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August 14, 2010

Liveblogging the Singulary Summit - Gregory Stock Evolution and the Posthuman Future

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Gregory Stock - Evolution and the Post-Human Future

We are in the midst of a major evolutionary breakthrough. Life is beginning not only to reshape itself and its workings, but to animate the inanimate world around it. I will examine the nature of this present transition in the context of previous breakthroughs like the emergence of eukayotes and multicellular organisms and look at what it might mean for the human.

The idea that human values and consciousness might transition to post-singularity cyberspace and survive in a realm populated by super-AI’s and brain emulations is alluring to many. But a macro-evolutionary perspective suggests that any uploaded “human” intelligence would be far more likely to mutate into something “other.”

Our nature and values evolved through selective pressures that enhanced reproductive success among primitive primates with strong group dependencies, rich social ties and small numbers of offspring with extended childhoods. Human values would make little sense for AIs living where backups and copies are easy, personal boundaries are weak, and sexual reproduction is absent. Evolution will drive such cyber beings towards values more suited to their circumstances and environment, and away from the human if it were even a starting point. And such shifts might occur relatively rapidly given the likely intensity of evolutionary selection in this realm.

Future biological humans likely will persist in the various back eddies of the sweeping technological transformations ahead and may even thrive there, but it is hard to see how they will remain anything close to free-range.

* R&D up but output flat
Where are the wonder druges?
-FDA focus (makes it slower and risk adverse and costly) and its hard

There has been an explosion of info from genome, transcriptome, proteome, metabalome
when will get radical life extension ?

Singularity is Near movie assumes that singularity will have a human value core
Gregory Stock is not so certain and thinks it will be transition to posthuman.
Gregory Stock discusses his work on Alzheimers.
85+ year old are 50% likely to have Alzheimers.
His company studied PP2A protein.
Coffee activates PP2A as do many other things like chocolate
Coffee does reduce a lot of disease. Not the caffeine, other stuff.
SIG1012, coffee bean extract.
Alzheimer mouse model. Helps extend life and reduce impact of parkinsons and alzheimers.
Moving to human trials (instead of 8 year delay because it is a natural ingredient

The singularity and human values
A macro evolutionary perspective.
Turning inert sand (SiO2) to the complexity of life itself
Genomics revolution (life coming to understand itself and adjust and take control of evolution)
Slam the evolutionary process into fastforward
A transformation is underway.
Humans may be transcended in this process
Evolution itself is not static, it evolves as well. Less effective processes get displaced. Sexual reproduction was an advance in evolution.

There is now also social evolution

Can also have virtual societies for virtual social evolution.
essentials of evolution, 1) reproduction, 2) variation, 3) differential survival


Evolutionary breakthroughs of the past-
Organizational and materials
First, life. a bag of biochemicals.
To complex (eukariotic) cells. Symbiotic communities of bacteria that came together to form a cell
to multicellular organisms (1.2 billion years ago)
to planetary superorgasism, (internet connections, grids, cities

Complex biology plus complex nonbiology
the nature of transitions
Transition in substance and organizational complexity
New materials supplement old ones
New levels subsume old ones
Localized homeostatic environments
Components are refashioned (the cells of multicellular organisms can no longer survive independently)
The transformation of grey wolves to domestic dog variants
Free range humans will mostly be subsumed
time scales expand and new properties emerge
The Singularity will it be opaque ? We are mostly bad at predicting the future. (Subprime surprise)
If so when ? and what would it mean for us ?
Human ethics and values (primates have many of them)
Marx was right about socialism but he had the wrong species (ants were what he was talking about)
Cyberspace values ?
Competition is strong, copies are cheap and plentiful, sex is vestigal
Humans disappear through the skylight.
Would individuality remain ?
Stop evolution ?
Singleton rule (have interest in human values)
superorganism communities

Evolution will proceed
Cloning, genetic engineering are symbols that relate to real change
- Slippery slopes
- losses of identity
-

The control will not happen but may happen at a different organizational level.

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