Sunday, 18 November 2012

Super-intelligence? Collective consciousness?

Life appeared in a bubbling soup of elements. Intelligence gradually appeared among hominids as their interactions with each other were becoming more complex. Since that, intelligence has been growing in the mind of every human child.

Will there be a super-intelligence appearing in the bubbling soup of the Internet? People always exchange ideas: by speaking words, writing letters, using books, radio, TV & movies. This is how our civilisation grows. Nowadays, lots of interactions, exchange of information is under the same roof, available for analysis. All what we need is understanding.

In the brain neurons are firing. In our big world, connections are made between individual humans, more and more - through social networks. Would this form a sort of "Borg Collective" one day? Could this be good for the planet? If this consciousness will want to survive, surely, with all our knowledge at hand it will try to save its home.

I've noticed the same idea appearing in the minds of independent people at about the same time. Is it a sight of things to come?

We have never seen a consciousness appearing in a single mind. Humans always were social animals, the closest to us by intelligence are social too: apes, dolphins, elephants, etc. Maybe there will be several super-intelligences appearing in parallel? A bit ironic that some computer scientists are trying to create a single AI. Maybe because of this their efforts will be futile...

To read: http://www.edge.org/conversation/collective-intelligence

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Kindness and happiness

There maybe mad bullies around but people who say humans are mostly evil, corrupt, not kind haven't been very observant. Look at all everyday's little interactions: asking directions, buying food, etc. In absolute majority of cases people, strangers or not, are good to each other. This is why we are so shocked and upset when the opposite happens.

I've heard from several people that in places and times when and where there is violence, suffering, tension, war, people are surprisingly warm and kind to each others. When my grandmother was escaping the horrors of WWII from Western Russia to the Central Asia with a baby on her hand, she,  as she always told me, had so much help from absolute strangers. It is a scary thought that we need disasters to be good. But I think it is other way round. When there is peace and prosperity people might look cold and distant from each other but that's because we mostly don't really badly need help. We can survive on our own. We all subconsciously know about this although consciously might wish for warmer relationship. Perhaps people should try and learn to live in relatively good times and still be close to each other.

...

There are things in life which I can't change, I just have to adapt. But out of things I can change it seems that there are just three simple things which make me happy: pausing to soak in the beauty, having good relationship with people surrounding me and trying to be as creative as possible in every aspect of my life. Secret of happiness? Easy! At least in theory...

Friday, 14 September 2012

On madmen and bullies

One won't agitate a dangerous madman. One who does that knowing that other, innocent people would be harmed by the madman is doing a very bad thing. But what if this madman holds whole world a hostage? What if this mindless bully is shouting: "Just you try to say anything I don't like and I will harm and kill nondiscriminatory"??? I think it is the Whole Wide World's responsibility to stop the madman, at least to make him to be harmless, not worth our attention, maybe only a subject for ridicule.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Evolution...

It has been a couple of years since I gave up my religion but only now I've got Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion" from a library. I though I already know all that could be said. Apparently not. One case has really infuriated me - and this is what happened in the USA which calls itself a "democracy" (text selected by me):

 "A Christian faith-healer ran a 'Miracle Crusade' which came to Mills's home town once a year. Among other things, the faith-healer encouraged diabetics to throw away their insulin, and cancer patients to give up their chemotherapy and pray for a miracle instead. Reasonably enough, Mills decided to organize a peaceful demonstration to warn people. But he made the mistake of going to the police to tell them of his intention and ask for police protection against possible attacks from supporters of the faith-healer. The first police officer to whom he spoke asked, 'Is you gonna protest fir him or 'gin him?' (meaning for or against the faith-healer). When Mills replied, 'Against him,' the policeman said that he himself planned to attend the rally and intended to spit personally in Mills's face as he marched past Mills's demonstration. Mills decided to try his luck with a second police officer. This one said that if any of the faith-healer's supporters violently con- fronted Mills, the officer would arrest Mills because he was 'trying to interfere with God's work'. Mills went home and tried telephoning the police station, in the hope of finding more sympathy at a senior level. He was finally connected to a sergeant who said, 'To hell with you, Buddy. No policeman wants to protect a goddamned atheist. I hope somebody bloodies you up good.' Apparently adverbs were in short supply in this police station, along with the milk of human kindness and a sense of duty. Mills relates that he spoke to about seven or eight policemen that day. None of them was helpful, and most of them directly threatened Mills with violence."

First I though: "Somebody just have to do something about this situation!" And then my thoughts came to natural selection & evolution. Who is more likely so survive: one who goes to a trained doctor or one who throws away ones medicines and listens to a "faith-healer" instead? And in the countries where they deprive women (50 per sent of population) of education isn't their potential for new achievements and discoveries halved because of that? And imagine what harm could do denial of evolution in medicine if fanatics take control. 

