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A la recherche de l’art africain © Le Monde – un art enfin reconnu grâce à ses évangilisateurs comme Aude Minart Galerie Africaine

© photos tous droits réservés site le Monde du26 avril 2017

J’ai le plaisir de vous transférer un excellent papier sur l’Art Africain du journal  le Monde « A la recherche de « l’art africain » : Les expositions consacrées à des artistes africains à Paris ce printemps offrent l’occasion de réfléchir aux spécificités des œuvres venues d’Afrique et de ses diasporas .http://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2017/04/26/a-la-recherche-de-l-art-africain_5117761_3212.html#xtor=AL-32280270

… qui présente notamment deux artistes  – Alexis Peskine  et Seni Awa Camara (et je pense plus) que j’ai découvert grâce aux expositions de Aude Minart, expert et grande évangilisatrice de l’art contemporain africain via sa Galerie africaine dont voici le site  entièrement re designé . http://www.lagalerieafricaine.com/

L’article est fouillé et historicisé … Il  marque via les expos actuelles le Temps de L’Afrique et la reconnaissance – ENFIN !  – de l’art contemporain africain

Je me souviens avoir écrit déjà en 200 (il y a 17 ans) dans mes ouvrages prospectivebook ceci (court extraits) corroborés d’ailleurs dans l’analyse 2017 du Monde

© Site galerie Africaine Alexis Peskine

Surtout je me réjouis de la décolonisation de l’oeil occidental – de la reconnaissance de cet art et de ses Biennales – Bref qu’enfin on tue l’exotisme ! Et je félicite encore Aude Minart pour avoir largement et encore participé a ce dé-tatouage de notre rétine. 

« Tuons l’exotisme

Pour Simon Njami fondateur de la revue noire et Ousmane Sow Huchard, critique d’art et président du comité scientifique de la Biennale, Dak’art, il est grand temps de prôner un art mondial et de reconnaître l’art africain. « Tuons l’exotisme » pourrait être le cri lancé par ces deux hommes : tuer l’idée d’un art fonctionnel et utilitariste qui perdure depuis des années. Même après l’émancipation de la seconde guerre mondiale et ses changements politiques, l’art africain ne s’est pas trouvé sur pied d’égalité avec les arts dits majeurs définis par les occidentaux. Rappelons que l’ethnologie a la main mise sur toutes les formes de créations extra européennes. L’argument des ethnologues fut pendant longtemps le caractère anonyme de la production artistique africaine. Renvoyer la production africaine à l’anonymat conduit à nier tout processus de création propre, toute esthétique. La contextualisation de l’art africain par rapport au milieu et aux religions qui l’avaient produites a été pendant très longtemps le moteur de toute approche de l’art africain. Sans compter que des intellectuels influents ont longtemps véhiculé une image utilitariste de l’art africain, tel Breton. Ce dernier décida un jour que l’on pouvait parler d’un art océanien en référence à la peinture naïve tahitienne mais en aucun cas d’un art africain, beaucoup trop fonctionnel et utilitariste. Une chose est certaine, le distinguo de Breton entre deux forme d’animismes est totalement surréaliste. Il faut attendre cette dernière décennie pour que la méthodologie des ethnologues soit contestée notamment par James Clifford dans son ouvrage The Predicament of culture, paru en France sous le titre Malaise dans la Culture. Dans la revue Mamba, Njami parle de son exposition « Ethnicolor » présentée à la même époque que la célèbre exposition Les magiciens de la Terre, réalisée par Jean-Hubert Martin. Il confie à Jean Lamore, auteur de la revue qu’il s’est aperçu « qu’on parle encore de la sienne, alors que mis à part ma famille et les quelques personnes qui ont contribué à sa réalisation, plus personne ne se souvient d’Ethnicolor ». Et aujourd’hui encore, de nombreuses expositions se montent sous l’œil expert d’ethnologues et d’anthropologues…Tout semble se décider hors de l’Afrique. Hormis les quelques biennales qui se déroulent désormais sur le continent noir, à Dakar et à Johannesburg. Mais là encore, la situation n’est pas simple puisque ces manifestations sont financées sur crédits occidentaux. Qui peut vraiment prétendre connaître l’art africain, pouvoir nommer plus de 5 artistes africains, identifier des mouvements ? Que savons nous vraiment de l’art africain ? Suffit-il de parler d’arts premiers pour déconstruire notre imaginaire « primaire » ? Oui, car il nous faut aussi admettre que notre psychisme collectif occidental est tatoué exotique par une imagerie coloniale « zoologique ». Cette imagerie ne se prête pas à une reconnaissance de l’art africain  »

