Questionnaire for College Paper

edited February 2015 in Community
Hello all,

  I was chatting with Divine Fayez-Olabi via Facebook when I remembered that I've got this paper coming up for my college Philosophy class ("Technology, Values, and Human Society" -- sadly, we've looked mostly at the writings of Jacques Ellul, Niel Postman, and Langdon Winner).  It occurred to me that, unlike the nature of the class so far (doom, gloom, and dehumanization of man), the community is full of future-minded people that are focused on how technology can be used to improve the existence of humankind.  So, I figured that I would put together a questionnaire for you guys, and hopefully inject a positive counterpoint into a (largely) negative class.

I'll post the paper, once it is written, to the group and on my website as well.  Thanks for your time!  (this is the first time I've asked things of this nature from a group of this size, so it's probably not going to be very good.  I might even have to follow it up with another, but who's to say that's a bad thing?)

1 - I need some way to identify you for the sake of attribution, so: What is your name (or how shall I refer to you if you prefer not to reveal your name)?

2 - How did you find out about

3 - What do you personally hope to achieve for yourself as a result of participation on

4 - How would you say that humans and technology relate to one another?  Would you say that humans are in complete control of technology, or would you say that technology is exerting some form of automation and is in some ways steering the course of human development?  (in another way: "Who's in charge: man or invention?")

5 - Within the next Thirty years, how do you see technology shaping:
  * education
  * employment
  * leisure
  * social relations (particularly "friends" and "family")
  * religion
  * medicine

6 - How must human society change its way of thinking as it is faced with a future where automated programs (or even artificial intelligences) replace human laborers in offices much in the same way that the automated mechanized assembly line displaced human laborers in factories?

7 - This last question is rather short, vague and lofty:  What are your hopes and dreams for the future of humankind?

SovereignBleak edit: let's keep general group discussions to chat.


  • 1.  Just call me Ian.

    2.  I was basically there when it was founded.

    3.  I hope to be something and to have abilities I wasn't/didn't have before I joined.  Also, I hope to make some breakthroughs in DIY surgery.

    4.  Man.  I don't think technology has yet achieved the ability to control its own development.  Give it a few more decades to a century, though, then it'll join alongside us :-)

    5.  Education:  I think that free skooling and other, similar methods will replace the state/corporate-owned schools we have today.

         Employment:  I hope, at least, that factories and power companies are rendered obsolete by such DIY technologies as 3D printing and nanogenerators.  But, I'm not so sure that this will happen.

         Leisure:  I think that we will replace the Puritan "work ethic" with what Bob Black calls the "ludic ethic."  Basically, it's an ethic of both play and leisure, where the person alternates between having fun and doing nothing.  It's when the right balance is found that people are at their most creative.

         Social Relations:  I think that the family in particular will be rendered obsolete, and instead people will have fluid circles of friends, or even "Unions of Egoists" as Max Stirner calls them.

         Religion:  I think some form of supernatural belief system will always be with us, regardless of the lack of evidence.  What I do hope is that the horrible argument from immortal, immaterial souls will eventually disappear because we are able to create sentient AIs, and then people will shut up and recognize that these AIs are indeed "persons".  I also hope that we eventually are able to do things such as preimplantation genetic diagnosis and stem-cell research without too much religious opposition.

         Medicine:  I'm not 100% sure what's feasible and what's not here, but I think Michio Kaku hits it on the head:  you will have nanomachines implanted in your clothes or body which monitor your health, and an automated nurse will be able to diagnose simple illnesses.  Or, maybe people will eventually be able to do most, if not all, surgery DIY, though I'm not very optimistic on that last point.

    6.  Put simply, we're going to have to stop thinking of ourselves as somehow unique, and acknowledge that there are other sentient, though non-living, beings.  We will also have to recognize that these beings are, in a way, our children.