They may threaten or even harm others but they harm themselves even more. I do feel sorry for their innocent minors and whole naive uneducated brainwashed lot.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

A response to Spufford, F. 2012. “Dear Atheists. . .” New Humanist 127:34-36.

I find it a bit difficult to understand whether you defend religion on the whole or just your particular version of Christianity? If you ask me a question "Do you know for sure that there is no invisible powerful beings affecting our lives”, - of course I would have to say: "No, I don't know". But real religions are precise. They have sacred books which content could be proven historically incorrect, they’ve got creation myths which could be shown to be just myths and shouldn’t be told at schools instead of science, they got moral code which could be shown unkind. Religions can have rituals which my moral duty could be to declare cruel and ideas which I feel I must warn people as of potentially dangerous. For me Atheism is not about abstract unknowable things, it’s about concrete details.

People are very different in respect of what they cherish the most - hence their understanding of their own religion vary. For you, the emotions are the most important things, for others they will be something else: dogmas, rituals, moral, sacred texts, model of the world, power, hierarchy and so on. Please don’t make all believers to be just like you.

Atheists are not a political party or a club, it’s just all sort of independent people who don’t subscribe to any religion while you subscribe to just one of them - this is why there can't be much emotions involved in the idea of Atheism. “I probably hurt your “atheist” feelings,” – sarcastically said one Christian to me. I don’t have any “atheist” feelings. I am human and I have human feelings. I can’t understand why having ordinary human feelings (which of course could be hurt) counts by believers as something less important than them having their “religious” feelings… By the way that praised by you highly emotional state that many religious people experience, together with non-questioning, dogmatic thinking, may be responsible for horrific things believers sometime commit. We all got natural empathy of social beings - towards other human beings and some animals, but there are situations when it could be overridden. On the mass scale - by feelings and ideas provided by religion, nationalism or ideology.

You are saying that a lot of Christians were atheists at some point. A lot of atheists were Christians (me included) so we know what we are talking about.

I noticed that believers like to say "we are so similar to atheists" or “atheists are really believers too” - like they feel some sort of insecurity, the fear of being left behind.

I love the comparison with Stamp Collectors and use it all the time myself. If all believers were like Philatelists I don’t think you would had much opposition at all! Just minding your own business... Philatelists (and atheists too!) never knocked on my door, approached me on the street, came to my kids' school to teach their ways without my consent… Stamp Collectors (as far as I know) never claimed that all non-Philatelists are perverted sinners, lost souls and will burn in hell forever, they never invented a law punishing non-Philatelists for not bothering about stamps… They never executed anybody who said that stamps are rubbish. If you reject barbaric things like that it doesn’t mean that all believers do!

It is not the pleasure to oppose religion and humiliate religious people which moves atheists like me but the desire to warn of the dangers of religion, especially of the dogmatic set of mind - listed above and others, sometime much less obvious.

Honestly, which side, religious or non-religious, exhibits throughout the World and exhibited through the History more aggression and intolerance?

Thursday, 9 August 2012

On TV

Hubby is amazed that there is a special Russian Railways channel on sattelite TV here in Russia where we are on a short holiday. Yesterday at the movies a Russian Railways ad was better made than a Coke one... Maybe they are planning to take over the country? Better them than the Church. ;-) Anyway I wish there would be an "international history & legends movies" chanel. I understand the movies like that are not always historically correct, they often have a hidden agenda yet it would be so interesting to see how at least some Peruvians, Hungarians or anybody else saw themselves through the time.

Friday, 6 July 2012

A little update on my Instagram activity

12 108
5 89
5 85
4 85
3 83
7 82
2 81
13 80
6 80
7 80
5 77
8 77
7 76
8 75

Saturday, 28 April 2012

What's the problem with multiculturalism?

Some people like it. Some people hate it. I am just trying to figure out what it is.

If my neighbour came from a different country and cooks her rice in a different way, I am curious. Can I learn that? If she likes wearing unusual clothes, I am curious: I like ethnic fashion. If she looks very different from locals, as an artist, I am very curious. Could there seriously be any problem?

The problems arise when there is a religion involved. Maybe she wears a scarf all the time (or goes to a temple, never goes to doctors, prays, don't eat duck meat, etc). Maybe she thinks that it is right, good, proper thing to do and ones who don't do that are sinners, infidels, heretics, condemned? Neighbours will read this in her eyes - or just imagine they read it, but, anyway, this will be a wedge between them.

In my personal opinion, it is very difficult for a large number of believers to accept others, ones who don't believe in their gods. "Non-Christians can't do good deeds". "If they are not baptised in the Orthodox Church they will burn in Hell forever". "Their view of the world is wrong". "Demons tell them what to say". I've heard it all. Funny enough, their sacred books are on their side.

I think the very idea of multiculturalism is just a response to the last hiccups of religion. The only serious things which make living side by side for peoples from different cultures really difficult, are their believes. Believes in religious (also maybe ethnic or class) supremacy. Of course, there are cases of anti-social behaviour but "neighbours from Hell" don't need to be of different culture - every one has got their own lot. Majority of people no matter where from, by their social nature, will want to comply with neighbours, not terrorise them.