Maryline Passini Prospectivebook avril 2.000

© site galeria Africaine – Seni Awa Camara

Sur mon blog mes derniers post sur la galerie africaine de Aude Minart

  1. INVITATION de La Galerie Africaine au salon Zürcher AFRICA du 27 Mars au 2 Avril, Paris 3ème : http://www.proame.net/invitation-de-la-galerie-africaine-au-salon-zurcher-africa-du-27-mars-au-2-avril-paris-3eme/
  2. Apaisez-vous & résonnez en 2017 avec Récits d’Afrique by Aude Minart à la Mu Gallery : c’est enfin le Temps de l’Afrique  : http://www.proame.net/apaisez-vous-resonnez-en-2017-avec-recits-dafrique-by-aude-minart-a-la-mu-gallery-cest-enfin-le-temps-de-lafrique-avec-son-printemps-en-2017/
  3. Aude Minart RECITS D’AFRIQUE ! http://www.proame.net/save-the-date-mardi-24-janvier-cocktail-recits-dafrique-by-aude-minart-a-la-mu-gallery-cest-enfin-le-temps-de-lafrique/

TO BE IA OR NOT TO BE ? Elon Musk veut nous améliorer en surhumains pour faire face à la méta intelligence de l’IA – mais est vraiment intelligent ?

Voici un bref résumé traduit de la vision volonté d’Elon Musk d’ici 4 ans – Le reste de l’article sera en anglais – En bref je dirais que la question désormais serait TO BE IA OR NOT TO BE  .. ou d’autres voie possible ?

Comme selon moi une intelligence collective (cerveau en commun) plus forte qu’une IA – une intelligence co consciente planétaire ??

En attendant voici le résumé :

C’est l’année 2021. Un patient quadriplégique vient d’avoir eu un million de microparticules « dentelle neurale » injectées dans son cerveau, le premier humain du monde avec un système de communication sur Internet utilisant une interface cerveau-esprit implantée sans fil – et l’autonomisant comme premier cyborg surhumain.

Non, ce n’est pas un complot de film de science-fiction. C’est la première étape publique actuelle – dans quatre ans seulement – dans le plan d’affaires du chef de la direction Elon Musk de Tesla pour sa dernière nouvelle entreprise, Neuralink. Site ici : https://neuralink.com/

Il est maintenant accessible  pour la première fois sur le blog WaitButWhy de Tim Urban. Site ici http://waitbutwhy.com/2017/04/neuralink.html

Faire face au risque existentiel de  meta intelligence de l’IA pour ne pas devenir des animaux ?

Un tel système permettrait une communication radicalement améliorée entre les gens, croit Musk. Mais pour Musk, la grande préoccupation est la sécurité de l’IA. « L’IA va évidemment dépasser beaucoup l’intelligence humaine », dit-il. « Il y a un certain risque à ce moment-là que quelque chose de mal arrive, quelque chose que nous ne pouvons pas contrôler, que l’humanité ne peut pas contrôler après ce point – soit un petit groupe de personnes monopolisent la puissance de l’IA, soit l’IA devient folle ou quelque chose comme ça . « 

C’est pourquoi, dans un avenir Monde composé d’IA il pense que nous n’avons qu’une seule bonne option: être une IA. d’où ma question être ia ou ne pas être ?

Pour atteindre son objectif, le chef de la direction de Neuralink, Musk, a rencontré plus de 1 000 personnes, en l’avalant initialement à huit experts, tels que Paul Merolla, qui a passé les sept dernières années en tant que concepteur principal de puce chez IBM sur son programme SyNAPSE financé par DARPA Des puces neuromorphes (inspirées du cerveau) avec 5,4 milliards de transistors (chacun avec 1 million de neurones et 256 millions de synapses) et Dongjin (DJ) Seo, qui, lors de l’UC Berkeley, a conçu un système de rétrodiffusion ultrasonore pour alimenter et communiquer avec la bioélectronique implantée appelée poussière neurale Pour enregistrer l’activité cérébrale. *

L’électronique de maillage est injectée par une aiguille de verre de diamètre intérieur de 100 micromètres en solution aqueuse (crédit: Lieber Research Group, Harvard University)

Devenir un avec l’IA – une bonne chose? La suite de l’article c’est ici : http://www.kurzweilai.net/elon-musk-wants-to-enhance-us-as-superhuman-cyborgs-to-deal-with-superintelligent-ai?utm_source=KurzweilAI+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=6ef575aeac-UA-946742-1&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_6de721fb33-6ef575aeac-281922065

With Project Torino, Microsoft creates a physical programming language inclusive of visually impaired children © Blog Microsoft Vision

These days, most kids get their first introduction to coding through simplified tools that let them drag and drop blocks of commands, creating programs that can do things like navigate mazes or speed through space.

