Tuesday, April 3, 2018

707: A first visit to the 20th Century......

In 1630 Puritan colonists from England founded Boston. I take this city as an example, because I have been there once and loved its historical character at fist sight.
In 1876 Boston started building its first Sewer System. State legislators approved the construction of the Boston Main Drainage System. 
The new system, built between 1877 and 1884, diverted sewage from 18 cities and town to Moon Island in Boston Harbor. 
Great progress, of course, but look how fast this progress took place. The Romans already built sewer systems, nevertheless 
it took Boston 246 years to move from open sewer to a more bearable civilized town. Have you ever wondered about the stench in Boston during those 246 years?
As a contrast, in less than 40 years all households in the Netherlands were connected by cable, which gave access to TV and Internet.
A funny cynic might say...right.... the other sewer system, but my point here is the interaction between man and environment., the speed with which changes take place and its consequences.
And that is what brought us into the 21st century: a 20th century in which changes of innumerable aspects of our daily life has made the world, what it is today.
When you study general history books about the 20th century, nine out of ten concentrate mainly on the same political and military events: 
the two world wars, the Russian Revolution, the depression of the 1930s,  Stalin's Russia, Hitler's Germany, the colonization, the Cold War. It is a laundry list of horrors.
But you can approach the history of the 20th century also from another perspective. There has happened more than wars and genocides and disasters.
And when we move all these events into the background, we see another picture. We see, that science and scientific thinking become established.
Science has offered us such a plethora of new methods and products that is has changed everybody's life.
But apart from WHAT we think about, it also changed the WAY we think about things.
Indeed it is true, that science is already around for a 350 years and that in the 20th century we saw only 
the maturation of a process that had actually started earlier, with Copernicus and Francis Bacon. 
To a certain extent this is correct. Yet the 20th century differed in some crucial respects from previous centuries. 

In the first place, until well over a hundred years ago, science consisted of highly disparate disciplines and did not deal with elementary issues. 
Thus John Dalton (1766 - 1844) concluded at the beginning of the 19th century ( in fact in 1808) that the atom had to exist, but nobody had even come close to the evidence or had an idea how to deliver it. 
The remarkable thing about the 20th century is not only that the stream of discoveries became a deluge, 
but also that so many fundamental discoveries have been made in many fields
like physics, cosmology, chemistry, geology, biology, paleontology, archeology and psychology. 
It also belongs to the striking historical coincidences that most of them, like the electron, the gene, the quantum and the subconscious, were done in or around 1900.
It looks like, that we learned more in one century than in alle preceding centuries together and the pivot of it all is science. Worth digging into.......
Thank you for your attention again...^_^

The Discussion

[13:20] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): i wonder what lies ahead of us
[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:20] herman Bergson: Yes Beertje....
[13:20] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): must be very interesting
[13:20] herman Bergson: if developments even increase speed.....who knows
[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:21] herman Bergson: But the most important thing is....homo sapiens with his 1400cc brain mass has to cope with it :-)
[13:21] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): will our brains change?
[13:22] herman Bergson: and an interesting observation is that we did rather well sofar...in my opinion
[13:22] herman Bergson: Well Beertje.....
[13:22] CB Axel: I don't think our brains will change much. It will just be augmented by AI.
[13:22] herman Bergson: not in volume I guess, but yet by implants of chips
[13:23] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes
[13:23] herman Bergson: But here the thing is....
[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cyborgs
[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:23] Lente (lentelies.anatine) is offline.
[13:23] herman Bergson: digital implants are probably just rational augemntations....what will it do to our emotional part
[13:24] Piovefiore: I am reminded of the warnings of Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk about AI they both seem to believe it can very easily get out of control
[13:24] herman Bergson: Not the AI, but men believing in it....that is the danger
[13:24] herman Bergson: You already see it today....
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): everyone have just watched to many terminator movies
[13:25] herman Bergson: all kinds of organizations use computer models to predict whatever...
[13:25] CB Axel: That's a nice distinction, Herman. Love of AI is the root of all evil.
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): can a machine really program itself to o agains us and be impossible to shut down?
[13:25] herman Bergson: It can be indeed CB......a new religion.....
[13:26] CB Axel: Oh, the old religion of worshiping money is still going strong.
[13:26] Piovefiore: We'll have to implement Asimov's laws of robotics
[13:26] herman Bergson: `Guess so indeed Piovrefiore :-)
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:27] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): there will be a Homo Roboticus
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lol
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and I will be its programmer!
[13:27] herman Bergson: Bu tthe ten commandments didnt work on man....so what about those laws for robots? :-)
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): MUAHAHAH! CONCIDER YOURSELF DOMINATED!
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lol
[13:27] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Be !
[13:28] herman Bergson: Resistance is futile, Bejiita :-)
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed
[13:28] Piovefiore: 1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aa that one is familiar
[13:29] herman Bergson: Amazing stuff indeed Piovrefiore :-)
[13:29] herman Bergson: Laws by Asimov
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes
[13:29] roos Gartner is online.
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I have another one
[13:29] Piovefiore: Indeed, we have developed intellectually, technically, but have we really developed as ethical beings?
[13:29] CB Axel: What would the robot do if a human was harming another human.
[13:29] herman Bergson: Simple answer...NO
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): THE BOSS RULES. 1 The boss always have it right. 2: should the boss have it wrong rule nr 1 is automatically applied
[13:30] herman Bergson: and that is so interesting....
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lol
[13:30] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): lol Bejiita
[13:30] Piovefiore: The catalogue of horrors you mentioned certainly suggest that
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:30] Piovefiore: LOl
[13:31] herman Bergson: But Bejiita....you know what rules inn class are here....:-)
[13:31] Piovefiore: CB, Asimov has several wonderful books of short stories where he examines all the "what ifs..." of the laws of robotics
[13:31] CB Axel: Does he? I'll have to look for that. Thank you.
[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok
[13:32] herman Bergson: Yes he has CB...I.  robot is one of them
[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): sounds interesting
[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I robot i thought was a will smith film
[13:32] Piovefiore: In a sense it seems timelier now than when he wrote them :)
[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): a good one indeed
[13:32] Piovefiore: It is based on Asimov's Book :)
[13:32] herman Bergson: He was ahead of his time, it seems
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa ok, well its hammer on the nail about the problems with AI for sure
[13:34] Piovefiore: There is a youtube video of an interview with an AI robot, where the robot talks about "human zoos"
[13:34] herman Bergson: I guess we all feel jhow the wind blows these days
[13:35] herman Bergson: It was the 20th century that served us with all this developments....
[13:36] herman Bergson: So I d suggest we dig on next week :-)
[13:36] Piovefiore: :)
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): :)
[13:36] herman Bergson: unless you still have a remark left
[13:37] herman Bergson: Thank you all again ofr  your participation :-))
[13:37] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman.
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): nice again
[13:37] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman
[13:37] herman Bergson: Class dismissed...
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu next time
[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

[13:37] Piovefiore: Thanks a lot

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