    7.  I hope that we form a model of the universe of ever-increasing utility for us, and use it to manipulate the universe in ways we couldn't have imagined before.  I also hope that increasing education, etc. will render things like corporations and the state obsolete.
  • 1. Name:  Luke Dimoveo

    2. I found at about through Bryan Bishop, a major advocate of DIY everything - namely DIY-biology and DIY-transhumanism.

    3. Much of DIY transhumanism, or grinding, involves various forms of invasive surgery of mechanical and electrical devices.  In order to alter a system in a more fundamental way, engineering must be done at a smaller level.  Synthetic biology and bioengineering are the only reliable nanotechnology we have now, so teaching grinders how to use biology to enhance and alter is important.

    4. Humans created technology to help them survive.  I believe Richard Dawkins called this the "extended phenotype", and expression of a species not explicitly coded for in the genome.  Today, with our computerized economy and automated industry, we are in some sort of a symbiotic relationship with our computer technology.  If computers go, a lot of humans die, but then again, the computers are gone as well.  I am not sure how this relationship will look in the future. 

    5. I'll preface this by saying not to underestimate the ability of an old order to cling to power ....

    Education:  Current trends seem to point to a future where we use traditional schooling as a "hand stamp" (or partially unnecessary certification) and Google or Khan Academy as our memory banks and teachers

    Employment:  I am fairly sure America will never gain back it's middle class jobs.  Most of it will be replaced by some form of AI

    Leisure:  Perhaps we will see Space Tourism actually take off, video games will become more immersion, other than that, I have no idea

    Social Relations:  Again, unpredictable.  But I can see people replacing humans with "bots"

    Religion:  *sigh* It seems as if humans are inherently illogical, and like making up random stuff about the universe, even when it isn't needed.  I think I'll leave it there ...

    Medicine:  To be honest, I've seen so much progress within three years that I have no idea how advanced we'll be in 30 years ....

    6.  This varies based on society.  I think most European nations will take it in stride and use automated systems to get more vacation time.  Yet there is something weird in other cultures (Britain and America) that teachers that work for the sake of work is good - always

    7. I would really like to see the human species branch into different forms and types, driven by people's choices, and not a top down approach (which is why DIY transhumanism is so vital).  I hope we inhabit other planets, asteroids, and everywhere in between. Will homo sapien sapiens do this?  I don't think so. Will some derivative of them do this?  That is my hope.  

    As an aside - I'd really like to see things like dogma go, and our susceptibility to fall to irrationality due to fear or intellectual laziness.  It probably won't happen, but one can hope ... 

  • edited April 2011
    1 - Dan

    2 - How did you find out about 
    Hopping around various blogs and websites about DIY bio-hacking, looking for info.

    3 - What do you personally hope to achieve for yourself as a result of participation on
    A little more knowledge about how I work, and what's currently feasible at the amateur level. A lot of the stuff I read on here provides me with jumping off points to research further (like how the fingertip magnets are able to function as another sense).

    4 - How would you say that humans and technology relate to one another?
    At the moment I don't think people have a relationship to technology as you put it, technology is just a means to an end at the moment. I think our dependence on technology is increasing though, and technology only speeds up this process. We wouldn't be able to maintain our global population, or quality of living without the level of tech we have now.

    5 - Within the next Thirty years, how do you see technology shaping:
      * education
    Hopefully a much more open system of learning and qualifications, with multi-media educational materials and assessments available for everyone online.
      * employment
    More dangerous and menial jobs for those in the developing world, sorting through our trash and recycling rather than farming and making clothes, but also different countries that perform these tasks.
    More fluid employment for those in unskilled and semi-skilled jobs, perhaps finding contracts on a daily or weekly basis, possibly the same for skilled jobs as well.
    Perhaps more possibilities for smaller businesses or individual to cater for increasing niche markets.
      * leisure
    Probably more arranged through social media.
      * social relations (particularly "friends" and "family")
    Hopefully we'll get decent videophone capability at some point in the future! Probably more transparent and dynamic social lives (continuing the myspace/facebook trend) too, being organised online.
      * religion
    Same as ever, less influence over secular folk's lives though.
      * medicine
    In the developed world, more tools to improve and manipulate your body regarding nutrition, muscle development, appearance, and hopefully technological features.
    For the developing world, the further implementation of cheap solutions to common problems.

