Jump to content

Welcome to FutureTimeline.forum
Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!
Photo

The future won't be very fun without an accompanying cultural transformation

futurism culture

  • Please log in to reply
8 replies to this topic

#1
starspawn0

starspawn0

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 925 posts
Many people seem to think that lack of the right technology is the only thing separating us from the glorious future that awaits. They get inspiration from scifi artworks of gleaming cities on faraway worlds, robots building towers to the stars, neon rooms of VR addicts drooling at worlds beyond imagination. However, I don't think that's how the future will feel, when we get there, without the necessary cultural transformation.

In short, I think the future could be just like the world we live in today -- a little on the boring side -- without the culture to go with it. I mean, look at our world of 2019: we've got smartphones so powerful that people in the 1960s would have been blown away by them (that can talk, answer questions, and do thousands of things); yet, we're really not that different, culturally, from the 1960s (apart from things like civil rights legislation, different hairstyles and clothing, a few more common terms like `social media', and better graphics in movies).

So what kind of cultural transformation would make the future seem like the future to us today? That's a hard question to answer -- but we can compare the distant past to our present, to see how great the changes can be: take ancient Greece or Rome, for example, and compare it to our world today:


* Our music has evolved so far beyond what they were used to, that they would probably call it "noise".

* Other art forms have evolved as well -- painting, sculpture, dance, plays, and so on. We now have abstract arts that they similarly wouldn't understand, though much of that evolution happened in the 19th and early 20th century.

* Our systems of government might seem familiar to them, but sheer scale of it, and the kind of technocratic and econometric analyses would look very strange to them. All the thousands -- and millions -- of pages of documents that go into decisions; all the think tanks and lobbying involved -- just beyond anything they could imagine.

* The relative peacefulness and lack of bloodshed (except for a few violent wars) would have been hard for them to believe.

* The degree to which people are open about their feelings, is something fairly new about our world today. This is a point that has been made many times by people who have reviewed ancient literature. There are even analyses based on word co-occurrence statistics.

* The way people thought about gaining knowledge is different. The ancient Greeks did have a rudimentary philosophy of "science", in the work of Democritus; but their preferred way of gaining knowledge was to make assumptions, and then apply logic -- similar to how many analytic philosophers function.

* The way we think about time is different: our whole day is planned by the clock. The ancients also had clocks; but they didn't obsess over details of time the way we do today.

* Their religion and beliefs about nature were very different. I suspect, probably, they saw omens everywhere, and thought the gods were trying to tell them something.


And there are lots more things.

Perhaps the technology will serve as a catalyst to change the culture. I think, for instance, BCIs will profoundly change how we people interact; humanity will come closer to understanding itself than at any time in history. Technological unemployment might completely transform our system of government, and also what we find meaningful. But these are only catalysts. You still need the people to change their ways.
  • Casey, Yuli Ban, Erowind and 1 other like this

#2
tomasth

tomasth

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 181 posts

I wonder what yuli ban think , given the many threads he made on this.

 

I think it depends on how far technologically and temporally we are talking about , culture had inertia.

 

If human don't have to die its a profound change. But uploaded humans is so different that one can say its an entirely alien specie and culture.

 

Complete Technological unemployment need human level AI , and the technological changes from this will no make people change their ways ; its too fast. Cultures will break revolt and many , die.

The only comparison is the industrial revolution and modernization of the world.

 

If the changes from AI and BCI aren't too profound there wont be a noticeable difference (its the same as now with the internet  smartphones VR and current AI)



#3
Yuli Ban

Yuli Ban

    Born Again Singularitarian

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 20,445 posts
  • LocationNew Orleans, LA

I wonder what yuli ban think , given the many threads he made on this.

Well to build off what I've said before, we tend to focus either on only what has changed or what hasn't and that can cloud our viewpoints. What's more, there's also a perpetual baseline of the human condition, essentially identifiable based on Maslowe's hierarchy of needs.

In terms of what has changed between the present and some point in the past (let's say 30 years), you can easily point to things such as the widespread availability of the internet and all the effects of it— individual websites and trends would have been revolutionary technologies back in the 1980s (e.g. Google Earth, social media, food ordering, grocery ordering, video streaming, online banking, crowdfunding, digital assistants, etc.) but altogether you have a cybernetic infrastructure that has all but made it possible to live entirely in your home 24/7 and still function as a normal citizen. In 1989, that would have been utter science fiction (usually with a dystopian bent added and probably with a plot of some muscular hero trying to escape this digital matrix). 

