After Post-truth? Post-fact!

post-fact-world

A much liked and shared example of modern opinion re: facts

Word of the Year 2016 is… After much discussion, debate, and research, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016 is post-truth – an adjective defined as: ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’. Nov 8, 2016

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/word-of-the-year/word-of-the-year-2016

Smart people in the Advertising industry and political spin doctors have known this ‘truth’ for years and have used it very successfully on the less-aware population of our planet to successfully (mostly) achieve their aims.

Most of us like to think that the truth is the truth for all of us and a lie is a lie: that facts are only facts when they are indisputable and proven to be correct, otherwise it is just a claim of possibly dubious repute and therefore not to be trusted or acted upon.

We’d LIKE to think that and most of us do, in ‘fact’, believe this to be ‘true’.

But is it?

I looked up the definition of ‘Fact’ ( on that most trusted source Google – where else? )

According to the Cambridge Dictionary a fact is: “something that is known to have happened or to existespecially something for which proof exists, or about which there is information

Google also referred to similar searches concerning the word fact including this one:

What is an example of a fact?
It is a fact that the Earth is round. Licensed from iStockPhoto. noun. The definition of a fact is something that is true or something that has occurred or has been proven correct. An example of a fact is that the world is round.
Fact dictionary definition | fact defined – YourDictionary

I found this a little disturbing… mostly because it is not actually a true statement and it is claiming to be an example of a fact from what should be a fair and unbiased and able to be relied upon source.

I say it is not a true statement for 2 reasons.
Firstly, scientists tell us that our world is actually a mis-shapen oblate spheroid, not only does it bulge at the equator, but because of uneven mass distribution in the planet it’s also very slightly pear-shaped with the biggest bulge below the equator. RoundISH but definitively not round. So it’s fairly accurate – but not a fact in the strictest sense.
The second reason is less pedantic but far more relevant to what we see going on in the world today – The World of Trump amongst many, many others. It is not a true statement – IF YOU BELIEVE IN AN ALTERNATIVE VIEWPOINT! In this case if you actually honestly believe (and sadly, trust me on this, there are MANY who do) that the world is actually Flat!
To those people, some of whom can actually appear in all other respects normal and even intelligent people, the world is flat is a fact and the above example is considered by them to be beyond their belief. Some of them have even come up with a new version of reality in which Gravity does not exist and NASA is a gigantic government conspiracy to FOOL people into the belief that Newton was right and that the world is round. (For reasons i am unable to comprehend).
So, going back to the Cambridge definition of a fact as something that is known and for which there is proof or information. We must ask ourselves the following:
  1. who are the people who ‘know’ the thing?
  2. how reliable is the proof or information related to the thing?, and
  3. what are the parameters for any conclusions reached or implied regarding the validity of the fact?

Number 1 is important because, if the fact is only known to a select few (presumably including yourself), it is of little practical use if most people you meet are of an opposing belief regarding it. People rarely will change their own world view based upon a fact that is not in common knowledge.

Number 2 is important because information can be, and is frequently, interpreted differently by different people which means that what is a fact to one may not be so to another (even if both agree on the information’s quality, but disagree on it’s interpretations based upon differing views of relative background issues or underlying assumptions of reality).

Number 3 is vitally important to the quality/validity of the fact in question. For a fact to be a fact it needs to apply in all circumstances NOT JUST THE ONES WE PERSONALLY KNOW OR ARE AWARE OF. If this is not the case then we can have the ludicrous† situation (as indeed we do often with Mr Trump) that one person can say one thing and another person can say something that is contradictory to the first about a single commonly observed thing/event, and both claim that their statement is a fact or THE truth concerning it.

Number 3 is particularly worth considering carefully because, as i have been made increasingly aware of of late, humans can be very biased and selective (towards their own, or what they see as “everyone’s” or the “right” belief). All of us place an inordinately high value on both our individual and our group (be that family/community/country/race/species/planet) ‘s interpretation of reality. Reality is most often these days in the eye and mind of the beholder and increasingly has no true existence outside of us. What is ‘real and true’ for one can be something entirely unreal and untrue for our neighbour.

Pontius Pilate amongst others is claimed to have said: “What is truth?”

The truth is… facts (and truth) are now more defined by who and what each one of us presently believe in than by what actually ‘is’.

Paradoxically, while most of the world’s population is now more informed and has ready access to vast amounts of information and data with which we can check ‘ facts’,  there is arguably less consensus and agreement between the people of the world, who, in general, tend to mostly agree with the facts and truths that best fit with their own strongly held viewpoints while denying those held by others which do not.

Welcome to the world of Post-fact!

Good Luck!

† – while i SAY ludicrous i am aware of some situations where two people can be looking at the same exact same thing and truthfully say two (or more) seemingly contradictory statements to one another and both of them are being honest and, from their viewpoint, factually correct! As just one example consider the story of the four blind men and the elephant in which a snake, a fan, a flywhisk and a tree trunk are used by each one to describe what an elephant is like.

love.

The Holy Trinity of Artificial Intelligence

It never ceases to amaze me that articles like this are written every day now and they STILL seem to think it can only bring good to the everyday man and woman??

For those who think life is a competitive game: you might be winning now, but see how fast machines improve compared to how fast you can.

