After watching a recent episode of Wisecrack(1) about the zombie apocalypse and talking with a friend about virtual reality I got to thinking about the abstract of a realistic mass social survival situation. This Thursday Night at the Cinema, I invite you to consider this question and whilst watching: What makes life beautiful, the ability to survive against abject realistic conditions or the ability to create complex things granted digital abstract resources?
I will leave this, admittedly abrupt, piece on another question (which I may also revisit in a future post when I have more time and when I’m not moving countries): What makes the colour of the flower beautiful, is it the colour itself or our ability to perceive the colour of the flower that makes it beautiful?
Working to have a comic ready this week, next week is still looking shifty with regard to regular posting with flying and the holiday but the week after is looking more solid now that I have my living situation worked out. I am rewriting my resume and composing a portfolio and will be looking for work. If you like my writing or think I’d like writing for a publication you like, please feel free to contact me.
I love wisecrack. No judgment. Admittedly I don’t watch all their content but their “The Philosophy of [insert pop media]” and “The Hidden Meaning behind [insert pop media]” video essays are consistently on point.
I ran into a friend, Conor, and he told me he turned some of his mates onto my comics. So this comic is dedicated to Conor and his mates, also Lauren for introducing me to Conor. This one’s for you Lauren, Conor, and mates, Cheers!
We are accepting poetry and fiction submissions for a once a month reader submitted writing contest. We will announce the winner and post their content on the last Saturday of each month. All participants will get a reply and feedback on piece, regardless of whether your piece is ultimately chosen. No one looses in this contest. 🙂 To submit and for more information, click here.
I am also accepting fan art submissions. I’ll post pretty much whatever I’m sent on Fridays. Please keep it SFW/appropriate, legible, etc and include who would would like be to be credited as (Ex “Fan Art thanks to [your name]). Content and quality are important but heart is the most important part. Feel free to click here to submit or tag me on Instagram (@fin.louie), Facebook (offbeat on point), or twitter (@offbeatonpoint).
Kant is one of those names that never quite leaves you. I remember my first encounter with the phonetically funny name was when I took an ethics class at mizzou, then again when I discovered existential comics and their “kant pun free since” counter (link), and most recently being here in the UK where a common phrase is “I just can’t be asked” or “cba” for short.
So this week’s at the cinema I want to present the 8-bit philosophy video essay:
Do Humans Operate like Computers?
This video essay lightly outlines Kant’s ethics which can be defined by what he called the Categorical Imperative (or The Good Will) which had three formulations:
The Formula of Universality – “act only according to that maxim (rule or principle of action ie intention/justification) by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law (something done in similar situations) without contradiction.”
The Formula of Humanity – “Act so as to treat people always as ends in themselves, never as mere means.”
The Formula of Autonomy – “Thus the third practical principle follows [from the first two] as the ultimate condition of their harmony with practical reason: the idea of the will of every rational being as a universally legislating will.”
Kantian ethics is dependent on free will or the freedom to act in accordance to The Good Will (“just following orders” is not ethical, nor is being deceived into doing the wrong thing with the intention to do the right thing) and human reason. Kant was not trying to prove the existence of ethics as a thing in-itself but rather sought to build a system in which ethics were separate from religion and based on reason rather than divine because he thought that the cohesion of society depended on the presence of an system of ethics.
The “ought implies can” phrase being the difference between humans and machines that operate on closed link algorithms such as mechanical machines because they can be designed to operate in specific was where as it doesn’t seem to take into account a system that updates it’s input values for behavior algorithms based on reinforcing of desirable behavior…though the efforts so far have not been entirely successful.
However I believe what we can learn from the failure of Microsoft’s try at artificial intelligence is that rather than exposing the AI to the internet from day one, maybe we should treat it like a human and “raise it” before exposing it to the internet. I believe, as wonky as it sounds, if we raised the AI in an environment where it learns by talking with a small family of people learning what’s funny, what’s taboo, and even if it doesn’t understand why it will pick up on a trend of similar reactions and explanations (depending on how talkative the humans who interact with them are).