But in terms of what hasn't changed, you're still going to get up and flip a switch to turn off the lights. You're still going to use a water-based toilet and toilet paper. You're still going to wash your body with soap and water in a tub. You're still going to cook food on a stove using heat (whether it's a flame or electrically powered). You're still going to watch TV with your eyes, a remote control, and a screen several feet away. You're still going to get in your car and drive it yourself. And you're still going to enter boxy rooms. All that and more hasn't changed. It hasn't changed since the 1940s. Only then will you start seeing more and more cases of "I didn't have electricity or running water" or "I got around using a horse and carriage" (yes, those were still somewhat common in some areas into the 1940s and 1950s) or "I never saw a TV in my life". Then the basic experiences get even more basic. 

 

On some level, technology pushes culture forward. It's like evolution— microevolution happens first, and this leads to macroevolution. Culture today is not the same as it was even 15 years ago. Yes, many aspects of 2019 are similar to 2004 because we all remember using the internet and having cell phones in 2004— but think of it like this: in 2004, did you keep your cell phone on you at all times and expect to be called at all hours of the day? Did you even have caller ID on your cell phone? Did you use your cell phone to watch videos or listen to music? If you had a 2 year old back then, would you have let your cell phone effectively raise your child when you aren't there? 

 

Our culture today is one of 24/7 connectivity because of smartphones. You can contact others and be contacted at any hour of the day, and this has had widespread psychological effects on people. You don't have to call people, either. Just send them a text. If they don't respond, you might get upset or worried. We are also more aware that we're always being watched, and often we expect that others might be ready to video us at any moment if we do something unusual or out of place. We expect that our smartphones are recording us to send our data to corporations, who will likely sell it off to the government. We can tag others and ourselves, letting everyone know where we are. Actually, we no longer "know" where someone is automatically because home phones barely exist anymore. If you made a movie in 1989 where the lead character called someone and asked where they were, the entire audience would roar with laughter. Today, it can be the source of mystery and intrigue because you can't be entirely sure someone's telling you the truth. And kids— goodness gracious, I've already heard (anecdotal) reports that some otherwise normal toddlers are having developmental delays in speech entirely because they watch videos and aren't pressed to communicate verbally. Others have developmental acceleration of other abilities, such as interacting with a touch screen. 

 

This is the world as it is in 2019. The human condition has not been greatly changed by technology, but there are some sprouting seeds of change.

 

 

I really don't like plugging my own works into other threads because it seems shameful, but I'm rather shameless anyway: as I mentioned in the Babylon Today thread, many aspects of post-Enlightenment society will collapse if we engineer humans to have new traits, whether by genetics or cybernetics. Enlightenment values are based on the idea that all humans are created equal and deserve the same rights as a result. Just because I'm not as smart or as athletic or as wealthy as someone else doesn't mean I deserve any fewer rights than they do. That said, does this mean I also deserve the same rights as an animal? Dolphins and chimpanzees are sometimes considered non-human persons, but they don't have equal rights with humans. And there's a reason for that: they don't have the mental capacity to understand their rights. If a chimpanzee kills someone, you can't say it deserves the right to a fair trial because that chimpanzee does not understand the concept of a trial. It might not even remember killing that person by the time of the trial. It can't understand language as we do either. We should respect its right to life and security, but surely there's a limit that doesn't exist for humans. And if you present the idea of uplifting chimpanzee intelligence so that they understand their rights, you now have a new conundrum: why should one species have the right to human-level intelligence and others don't? 

And then you come to the concept of transhumans who have traits and characteristics that aren't species-apparent in Sapiens and may make them infinitely more capable at some task than we are. Why give all humans equal access if there are some specially designed for it? It's like using a wrench when you need a laser. What about the idea that one population of humans literally cannot breed with another? If they were to try, they'd go extinct. Wouldn't there be laws to prevent inter-species relationships? Or does that violate human rights and bring up too many parallels with miscegenation laws?