We’ve already lost. We just can’t see it yet.

michaelangelos-hand-of-god-2017

Creation of Adam 2017

 

The advancement of robotics grows bigger by the day… But the really exciting part about this trend is the increasing ability to marry robotics with artificial intelligence. When this happens, robot…

Source: The Holy Trinity of Artificial Intelligence

BIODIVERSITY

A highlight of the article 6th (and final) Great Extinction Event which really says all you need to know about our place on earth and in it’s history…

Hence, ecosystems themselves are a mélange of different species that are continually competing, combating, cooperating, hiding, fooling, cheating, robbing and consuming one another in a mind-boggling variety of ways.

All of this, then, is biodiversity — from genes to ecosystems and everything in between.

love.

“Sorry.” Science Fiction Fans…

… but i rather fancy that just about every¹ single science fiction work ever created regarding some human future existence (that we humans may eventually be a part of), however possibly realistic seeming, is now doomed to forever remain as just pure fiction – none of what has been written (that has not yet come true) is ever likely to now².

The reason i say this?

Well, it is because they have all missed a pretty major point. One that will mean the basic premise (mankind’s possible future realities) will fairly shortly cease to be a plausible reality.

This is because for the last 4.5 thousand, thousand, thousand years (4,500,000,000 years) life on this planet has evolved at the incredibly slow biological rate of evolution and has resulted finally (in only the last 10 thousand years or so (0.00022%) of that time) in the species Homo Sapiens ( Us – modern man). The currently largely undisputed most intelligent life form and therefore most dominant predator on the planet. Certainly for our lifetimes and that of our last 500 generations of ancestors or so.

I say previously because right this instant and for some 50 or more years now we humans have been working to create our successor as most intelligent species on this or any known planet.

This species will, unlike us, not have the disadvantage of only being able to evolve at the very slow rates of biological change, but can evolve at much faster technological/electronic rates of change.

The new species currently goes by our chosen name ‘Artificial Intelligence’ (AI)  and comes in a range of forms – what it will end up calling itself is unknown. What is known is that it is evolving far, far more rapidly (exponentially fast) than we humans ever could and it will very quickly evolve to be superior in every possible way to those who created it – even God could not have achieved such a feat (well, to be truthful, He has and He is doing through His creation – us).

AI will live longer, be faster, be stronger, be more creative, and most importantly be smarter, more intelligent, than we ever have been or now will be.

You may scoff, but please do the research first or at the very least consider how far ‘we’ humans have advanced along the road to replacing ourselves with computers/machines and therefore being surplus to requirements.

Consider the preponderance and wide range of essential functions to our current lifestyle that computer driven equipment has lately become indispensable.

Consider the unmanned reconnaissance planes and drones and how well they do the jobs human pilots used to do. Consider the driverless trucks and trains we have developed and put into use for mining companies, some of which are currently monitored (controlled) by humans remotely but whom will soon be replaced by yet more and smarter, faster responding machines.

Consider the autonomous (self-driving) vehicles that are currently being trialled and used on the open roads which very shortly will be at least twice as safe as we human drivers and which will decrease the number of human road deaths while increasing the number of humans on the roads – you won’t need a licence to drive a vehicle, you simply let the vehicle drive you where you chose to go no matter how much you have had to drink.

Consider the computer brains that can now beat the best human brains at chess or at the game of Go, which is many times more complicated (has much more potential outcomes to consider) than does chess; and Watson, the machine that beat two human Jeopardy game quiz show champions all by itself and is currently being used to make decisions regarding patient outcomes for lung cancer more effectively than a human doctor or nurse can achieve.

Consider that people like Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk (Tesla Motors) and Bill Gates have tried warning us all of the potential for serious outcomes to the human race if AI continues without sufficient safeguards, if they could even be possible!

All of the above is currently actually happening now – it is not science fiction – it is fact. It is not yet quite perfected but it will all soon be doing what we used to for ourselves only better, more efficiently and importantly for business more cheaply than we do now.

Then prepare yourself for the seemingly fictional, but none-the-less true part… machines which can learn (think) for themselves! Machines which can watch any human labourer and then repeat their actions identically – any task, but without error or fatigue and which will only get quicker and faster at it as the machines begin designing and programming themselves.

Machines now create art and music by themselves even though currently they may be unable to appreciate their creations as much as we humans might.

It is not a huge leap to follow from all this that machines will ultimately be able to play any sport and beat any human competitors at it, having greater agility, speed, response times, networking and computational ability (and creativity) than we do. And it will be at that point that humans will no longer have any useful function on this planet and a smart machine would do the logical thing and simply not waste valuable planetary resources on keeping us weaker (and useless to them) species alive.

There are so-called very intelligent humans right now thinking up ways to ensure that, even though these self-learning machines will effectively become smarter and quicker thinking than they themselves are, the machines remain ‘friendly’ to us and only exist to serve us humans and make our lives infinitely better and more enjoyable than at present where we need to work for a living – or be provided for by someone who does.

So – we are safe then??  We can rest easy and trust they will find the way to do just that?

Show me just one instance in the last 4.5 billion years where a higher form of intelligence has evolved which remains subservant to the second highest intelligence and does not replace them as the dominant life form?

It is the Ultimate Arrogance to believe that after making something better than us we can (or indeed even should try to) make it remain our servant and not become our master/conqueror/replacement.

From here on in this planet’s future is to be dominated by mechanical/electronic life forms not biological ones.

I guess my question here is…. are you comfortable with that?

So what you gonna do about it?

 

  1.  Unless someone has written a work of science fiction that i am unfamiliar with which describes the situation resulting from the above, which i propose as inevitable, in this post.
  2. That includes the Terminator/Skynet series – machines do not need oxygen/clean air to exist so why would they fight humans with guns – simply poison the air or remove the oxygen from it and problem solved.