasten evolution or direct it via genetic engineering? Conceivably.

Having said that, I am not so sure that we can replace consciousness as easily as that. At least, nobody has established that possibility yet, as far as I can tell. Until someone does, I do not think we can consider it an eventuality.

What about artificial evolution?

Well, obviously this kind of evolution is not the same as the evolution of biological organisms. This evolution is more of generic gradual development over time by means of a different process than used by organisms.

These systems will continue to develop over time. This would be a much more directed and rapid process than the evolution of organisms and would presumably involve a lot less trial and error.

But organic evolution is not as slow as this comment suggests. Evolution can take place over much less than millions of years. Humans have evolved a widespread lactose tolerance among many non-Asian populations within the last 30,000 years. And evolution can result in the generation of new species of fish within 90 years! Bacteria and viruses are rapidly evolving resistances and new strains within months!

Speciation might take tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of years, but it can take far less. And evolution, which is the change in characteristics of a population, can take far less time still.

Remember, evolution is not the same as speciation. It simply causes changes in characteristics. And some of these changing characteristics result in speciation.

As for the impossibility of time travel:

Well we know that time travel is impossible. Time is simply a relational concept. It measures motion or change. It is not a part of the universe. And for time travel to work, it would require every event that has ever existed to exist separately.

Think about that. If I wanted to travel to, say last week and watch what I was doing, then the last week version of myself would have to exist in the universe. Else I could not go there to see myself. Not only that, but there would have to be a separate version of me from the week before and the week before and all the time in between!

So, every moment that ever existed would have to exist in the universe so I could travel back there! But that is clearly nonsensical.

As for faster than light travel:

I do not think we can rule that out. Einstein made that assertion. So far it seems to always hold true. But that does not mean that we cannot find exceptions.

Einstein asserted a lot of things which we cannot possibly be true.

The fact that many particles are allegedly entangled over long distances suggests faster than light travel may be possible!

Let’s think about that. Consider two entangled particles. If we do something to A, then that affects particle B at near instantaneous speeds. But if A affects B, then there must be some interaction between A and B. Otherwise how could A affect B? By magic?

If we could show that an interaction between A and B would require faster than light interaction, we can show that faster than light something is possible.

So no, I don’t think we have established that faster than light travel is impossible.

Does that mean we can travel faster than light via some technological means? I see no reason to believe that is possible.

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