Big Brother and the Pope-Emperor

critical-path2

I am continuing my reading of Critical Path by R. Buckminster Fuller and I am finding that his thinking regarding history in many ways correlates with my own.

Scientio: I Know

Buckminster does not have a good explanation for pre-human history, but he does have a good explanation for human history.  I think he inaccurately rejects the origin of mankind in Africa, however he makes a very sound argument based on the likely origin of the Bronze Age geologically.  The prime geological location where copper and tin could have been accidentally mixed to create bronze is in Thailand on the Chao Phraya River.

Navigator-Emperor

At the mouth of the Chao Phraya River lies Bangkok and Buckminster speculates that ship building also originated in Bangkok as strong non-rusting bronze is an essential metal in assembling wooden ships.  The Bangkok builders of the dhow vessels have a history extending back 10,000 years.  With shipping came the need for navigation and the development of astronomy and trigonometry to do so.  This made Navigators the the high priests of their societies and the first to understand the secret of Earth as a circumnavigable sphere.

Astronomer-Emperor

The Babylonians in 3000 B.C. developed a spherical geometry of 360 divisions, but would not correlate it with time’s 360 divisions.  In 410 B.C. the Pythagorean Philolaeus was the first in recorded history to describe Earth as a spherical entity revolving around a central, perhaps galactic, fire with a spherical Sun and spherical planets.  In 350 B.C. Pythagorean Heraclides conceived the Earth as a sphere spinning west to east, but in a geocentric universe.  A Greek, Aristarchus in 200 B.C. conceived of a heliocentric system with around which the planets revolved, the moon revolved around the earth and the stars fixed in the heavens.  In 200 B.C. Eratosthenes calculated the circumference of the Earth to within 1.5 percent accuracy.  It is believed that Eratosthenes had knowledge of a west to east circumnavigation of the Earth by the Phoenicians around 200 B.C. and produced a map not knowing in the abscence of magnetic compasses, sextants and chronometers that the reports included the Americas.  But here science would end.

A singularity was evolving into a pluralarity.  At first lifespans were barely 20 years and existence so miserable that heaven was only for the Navigator-Emperors in the East and the Astronomer-Emperors in the West.  Life was too harsh and technology too limited to accommodate anyone else’s entry into heaven and the first Babylonian ziggurats, Egyptian pyramids and astronomical observatories of India, Mesopotamia, Crete, Egypt, England were built.  The infrastructure created to build the first pyramids improved the quality of life for the next generation and emperors and their entourages were entombed in even larger pyramids.  With the infrastructure again improved it became possible to entomb the nobles. With the next round of infrastructure improvements it became possible to entomb the middle class.  Carved mausoleums and burial urns became part of Greek and Roman middle class culture.  Pythagoras in the West and Buddha in the East began spreading the word of universal enlightenment, entombment and a Heaven open to all.  The priesthoods of the world had gone from serving 1 percent of humanity to 99 percent of humanity.  At the same time the Greek Republic and Roman Republic were abolishing their monarchies, then their nobility.  An age of the individuals was emerging.  Human society was encountering a pluralarity.  Then the powers of Rome seized control.

1984-movie

Credo: I Believe

God-Emperor

From 200 B.C. to 200 A.D. the knowledge of a spherical world became of importance to the incumbent powers as the Roman Dictator-Emperor came into existence.  Scientific thought began to be crushed if it contradicted the goals of the State.  In 47 B.C. the Alexadrean library, the largest database of the previous thousands of years of recorded history, 700,000 volumes, saw 40,000 volumes burned by the first Dictator-Emperor during a seige.  In 27 A.D. the last vestiges of the Roman Republic were erased with the Roman Senate granting the God-Emperor his power.  By 200 A.D.  humanity would face another enduring singularity.

