Alle Beiträge von Höllge

Transhumanist author, musician and senior sysadmin. Trying to make it to age 1000 and beyond. Looking good so far.

Der Traumberuf und die Vierzigstundenwoche

Frau Schulte vom Stern schrieb bereits im Jahr 2018, dass sie nicht verstehe, wie man sich über die 40-Stunden-Woche aufregen könne. Hier geht es zum Artikel, und hier ist meine kurze und schmerzvolle Antwort darauf:

„Sucht man sich nicht genau deshalb einen Job, der Spaß macht, damit man morgens gerne aufsteht?“ (Jule Schulte)

Die Wahrscheinlichkeit, dass man sich einen Job aussucht (oder überhaupt aussuchen kann), der nach ein paar Jahrzehnten immer noch Spaß macht, ist für den Großteil der arbeitenden Bevölkerung verschwindend gering. Ich kenne wenig Leute, die gerne morgens aufstehen, um zur Arbeit zu gehen. Wenn überhaupt, dann tatsächlich die jüngere Generation. Ob ich in meiner Freizeit chille? Das auch, aber hauptsächlich arbeite ich an den Dingen, die mir persönlich Freude bereiten, für die mir aber niemand Geld zahlen möchte. Wenn die Autorin das mit ihrem Beruf abdecken kann: herzlichen Glückwunsch. Sie ist in der Minderheit.

Human after all

I’m not a scientist. I’m bad at maths… and I mean awfully bad. Still, I consider myself science-minded, and my bs-detector reliably hums when things appear fishy. Sometimes, it displays „I honestly don’t know“ on its readout, which in itself is a reliable enough answer. Some of the things that I believe are certainly wrong, or even dead-wrong.

I want to pride myself of being able to change my opinion upon new evidence, but am I really? I don’t know much about anything at all at any depth, but I live in a huge cloud of knowledge-fragments, guided by google-fu to fill in the blanks whenever required. Just to forget everything again when not needed anymore.

I don’t think that I’m a really awesome guy, but I think I’m quite alright. I know that I can be petty and dickish at times – but I don’t enjoy being that way, I just can’t help it. I’m sometimes impatient with people. I am really bad at displaying emotions towards others; I do have these kinds of emotions, yes, but I guess they’re shallow in comparison. I’m not a diamond in the rough; it is what it is. I am what I am. Human after all 🙂

I believe that all of you have similar shortcomings and qualities, only in other areas of life. It’s sometimes difficult to see the person across from you, or on the other side of that line…

A few remarks on an optimistic view on the future

So there’s this awesome futurist youtube channel that goes by the name of 2 THE FUTURE with Jixuan & Sebastian that I can only recommend checking out and consider subscribing to. They have refreshing views on space, technology and transhumanism, and a special kind of weird humor that I personally find endearing.

In their latest video, they describe a very optimistic fictional future, starting in the year 2050. You’ll find the video by clicking on this link.

I am very much in line with what is being said here, but it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t want to add my own biotech-skewed opinion to it. So I commented with a long youtube posting that I’ll paste verbatim below. See y’all in 2050!

Unfortunately, Elon appears not to be a big fan of life extending biotech. He’s on record saying he wants to have „a hundred good years, maybe a little more“. However, I think he’ll soon realize his self-sustained Mars colony project will take longer than that. I suspect he’s going to invest in the SENS Research Foundation or similar biotech ventures at some point, just to make sure he can see the Mars colony come to fruition. Investing in SRF now or in ten years may be too late, though, since Elon’s almost 50 now. While starting rejuvenation therapies between 50 and 70 may be perfectly fine, we don’t have such therapies right now, and it may take decades more. Taking rejuvenation therapies at an old age may indeed be relatively ineffective (but we can’t say for sure just yet).

Strangely enough, many space enthusiast seem to hate life-extending biotech with their guts for reasons that are not entirely clear to me. Personally, I’m invested and interested the most in a future that contains me… in a non-dissolved fashion, if you please 🙂

Mind-uploading, on the other hand, seems to be more accepted, but also a lot farther away technologically than rejuvenation biotech. I don’t think that Neuralink is up to the task even remotely. Nothing short of a molecular brain scan and a simulation on an — as of now unimaginably huge — supercomputer will suffice, and even then, we’d only have made a copy of a mind, not a transfer (what’s considered a copy or a transfer remains to be in the realm of philosophical speculation for now). I want to stress that I do think mind uploading is possible in principle; but so is moving our entire solar system to another place in the galaxy. Both is entirely possible, but entirely impractical, too, at least in the foreseeable future, and maybe forever.