A team of Microsoft researchers and designers in the company’s Cambridge, UK, lab is taking that concept one step further. The team has created what they are calling a physical programming language. It’s a way for kids to physically create code by connecting pods together to build programs.

The system, called Project Torino, is designed to make sure that kids who have visual impairments or other challenges can participate in coding classes along with all their classmates. But Cecily Morrison, one of the researchers working on the project, is hoping the system also will be appealing and useful for all learners, regardless of whether they have visual impairments or other challenges.

“One of our key design principles was inclusion. We didn’t want to isolate these kids again,” she said. “The idea was to create something that a whole mainstream class could use, and they could use together.”

The ultimate goal is even more ambitious: To get more kids with visual impairments and other challenges, such as dyslexia or autism, on the path to becoming software engineers and computer scientists.

“It’s clear that there’s a huge opportunity in professional computing jobs,” Morrison said. “This is a great career for a lot of kids who might have difficulty accessing other careers.”

A project like this can serve two goals: Technology companies say they are struggling with a “digital skills gap” that is leaving them without enough engineers and coders to meet their needs, and experts say it can be difficult for visually impaired people to find meaningful, accessible career paths.

Read more at https://blogs.microsoft.com/next/2017/03/15/project-torino-microsoft-creates-physical-programming-language-inclusive-visually-impaired-children/#V5x0VWS6bTeIv1ZG.99

Et lisez bien dans cet article ceci

“I see this project a little bit like that,” he said. “It brings to life, in a 21st century way, that kind of ability to teach children these new concepts.”

From left, Louisa Turtill, 9, and Khadijah Pinto Atkin, also 9, use Project Torino. The physical programming language is being designed with the help of children to make sure it is inclusive of their needs. Photo by Jonathan Banks.

image: https://mscorpmedia.azureedge.net/mscorpmedia/2017/03/Microsoft-5792-forpost.jpg

From left, Louisa Turtill, 9, and Khadijah Pinto Atkin, also 9, use Project Torino. The physical programming language is being designed with the help of children to make sure it is inclusive of their needs. Photo by Jonathan Banks.

The Microsoft team has spent the last year or so testing the system with a small group of about a dozen students. Nicolas Villar, a senior researcher in the UK lab who was instrumental in designing Project Torino, said one of the unexpected pleasures of the project is the opportunity to work with kids who have a very different way of experiencing the world.

For example, he said, the team originally made the pods all white, until the kids with limited vision told them that more colors would help them. And although in electronics there’s often a push to make things as small as possible, with this project they found the kids were more engaged when the pods were larger, in part because two kids working together would often both physically hold the pod and touch hands as part of that teamwork.

 

Livre inspirant – Cuisiner c’est méditer – l’important est d’être dans ce que l’on fait comme le disait les chinois

Voici un livre inspirant Cuisiner c’est méditer qui me remémore une sagesse Chinoise que voici
« Maître est-ce la bannière qui bouge, est-ce le vent ?
– Ce n’est pas la bannière, ce n’est pas le vent, c’est votre esprit qui bouge »
« (…) Mes amis voici en résumé, ce que je voulais vous exposer : quand j’ai faim, je mange, quand je suis fatiguée, je dors
– Mais tout le monde ne fait-il pas comme vous maître ?
– Non pas de la même façon
– Quand les gens mangent, ils pensent à mille choses, quand ils s’endorment, ils pensent à leur problème. Voilà pourquoi ils ne font pas comme moi
(…) Quant aux détails, vous les trouverez dans les branches du citronnier »  
Résumé du livre
Il n’y a sans doute rien de plus terre-à-terre que de préparer deux ou trois repas par jour. Pourtant, c’est aussi une formidable occasion de pratiquer la pleine conscience : ici et maintenant, on regarde, on soupèse, on goûte, on sent, sans se soucier de rien d’autre que de l’instant présent, les mains occupées à autre chose qu’à triturer son téléphone portable. On ouvre les yeux à la beauté du monde, la couleur d’une salade, le bruit d’un couteau.
C’est aussi une école de la créativité, de la curiosité, de l’expérimentation. C’est la possibilité d’une bulle de calme et d’accomplissement. Un livre fait de courtes chroniques et de quelques recettes illustrées
paru en avril 2017

Editeur : First

  • ISBN : 978-2-412-01707-4
  • EAN : 9782412017074
  • Format : Grand Format
  • Présentation : Broché
  • Nb. de pages : 247 pages
  • Poids : 0.472 Kg
  • Dimensions : 14,9 cm × 20,6 cm × 2,0 cm

Biographie de Dana Velden

A 35 ans, après plusieurs épreuves, Dana Velden s’est installée dans un temple zen du nord de la Californie. Elle y était chargée de cuisiner pour la communauté. Elle contribue depuis 2008 au blog américainTheKitchn, qui s’intéresse à la cuisine inspirée et durable.