Pope-Emperor

Around 200 A.D. Ptolemy created the first latitude and longitude map of Eurasia and North Africa.  However, at this time the Roman Pope-Emperor Church-State was being formed and a spherical world was a threat to its logic.  What was needed was a parallel Heaven, Earth, Hell system surrounded by the unknown.  A meta-physical martyr God from a cult was harnessed by a physical Pope-Emperor utility.  All contacts with God were available through the utility for a fee.  Confession and Inquisition were created to detect and correct anyone “attempting to set in order the facts of their own experiences.”  The Alexandrean library would be burned by Pope-Emperors in 272 A.D. and 391 A.D. and then totally destroyed by the Muslims in 642 A.D.  The world of George Orwell’s 1984 existed from 200 A.D. to 1500 A.D. working diligently to eliminate any recorded contradiction between “science” and “theology”.

jesuschrist

Big Brother, the martyr God, and the Pope-Emperor reigned like a boot stomping on the face of humanity for 1300 years.

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Ethics: Robots and the Vulnerable

This is an article that merits consideration by everyone:

robots-and-children

WASHINGTON – A BRITISH scientist is calling for immediate introduction of robot ethics guidelines amid surging use of the machines and concern about their lack of human responsibility while caring for children or the elderly.

In an article published on Thursday in the US journal Science, Noel Sharkey, a professor of artificial intelligence and robotics at the University of Sheffield, argues that the steady increase in the use of robots in day-to-day life poses unanticipated risks and ethical problems.

Outside of military applications, Professor Sharkey worries how robots – and particularly the people who control them – will be held accountable when the machines work with ‘the vulnerable’, namely children and the elderly, stressing that there are already robotic machines in wide use such as the Japanese meal assistance robot ‘My Spoon’.

Robots could also soon be entrusted by parents to guard and monitor their children, replacing a flesh-and-blood nanny but posing potential problems in long-term exposure to the machines.

‘There are already at least 14 companies in Japan and South Korea that have developed child care robots,’ according to Prof Sharkey.

‘The question here is, will this lead to neglect and social exclusion?’ He said short-term exposure ‘can provide an enjoyable and entertaining experience that creates interest and curiosity’. But ‘we do not know what the psychological impact will be for children to be left for long hours in the care of robots’, he told AFP.

Experiments conducted on monkeys suggest there is reason for concern, Prof Sharkey said. Young monkeys left in the care of robots ‘became unable to deal with other monkeys and to breed’, he said.

With prices plunging by 80 per cent since 1990, consumer sales of robots have surged in the 21st century, reaching nearly 5.5 million in 2008, and are expected to double to 11.5 million in the next two years.

‘They are set to enter our lives in unprecedented numbers,’ said Prof Sharkey, expressing fear that an absence of ethical rules fixed by international bodies could mean the machines’ control will be left to militaries, the robot industry and busy parents.

The scientist also points to the remarks of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who he said predicted that ‘over the next few years robots may be a pervasive as the PC’, or personal computer.

‘We were caught off guard by the sudden increase in Internet use and it would not be a good idea to let that happen with robots,’ Prof Sharkey said.

‘It is best if we set up some ethical guidelines now before the mass deployment of robots rather than wait until they are in common use.’ He said it was vital that action be taken on an international level as soon as possible, ‘rather than let the guidelines set themselves’.

For Prof Sharkey, who has studied robotics for 30 years, such standards are compatible with the rise of robots, of which he is an enthusiastic defender. He stressed the benefits that robots can bring ‘to dangerous work and medicine’.

Prof Sharkey shrugs off doomsday scenarios in books such as Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot about the threatening interaction between robots and humans, or in movies such as the The Terminator in which robots take over the world.

Such story lines will remain firmly in the realm of fantasy, even as societies hurtle towards greater automation, he said.

‘I have no concern whatsoever about robots taking control. They are dumb machines with computers and sensors and do not think for themselves despite what science fiction tells us,’ he said.

‘It is the application of robots by people that concerns me and not the robots themselves.’ — AFP