    6 - How must human society change its way of thinking as it is faced with a future where automated programs (or even artificial intelligences) replace human laborers in offices much in the same way that the automated mechanized assembly line displaced human laborers in factories?
    Who would mourn their job in a call centre? These are already being outsourced to the places we outsourced our factory jobs to. Maybe this will let people concentrate on creating useful, meaningful things.

    7 - This last question is rather short, vague and lofty:  What are your hopes and dreams for the future of humankind?
    Better standards of living for everyone, openness, and easy access to knowledge and information.
  • 1. Call me Oliver

    2. I was hanging about over at under the pseudonym H+ Guy when some of the posters got together to make this site. It has been nice to see it grow from the very beginning.

    3. I don't expect to achieve anything for myself. I just like bouncing ideas off of these lads and ladies. I'd rather still be able to lift weights than have the implants.

    4. I'd say that neither is in control. No one and nothing is in control. The new technology gives people new options and that certainly changes the choices they can and do make. In a way that means that the technology influences them, in the same way that having a cart influences a man. He can now decide to walk or to ride.

    5. We live in an emergent system about which one thing is sure. We do not know what will happen next, but it will probably surprise us. 
    Education; not so much within the classroom but the way children grow up with devices from a young age will certainly affect them.
    Employment; A lot more snooping on people before they are hired. An invasion of privacy that we are becoming much more used to and much more resigned to at an alarming rate.
    Leisure; I have no idea. I suspect there will be a number of things that will make us wonder how we ever lived without them and leave us confused that they were not invented earlier. Hindsight has 20/20 vision.
    Social Relations; I think people will share more of themselves with people that they do not know as much, mostly because of the effects of social networking
    Religion; They are going to have to figure out what they think about artificial intelligence. 30 years might be a bit early but they will certainly have to deal with the issue at some point. Also, I think the number of believers they have will keep on shrinking until religion has much less of an effect on events and politics.
    Medicine; Hoooooooo boy! I'm hopeful for nanobots but even in their absence large numbers of new techniques mean the field of medicine is going to get real interesting real fast. In the longer term (maybe 50-80 years) People will have to deal with large increases to lifespan and understand how to live with an older population.

    6. For the first time in human history we approach a period when we will be able achieve a true utopia. If nearly all human jobs are done by machines we will be able to live out lives doing only small amounts of work. To make this happen we need to have a radical rethink of the way the entirety of society works. 

    More pragmatically, there will be massive unemployment the second a robot comes along that can do everything a person can do for less. A person who has bought such a robot (or several) would be in a position to sit back and relax with a steady stream of income.

    7. This is going to read like a wish list to santa; I want a mechanical body that never ages and is stronger than what we've got at the moment for every person, I want planetary colonization and a space elevator, I want the world not to be turned into grey goop by self-replicating robots and I want lots of other pretty baubles to amuse me for a long long time. hahahahaha. Those would all be nice. I would be more happy, however if we managed to stop the increase in humans on the planet and solved world hunger. 
  • 1. Gayle
     2. Ian told me about and this
     3. I'm not really sure, to learn I suppose