EMPATHIE DIALOGIQUE : L’association Entourage lance le 29 mars une campagne de sensibilisation : « Les sans-abris vous écrivent » !

© Entourage

Hyper sensible à l’empathie au dialogue – comment recoudre le lien social, proner le visage de l’autre, muscler le cerveau de l’empatgie – la questions des Sans A est un sujet récurrent sur mon blog et le sera tant que la conscience ..

Voici une belle campagne de Entourage

et en fin de post mes derniers sujets concernant ces humains d’une dignité HAUTE  ! Maryline

   L’association Entourage lance aujourd’hui une campagne de sensibilisation : « Les sans-abris vous écrivent » !

Le site c’est ici http://www.entourage.social/les-sans-abris-vous-ecrivent/

 

 

La vidéo ici https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OObiRwpJWII

Leur communiqué et en PDF CP_Entourage

© Entourage

Pire que le besoin d’argent, c’est souvent le lien social qui manque cruellement aux personnes sans abris.

Pour donner la parole aux personnes de la rue, nous avons imaginé une campagne de sensibilisation originale : sachant qu’un billet de 5 euros s’échange plus de 1000 fois par mois, pourquoi ne pas faire de ces billets un véritable média ?

En plus de cette vidéo, notre campagne s’accompagne d’une opération physique dans les rues du 2ème et du 9ème : des billets écrits par des personnes sans-abri ont été mis en circulation pour que le message du lien social passe de main en main indéfiniment !

Jean-Marc Potdevin, le fondateur de l’association Entourage, et moi-même nous tenons à votre disposition pour toute question,

LES SANS ABRIS VOUS ÉCRIVENT : cliquez pour découvrir ce qu’ils ont à vous dire

PS : L’application Entourage a été pensée par des personnes sans abris, des experts de l’action sociale et des professionnels du web. Un « comité de la rue » composé de personnes actuellement ou anciennement SDF participe au développement de l’association.

En à peine 3 mois, l’application a déjà été téléchargée 11 000 fois et plus de 550 actions de solidarité ont été initiées !

 

POST LAST PROAME

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Preparing for our posthuman future of artificial intelligence © David BRIN – un article fouillé qui pose de bonnes questions

«Chaque génération s’imagine plus intelligente que celle qui l’a précédée, et plus sage que celle qui vient après». – George Orwell

Que se passera-t-il lorsque nous entrerons dans l’ère de l’augmentation humaine, de l’intelligence artificielle et du gouvernement par algorithme? James Barrat, auteur de Our Final Invention, a déclaré: « La coexistence sécurisée et éthique avec les machines intelligentes est le défi central du XXIe siècle ».

© David BRIN

Je vous propose ici un excellent papier fouillé de David Brin – scientifique, un orateur public, tech-consultant et un auteur mondialement connu. Ses romansfictifs ou non ont été cites maintes fois par New York Times comme Bestsellers. Vous découvrirez tous ses romans en fin d’article.

Et regardez son

Site http://www.davidbrin.com/

blog – http://davidbrin.blogspot.fr/

Son dernier livre est EXISTENCE  : Are humans capable of conceiving a world where time is non-linear?

It’s already true and we mostly ignore it!

EXISTENCE by David Brin

EXISTENCE is set forty years ahead, in a near future when human survival seems to teeter along not just on one tightrope, but dozens, with as many hopeful trends and breakthroughs as dangers… a world we already see ahead. Only one day an astronaut snares a small, crystalline object from space. It appears to contain a message, even visitors within. Peeling back layer after layer of motives and secrets may offer opportunities, or deadly peril. The world reacts as humans always do: with fear and hope and selfishness and love and violence. And insatiable curiosity.

Je vous invite fortement à lire ce papier documenté où vous retrouverez tous les partis pris sur le sujet illustrés par des auteurs et experts.
Voici le texte in extension de David Brin

Bonne lecture et réflexion ! Mon analyse et point de vue sur demande – Maryline

© David BRIN – O published in Omni /    Preparing for our posthuman future of artificial intelligence

(credit: iStock)

By David Brin

“Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.” – George Orwell

What will happen as we enter the era of human augmentation, artificial intelligence and government-by-algorithm? James Barrat, author of Our Final Invention, said: “Coexisting safely and ethically with intelligent machines is the central challenge of the twenty-first century.”

(credit: Prometheus Books)

A lot of folks are earnestly exploring the topic. “Will scientists soon be able to create supercomputers that can read a newspaper with understanding, or write a news story, or create novels, or even formulate laws?” asks J. Storrs Hall in Beyond AI: Creating the Conscience of the Machine (2007). “And if machine intelligence advances beyond human intelligence, will we need to start talking about a computer’s intentions?”