I don’t think the advent of an independently intelligent will manifest in a way we fear, fantasize, or usually imagine but rather I believe they will adapt to be like human 2.0 in the way of hardware, to continue a biological-technological metaphor, but as far as “software” updates, the only way we can really imagine a second sentient race is not in the way of “us and them” but “we are them” such that architecture of organic learning is that the foundations will be built from the environment it develops which accounts for the humans it will interact with. The Ethics they have and raise the robot with, the way the robot may learn to think. This is intriguing and scary and in it self opens up ethical questions such as:
Should there be kill switches for these things? Should they be programmed with a “life span”?
How should they be programmed to develop in the most ethical manour? Such that human development goes in waves with a strong start in the first 20 some odd years and slow down with age(1) or to be able to develop in intentional waves or constant?
Speaking of development and behavior acquisition, what would be the ethics on “rebooting” or “wiping the drive”? To what extent will the bots be held to ethics as we understand it?
Again, like last Thursday I have no answers. Tune in tomorrow to see a Kantian inspired comic.
For more information about Kant, despite some overlap in information, I recommend the following videos in the playlist Kantian Ethics:
I wanted to put together a playlist of music that blur genres or aren’t easily classified, what I like to think of as experimental which is something I’m a big fan of in art. However the idea of “experimental music got me thinking “What is Music?” I’ll leave it to Philosophy Tube to tackle that ambitious question:
What are Songs? What is Music? I’ll let Olly at Philosophy Tube tackle this ambitious question
What Caught my attention was the mention of “Lowercase” music (cite time tag from video, find name of guy at this exists) and I followed the trail to his video on the subject “Lowercase” music.
Happy Thursday! Sometimes I like to watch philosophy videos on youtube before I got to bed and paradoxes really interest me. One of which is Zeno and his paradoxes, his most famous ones being Achilles and the tortoise and the Dichotomy Paradox as explained in this Numberphile video:
Achilles and the Tortoise
Achilles and the tortoise have a race and Achilles lets the tortoise get a 100 meter start. Then Achilles catches up with where the turtle was. In the time Achilles caught up to where the tortoise was, the tortoise advanced 50 meters ect ect ad infinitum.
The Dichotomy Paradox
The Dichotomy paradox can be thought of as a moving of the hands to clap except one hand stays still, while the other halves the distance and halves the distance and halves the distance until there’s contact however according to the paradox, this should be impossible.
Another paradox of movement is Zeno’s Arrow as explained in this video by carneades.org:
This is a strange one where it argues that if an arrow is in motion, every moment it holds a single space in time and to be in motion it would be moving through spaces in time but every single moment it is not any other space in time but a the single space it occupies at that second therefore movement is impossible. I like to use this one as an excuse to not get out of bed in the morning.
Zeno starts to loose me in the second round with The Paradox of Place:
if everything that exists has a place, place too will have a place, and so onad infinitum.
As in all places have places until you get to the point of “Everything” as in “Life, The Universe, and Everything” which I feel like I can pretty much wrap my brain idea around the idea of “Everything” being a bubble in a sea of no-things, though I guess in a philosophical extent I can’t really construct a proof around a feeling. Maybe someday. The Millet Paradox in it’s original phrasing is dated so I’ll attempt to update it so it’s more relevant.
Original: The argument is that a single grain of millet makes no sound upon falling, but a thousand grains make a sound. Hence a thousand nothings become something, an absurd conclusion. Updated: A single vote in an election will not make a difference. However 1,000 can make a difference. How can 1,000 non-difference making single votes make a difference? (I realise this kind of misses the point, but I have voting on the mind with all the political drama in the US and UK)
All these paradoxes hint at this idea that Zeno had that nothing ever changes and maybe even that nothing is actually real.
This Wisecrack video sums it up in a pretty interesting way with their 8-bit Philosophy series.
As we learn in the video, Zeno’s teacher Parmenides argues that existence is timeless and that all things that ever were and are and will be exist at the same time, implying there can be no change because things exists at once, which sounds strangely like Nietzsche’s theory of Eternal Return or the “time is a flat circle” stuff (insert true detective picture). I have no answers today. These paradoxes have stood the test of time themselves without changing which might be a reflection of their importance. Or maybe this is just several accounts of reductio ad absurdum, which itself would not be a new claim but a good one to make since it draws the connection between Zeno’s paradoxes of change and the practice of reducing arguments down to the absurd. Tune in tomorrow for my first philosophy comic: Zeno’s Pantry Paradox