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Becoming a cyborg.

  1. Feb 12, 2007 #1
    Me and a friend had an argument about whether it is alright for scientists to work on improving intelligence of society as a whole. (Yeah this is probably quite a while away) using technology. Because neither of us possess anything close to the intellect of a scientist our arguments were probably silly but an interesting question came up..how many scientists are opposed to this idea? Looking up bioconservatives and technology critics, I find that those opposing it are right wing religious groups. I'm not sure how many intelligent people with analytical capacity of scientists occupy these groups. Personally I think that improving intelligence would mean a progession to 'civilization'. What we know of civilization today will look like something crude and ugly once we make the transistion. Probably a lot of intelligent people are completely against such a notion for the sake of protecting the power they wield over others. I think that society needs to become less caught up with power and control and focus more on looking on solving problems.

    So I wanted to find out the views of scientists and mathematicans and other academics on this topic. If a poll was conducted

    a) Give the green light for developing cyborg technolgies with the intent of improving human intelligence
    b) No, the natural social order should never be interfered with

    what would you pick? Why? Can you put your arguments in layman's terms?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 12, 2007 #2


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    I think such enhancements should be developed and made available on the free market. That way there would be huge impetus for companies to supply them, and it'd be almost like an arms race.

    However, it's not that easy. I hope this doesn't count as encouraging illegal activity, I don't think it does because steroids are legal, just not allowed in most competitions. But there are some steroids that actually protect the joints. Steroids are just a medicine and, like any medicine, through knowledge and considered precaution we can use them safely. Morphene is a potent drug and yet it is used by doctors as a pain reliever. I just mean that whatever one chooses to do, it should be from a position of knowledge.

    This is just my opinion so take it with some salt but I think steroids went out of fashion when they were used in competition because it came across as being unfair to the other competitors, of being an unlevel playing field, but I think moreso because it drove a wedge between us and the athletes. Unfortunately, international sport has a very prominent purpose linked to patriotism. Because the people in the team are just like you and me and they are playing for their country, it makes us proud, it brings us together in a patriotic way. It makes us feel patriotic and feel that there is a social consciousness that we all share. And in times of war, that same feeling of brotherhood leads us to fight for our country, to do our duty to the fatherland.

    Whereas if the sportsmen and women are using steroids to enhance their performance, they become different to us because we couldn't train and run like they do. They are foreign to us to some degree. Also, the result becomes more important than the participation. They are not there to participate, they are there to win even at some perceived cost to their health.

    You'll notice that the international competitions are always the most strict against the use of banned substances. Unfortunately, it's not only the religious that work against making nature better.

    So I think this issue runs deep in our society and it isn't a simple decision about what to do. As you probably know, genetically modified products are given quite a hard go. Drug use is outlawed for health reasons, although I would prefer it to be age-limited because I think people would soon come to realise that drugs are certainly not worth taking. At least in the US, one can buy prescription drugs without a prescription (I think), here in the UK I must import medicine if I want to forgo going to the doctor (which can be worthwhile because I feel like a piece of meat when I go there). Obviously this is not a recipe for everyone, but I like to do some research before I visit the doctor, so I can decide whether I should follow his prescription or not.

    In a sense, we need to change our thinking on responsibility. Currently, social responsibility is what most (at least here) talk about, like how we should not litter and should not pollute, etc. But I'm talking about personal responsibility, where we should take charge of how we life our lives and allow others to live theirs accordingly. I do think intelligence would bring about personal responsibility.

    Therefore, I would vote green.
  4. Feb 12, 2007 #3
    Whilst in a scientific environment enhancement seems a sensible route when politics and corparacy gets involved it all falls apart.

    What would happen when we engineer Marines with mechanical enhancements to allow them to survive in hostile environments, remove pain response, and moral doubts. You have the ultimate killing machine which is great until they want to enter civilised society. You can't release them into polite society so you need to keep them in the army.
    So what you have created is a slave race drawn from the poor end of society, who are so desperate that they will sign up to enhancement to get out of the ghettos.
    Why are they so poor?
    Because every rich parent has paid to have their kids enhanced. Their brain power is so advanced that education is pushed beyond the reach of the non-enhanced. Anybody who does not have enhancement will never amount to anything.

    All these things are great providing we can get rid of human nature....

    I have often wondered what the biggest impact of genetic typing will be. Allowing scientists to cure disease, or allowing insurance companies to refuse cover to anybody with a genetic disposition to certain illnesses? We all want the 1st but know it will be the 2nd.
  5. Feb 12, 2007 #4


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    A more educated populace would vote or refrain more intelligently, and I imagine they (being very intelligent) wouldn't accept slavery. It's like there is an intelligence hump, when we get beyond the hump things begin to stabilise. We're at a chaotic stage right now.

    On the far side of the hump, there can be no Hitlers or Stalins, but getting there is the problem.
  6. Feb 13, 2007 #5


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    No matter how clever we become, I think they'll always be one bastard ending up top-of-the-heap through exploitation of others.
  7. Feb 13, 2007 #6
    On what do you base this hypothesis? Obviously not the history of the human race....
  8. Feb 13, 2007 #7


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    We are the Borg. Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us.

    Seriously offering these kind of enhancements on the open market would be appealing for some but I would have to disagree. It would offer an unfair advantage to the rich and create two more distinct classes in society with probably terrible consequences. Artificial organs on the other hand I would have no problem with for those who need them.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2007
  9. Feb 13, 2007 #8
    I thought do this: Make the upgrade free (like open source code) when a method of improving intelligence becomes available to all on Earth, bring their intellects up by a quantum leap to the IQ levels of scientists, which is measured roughly as 125 IQ plus the rest of intelleigence is the result of their natural level. yeah u've kept bastards still because social order hasn't changed but..you could have less bastards because perhaps we would work how to satisfy our wants without being so destructive. We co-exist better.