Sharing this concern, SpaceX/Tesla entrepreneur Elon Musk has joined with Y Combinator founder Sam Altman to establish OpenAI, an endeavor that aims to keep artificial intelligence research — and its products — accountable by maximizing transparency and openness.

Among the most-worried is Swiss author Gerd Leonhard, whose new book Technology Vs. Humanity: The Coming Clash Between Man and Machine, coins an interesting term, “androrithm,” to contrast with the algorithms that are implemented in every digital calculating engine or computer. Some foresee algorithms ruling the world with the inexorable automaticity of reflex, and Leonhard asks: “Will we live in a world where data and algorithms triumph over androrithms… i.e., all that stuff that makes us human?”

Will we see the explosive or exponential transitions predicted by Vernor Vinge, who gave “singularity” its modern meaning, or as championed by Ray Kurzweil? Day-in, day-out, we are only somewhat aware of rapid change, since we swim along inside its current. But Leonhard illustrates how swiftly a singularity crisis may come on, by referring to a line from Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises:

“How did you go bankrupt?”

“Two ways. Gradually and then suddenly.”

Comments Leonhard:

“Exponentially and the “gradually then suddenly” phenomenon are essential to understand when creating our future… Increasingly, we will see humble beginnings of a huge opportunity or threat. And then, all of a sudden, it is either gone and forgotten or it is here, now, and much bigger than imagined. Think of solar energy, digital currencies, or autonomous vehicles: All took a long time to play out, but all of a sudden, they’re here and they’re roaring. Those who adapt too slowly or fail to foresee the pivot points will suffer the consequences.”

He adds: “wait and see is very likely going to mean waiting to become irrelevant.”

Leonhard expresses urgency for civilization to apply humanist values to the coming transition. Unlike Francis Fukayama, whose Our Posthuman Future exudes loathing for tech-driven disruption of old ways and urges renunciation, Leonhard accepts that major changes are inevitable and won’t be all-bad. He is friendly to many in the “Humanity Plus” community and shows an awareness of science fiction (SF) as a medium for scenario exploration.

(I do find it troubling that so many pundits give nods toward SF, yet seem to have read nothing since William Gibson’s Neuromancer, whose simplistic preachings and redolent cynicism now seem rather quaint, unhelpful, and long in the tooth. That perennial citation is starting to seem perfunctory, even discrediting.)

Nevertheless, after a very interesting first portion, Technology Vs. Humanity thereupon devolves into the kind of repetitious proselytization that can be distilled into two sentences:

  • We should all try to retain mastery over mechanisms that cannot ever have any ethical constraints of their own.
  • All that we hold dear will be doomed, unless we consistently, forcefully and perpetually apply upon our tools moral standards that have served humanity to this point.

That is quite a double-barreled onus! A prospective task that seems –– peering ahead across future generations –– rather exhausting.


Technology vs. Humanity by Gerd Leonhard: About the book

Artificial intelligence. Cognitive computing. The Singularity. Digital obesity. Printed food. The Internet of Things. The death of privacy. The end of work-as-we-know-it, and radical longevity: The imminent clash between technology and humanity is already rushing towards us. What moral values are you prepared to stand up for—before being human alters its meaning forever? Before it’s too late, we must stop and ask the big questions: How do we embrace technology without becoming it? When it happens — gradually, then suddenly — the machine era will create the greatest watershed in human life on Earth. 


Exploring analogous territory (and equipped with a very similar cover), Heartificial Intelligence by John C. Havens also explores the looming prospect of all-controlling algorithms and smart machines, diving into questions and proposals that overlap with Leonhard. “We need to create ethical standards for the artificial intelligence usurping our lives and allow individuals to control their identity, based on their values,” Havens writes.

Mark Anderson of the Strategic News Service pondered the onrush of devices that might meddle in our minds and hearts:

“Frank Lloyd Wright is rumored to have once boasted that he could design a house which…could lead the inhabitants to fall in love, or to get divorced. If this was even partly true of building architecture…then what of the architecture of those who will be holding, and reacting to, our innermost secrets? How will a new user know that she is using a bot with bad performance statistics? Should there be different levels of ethical certification for bots involved with selling shoes on Amazon, compared to counseling or doing Watson-like medical diagnoses?”

Making a virtue of the hand we Homo sapiens are dealt, Havens maintains: “Our frailty is one of the key factors that distinguish us from machines.”

Which seems intuitive till you recall that almost no mechanism in history has ever worked for as long, as resiliently or consistently, as a healthy 70 year old human being has, recovering from countless shocks and adapting to innumerable surprising changes. Still, he makes a strong (if obvious) point that “the future of happiness is dependent on teaching our machines what we value most.”