    4. Now then that really depends on the situation; sometimes it is man who is in charge such as on rides at carnivals where there is a man there to push a switch to turn the machine on or off, but our spotlights control us in our daily commutes telling us when to go and when not to. So in conclusion yes and no, but we are getting to the point where we have engineered robots (they are still prototypes and are very, very expensive) that are able to look like humans so in due time they may be standing next to or controlling us.
    5. this is a really broad question, but anyway here goes:
    ~Education: I see the class rooms becoming more online and more green in the sense of paper not being used in most classes with the advancing of smartboards (really fun to play with) and classes being more online and more work at your own pace.
    ~Employment: I can't say anything here because the only jobs I have had are manual labour with animals and technology is not going to do much there, not to mention I have no clue how 8 hour days 5 days-a-week jobs work because of how the position I held ran. 
    ~Leisure: interactive holograms like on Star Trek possibly, there is no way to guess in this category. 
    ~Social Relations: they may get better because of social networks by helping us keep in touch with people across the world or just down the lane, but it could also weaken it by not teaching us how to talk verbally with people.
    ~Religion: Eventually people may become more diverse in religion because of technology letting us read about other religions and hopefully some religions on the brink of total extinction may come back/become 'less dead'
    ~Medicine: I owe my life to more modern medical technology a handful of times over, but technology will improve and lengthen out lifespans and quality of health in many ways such as colour vision and immune systems
    6. Well, people need to realise that they are carbon-based life forms and in the grand over look are replaceable, also learn when to show emotion and when to bottle it up and ignore it. Finally they need to stop with this "you are all special, important, and unique." crap, special as my left foot, important as a grain of sand, and nobody cares about unique much in this time and day.
    7. Prove as an overall group that we do deserve to be the 'dominate species' and deserve to live in our currant and modern society.
  • edited April 2011
    i am somewhat surprised by the level of wishful thinking. i may drop out a bit but i guess that's what you call diversity

    0 - without any bad intention i want to mention that you totally look like an undercover agent trying to infiltrate a community and make them blow something up so a government can get reelected despite the nonsense they did. mentioning facebook in your very first phrase doesn't make you less suspicious.
    (be welcome anyway and please don't mind my paranoia)

    1- two inch up

    2- heard about L, got to its blog, now i am here.

    3- to avoid being bored because that messes me up. so it's a bit of a .. challenging hobby i guess.

    4- depends, some humans are in control of technology, most are not. and the majority of those who aren't are enslaved by it.

    5- there is potential in all areas. but real advances will happen only where profit can be made. that means leisure, medics and crime.

    6- i agree with some of the people who posted above. there are 2 things that should change.
    •people need to accept their insignificance in the universe.
    •people need to realize that money is nothing but an instrument of control and serves no greater goal for the majority.
    in short, we need to shut up, and use the time we gained by letting machines do the work, to solve real problems.

    7. mentioned in 6. i hope that one day people will understand that watching soaps on tv wont get us nowhere. my hopes are near zero, tho.
  • 1 - I Am Harry.

    2 - Via Sapiens Anonym.

    3 - I wish to learn more about practical electronics, genetics and implant development.

    4 To differentiate between the two is a mistake. Bees don't control thier hives, beavers don't control dams, and sharks are not ruled by thier teeth.
    Building tools is simply our what we do as a species, and as our tools become more advanced we evolve in sync.
    Man and technology are simply two sides of the same coin.

    5 -* education
    An increase in computers in the schoolroom, with a gradual phasing out of physical resources.
    Schooling itself will gradually focus more on processing information than retaining it as net access renders it more and more irrelevant..

      * employment
    The trend of working form home will become more pronounced, allowing a business to draw on employees globally, instead of being forced to employ those who live locally.

      * leisure
    An increase in computer based media. Should physical augmentation become widespread we may see a resurgence in "blood" sports such as jousting and gladiatiors, as they can be performed without risking the health of the participants.

      * social relations (particularly "friends" and "family")
    As with employment, we'll see an ever decreasing focus on local social groups in favour of global communities. No idea about family though.

      * religion
    No significant change.

      * medicine
    Increasin medical capability make procedures and treatments that used to be extreme the work of an evening. Physical augmentation results in problems that would be difficult to treat simply being replaced with a cybernetic equivalent. Ever more drastic alterations to an individuals biology and physical form become prevailant.

    6 - I'm not sure. All that's clear is that the standard economic system cannot surivive mass automation as is.
    A government controlled or non-profit organisation to produce basic goods, services and housing would be a good start.