    Right now all we have to go by is lessons learnt through history which is a terrible process really and is not really embraced much anyway...look at iraq.

    such a move would be like comparing what happened a million(s?) years ago, where an ape learnt to use its head and became human. Every decision that society would make as a collective would be unbelivebaly more superior than present day. The idea of 'history repeating itself' might go out of the window because we would have evolved.

    And if people say oh but we would be less human and more machinelike, when we are more intelligent using technology we could probably devise schemes of retaining our emotions, whatever makes us human and continue to refine the process of improving intellects. We would have better capacity to do this from more intelligent positions.

    I think more people need to work on the effort for the sake of working on our own evolution which could lead to the benefits stated above. But this is a simplistic analysis. It would be good if more academics offered their opinions. I should have changed the name of this thread...maybe it sounds too childish.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2007
  10. Feb 13, 2007 #9
    Since when has IQ got anything to do with social responsibility and moral code. A lot of psycopaths are highly intelligent.

    When everybody is super intelligent will you not have a large amount of disaffected people emptying your bins and serving in the supermarkets. Already educational policy in the UK teaches kids that practical jobs are menial and every one should get a degree or be deemed a failure creating disaffection. Better to do away with the need to work and therefore the need to be super intelligent, rather than make unhappy super intelligent people.

    You seem upset that your opinions are not shared by others. Why should the views of an academic be better than anybody else. Are you implying that a theoretical rocket scientists would know more about cyborgs than I do as a practical rocket scientist? or are you seeking proffesors in cyborg technology?
  11. Feb 13, 2007 #10
    I would be thrilled if we got to the point where we can geneticly or with technology make humans better.

    I dont se why everyone should be denied it just because some cant afford it.
  12. Feb 13, 2007 #11


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    I agree with Panda. Also, since you have no control over the personality of the person, you could wind up creating a breed of evil monsters.

    The last thing we should be concerned about is increasing IQ. Improving quality of life would be a better use of resources.
  13. Feb 13, 2007 #12
    Topic is so far in the future it's no use discussing it. There's no predicting what could happen.
  14. Feb 13, 2007 #13


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    Improving IQ would improve quality of life.
  15. Feb 13, 2007 #14
    I wanted the view of academics because I felt they would be able to answer the question a bit more sensibly than non-scientists. I wanted to do this to find out how my critical thinking compared to theirs and what I hadn't thought of. I don't care if their opinions are not the same as mine. I just watned to find out what they think and why.

    As far as loss of menial jobs, well when you are at a higher IQ level, there will just be higher level problems to solve instead of calculating change or sorting out a customer query at a supermarket. Maybe such menial jobs can be taken over by robots.

    I don't think you will breed all monsters, not if everyone was given the boost, there would be non-monster types around to counter the monsters.

    I brought up the topic after reading Kurzwelian Singularity which predicts this type of thing happening much faster than we anticipate.

    Yeah i do want to know if improving IQ for everyone will improve quality of life. I think it is yes.
  16. Feb 13, 2007 #15


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    Well I don't want to tread on anyone's toes but it seems to me that as people become more intelligent, they become more aware of what happens around them. Being more aware would seem to be more beneficial than harmful, so I would think it would tend that way.

    Intelligence is not all it's cracked up to be, of course. Education probably counts for more than intelligence, but having cybernetic implants available could greatly spur education. There would presumably be more impetus to become educated in that environment than there is now, because currently there isn't all that much reason to become educated beyond getting a job. It's not like education is a way of life.

    Anyway, enough waffling.
  17. Feb 13, 2007 #16
    I don't mean in time, but in the amount of change. My critical thinking module tells me that state is not just a perturbation of this current state. How can you possibly test this speculation? With more speculation? I thought we learnt a lesson back in the 50s with flying cars & all.
  18. Feb 13, 2007 #17


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    How? Do you know how many people with high IQ's suffer from mental disorders? The higher your IQ the more aware you are of what's wrong and your limited ability to really change anything. Resulting in higher depression rates. Ever hear the expression "dumb and happy"?

    And yes, there are ALWAYS exceptions, but the best and brightest people I have ever known suffered at least from serious depression.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2007
  19. Feb 14, 2007 #18


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    I think there is a potential mistake being made here. We probably should not argue that because smarter people tend to be depressed that we should prefer to have dumb people. I imagine that if a majority of people were smart, that effect would be less.

    Is the depression of the smart perhaps attributable to how they are typically less social than others? I think it would be wrong to pronounce on that in the context of smart people being the exception.

    If the majority were smarter, that would totally transform our political reality because politicians could not get away with half of what they do unless they were willing to risk having a majority of people refrain from voting, which would be a sure sign that they were unwanted. I think that would change society entirely. I also think that these smarter people would want education to be primely important because their children need to be educated.

    I just think the quality of life in such a society would be better. The intellectual hill that I talk about is that point at which politicians are reigned in.
  20. Feb 15, 2007 #19
    After reading through your posts, I so far can see that in becoming more intelligent you solve some problems such as reducing chaos in some ways and create more problems like depression, disagreement, etc...

    the thing I can think of right now to support the idea is that from more intelligent positions is we can better choose what how to solve a problem such that it doesn't create as many future problems..for example sure we give people artificial organs and we solve the suffering problem but we also introducing the looking after lots of aged people problem. Maybe these kinds of things will be better resolved from more intelligent positions
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2007
  21. Feb 15, 2007 #20
    i'm not sure if we'd be comfortable with these solutions though when we solve it in a more effective way..could the most effective solution turn out tobe a BORG like existence?
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