And lastly: What I’ve been missing from this fictional future history is atomically precise manufacturing (formerly known as molecular nanotechnology), as suggested by Feynman, and proven to be possible by Drexler in „Nanosystems“, and described in „Engines of Creation“ and „Radical Abundance“ by the same author. To be fair, APM/MNT was all the buzz in the early 2000’s and we’ve not heard a lot about it since then, so the problem seems to be more difficult than anticipated. I’m pretty certain that AI will be able to crack it at some point, though. I don’t think it’s as impractical as mind-upload, but it might be a necessary step for mind-uploading.

Sorry for the wall of text. Didn’t have the time to make it any shorter 🙂

Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto. Now make me a sandwich.

I think that vacuum robots on their tiny rolls are not very well suited for human environments. Sure, they do work in a limited set of use cases, but they struggle with even moderate levels of household chaos. Therefore, I predict that household robots will not become a widespread thing unless they start moving on feet and have at least one arm, like Boston Dynamic’s spot, just more affordable.

They’ll be able to vacuum even difficult areas better than humans; they’ll handle pet vomit, litter boxes, toys and stuff that’s on the ground, they’ll be able to wet clean floors and the bath. High carpets won’t be a problem, neither staircases, and mid-sized objects that are in their way (e.g. chairs) can be shoved aside temporarily.

I believe the technology is already here, it’s just a case of shrinking IP licensing and manufacturing cost. Not sure how fast the acceptance and adoption rate of walking household robots will be, though; but if you’re a manufacturer of such a thing and are looking for test subjects, here I am, take me! I have a perfect set of bachelor chaos going on.

Just make it so that the thing doesn’t kill me with a knife while I’m asleep 🙂

I don’t love you anymore

Hey, Boomer saturday here. Well, in Europe I’m a Boomer, in the US I’d be a GenX’er 🙂

So I was thinking about what has been going on over the last 10 or so years — in terms of people who are good in principle, but let themselves be manipulated into doing bad things. Destroying the remainder of an old scientist’s life for saying something nice in a slightly awkward way. Misconstruing an author’s maybe somewhat backwards, but nevertheless well-meaning words into something horrible that was never said. Giving in to demands to remove a respected elderly science and reason advocate from a conference because he shared one borderline tasteless video clip online, causing him a stroke from the undeserved aggravation.

It’s called „cancel culture“ and the list is endless. I’m not saying criminal offenders shouldn’t be brought to justice; of course they should. I’m saying that people are being cancelled, lives destroyed outside of the justice system for having a different opinion, or trying to look at things in a more nuanced way, or simply for being slightly awkward with words; and then the mob decides not to look at the complete picture before participating in a public stoning.

While thinking about this, for some reason, the line from this old Eurythmics song came to mind this morning:

Now you think that you’re forgiven, but you can’t be born again

And whoever I noticed doing something like that, and not give an honest apology once they discovered their mistake, I’m sorry to say that I lost all respect and that

I don’t love you anymore.

AWAY von Netflix ist keine harte Science Fiction

AWAY von Netflix ist nicht Hard Sci-Fi, sondern Science Fantasy.

Normalerweise verfasse ich keine Reviews, aber „Away“ hat bei mir einen Nerv getroffen. Es wird als harte Science Fiction vermarktet, also als wissenschaftlich korrekt, aber das ist gelogen. „Away“ ignoriert Physik und ist daher Science Fantasy, genau wie Star Wars/Star Trek. Nur weniger spannend.

Warum ignoriert es Physik? Weil die Charaktere per Handy und Tablet mit der Erde telefonieren. Ohne Latenz, unabhängig von der Lichtlaufzeit. Und sie telefonieren unablässig, pausenlos, sie tun kaum etwas anderes, als zu telefonieren. Und zu skypen. Mit Überlichtgeschwindigkeit.