 

We aren't very well adapted to the idea of other human species. We only ever had races to contend with during our tenure with civilization, and races are defined by physical appearance, not genetic differences (the fact miscegenation is even an "issue" proves this— if there were genetic differences, different races wouldn't be able to produce fertile offspring with each other). Intelligence seems to be something that's either taught early on or a birth trait, but it appears randomly. Imagine a species whose adults are always Einstein, Newton, or Euler levels of intelligence as an average. They'd dominate academia, business, politics, and certain areas of entertainment. Imagine another species that's robust and has gorilla-levels of strength within a human form. Hard labor and military endeavors are their expertise alone. 

Yet even this, which we consider a dystopian development, is still less than what we will likely actually see in the future because of machines. Artificial intelligence + robotics. 

We are so stupefyingly unready for the rise of AI that I'm almost dazed by it. Especially when you have articles coming every other day about how "robots and AI will transform/augment/enhance jobs, not replace them." At this point, it sounds more like the neoliberal blogsters are just trying to reassure themselves rather than say anything meaningful unless they're talking about the job market as it will be for the next 15-20 years. Humans are not as necessary for labor as we think we are. Just watch as more jobs are automated away or destroyed by seemingly unrelated technological developments. We will have to develop new modes of thinking about society.

For example: people will realize what this means and we'll begin seeing the end of things like schools and colleges. I mentioned this in my World of 2029 post and haven't brought it up much since, but it's still a good question: if you expect all jobs to be automated in 15 years, why send your child to school? If you enter college as a freshman for a field that won't exist by the time you graduate because the machines will have taken it, why stay in college? Schools would have to evolve into purely edutainment/social facilities because they wouldn't be very useful otherwise.

 

 

 

And this is just the surface of all the changes. Really, sociological futurism is such a fascinating and understated field to me because everyone focuses so much on technology.


  • Casey and Erowind like this

And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#4
Erowind

Erowind

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 962 posts

Complete Technological unemployment need human level AI , and the technological changes from this will no make people change their ways ; its too fast. Cultures will break revolt and many , die.
The only comparison is the industrial revolution and modernization of the word.

I disagree on this point. While AI would be nice, it's not a magic bullet and we don't need it to overcome technological unemployment. When we start thinking outside of capitalism social solutions to the problem appear. The commons have existed before there's no reason that the necessities of life couldn't become common again. I think some of the things our culture values today will seem arcane in a few hundred years. Copyright, private property, police. There was a time before all three of those things and there will be a time after them too.

Capitalists fail to see the historical relativism of our current culture. Capitalism is not the end point of history by any stretch and it's okay to look outside of it for solutions.

Current status: slaving away for the math gods of Pythagoras VII.


#5
Erowind

Erowind

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 962 posts

 

I wonder what yuli ban think , given the many threads he made on this.

 
We are so stupefyingly unready for the rise of AI that I'm almost dazed by it. Especially when you have articles coming every other day about how "robots and AI will transform/augment/enhance jobs, not replace them." At this point, it sounds more like the neoliberal blogsters are just trying to reassure themselves rather than say anything meaningful unless they're talking about the job market as it will be for the next 15-20 years. Humans are not as necessary for labor as we think we are. Just watch as more jobs are automated away or destroyed by seemingly unrelated technological developments. We will have to develop new modes of thinking about society.
For example: people will realize what this means and we'll begin seeing the end of things like schools and colleges. I mentioned this in my World of 2029 post and haven't brought it up much since, but it's still a good question: if you expect all jobs to be automated in 15 years, why send your child to school? If you enter college as a freshman for a field that won't exist by the time you graduate because the machines will have taken it, why stay in college? Schools would have to evolve into purely edutainment/social facilities because they wouldn't be very useful otherwise.
 
And this is just the surface of all the changes. Really, sociological futurism is such a fascinating and understated field to me because everyone focuses so much on technology.

I think you should read Bullshit Jobs by David Graeber. It's a pretty quick read, you'd devour it in a few nights I'm sure. There's one part of the book that's vital to automation. It seems that our society is not leaving people jobless when they are automated away but instead giving them useless jobs within managerial hierarchies. Which is to say we are in a transition from industrial capitalism to managerial feudalism. Automation is coming, but it might not actually make much of a difference in employment statistics. Without a cultural shift we might just be doomed to mountains of needless innefficient soul sucking white collar labour. This is disheartening if true to say the least. If it's true it also means all these internet arguments between free market advocates and leftists are a little pointless, we should at least be united in stopping this transition to something we both hopefully despise.

