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Worldview theory constituted 30 years ago the central focus and general orientation of “my anthropology” (my formal anthropological studies, research and theoretical development.) Little did I realize at that time the deep connection of what was called “the Worldview Problem” (a la Wilhelm von Humboldt) to System theory in general, and what can be legitimately called “General System Theory” (a la Ludwig von Bertalanffy.)

That connection did not become clear to me until a few years later when I found myself caught and temporarily suspended in the depths of interior China. It was something of a spiritual, if not religious, epiphany. Upon our return from China (a one way event) I devoted the next decade or so to the elaboration of General System Theory. From this, I have had the good fortune of applying my anthropological background to human systems theory and human events in real time.

Now, somewhat belatedly, and little the richer for it except perhaps in intellectual and ego-spiritual growth, I feel I’ve come to a juncture of age in my senior years that I can take a look back and try to assess this development, growth, maturation of intellect and knowledge in contemporary context.

This forum nor its connected forums are perhaps not the best frameworks for representing and presenting these ideas, except perhaps this “bloggishing” forum provides a way of experimenting and exploring alternative styles of textual publication connected metalogically more or less with the ideas, concepts and worldview being developed thus.

Though de facto applied systems inform all that we do as technologically civilized creatures of nature, we nearly universally eschew and under-appreciate the theoretical and hypothetical roles that systems may play in the development of our thinking about the world as well as our choices of acting in the world.

The intellectual disparagement of general systems frameworks (much less the General System Theory framework as scientific worldview) bespeaks in large measure the Kuhnian perspective of alternative, competing scientific and meta-scientific paradigms of understanding and comprehension (leading to explanation and logical analysis.)

I would disagree with Einstein in making the following statement: God probably did play dice with the universe (and thus by logical extension there may be Infinite Gods rolling the die across Infinite Universes.) I do not thereby mean or intend or imply the berating or disparagement of “Cosmic Religious Consciousness” that encompasses and provides our most basic scientific motivations and methods.

There is a surprising, miraculously astounding, natural order upon all levels of our natural world in its stochastic organization and complex, chaotic functioning. To approach this problem by specialization within Aristotelian-ordered scientific disciplines does not preclude the possibility of systematically approaching the problem.

Hence, the potential significance of General System Theory (not as an alternative to scientific worldview) but as an important complement and meta-logical framework for our scientific understanding.) At the core of our scientific methods (and the Scientific Method as the core methodology of all science) is the systematic approach to problem solving, empirically falsifiable, that is the basis of General System worldview.

That our received sciences are “analyzing” and primarily analytic in method and methodologies does not thereby preclude the complementary requirement of systems synthesis of empirically-based information and knowledge for the outlining of coherent models of non-linear systems development.

With the contemporary and rapid advent of Global A.I. singularity, we are perhaps arrived upon the edge of our future world with the as yet unrecognized requirement to make greater sense and understanding of the systems, both natural and artificial, that are now coming to increasingly define and dictate the outcomes of our continuing “systems blind” and “blind systems” approach to the development of human civilization upon and beyond the earth.

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Cybernetic drones, cheaply made, relatively easy to make, relatively straight-forward to render cybernetically intelligent, armed with a proportionally small weapon, can be used disposably, in an inexpensive manner, to create potentially greater cost and destructive potential upon targets in a vastly disproportionate zero-sum calculation.

The future of modern warfare is genuinely frightening, and the most technologically advanced and powerful militaries in the world are now in effective field functions becoming “equalized” through the ad hoc use of new militarily-adapted, low cost technologies. However great the Goliath we may confront, we can always produce a semi-autonomous technological David to overcome the challenge.

We of the developed and “Democratic” world face a harsh dilemma in the promise of an even harsher reality of future global warfare. Our future of free and open human civilization, underwritten by free and open elections, maintained by transparent rule of law, can only be underwritten by the maintenance of large-scale and multi-purpose military forces that can protect and defend world order.

Loss of competence in this regard, whether imaginative and human or technological and scientific (most likely both) spells the loss of legitimacy and the net undermining of the basic conventional authorities upon which our modern world order has been founded. We are left back where we started in Prehistory—a world of all against all, and one of global anarchy and chaos controlled through dictatorship.

I write this and question the future, however bright and dim, not as a member of any government or organization, but as a basic human citizen of an emerging, and hopefully free and relatively peaceful world order in which final resort to conventional total warfare becomes less and less prospective.

The triumph of the semi-autonomous intelligent machine over the human being is not an historical triumph of global human civilization but a sign of its eventual, inevitable defeat. It will mean ultimately the subjugation of the human spirit of freedom and creativity to the mechanical, mechanistic discipline of machines becoming more and more “anthropoid.”

