The tool that makes the human being

Humans have invented countless tools, the plough, the axe, the wheel, the steam engine, the computer. Humans have shaped the world with their inventions. They have changed flora and fauna, even the atmosphere. To an extent no other mammal before it has.

Without tools, the world would not exist as we know it today – with cities and cars, airplanes and digital networks spanning the entire planet.

Without tools, man would not exist – man would be an animal like any other.

Tools shaped humankind.

We live in a time of rapid inventions. Inventions that will perhaps change us as much as the plough did, or the taming of fire. What is new is that many inventions happen at the same time and the news of the new abilities spreads all over the planet at lightning speed.

It is an accelerated time in which parents can no longer imagine the world in which their children will live.

Excerpt from “Codonaut – Where do we program ourselves?”, a Korsakow film about artificial intelligence. Go to to see the film.

Das Werkzeug, das den Menschen macht

Der Mensch hat zahllose Werkzeuge erdacht, den Pflug, die Axt, das Rad, die Dampfmaschine, den Computer. Mit seinen Erfindungen hat der Mensch die Welt geprägt. Hat Flora und Fauna, hat selbst die Atmosphäre verändert. In einem Maße, wie kein anderes Säugetier vor ihm.

Ohne Werkzeuge gäbe es die Welt nicht, wie wir sie heute kennen – mit Städten und Autos, Flugzeugen und digitalen Netzen, die den gesamten Planeten umspannen.

Ohne Werkzeuge gäbe den Mensch nicht – der Mensch wäre ein Tier wie jedes andere.

Werkzeuge formten den Menschen.

Wir leben in einer Zeit rasanter Erfindungen. Erfindungen, die den Menschen vielleicht so sehr verändern werden, wie es der Pflug getan hat, oder die Bezähmung des Feuers. Neu ist, dass viele Erfindungen gleichzeitig passieren und sich die Kunde von den neuen Fähigkeiten blitzschnell auf dem gesamten Planeten verbreitet.

Es ist eine beschleunigte Zeit, in der sich Eltern die Welt nicht mehr vorstellen können, in der ihre Kinder leben werden.

Auszug aus “Codonaut – Wohin programmieren wir uns?”, einem Korsakow-Film über Künstliche Intelligenz. Der Film ist hier zu sehen:

God is a Blackbox

Where I come from, people believe in the good Lord. God is an algorithm that no one really understands. But people became accustomed to teaching their children, to behave as they suspect God likes it.

God probably doesn’t exist. Or at least not the way people imagine it where I come from. There are many other places, where there are people that imagine god. And the many different notions that don’t go together front and back. It would be an unlikely coincidence, that right where I come from,  people had the right perception.

Der Liebe Gott ist eine Black Box. Und dabei ist es ganz egal, wie sie funktioniert. Wichtig ist lediglich, dass sich alle, möglichst ähnlich verhalten um dem Lieben Gott oder irgend einer anderen Black Box zu gefallen.

God is a black box. And it doesn’t really matter how the black box works. The only important thing is that everyone behaves as similarly to please the Good Lord – or the black box.

Because that provides reliability. To the individual, because it feels good, and to everyone, because it makes everyone more predictable.

Excerpt from “Codonaut – Where do we program ourselves?”, a Korsakow film about artificial intelligence. The film can be seen here:

Blackbox Gott

Da, wo ich herkomme glaubt man an den Lieben Gott. Gott ist ein Algorithmus den so recht niemand versteht. Doch die Menschen haben sich angewöhnt, ihren Kindern beizubringen, sich so zu verhalten, wie sie vermuten, dass es dem Lieben Gott gefällt.

Vermutlich gibt es Gott nicht. Oder zumindest nicht so, wie man es sich da, wo ich herkomme, vorstellt. Denn es gibt auch noch viele andere Orte, an denen man sich einen Gott vorstellt. Die vielen verschiedenen Vorstellungen passen vorne und hinten nicht zusammen. Es wäre ein unwahrscheinlicher Zufall, wenn man ausgerechnet da, wo ich herkomme, die richtige Vorstellung hätte.