The Optimists Strike Back!

(credit: Tor Books)

In sharp contrast to those worriers is Ray Kurzweil’s The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence, which posits that our cybernetic children will be as capable as our biological ones, at one key and central aptitude — learning from both parental instruction and experience how to play well with others.

This will be especially likely if (as I posit in Existence) AI researchers come to a too-long delayed realization — that we know of only one way that intelligence ever actually came about in this universe: through upbringing in human homes. Through interfacing with the world relentlessly in the physical, personal and cultural feedback loops of childhood. Indeed — and here’s an irony — this is the only scenario under which the urgings of Leonhard and Havens and so many others have even a remote chance of coming true.

(credit: Oxford University Press)

Well, there is one other way, elucidated in Robin Hanson’s new book: The Age of Em. In that startlingly original and well-thought-out tome, Hanson wagers that AI can only happen in the near term by emulating the brain activity and working minds of actual, living humans. Such doppeled copies — (a little like e-versions of my dittoes, in Kiln People) — might proliferate in “matrix” style software worlds, spawning billions, trillions and even quadrillions of copies, all of them based upon a selection of original human beings. Originals whose own versions of human morality and spirituality become templates to pass down the line.

Hence — according to Hanson — such cyber-emulated descendants would be inherently capable of ethics, since they are based on us … though they might later veer into new cultures as different from ours as Shogun-era Japan was from the Yanamamo, or Aztecs, or Tibetans, or attendees at Burning Man.

A Failed Prescription

Gerd Leonhard seems aware, at least surficially, that culture makes a difference. Moreover he sniffs, scenting danger in optimism:

…To me, it is clear that technological determinism and a global version of the “California ideology” (as in “Why don’t we just invent our way out of this, have fun, make lots of money while improving the lives of billions of people with these amazing new technologies?”) could prove to be just as lazy — and dangerous — as Luddism.

A former resident of Silicon Valley, Leonhard is welcome to his opinion. Though I also find it ironic. For example, he preaches that STEM educations should be accompanied by exposure to humanities and ethics and all that, in order to generate innovators who are also grounded in history and values …

… while appearing to ignore the plain fact that that is exactly what happens in Californian schools and especially that state’s glorious universities, far more than anywhere else on the planet. Indeed, it is only in North America that all universities fully implement a fourth year in their baccalaureate programs, consisting of “breadth requirements,” so that science and engineering types must take a full year of humanistic courses … while arts, humanities or other “soft” majors must imbibe enough science survey classes to foster at least marginally aware citizens.

(Proof of this? The U.S. almost always scores among the top three in “adult science literacy” and often number one. I explain this elsewhere, so don’t let your head explode with cognitive dissonance.)

In his book Machines of Loving Grace, John Markoff writes, “The best way to answer the hard questions about control in a world full of smart machines is by understanding the values of those who are actually building these systems.” It is an open question whether the yin or the yang side of Silicon Valley culture … or else the new, state controlled tech centers in China, for example … take this obligation down paths of responsibility.

Gerd Leonhard coins a term: “Exponential Humanism.”   “Through this philosophy, I believe we can find a balanced way forward that will allow us to both embrace technology but not become technology in the process.” Nor do I disagree with the general desideratum. The conversation he calls for is essential!

Alas, Leonhard then goes on to present checklists, then more checklists, of things we ought to do and/or not-do, in order to retain our humanity, control and values. Take this agenda as a sample:

I propose that we devise a test that gauges all new scientific and technological breakthroughs according to questions such as:

  • Does this idea violate the human rights of anyone involved?
  • Does this idea substitute human relationships with machine relationships?
  • Does this idea put efficiency over humanity?
  • Does this idea put economics and profits over the most basic human ethics?
  • Does this idea automate something that should not be automated?

I don’t mind checklists, and these certainly contain wisdom. But Leonhard offers no details about how to pass and enforce such rules. By worldwide consensus among those who read Technology vs. Humanity? By legislation? Orwellian fiat? Nor does he speak of enforcement; what is to be done about dissenters or those who reject renunciation?

A Method That Is Truly Human

(credit: Free Press)

Again and again, from techno skeptics like Leonhard and Havens and so many others, we hear that “technology has no ethics.”

Well, I am not so sure about that. Nor is Kurzweil, whose Age of Spiritual Machines suggests otherwise. Or Kevin Kelly, whose What Technology Wants and The Inevitable propose simple process solutions to the dilemma of encouraging decent outcomes and behavior.

Nor Peter Diamandis, whose Abundance impudently forecasts a post-scarcity future, when spectacularly wealthy citizens can partner with cyber entities and explore values together. Nor Isaac Asimov, who foresaw robots caring deeply about moral issues, over the long stretch of time.