    7 - I hope for a society where the current trends towards tolerance and personal freedom continue, where our lives are no longer dominated with having to "earn" enough to ensure food and shelter for ourselves and our dependants, where the hand we're dealt at birth no longer defines where we end up in life.
    In short, a world where all can live the life they want to live instead of the life they have to.
  • 1 - SixEcho will do, it's the name I use the most on the internet currently.

    2 - I found out about from Sapiens Anonym, which I was linked to by io9. I've been interested in transhumanism and body modification for several years, though, just never occurred to me to put the two together.

    3 - I don't see grinding going anywhere lofty just yet. For now, it's a hobby, a way of satisfying myself by modifying my physical self, and helping to push what will very soon be a revolutionary movement.

    4 - As technology advances, there is increasingly little distinction between humans and tech. Man is in charge for now, but the entire question will change when there is no distinction between the parties. We're not turning ourselves into robots, we're making organisms out of hardware.

    5 - Within the next Thirty years, how do you see technology shaping:
      * education: Likely, but not as much as the other fields. Children still need to learn to read and write, perhaps they'll do it on computers, but education will still be recognisable.

      * employment: Definitely. As automation becomes commonplace, and hopefully human augmentation does too, jobs, and maybe even man's work role will change drastically. A lot of the menial jobs will go, and people will be employed more for creativity and skill rather than labor time. Eventually I hope the planet will move beyond resource scarcity, and the current definition of 'employment' will become extinct, although I won't see that inside thirty years.

      * leisure: Once again, drastically. Whatever the dreamers can come up with, we can sell to people for entertainment. I see this changing beyond recognition.

      * social relations (particularly "friends" and "family"): Social relations are going to be around as long as there are mammal neurones in our brains. They'll still be there in thirty years, more or less.

      * religion: And yeah, religion's going nowhere. Hopefully in thirty years organised religions will tolerate or even advocate emerging societal or technological development- it's unlikely, but it'd be nice, and it'd be a big help.

      * medicine: Medicine will never, ever stop moving forwards. In thirty years people won't be invincible, but they'll be a heck of a lot more durable than now. Cancer will probably be a thing of the past, and ageing might go soon too.
    Widespread augmentation, if this biohacking lark catches on, might change medicine a little, especially if it becomes preferable to replace parts with the cybernetic equivalent rather than repair them.

    6 - I don't think we'll have to change our way of thinking. We'll just be the supervisors, the programmers, the people who manage the machines. We'll probably be a lot happier if all the shitty jobs get cut out.

    7 - I hope we never stop moving forward. I hope whatever I can possibly dream of now will be lost in the grandeur and beauty of the things we eventually do, and I seriously hope I'm around to see it.
  • 1 - I'm Max, hi.

    2 - Lepht's Blog. "Where it all started", basically.

    3 - I hope to learn a lot about the human body and the human condition, I hope to be able to help others do the same and acquire a few permanent gadgets for myself. 

    4 - Humans are in charge - or, to be more precise, human nature. Most of all, the curiosity and their feeling of entitlement.
    (think: how does this work, why doesn't it work faster?)
    Of course, technology has a huge impact on the world and society, some unwanted or unforeseen, but all in all, technology has done us no harm. I'm confident the world will be even more awesome in 50 years' time.

    5  Within the next Thirty years, how do you see technology shaping:
      * education
     IMHO, education is not going to get much from technology. We're currently in a position where in spite of all our technology, there's not really many constructive approaches to enrich our educational system with technology. Sure, there will be tablet computers instead of pen & paper, but that's not much of a revolution. I think a lot more things will be left to the student - time in class will be spent asking the teacher questions and doing exercises, time at home will be spent watching Khan Academy videos.