One can learn to overcome ones nationalistic or class pride. Yet every popular religion says it is the only true one, so this supremacy lies in its root. One either gives up all or the most of ones religious system - to live in real peace, to enjoy real friendship - or one forever looks at strangers suspiciousely...

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

So offended...

I actually think freedom of speech and expression means people should grow over being offended by what others think or say. Just ignore them or laugh at them. I feel it is religious fanatics and nationalists who get offended the most - so why we should join them? People should be allowed to ridicule them freely if they want to and also to explain freely why they are wrong. I think the open discussion is always better than kindergarten-ish, immature "I'm offended and I'm reporting you" attitude. In some cases ignoring somebody may work wonders. Imagine a preacher screaming on a street corner "You'll go to Hell if you don't listen to me!" And nobody even turn his or her head... That's humiliation.


Words "stupid", "ugly", "fat" are very offending. Would they be banned one day? At the moment its looks like the most important is the size of minority somebody has offended. If its negligible or powerless to protest - its OK...


All this charges for inciting violence and even just hatred... It is peoples choice what to say. It is your choice either plunge yourself into hatred and violence because of what you heard - or not. It is your personal responsibility.

I think kids should be educated to think free, to try to understand others, to count possible consequences of their own actions.  Not to be afraid to be persecuted for saying something offencive to somebody else. There is no freedom, no free thinking in that. And if you have an opinion there almost always will be somebody offended by it.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Pressured by church to sign a petition...

My former Orthodox church suggested to me to join a petition against gay marriage... That's what I replied (for the record).

Could you please remove me and my children from all mailing and parish lists as we are not interested in religion any more?

Because of this I am also not interested in formalising personal relationships but as a person who has been married I feel it would be utterly unkind for me to deny this opportunity

for any other grown up people, whatever they sex or number would be. I feel the things which really matter in any relationship are freedom, love and happiness, not labels,
certificates or an opinion of absolute strangers. I am so happy I can now say freely what I have been suppressing inside for years.

I hope you will understand,


Alexandra




These is a gross mistake in the text of their petition: "Throughout history and in virtually all human societies marriage has always been the union of a man and a woman. Marriage reflects the complementary natures of men and women..." "If marriage is redefined once, what is to stop it being redefined to allow polygamy?" As far as I know, polygamy was quite common in many societies. Plus very early marriages forbidden now. Traditions can't help their case. Also funny that their petition is not on official government site. Probably wouldn't pass the standard.

The message has been forwarded from the main priest at official church mail address so the pressure on parish members to join the petition is obvious.

Anyway here is the link to an opposite petition if anybody is interested. No pressure whatsoever :)

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

A school joke

Why do you have so many spots? Did you listened to Spotify again?

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Online reading room

I’m one of these peope who likes wreking their books with question and exclamation marks, highlighters and notes. It could be fun if people could read free books online together - you either can follow each other’s notes or to see what most peope highlighted with different colors meaning “great”, “rubbish”, etc.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Party-free democracy

Few days ago I took a couple of online quizzes on political parties in Britain (just for fun) and ended up in between two parties, and not even in one I voted for... It looks like I picked some policies from almost every party. And anyway, for one of my two "principal" parties I can't vote because we haven't any of its representatives in my area.  So I remembered somebody telling about voting for policies, not parties and it made sense.

I had an idea that there should be three voices on every important issue. First would be for ordinary citizens voting online - I'm sure there could be a secure way to do it. The voting culture could became a habit quite easy I think as many like all this online quizzes. The second voice would be for some sort of Parliament made of elected local representatives - the professional politicians.  The third voice would be given to the real experts in the domain of the question submitted for voting: economists, psychologist, doctors, inventors, artists, etc, the people well know by their books, articles, nominations, experience and so on. They also would provide information on possible consequences of voting one way or another.

Just an idea.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Greed

People are surprised by greedy bankers. But they are ones who choose to work with money, what do you expect? Far more surprising is greed among creative people, among artists.


It is obviously morally wrong when you take somebody's else work as it is and call it yours, even worse if you start selling it as yours. Everybody knows that. People will turn away from an artist who does this.

But most of the rest of "copyright wars" is nonsense and greed. Art is impossible without derivative works.


This is how we are learning, this is how we preserve our heritage. As it was said by Picasso: "Good Artists Copy; Great Artists Steal". All this "just you try to mention a character from my novel and you'll be sorry", "just you try to even remotely base you drawing on my photograph...", "just you try to sing my song at home and put it on YouTube...", "just try and press this share button next to my artwork"... and so on is pure greed and stupidity.

Its also an issue of being a famous artist: I've seen them using magazine cuttings, etc in their collages freely. An ordinary artist could be accused in stealing for that. Yet the law should be the same for everyone.