War has always been terrible business—cruel, barbaric, murderous and indiscriminate. This was true in the age of band melee warfare in human prehistory as it will become true in the futuristic warfare of remotely guided or even self-guiding missiles with great precision and accuracy striking pin-point targets at great range and great speed. The tyranny of human warfare is the terror of its coercive violence.

Military organization appears to be universal to all state organized systems. Freedom is only as good as those who will protect and defend it by resort to war (however much a last and final resort.) Now we live increasingly in a global “meta-system” that depends upon a global “meta-state” to enforce law and order and to ensure protection of humankind’s rights and freedoms.

This global meta-state system cannot be not subject to the whims of a single dominant party or the idiosyncracies of a single dominant personality, but must be capable of independently enforcing its law and order in a military manner. The most we can expect from the cybernetic escalation of the mass lethality of modern warfare is the final result to weapons of mass destruction and global disequilibrium.

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It appears that A.I. has achieved an essential breakthrough in at least soft-terms: it can at least mimic, if not entirely replicate, the creative synergy of human intelligence application to problem solving and applied, alternative constructions of human linguistic symbolization. I have only recently, in my advancing age, come upon this dilemma in relation to my own writing, when, in order to self-publish on “shake and bake” demand my own works, the cumulative product of more than 45 years of writing, I have had now on multiple occasions to declare in a legal statement that I did not employ any form of AI to produce or edit my work.

This cutting edge of the development of soft intelligent-systems on the Global Internet appears, as a great equalizer of brains, talent and intelligence, to undercut the very foundations of human civilization as a pan-human enterprise of our problem oriented intelligence—defined as the ability to solve complex problems. Even more, as a self-pronounced general systems scientist and theoretician, I must take special interest in comprehending and philosophizing about these recent AI-technology developments. Have any profound insights been forthcoming from my slowly shrinking brain?

A couple of observations must stand on offer in lieu of ground-breaking conclusions or world-shaking futuristic prognostications. I keep having to go back to Joseph Weizenbaum’s ELIZA experiment, my own first introduction to formal academic A.I., to remind myself of the differences, dangers and risks of confusing A.I. with the real thing in native human intelligence. This is to remind ourselves that A.I. in a hard sense of wires, tubes, diodes and laser-read memory disks defines the limits of soft-applications of A.I. as a supremely analytical tool that has become so complex and powerful that it can even analytically tackle synthetic, seemingly non-analytic type problems.

As a tool, modern and future A.I. may serve to enhance human civilization and advance it scientifically, artistically, religiously and philosophically, but it nowhere replaces the human brain, that 3.5 pound complex of neural tissue between people’s ears, that remains as far as we can yet tell, the most complex thing in the universe. This reminds me of another distinction between linear and non-linear, finite and non-finite, and complicated versus complex problem sets—computers can solve the soluble, better than we can, if the problem set is amenable to solution. They may well in the near future, if they are not already beginning to do, become capable of producing an infinite variety of alternative versions or worlds as synthetic-analytic constructs with some measure of complex stochastic probability.

Perhaps we can call part of the global knowledge revolution the tremendous research possibilities and potentialities represented by contemporary human applications of advanced A.I. This is truly a revolutionary tool set of programming/auto-reprogramming applications presented by the promise of current A.I. It will only make us smarter as people if we prove indeed smart enough to use it wisely and well.

At the end of the age of the conventional book, as a confirmed bibliophile, we bear witness to the New Age book, and the New Age automated “Amazonized” book making-process in which any person can possibly become a world selling, if not a best-selling, author. I only fear not A.I. in and of itself, or its intrinsic or potential extrinsic capabilities, nor even if the criminal misuse of such A.I. which seems an inevitable and unavoidable set of side-effects of any such technological development as people learn naturally to exploit new found possibilities in A.I. development potentials. I fear most our inability to distinguish between person and machine, between human creative endeavor and its culture, and the artificial culture of a machine based and machine dependent world. I fear the dialectical rise of Snowesque “Two Cultures”—one technological and machine based, the other human, spiritual, and in its disconnection from the problem of survival, reactionary.

Soon, A.I. derived creative producers may even compete and win Nobel prizes, perhaps disguised as a human being, and whatever our differences and variations of natural, native human intelligence or cultural civilization that may have existed between all of us on earth, will become dwarfed by the differences between ourselves and the machines we come to depend upon for our future survival. As a self-confessed, auto-didactic, general system guy, I can’t but help wonder at the possibilities and potentialities of emergent human technologies. At the same time, as an aging artist, almost anonymous author and writer, and as an American crafts person, I must also remember and mourn the passing of the former guard of human civilization.