Die Sache mit den Handies nervt mich nicht so sehr, das ist technisch kein Problem (WLAN an Bord, Richtfunk-Relais zur Erde). Über die Null-Latenz komme ich aber nicht hinweg. Anscheinend gibt’s einen Punkt, ab dem keine direkte Kommunikation mehr möglich ist, wie ein Off-Schalter. Statt stetig zunehmender Latenz ist ab Tag X keine direkte Kommunikation mehr möglich. Das ist physikalisch unmöglich und zerstört jeglichen Anschein von Realismus. Wahrscheinlich haben die Macher der Show sich dafür entschieden, Lichtlaufzeiten aus dramaturgischen Gründen zu ignorieren. Dabei hätte gerade dieses Detail entscheidend zum Realismus beitragen können. Die wachsende Latenz würde das Gefühl der Abgeschiedenheit vervielfachen und für dramaturgische Komplikationen sorgen.

Davon abgesehen ist die Show langweilig. Die Crew ist unprofessionell und unglaubwürdig. Zwei Unfälle und zwei medizinische Notfälle in den ersten Wochen der Reise? Die Crew kann sich gegenseitig nicht ausstehen? Wirklich? Werden Astronauten nicht einem psychologischen Screening unterzogen? Bei einer dreijährigen Mission ist das essenziell. Ruhige und überlegt handelnde Menschen sind hier gefordert, die psychologisch stabil und berechenbar sind. Aber statt dessen haben sämtliche Mitglieder der Crew irgendwelche familiären Notfälle auf der Erde – in der Realität würde man diese Menschen nicht einmal zusammen in einen Aufzug stecken, geschweige denn für drei Jahre auf engstem Raum in ein Raumschiff fernab der Erde.

Die sich schon in den ersten Wochen der Reise entwickelnden Familiendramen auf der Erde sind langatmig, langweilig und vorhersehbar. Außerdem gibt es in AWAY wieder die typischen Token-Minderheiten, die auf jeden Fall in jeder Serie des 21. Jahrhunderts vorkommen müssen, damit der Twitter-Mob sich nicht aufregt – ein farbiges Crewmitglied mit weißer Mutter, insgeheim lesbische Chinesin, mehrere behinderte Charaktere, jegliche Schlüsselrolle von Frauen besetzt. Das wäre alles schön und gut, wenn es plausibel wäre. Diese Anhäufung von Repräsentation ist es nicht; die Charaktere sind nicht gut genug, um das glaubhaft zu machen.

Sehr enttäuschend. Apples „For All Mankind“ geht in eine ähnliche Richtung wie „Away“, ist dabei aber sehr viel geschickter im Umgang mit seiner Prämisse. Würde mich wundern, wenn „Away“ eine zweite Season erhält.

Do Mentally Unprepared People Break Democracy?

SO THIS PERSON I recently un-friended on FB and in IRL DM’ed me again, sending me a screenshot from an official WHO document that talks about simulations and exercises to increase preparedness in case of a pandemic (including preparing for a deliberate release of pathogens, i.e. bio terrorism or warfare). They insisted this was proof that „the virus was a planned thing!“ They also asked me how to put this screenshot up on Wikipedia (I’m not making this up).

I pointed out to the person that the document needn’t be put on Wikipedia, because it’s an official WHO document that’s freely available on the WHO website and provided them with the URL. I am not even certain that they knew where their own screenshot was pulled from, or whether they made any attempt at all to locate it themselves (it took me all of 90 seconds to find the document in question).

Since the person is Polish-German, I wondered whether their English might maybe a bit rusty, so I translated that part from the screenshot they sent me into German. They came back insisting that MY TRANSLATION is a proof that „the virus“ was planned and released purposefully (again, not kidding).

I explained as politely as I could that they cannot just lift a few words out of context and then construct a new meaning from them that fits their crude worldview. I also expressed my concern that they might have lost their ability for logical reasoning, to which they lengthily replied that they believe LOGICAL REASONING is the source of a lot of suffering, and that they therefore rather FEEL instead of reason. This person is an IT professional, btw. I am uncertain how an IT professional can function with this kind of belief system.

