1.1. Irrational Cruel Robots

GregLawson edited this page Jun 3, 2011 · 12 revisions

In this wiki I have argued that we are irrational, cruel robots:

  1. Irrational, we love our narratives, facts and data don't matter. See 1.1.2.-Narrative-fallacy
  2. We can be persuaded to be cruel by authority figures. see 1.1.3.-Why-we-need-two-conflicting-authorities
  3. Robot, See 1.1.1.-Robot's Rebellion

So before working on this project, I was an irrational, cruel robot. While working on this project I learned how we could be less cruel, less irrational, and less of a robot. After working on this project, we will still be irrational, cruel robots. Welcome to the Human Condition.

Note: this story parallels:

  1. a famous Zen story about chopping wood and carrying water,
  2. Bertrand Russel's quote about naive realism and Spinoza's quote about the sun being 200 feet away.
Is this a pessimistic view? Instead, I believe it is a realistic view about why we are starving in the midst of plenty. In particular we are starving for reliable information in the midst of plenty of data. This open source project aims to address this starvation directly by making data easier to turn into reliable information. 1.3.-The Emotional Life of Engineers suggests that if we find creative sources of data, skeptically analyze them, and publish them we will be learning and enhancing the 1.2.-Durability of knowledge.

This knowledge should allow us to be less robotic (information independent of our genes and memes), less irrational (focused on data not narrative) and less cruel (by providing a second authority). What could be a more realistically optimistic approach to the human dilemma?

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