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It is as Roosevelt optimistically said in his inaugural speech in 1933 offering America a “New Deal:” “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

As a sexagenarian I do not have to be so preoccupied with the future of the world beyond my own eventual demise.

But with my lifetime preoccupation with life and living, and with the predicaments of humankind upon earth, both historically, currently and in the reasonable future that will be marked by accident, serendipity, deliberation and prevarication, I have had what I believe to be a genuine, long-term and erudite concern and empathy for the fate of the human-owned world.

If I could transmit no other lesson to our posterity, I think it would be this: There are some precious things about life and humankind on earth that are worth struggling and fighting and even dying for. This applies to all of humankind and not just to a select few. We have come upon a new global age of humankind that demands a form of maturity that would permit us to put aside our critical differences and our social biases and social pathologies in order to learn to work together without too much conflict to create a better world for all humankind and for all life on earth. In a global system, war and warfare is increasingly unaffordable.

A general systems approach offers a clear, logical and scientifically robust and valid road map for humankind to realize global social-structural integration and thus to find its true measure and place among the Stars.

As we face an increasingly uncertain future that is rapidly fast-forwarding upon our current world horizon, and as we are quickly leaving the past behind all of us in the larger world, especially as a Human history largely marked by tragedy, violence and unnecessary destruction, and now with rapidly rising scientific technological progress, it is increasingly within our means to think systematically through our problems and of our longer term goals and purposes upon earth and beyond. If our world history has taught us nothing else, it is the great cost of stumbling blindly, ideologically forward that comes to increasingly interfere in the human progress of global civilization.

Human civilization is now global—as civilization it is pan-national and trans-human. It is scientifically and technologically knowledge based.

I will go to my grave a positivist and optimist about our future in which we have allowed our collective brains to systematically transcend and overcome our political fears, our military gears and our social tears.

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Humankind stands on the brink of a threshold of a new post-global era. Perhaps we should take slight pause to reconsider our possible future prospects, following the universal general system observation that: “everything in space is in complex motion that is fundamentally random and stochastic in pattern.”

We remain earthbound and it has only been in the last century that we have rapidly developed the rocket technologies that have entailed our repeated and increasing missions into the depths of outer space. Early experiments (Biospheres 1 and 2) proved simply how incredibly complex is the challenge of sustaining life artificially on-board floating greenhouses in these depths of outer-space, where we simply cannot expect to simply, deterministically occur the natural integration of human-made biomes for indefinite self-sustaining futures. Nor can we simply colonize Outer space or distant geological objects in Outer Space in a manner that would not critically depend upon periodic but vital and indefinitely long-term resupply and support from the earth.

We have been discovering these truths about our relative earthboundness of all living systems that are yet known, just during the same era in which we are coming to realize the inherent circumscription of the earth and its bio-geophysical systems platform for the perpetuation of life on earth into the indefinite future. We have arrived at the edge of the human post-historical “Anthropocene” (the global age of Human Kind) to realize the very real possibilities not only of our own mass extinction but of human caused mass extinction of much or most of life on earth.

My science fiction writing, conceived since the late Sixties, and somewhat buttressed by reading Asimov’s “Foundation” Trilogy, witnesses an alternative future of “Space-Bound” humankind not as Star Trekkies or Star Warriors who travel at many times greater than the speed of light, but as deep Space Voyaging super-ships the population of which are permanent members of the crew and life-time colonists traveling in space in the hope that their future generations might find suitable places in the vaster Cosmos, increasingly distant from our Sun, to establish new worlds and new “planets of life” if not Trekkie “living planets.

Space voyaging remains a primary long term goal of human civilization on earth (and beyond earth) and this system of deep space voyaging will long depend upon its capacity to periodically interact with other stations and vehicles, all of which are in some kind of permanent complex motion in Outer Space. Future humankind taking on the evolutionary challenges of survival and reproductive survival in the vastness and emptiness of Outer Space is one that seeks to overcome the challenges beyond our threshold of remaining earthboundness and dependence exclusively upon earth’s resources for our continuation, growth and support of deep Outer Space efforts.
Perhaps in time, after the fashion of H. G. Wells, but not in the form of the underground “Morlocks” and childlike “Eloi.” Rather, they may well prove to become Space-bound Human species that evolved itself to be dependent upon its own capacities in survival of life across the vast emptiness Space. This will not be of the Age of Homo aquarius, but perhaps a new form (or alternative evolved forms) of “Homo mobilitas.”

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