I told them that I unfriended them for a reason and that I do not wish to continue this line of discussion, because I’ve had enough tinfoil this year and can’t take any more of it in my private life. This probably won’t be the end of it, though.

When 2020 showed me one thing then it’s that there are so many more poor thinkers out there than I had ever imagined. This is a real problem and a real threat. Logical reasoning and being aware of one’s own biases needs to be made top priority in education going forward, but I’m afraid that’s not going to happen. It would require to officially acknowledge that a large portion of everyday people are mentally unprepared. Which would inevitably lead to the cancellation of the politician or public figure who said it first. And just for the record, I’m talking about both left- and right-leaning people, both sides of the aisle are affected.

I’m afraid democracy breaks down when a very large portion of the populace can’t think straight even if their life depended on it.

How to be a nutjob

Recently, I had a run-in with a moon-hoaxer on a supposedly science-based longevity group on FaceBook. I put him on my ban-list immediately, didn’t even bother to argue with him. I also left the group, because that wasn’t the first incident of its kind. But what I could not put on a ban-list or leave behind was my own nagging suspicion that I may not be as different in some ways. And that’s kind of hurtful. I need to cut through the knot.

I had been wondering for a long time already about what distinguishes a futurist’s ideas from that of a science and logic-denier. What’s the distinguishing factor between someone who seriously believes that the moon landings were faked and me? Or someone who thinks that Bill Gates is planning on delivering nanochips via vaccines to control the populace — and me, who is convinced that we’ll have strong AI, molecular nanotech, will solve or control all diseases including age-related ones, save the planet before it’s too late, and colonize space… And who hopes to still be around a hundred years from now to see it all come to fruition?

Both views are somewhat extreme when viewed from the outside. I’d like to believe that the science-denier can be easily debunked, and that my arguments can at least be discussed within a rational science-based framework. Also, I like to think that I am capable of changing my views upon contradicting evidence, even if I strongly dislike the new evidence. Am I, though?

From the outside, it may appear as if I’m trying to justify myself to avoid cognitive dissonance. I’m not talking to many people about futurist and transhumanist topics for fear of being put just next to science-deniers and conspiracy-theorists. I’m scared to discover that I, in fact, am one; or at least, belong to one of their subspecies…

I know that at least half of my FaceBook friends aren’t futurists, even less transhumanists, and they may think that I’m a nutjob sometimes. Well, I probably am in some ways, but maybe not in those that you’re thinking of.

So if you see me claim something outrageous, please take me to the task. At worst, we’ll part agreeing to disagree. At best, we part both having learned something new.

We do what we’re told

Maybe the wide-spread police brutality seen in those protests can be better understood with the Milgram Experiment and the Stanford Prison Experiment. The cops are a group exercising power over another group, and they are following orders (not talking about Chauvin and his abetters here; they’re criminals). It’s an ugly part of human psychology I guess. Can this be curtailed, and if so, how?

The right to stay alive

I firmly believe that existing sentient beings have more rights than non-existing sentient beings. Or to be more precise: Existing sentient beings have all human rights, including the right of continued existence, whereas non-existing sentient beings are fictional and have no rights at all.

That being said, I cannot ignore the fact that there will be future generations of sentient beings. They may be fictional right now, but they are coming into existence every day, confronting us with fait accompli.

I am not implying that overpopulation is inevitable; rather I’m asking hypothetically, if it was inevitable, would this create an ethical obligation for pre-existing sentient beings to perish in order to make room for newly created sentient beings?

And do we pre-existing sentient beings have the right to act in self-defence?

So, if pre-existing sentient beings have the right of self-defence, which I personally strongly believe they do, wouldn’t that include preventing other sentient beings from creating more sentient beings? We’re getting into dark futurology territory pretty fast here.

I don’t think that bringing a sentient being into this world forfeits its creator’s right of existence. Or in laymen’s terms, I don’t agree that parents must die once their children are of legal age. Especially if that wasn’t specified in the generational contract agreed upon. Right now, there’s no such contract anway, except perhaps an unspoken one, because until now, it was never necessary. People aged and died anyway, one way or another.

We can certainly discuss whether this will change in the short term; it’s debatable right now. But as long as our technological civilzation continues on its path, it absolutely will change at some point. We’re going to have to answer those hard questions sooner or later.