      * employment
     I don't see much of a problem for this. I mean, let's be honest, technology is replacing jobs, but the jobs that are lost are only menial tasks that no one would want to do anyway. From an objective standpoint, this is good: it means we, as a species, manage to get our technology to do the things we don't want to. That's the point of technology. You can't expect it to help you without taking away the jobs that would otherwise have to be one by a modern equivalent of slaves. I don't see a problem in it happening, but I see a big problem in how we handle this. If we manage to get up and realize we /don't have to do as much physical labor/ because of technology, and that that's a good thing, everything will be fine.

      * leisure 
    As neurology advances, sooner or later we'll have the ability to induce any dreams we want. I think you can see where this is going.

      * social relations (particularly "friends" and "family")
    From an objective point of view (and humans are getting more and more rational (yay)), the very concept of family is a remnant of the times when favoring the next of kin was an important decision that favored the survival of your genetic information. My guess is that this concept will get more and more blurred, and that the whole world will grow together as a social mesh. Only 50 years ago, all your horizon of daily interaction encompassed was basically your neighborhood, maybe your country. Now, with twitter, facebook and the rise of English as the world language (I'm from Luxembourg, I can tell. Anglicisms pervade my and my friends' language.)

      * religion
    I just hope it dies out. I better not elaborate, or I'll write through the night. I despise religion.

      * medicine
    Neurology, genetic engineering, transhumanism.
    These things will change a lot of things. There's a company (if you want the name, I can't remember. There's a video somewhere on that makes exoskeletons to help the wheelchair-bound walk again. Neurology is just starting to find out how to decode the signals of the brain. This, in combination with transhumanism will produce things like a prosthetic arm that can be controlled just like a normal arm, using the very same neurons. Genetic engineering will help us eradicate many diseases and things like obesity or shortsightedness. Again, this is a heavy tool when combined with transhumanism - we can basically shape our own evolution and sway it into any direction we want. The possibilities are endless.

  • (sorry for the double post, but this got longer than I expected and I'm too lazy to cut it)

    6 - How must human society change its way of thinking as it is faced with a future where automated programs (or even artificial intelligences) replace human laborers in offices much in the same way that the automated mechanized assembly line displaced human laborers in factories?
    Humanity will have to sober up and prosper. Rationality will be higher a virtue than any of the emotion-based ones we have now. Eventually, emotions, which are another remnant from our evolutionary past, will have to go. That sounds tough and harsh, but it /is/ the way humanity will probably go. That is not necessarily a bad thing, as it will make human life a /lot/ easier, and clear up a lot of things. We will as a species be more optimistic towards technology, especially in such scenarios. We already live in a society where a moderately intelligent person could go ahead and live his life so that he never has to work a single day, yet nobody who realizes that actually exploits it. That probably stems from the fact that a person who can realize this also realizes that not having any occupation whatsoever would crush you, and that exploiting a loophole meant for the poor, weak and stupid hurts all of society.
    today: "HERP DERP, a machine is doing my work, I'm going to die of starvation"
    future: "A machine is doing my work? Awesome. More time to spend on leisurely things"

    7 - This last question is rather short, vague and lofty:  What are your hopes and dreams for the future of humankind?
    More of where we're headed. Our window into the future is most probably skewed, and our predictions wrong (as are all predictions that dare to look further than 5 years), but from what we can tell, the future will be pretty bright. We have more than enough bright minds amidst us to solve all of the big problems of our time, so as long as we don't multiply too much (in fact, we need to decimate ourselves), strive forwards and not look left and right at all the legacy that is falling off of us like dead skin (religion, family ties, national identity, politics, national borders, our idiotic calendar, all those things have to go.), we will have a wonderful future. I hope that in 500 years' time, people will have a legitimate reason to look down upon us and think that we're primitive monkeys, because that would mean progress. I'm glad to be alive at this time. People landed on the moon with less processing power than is in one of the 3 computers that are within a meter of my hands. Just think of what we can achieve with just 50 more years.
  • @CBPye:  Have you posted that paper yet?
Sign In or Register to comment.