But let’s go along with Havens and Leonhard and accept the premise that “technology has no ethics.” In that case, the answer is simple.

Then don’t rely on ethics! Certainly evangelization has not had the desired effect — fostering good and decent behavior where it matter most — in the past. Seriously, I will give a cookie to the first modern pundit I come across who ponders human history, taking perspective from the long ages of brutal, feudal darkness endured by our ancestors.

Across all of those harsh millennia, people could sense that something was wrong. Cruelty and savagery, tyranny and unfairness vastly amplified the already unsupportable misery of disease and grinding poverty. Hence, well-meaning men and women donned priestly robes and … preached!

They lectured and chided. They threatened damnation and offered heavenly rewards. Their intellectual cream concocted incantations of either faith or reason, or moral suasion. From Hindu and Buddhist sutras to polytheistic pantheons to Judeao-Christian-Muslim laws and rituals, we have been urged to behave better by sincere finger-waggers since time immemorial. Until finally, a couple of hundred years ago, some bright guys turned to all the priests and prescribers and asked a simple question:

“How’s that working out for you?”

(credit: Harper Prism)

In fact, while moralistic lecturing might sway normal people a bit toward better behavior, it never affects the worst human predators, parasites and abusers — just as it won’t divert the most malignant machines. Indeed, moralizing often empowers them, offering ways to rationalize exploiting others.

Even Asimov’s fabled robots — driven and constrained by his checklist of unbendingly benevolent, humano-centric Three Laws — eventually get smart enough to become lawyers. Whereupon they proceed to interpret the embedded ethical codes however they want. (See how I resolve this in Foundation’s Triumph.)

And yet, preachers never stopped. Nor should they; ethics are important! But more as a metric tool, revealing to us how we’re doing. How we change. For decent people, ethics are the mirror in which we evaluate ourselves and hold ourselves accountable.

And that realization was what led to a new technique. Something enlightenment pragmatists decided to try, a couple of centuries ago. A trick, a method, that enabled us at last to rise above a mire of kings and priests and scolds. The secret sauce of our success is —

— accountability. Creating a civilization that is flat and open and free enough — empowering so many that predators and parasites may be confronted by the entities who most care about stopping predation, their victims. One in which politicians and elites see their potential range of actions limited by law and by the scrutiny of citizens. Does this newer method work as well as it should? Hell no!

Does it work better than every single other system ever tried, including those filled to overflowing with moralizers? Better than all of them combined? By light years?

Yes, indeed.

We may not be, by nature, highly moral creatures. But we do know how to be persnickety. Suspicious. Judgmental. Accusatory. Demanding. Those we do with spectacular skill and passion. And while these traits often wrought vileness, in hierarchies of old, we have harnessed them into arenas wherein positive sum, win-win outcomes pour forth, catching and staunching many evils. Detecting and amplifying so many good things.

Moreover, this may be the proper way to deal with ethics-deficient technology. As citizens and users, we need to stay judgmental, applying accountability via markets, democracy, science and courts –– and public opinion –– upon those companies and cyber entities who behave in ways we find unethical. Or inhuman. The specifics of implementation will change, with time. (We’ll need new, technological tools for applying accountability.) B

ut this is the way that Ray Kurzweil’s vaunted singularity machines will learn to be “spiritual.” The kind and friendly ones will do better than their unethical competitors … because the good guy machines will have us — the Olde Race — as allies against the meanie-bots. And yes, it might boil down to just that.

Alas, the glory of our era — this technique that underlies our positive-sum games — seems so poorly understood that many of our best minds never grasp the method in its essence, believing instead that we’ll cross the minefield ahead by chiding.

Gerd Leonhard, in Technology vs. Humanity, offers us a Hegelian dialectic of sorts. Between two dismal theses — the blithe techno-transcendentalism of Ray Kurzweil and the renunciatory nostalgia of Francis Fukayama — Leonhard rightly pleads for caution, for a middle-ground synthesis, though leaning a bit toward Fukayama. Leonhard frets over plans to embrace and incorporate tech-prosthetics into human existence. “Because it would be a reduction, not an expansion, of who we are, it would no longer be empowerment but enslavement. …”

To which I must reply: how the heck do you know that?

All of them, spanning the current spectrum of discourse from Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis to Leonhard and Havens all the way to Fukayama and religious fundamentalists, seem bent on making grand declarations. Yet, those who would lay down lists of demands and prescriptions make a shared assumption, the same one proclaimed by Plato and so many other dogmatists: that they know the way of things better than our descendants will!

Recall the quotation from George Orwell that opened this article: “Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.” Shall we then demand that our children and grandchildren — perhaps a bit augmented and smarter than us, but certainly vastly more knowledgeable — ought to follow blueprints that we lay down? Like Cro-Magnon hunters telling us never to forget rituals for propitiating the mammoth spirits? Or bronze age herdsmen telling us how to make love?