 

There is a broader conversation to be had about whether or not the initial shock of automation will be enough to disrupt this feudalist trend or not. 


Current status: slaving away for the math gods of Pythagoras VII.


#6
Sciencerocks

Sciencerocks

    Member

  • Banned
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,326 posts

As long as I have my wife and daughter I'd almost rather live in a cave over becoming a third class citizen within a fascist society.



#7
tomasth

tomasth

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 181 posts

Yuli Ban

The prospect of changing human (or animal) to that degree is so extreme that its a far more radical change then any changes from the 1940's.

 

The changes since the 1940's , are barely noticeable compared to all those surface changes.

 

If all those will happened in this century , the technology will change much faster then any cultural shift ; it will feel the same going  thru this , as it would to someone from 1940s.

 

 

 

We will have to develop new modes of thinking about society

I don't think that we can develop anything before we know what changes are coming , and by then its too late.

 

 

 

Erowind

More jobs then just the Bullshit kind will be created , even today there are jobs that require a human , not just human level ability.

If that last for a decade or two , the transitioning period to the radical changes , then people will latch on to that familiarity.

 

But yuli talk about even more changes that will disrupt society , so people will not even have those jobs all their lifetime.

 

 

it's not a magic bullet and we don't need it to overcome technological unemployment

 

I meant that a technological unemployment will only be possible when there is human level AI (as you mention about Bullshit jobs).

As for providing basic necessities , human level capabilities can achieve this without being magic , so human level AI could be like slave race doing everything without the moral issue.

 

 

few hundred years

Cultural shift can handle this time table , the question is if the technology pace could be adjusted to take this long , and how will those ideas (or any that we have today) fare in peoples mind if it comes much sooner.

 

starspawn0

 

 

Their religion and beliefs about nature were very different. I suspect, probably, they saw omens everywhere, and thought the gods were trying to tell them something

I think religious people still do this , and if existing in the future , will continue.

 

Some people have dream about the future that give them that futuristic feel , so with BCI one could live in the future and get the futuristic feeling.

 

Also the technology improving the way people think and feel , itself , can help up deal with farther changes. So maybe cultural shift can be accelerated , and all hurdles straighten.



#8
Sciencerocks

Sciencerocks

    Member

  • Banned
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 13,326 posts

The number one element to be considered is liberty and freedom. will the future have that? and if it doesn't should one really accept that kind of future?



#9
Yuli Ban

Yuli Ban

    Born Again Singularitarian

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 20,445 posts
  • LocationNew Orleans, LA

Many people seem to think that lack of the right technology is the only thing separating us from the glorious future that awaits. They get inspiration from scifi artworks of gleaming cities on faraway worlds, robots building towers to the stars, neon rooms of VR addicts drooling at worlds beyond imagination. However, I don't think that's how the future will feel, when we get there, without the necessary cultural transformation.

On this note, I want to bring up another point I made before: one reason why we are only sometimes aware of how futuristic our world is happens to be because there's only so much that we can see at one time.

When we look at cyberscapes peppered with flying cars and futuristic homes catered by humanoid synthetic butlers whether in static art or in movies or in video games, we only see the flashiest parts. Economy of effort means artists will try to convey a point with as little extra information as possible. If you want to convey that it's The Future™, you add starscrapers and flying cars because that's what we've decided "the future" will be like. Same reason why combat units are often overdesigned and why technobabble exists: we're trying to get the audience to understand the setting. It's easier to do it with a futuristic city in the background than it is to set it in suburbia and just remind you ever so often that it's actually 205X. As a result, audiences set expectations for what the future should look like— hence The Future™.  Cities almost never make such drastic transformations without being completely destroyed first. We weren't going to tear down cities just to plop starscrapers everywhere to satisfy our desire to live in Blade Runner.

 

That's why people feel Dubai "looks so futuristic", as it's literally building up from nothing. If you live in Dubai and regularly use top-tier smartphones and interact with social robots and play with high-end VR rigs, you'll think you live in futuristic times much more often than a shmuck like me, who lives in an area that quite literally straddles the line between the boonies and literal bucolic farmland.

 

TLDR: appearances also make a difference. Sci-fi art always portrays the world as having futuristic infrastructure, so we base our ideas on how futuristic the times are based on surface differences. Since very few of us live in glittery megacities filled with starscrapers and flying cars, we overlook everything else.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: futurism, culture

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users