Do you look forward to a potential technological singularity? Why or why not?
Totally looking forward to it, because whatever happens, it’ll be interesting. At the moment, everyone’s hedging their bets as to whether a technological singularity will birth a networked, self-aware “strong” artificial intelligence. There’s people saying that the latter is impossible, some saying it’s inevitable, some saying we may never know it because we wouldn’t be able to communicate with it, nor understand that it has personhood, and a lot of people say it spells doom for humanity. But no-one is saying that it’s going to be mundane, which the post-internet era (ie now) seems to characterize. The idea of a long, new normal that subsumes the fantastical – like magical glass tablets that we can use to access all human knowledge – into something terrible humdrum. A singularity breaks that with whatever it is. And whatever it is, is therefore gonna be really interesting.
Are cyborgs the next evolutionary step for mankind? What draws you to cyborgs.
Yeah, I mean as humans have developed more sophisticated technologies, we’ve progressively wanted them closer and closer to our bodies. It makes sense that as our technology outpaces our biology, we’ll opt to incorporate it for better functionality. Hell, people with pacemakers and neural implants for combatting depression already are cyborgs, we just don’t think of them as such. When you then consider not only hard tech (made out of carbon, titanium, and inert materials) but also wet tech (synthetic biology, biological constructs) that we can add for better lifespan, abilities, and new feelings, it seems obvious that humanity is destined to go down that route.
Brain implants: http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/14/health/battery-powered-brain/
Hacked pacemaker: http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/barnaby-jack-hacker-autopsy
Synthetic biology: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150218101831.htm
Biological constructs: http://stelarc.org/?catID=20242
The thing that drew me to it originally was the idea that I could essentially have more freedom, and more choice as to what my body and brain actually do. With all these other forms of freedom that current society affords us, bodily freedom, and in particular morphological freedom, are kinda still restricted by our lack of skills, knowledge and technology. But I want to be able to add and replace parts of me that don’t do enough for me, I want to look completely grey-”skinned” one day, and a mish-mash of skin patterns the next. I want to be able to max out my brain’s capacity and see what else it can do with new enhancements. I want to make my body into an electronic instrument. Like the singularity thing, it’s inherently massively interesting. Can you imagine the new sensations, emotions, abilities that you’d be able to have if you, say, communicated via spores, or if you were permanently connected, semantically, to the internet? Historians and philosophers of science argue that the only true measure of human progression is the technologies we can build, and what’s cooler than literally being the embodiment of human progress?
“Morphological freedom”: http://www.seriouswonder.com/morphological-freedom-everyones-civil-right/
Why is ethical egoism so dumb?
Oh my god, I could rant for actual days on this, but largely because no matter how ethical one thinks they are, people making selfish decisions are largely based on subjective and immediate interpretations which are often based on incomplete information, and therefore inherently cannot be ethical without recourse to the other. Like, as much as it preaches empathy as part of the ethical part, the developmental path it causes one to jump down psychologically inevitably means they make flawed decisions, which turn out not to be ethical. Also, like, we could apply this concept to the idea of capitalism, which some companies claim they’re doing, right? But the short-term goals of the businesses are to profit, and no matter how ethical they think themselves in doing this, it usually has long-term environmental ramifications. And like, if you’ve paid attention to what climate experts and nuclear physicists are saying, that’s like kicking the tyre of the car hanging over a cliff. This is kinda why I advocate strong focus on tech research now, because fuck knows if we don’t we may actually have doomed ourselves. Btw, yeah I’m really, really fun at parties.
“Nuclear physicists”: http://io9.com/doomsday-clock-now-three-minutes-to-midnight-1681255062
What’s the deal with abstract concepts?
Dude, they’re like the mother of creation and my personal lovers. I legit get fiendish for abstract concepts if I don’t read something new and challenging and weird and connective over a certain period of time. I tried actual sexual congress with them a few times before but it turns out that corporeality and physical representation are kinda necessary 🙁
You know you’re onto a good one when you read about it, and there’s a little crackle somewhere deep within your brain as neurons reach out to one another, yearning to meet a new pal, and the crackle is the new connection, a new piece of a puzzle that suddenly illuminates the shape of the thing you’re puzzling out. And then comes a resultant flood of ideas of you own, new patterns of thought emerge and connect to old ones. There’s this theory that consciousness is an emergent result purely of having a relatively sophisticated network of active nodes, and in a very, very real way, making that network larger or better-connected is a literal upgrade for the brain. It’s like levelling up. Cyborging can totally be just a way to do that 24/7 by eradicating sleep.
Also there’s a radical interpretation of information theory that says stipulates that information is negative entropy – it’s order against chaos, roughly – and that thusly the universe is not only described by information but is made of it. Abstract concepts literally rule the universe.
What is the importance of space exploration in our society?
Warren Ellis (the comic book writer and futurist, not the violin player for Nick Cave) once said something to the effect of “keeping all of your breeding pairs in one place is just asking for trouble.” He also said something like that humans are curious and inherently explorative, and we don’t do well when we’re just stuck in one place. Space gives us a common hope, a common dream, and a common goal. Also we kinda fucked up our planet before we realised that we were fucking it up (see above) so umm… moving elsewhere might be a necessity, eventually, rather than a luxury, since we spent way too long as a type I civilization.
Type I civilization: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kardashev_scale
How do you create meaningful experience in your life?
I mean the obvious thing to say would be through music, both sharing music I love through my label, and making music, as a way of initiating human contact and bringing meaning through shared experience. But there’s also the flipside which is literal constructions – in sounds, in words, in ideas – that will outlast your potentially brief existence (y’know, if I don’t get my sparkly new cyborg body in time). It’s not just creating meaning through interpersonal connections now, it’s sharing yourself through the ages. I’ve often stated that the way I feel about ideas and music is kinda a way most people feel about kids – it’s making a mark on the world that, if you do it right, the world won’t forget in a hurry.