Where I came from, I wasn’t particularly smart. This can be proven by many testimonies and reports of my former teachers. In other places it was different and so in the course of my life I collected very different assessments of my capability to think.
The reason is probably that there is not one intelligence, but instead many different kinds. Just as there are different kinds of skills. One person migt be good when it comes to juggling balls. Another one is skilled at combining words and yet another one is good at combining lines of computer code.
When I watch my nephews play computer games with others in a team spread all over the world. They are skilled at using a technique that was completely unimaginable just a few years ago. How would you want to evaluate these skills? In the grading system of my former teachers?
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.
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: codonaut.de
We monkeys are busy all the time pulling the money out of the other monkeys’ pockets. The money, we monkeys came up with – the money that does not exist in nature.
The pockets from which we pull the money from the other monkeys we have also invented. Other animal should try to do that. We monkeys, we are always thinking something up.
We monkeys constantly invent new realities and immediately try to use them to our advantage. Looking at us, all other animals look stupid.
And if they look stupid for too long, and we don’t like it anymore, we eat them up. We monkeys normally don’t eat each other. That happens rather rarely. Mutually we only cheat each other. But this all the time. And the one who cheats best wins.
This is so much in our DNA that brothers cheat on brothers, parents cheat on their children, the state cheats on the family and the family cheats on the state.
Each monkey cheats on the other, but we do not eat ourselves up. This is what the monkeys call civilization. And we monkeys are proud of our civilization.
I recently had a conversation with a friend. He was complaining that he was wasting all his time with computer games. Nevertheless it was clear to him – “Computer games are shit – absolute crap!”
I know my friend as an extraordinarily intelligent guy. The picture wasn’t right for me. I can’t really imagine how he spends all his time dealing with a completely stupid exercise. Now I don’t know from my own experience what it’s like to play computer games intensively and therefore deny myself an opinion. But it seems obvious to me that if an intelligent monkey is engaged in an activity, this exercise is meaningful.
My friend said that he would try again and again to quit playing computer games completely, but then he would find himself in front of the computer again, gambling. “Absolute waste of time!”, “Computer games are absolute shit!”
“Really?” I asked my friend, “Do you really think computer games are absolute shit?
To my astonishment he replied: “No, of course, computer games are totally awesome”.
Now I was seriously confused: “What now, total shit, or total awesome?
We discussed for 15 minutes and all the time I tried to find out exactly where he was on the scale between one extreme and the other. But his statements always jumped back and forth between one and the other.
Totally awesome. Totally shit.
“But you know what I mean!” he said reproachfully at some point.
“I can only guess. You can’t be on both counts and you’re certainly neither on one point nor the other. You are probably somewhere in between. Where exactly – I have no idea. And you, you probably don’t know either.”
At this point we ended the conversation, which had become somewhat unpleasant. A few days later I got some feedback from my friend. The conversation had made him think.
Since I got into the habit of paying attention to the use of extreme narration, I notice more and more often: We discuss with each other to find out if something is so or so. Whether the EU is one way or another, whether migration is oneway or another. Whether globalisation is one way or the other. Whether the Internet is one way or the other. Totally awesome or absolute shit. And most of the times we discuss as if there is nothing between the extreme points.
That’s a great pastime and you can argue a great deal. Good approaches for solving problems can only be found in the rarest cases. Reality can usually be found between the extremes. The solutions for problems as well.