Der Liebe Gott ist nur eine Form einer Black Box. Und dabei ist es ganz egal, wie sie funktioniert. Wichtig ist lediglich, dass sich alle, möglichst ähnlich verhalten um dem Lieben Gott oder irgend einer anderen Black Box zu gefallen.

Denn das gibt Sicherheit. Dem einzelnen, weil er sich gut fühlt. Und allen, weil es alle berechenbarer macht.

Auszug aus “Codonaut – Wohin programmieren wir uns?”, einem Korsakow-Film über Künstliche Intelligenz. Der Film ist hier zu sehen:

Why the question ‘good or bad’ is bad

This text is also available in German.

Most of the time, when I weigh up arguments, when I think loud about things like how the real estate market is developing, people immediately ask me: “Is that good or bad?” It seems to be an incredibly interesting question whether something is good or bad. And then I think to myself: But if that’s such an important question, why do people ask me? People should ask someone who has a clue. It might be best to ask someone who knows how the future will have developed. Someone who looks at the present from the future, so to speak. I have no idea, I’m just thinking.

I consider and weigh up the arguments, precisely because I want to find out how things actually will develop. I can only imagine, I can’t really see the future, obviously, because I am in the present. So I am sitting in the present and think about how the real estate market will develop in the future. What I absolutely don’t want, is to distort the image that I can see of the future with my wishful thinking. So I try to take a look as neutral as possible. Not judging if something is good or bad.

Yes, sometimes I do have an opinion. I think the rents should be bla, because blaba. But if I wish for the future (“I think the rents should..”), then it is only probable that I arrange the arguments in such a way that the future that I wish for appears most probable. And even if I’m aware of the problem, it doesn’t help at all, because this shifting of the arguments is done by the unconsciousness by itself. There is nothing I can do about it.

That’s why scientists, when they want to find out something, conduct double-blind-experiments. It is proven that a researcher who has an opinion unconsciously influences the result. More than that: it doesn’t even matter whether the researcher has an opinion or a preference, the mere fact that the one who conducts the experiment, knows the result increases the probability that the result of the whole examination is wrong.

Once it was believed that a horse could calculate. Experts tested the horse for years. That was before the double-blind-experiment was known. If you have given the horse a calculation task, for example: How much is 3+9? Then the horse would scratch 12 times with his right hoof. But the horse could not calculate at all. The horse could only read the faces of the human experimenters well, and they were the ones who could calculate.

So if I want to know how the real estate market will develop in the future, then I don’t want to spoil the result with my opinion – that would be stupid!

So I try to have no opinion when thinking, when weighing up the arguments and just not to consider whether one or the other is good or bad.

And arguments usually work in a way that one argument builds on the other. It’s like a house of cards, where one card supports an other card and that way layers are build on which even more layers stand. Only that the cards are not cards, but arguments. And if that works well and you get a stable house of cards that you have glued together with a lot of good information (because only good information makes the glue that really holds) then you can finally stand on top of the construction and look into the distance and see the future.

This means that I want my information to be correct (as information is the glue that holds the arguments together) and I want my arguments to be correct, i.e. the cards that make up my tower. So I don’t want to manipulate a card consciously or unconsciously, pull it longer or shorter, because that would make my tower crooked and I would see some nonsense from its top, but not the future – if the tower holds at all and doesn’t collapse already because of the many crooked arguments.

That’s why, in any case, I don’t want to form an opinion when I think about something. And certainly not, after I have only considered the very first argument and have at most reached level one. I still want to put many more arguments, many more cards, many more levels on one another. Whether something is good or bad? So the question that most people ask right at the beginning – it can only be judged anyway if you stand on the finished tower and look down. When the tower has grown out of arguments. Only from there, i.e. from the top of the tower, can you really judge whether something is good or bad.

Translated with the help of