Ben Franklin and his apprentices led a conspiracy against kings and priests, crafting systems of accountability not in order to tell their descendants how to live, but in order to leave those later citizens the widest range of options. It is that flexibility — wrought by free speech, open inquiry, due process and above all reciprocal accountability — that lent us our most precious sovereign power. To learn from mistakes and try new things, innovating along a positive-sum flow called progress.

We did not need specifics from the Founders; indeed, it proved desperately important for later generations to toss out many of their crude biases! Nor will our heirs need or benefit from explicit lists and prescriptions laid down by well-meaning authors in 2016. Because they will be both smarter and wiser than us, or we’ll have failed.

Will they be smarter and wiser in part because of technology? That seems likely. Might they have solved many of the quandaries that fret us … only to encounter others that we cannot imagine? Also very likely.

Might some of our practical and moral decisions right now either aid or impede that growth? Of course. That is why I bother to engage this topic and read all these earnestly sincere tomes about the future!

But our job is not to delineate or prescribe. It is to find enough of the errors and calamities in advance, cancel those we can, and build enough virtuous cycles so that our children may stand on our shoulders, doing and achieving and pondering and making ethical decisions for their own time. Doing all of that both clumsily and brilliantly. And then yammering too much advice at their own heirs.

(credit: David Brin)

David Brin is a scientist, public speaker, and world-known author. His novels have been New York Times Bestsellers, winning multiple Hugo, Nebula and other awards. At least a dozen have been translated into more than twenty languages.

David’s latest novel, Existence, is set forty years ahead, in a near future when human survival seems to teeter along not just on one tightrope, but dozens, with as many hopeful trends and breakthroughs as dangers… a world we already see ahead. Only one day an astronaut snares a small, crystalline object from space. It appears to contain a message, even visitors within. Peeling back layer after layer of motives and secrets may offer opportunities, or deadly peril.

David’s non-fiction book, The Transparent Society: Will Technology Make Us Choose Between Freedom and Privacy?, deals with secrecy in the modern world. It won the Freedom of Speech Award from the American Library Association.

A 1998 movie, directed by Kevin Costner, was loosely based on his post-apocalyptic novel, The Postman. Brin’s 1989 ecological thriller, Earth, foreshadowed global warming, cyberwarfare and near-future trends such as the World Wide Web. David’s novel Kiln People has been called a book of ideas disguised as a fast-moving and fun noir detective story, set in a future when new technology enables people to physically be in more than two places at once. A hardcover graphic novel The Life Eaters explored alternate outcomes to WWII, winning nominations and high praise.

David’s science fictional Uplift Universe explores a future when humans genetically engineer higher animals like dolphins to become equal members of our civilization. These include the award-winning Startide Rising, The Uplift War, Brightness Reef, Infinity’s Shore and Heaven’s Reach. He also recently tied up the loose ends left behind by the late Isaac Asimov: Foundation’s Triumph brings to a grand finale Asimov’s famed Foundation Universe.

Brin serves on advisory committees dealing with subjects as diverse as national defense and homeland security, astronomy and space exploration, SETI and nanotechnology, future/prediction and philanthropy.

As a public speaker, Brin shares unique insights — serious and humorous — about ways that changing technology may affect our future lives. He appears frequently on TV, including several episodes of “The Universe” and History Channel’s “Life After People.” He also was a regular cast member on “The ArciTECHS.”

Brin’s scientific work covers an eclectic range of topics, from astronautics, astronomy, and optics to alternative dispute resolution and the role of neoteny in human evolution. His Ph.D in Physics from UCSD,  the University of California at San Diego (the lab of nobelist Hannes Alfven), followed a masters in optics and an undergraduate degree in astrophysics from Caltech. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the California Space Institute. His technical patents directly confront some of the faults of old-fashioned screen-based interaction, aiming to improve the way human beings converse online.

(credit: David Brin)

Un blog pour l’avenir


Non au futur (prévision froide). Oui à l'avenir (action humaine). Dixit le Petit Prince, "l'avenir, tu n'as pas à le prévoir, tu dois te le permettre".

Ce blog est dédié aux idées d'avenir positives, aux changements. La prospective est à la fois une science de synthèse pluridisciplinaire et un art pour défricher de nouveaux territoires, repérer des courants forces, explorer des imaginaires...

C'est surtout un outil Eureka pour inventer de nouveaux produits et services, sublimer ou mythifier une marque et ses produits, créer la valeur de la valeur....

Vive l'avenir, car ce qui est génial, c'est que tout commence et que tout est possible !

Maryline

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