Morality – June, 2011

Mr. Ray Kurtzweil describes the technological singularity as;

“… a future period during which the pace of technological change will be so rapid, its impact so deep, that human life will be irreversibly transformed. Although neither utopian nor dystopian, this epoch will transform the concepts that we rely on to give meaning to our lives, from our business models to the cycle of human life, including death itself.”

Now, that’s a pretty powerful statement.

It’s definitely something that would get my attention, and possibly even frighten me a bit. In fact, I think it would be safe to assume, that most people who have listened to Mr. Kurtzweil speak, would agree that “right there” is where people either get it, or they don’t.

One thing I have observed in human behavior, is that when someone listens to a statement like that, you can tell right away if they heard it correctly. Because they are going to most likely react in one of a couple different ways. They will either sit straight up in their chair, listening intently, while hanging on every word, or they will tend to dismiss it as their fear responses take over. Most typically by saying it confused them, or it was too far out to ever really happen. Much less, in twenty years like Mr. Kurtzweil suggested.

Well then, let’s take a closer look at the statement and see if we can get a bit better understanding of what the statement is telling us.
And since a fear response was most likely triggered to some extent, let’s start in the middle.

“Although neither utopian nor dystopian, this epoch will transform the concepts that we rely on to give meaning to our lives,”

The first point we need to make is that the statement makes clear that there is no way of knowing exactly what type of society will evolve as a result of these changes. Society could emerge as a stronger, more “united” world type government, or perhaps a “Rise of the Machines” type world where humanity becomes enslaved by their robot masters.

So, what ends up being said is, “We can’t tell you what the result will be like for society, we can only tell you that the process itself will need society to re-evaluate itself at it’s very core.” That these changes will challenge our value systems, our morality, our ethics. In the ways we interact with others both individually, and as a society as a whole. It will affect how we govern ourselves, how we communicate, how we love, hate, forgive, or come together. And that these changes will be so dramatic that the way we perceive ourselves and our society, will become almost unrecognizable. That the way we see humanity itself will change.

And, “the pace of technological change will be so rapid, its impact so deep, that human life will be irreversibly transformed.”

Which basically say’s, that not only will humanity change as a whole, but that these changes will also occur so rapidly, that we won’t even see them coming. They will just occur. And humanity will either have to change with it, or become subject to its own destiny.

So now back to that fear response.

Typically, we as a species, tend to ignore, lower, fail to comprehend, or simply choose to remain ignorant of the things that involve great change. We tend to see these as threats to the security of our perceived way of life. Especially when our value systems are the areas at most risk. We tend to convince ourselves, that society will never allow it, that it would never happen, or that it’s really not going to be that bad.

Herein lies the very problem we are facing. These changes are already occurring as predicted. Just as quickly, and just as dramatically. But our perceptions are skewed. A lot of the things we see as moving along all slow and steady, are in reality happening at an astonishing rate. Take for instance, “social change.” Specifically human rights, and human sexuality.

I bet if I were to ask anyone walking down the street at random, exactly when women and blacks were given the rights of citizenship and the right to vote as an equal citizen under the law. Most people would respond, “Umm, I don’t know, didn’t Lincoln do that?” Referring to the Emancipation Proclamation signed by president Lincoln on January 1, 1863. But they would be wrong. The proclamation only declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.” It did not give rights of citizenry.

So when were they given the right to vote? Ratified on February 3, 1870, The Fifteenth Amendment, to the United States Constitution prohibits each government in the United States from denying a citizen the right to vote based on that citizen’s “race, color, or earlier condition of servitude”

However, it wasn’t until “The Civil Rights Act of 1964″, and the subsequent”Voting Rights Act of 1965,” that “An act to enforce the constitutional right to vote, to confer jurisdiction upon the district courts of the United States of America to give relief against discrimination in public accommodations, to authorize the Attorney General to begin suits to protect constitutional rights in public facilities and public education, to extend the Commission on Civil Rights, to prevent discrimination in federally assisted programs, to set up a Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity, and for other purposes.” Was passed in such a way that any form of true enforcement power was granted.

So the correct answer would be, 1965.

What about equal rights regardless of sexual orientation?

“1982” Wisconsin becomes the first state to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, thus enacting the first form of legislative power ideal. But that still isn’t acceptance.

“2007” In November, the House of Representatives approves a bill ensuring equal rights in the workplace for gay men, lesbians, and bisexual still doesn’t address rights.

In fact, to this day, there is no clear legal distinction that protects discrimination based on sexual identity.

The point is this,

 
It was

 

Executive Order 9981, which states, “It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin.”

 

 

 

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Published on September 7, 2012 at 11:46 am  Leave a Comment  

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