Still looking for comments from my theological friends on my Net Freedom & Church blog post at http://ow.ly/tRaf3
The only things that have shown up in my comments are the social media pointers I have put out asking my theological friends to comment. It’s not that this is THE most important issue on the world. It’s not. Their are wars, killings, severe oppression, economic hegemony of the extremely wealthy, etc. But this IS a vastly influential and consequential issue. And if there is any value to Net Freedom (which I definitely think there is), is there not a theological case to be made (I think there is). It IS a justice issue. It is yet another case of the rich and powerful rigging the system to maximize their profits at the expense of the good of the non-rich and powerful. It IS the right of everyone on the earth to have the opportunities to participate, and the most crucial aspect of that is that this is an avenue where people can tell their stories. The world needs to know a lot of these stories. Our communities of interest WANT to know our particular stories. The collaborative energies generated by finding people who respond and support our stories are marvelous and miraculous energies. It goes all the way to the level of the principle idea of the gifts of the body of Christ. The church exists as an incubator to call forth and cultivate those gifts that result in needs being addressed. So the issue of Net Freedom is a theological issue in that all of us have contributions to make, and the Net has proven to be a powerful source of extending the stories of groups and individuals in order to widen the reach of the benefits of those who are about the task of living their calling.
Please go to my previous post at http://wp.theoblogical.org/?p=23272 and offer your thoughts.
One of my MANY frustrations with the church is another in the series of adoptions of the “ways of the world” via the Mass Media Model. To stand idly by and say nothing as companies like Comcast and Time Warner monopolize the broadband market and work to prevent municipalities who have their own ideas about what would be good for their constituents from implementing those things which would lead to that good.
Broadband infrastructure is that good of which we are speaking here. We know, from the example of numerous foreign countries and some individual USA markets, that the broadband of the behemoth providers like Comcast is vastly overpriced and 50 to 100 times SLOWER than that “cheaper” broadband that can be had in these places where Comcast or Time Warner have not had their way. A mind blowing and infuriating history of these shenanigans is given by Susan Crawford in here book “Captive Audience”. It’s total bullshit, and we should be up in arms. Because it’s important. It’s important for education. It’s important for innovation because it connects us and enables a collaboration on a scale never before seen in history. It’s important for BUSINESS. For ALL businesses, even these BEHEMOTHS themselves! Their obvious problem here is that they are looking at and fighting for THE SHORT TERM. They are looking ahead exactly ZERO inches. And this is DUMB. STUPID. SHORT-SIGHTED. Self destructive.
Another danger in letting the behemoths consolidate is that they will be able to more firmly control what travels along their pipes, and how well it travels. They can give better quality of bandwidth to “privileged content” (aka “Content providers who pay a premium to the carriers. Those who don’t simply don’t get the quality or perhaps even the access. It is a turning back of the clock to the cost prohibitive days of television when only the huge production companies (NBC, CBS, ABC, and later, somewhat as a public service to provide a modicum of presence to a “public forum”, PBS).
The above is where the church needs to “be afraid, be very afraid”. If the pipes are to become sold to the highest bidder, then the opportunity that the church has had and continues to flounder in leveraging, is lost. We’ll see the “internet version” of media monopoly, which has already begun. As usual, the church looks at the Internet and sees a shovelware channel. It’s stuck in the world of print, and in some “cool” instances, in the world of old broadcast media with top-down , TV style video “streaming”. All of the innovation lies ahead in the convergence of video conferencing, social media, and mobile technology. Look ahead , folks.
To understand how the brain works will also take a new dimension to our thinking; yet also possible.
My stated lone objection to Kurzweil’s #Singularity thesis is that despite the obvious continuing advancement in computer capability and affordability, simply reverse engineering the human brain still leaves us short of understanding how the brain (or “person”) takes the activity that we can measure or sense with imaging technology, and act upon that (although we can undoubtedly also measure the “act” of responding to the information presented to the brain, wherein lies the “intelligence” and “reaction” from a personal experience perspective? This is the representative of kind of question I still have, having read through the entirety of “The Singularity is Near” and starting to read “How to Create a Mind”. Perhaps the latter will shed some additional light on this for me.
On a related note: I just tweeted: “I’m fully aware that this “new dimension to our thinking” is something I don’t yet understand – cuz if I did, it wouldn’t be “new” “
The following article is one I just posted to a site aimed at Boomer and Seniors. I thought that since I have been so struck by “The Singularity”, I might as well ride that enthusiasm and thought inspiring train into one of my duties for a part time job I have. The Singularity seems to be a hopeful scenario for life extending and enhancing technologies, and I can see these things coming to pass (all the way up to , but short of , the point of Kurzweil’s conclusion: that we’ll be able to reverse engineer the brain and duplicate a working, functioning human brain).
Here it is, as posted today on the blog at sciddy.com:
The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. That is a book title that strikes many as ominous. It , for many, hearkens a “SkyNet” or “I Robot” scenario where the threat is when machines “decide” as “thinking, reasoning machines” that they know better than humans know what our best course may be. Years earlier, it was the implied question and warning of 2001: A Space Oddysey, where a computer HAL talked to a human character named Dave (and so the famous line “I wouldn’t do that if I were you , Dave”).
But Kurzweil’s book is not unaware of the possible pitfalls of technology run amuck. Rather, it focuses on the history and nature of biological evolution, and later, technological evolution, to make a strong case for a time when our computing power, which has been and continues to grow “exponentially” , partially due to Moore’s Law (among other things), will enable us to basically reverse engineer the human brain. Now, I don’t follow him all the way to the conclusion that he makes, which is that we can “Create” a non-biological brain capable of growing and functioning like or beyond a human’s brain does. I still see the missing ingredient , and it is basically in the “software”. With all that computing power and advancement to process ever faster, while getting ever-smaller and ever-cheaper (the basic idea of Moore’s Law) , which I don’t have reason to doubt, we still have to have that “computer brain” be given “a life” or that thing called “consciousness” that “decides” to do something with its input.
Nevertheless, what we HAVE been seeing, and will continue to see, is an ever-expanding growth of technological aids to our biological existence. Today we know this reality as represented by medical technology and health technology. There are non-biological “hook-ups” like Dialysis machines and breathing machines that keep bodies functioning long enough to treat an otherwise lethal condition, or require frequent or permanent “connection” via catheters and tubes to maintain livable conditions. The intriguing developments in “Nano-bots” is what lies ahead that should interest all Boomers and Seniors, particularly those who might live long enough to have some of these arriving technologies save and extend their lives (possibly long enough to have it again extended by yet further advances). “Nano-bots” are blood-cell size computers that can perform basically any function that is reverse-engineer-able (which is rapidly moving toward almost anything). Nano-bots will be able to create/inject cellular bodies that fight or eradicate harmful, life/health threatening conditions of the body. And these nano-bots can be programmed and controlled with a variety of capabilities. Closer to our reality would be monitoring capabilities that render unnecessary invasive surgeries to “investigate” (like almost any “exploratory surgeries”). They can also do the work which surgeries do, not with “scalpel” but with microscopic material that can achieve the same without invasive, debilitating after -effects.
Kurzweil talks about “Living long enough to live forever”. Although we don’t have to buy the “forever” part, we can see some potential for radical life extension. In just 200 years of American history, our life expectancy has more than doubled (from 37 to 78). This has been the result of the technologies that we have concocted. With technological growth expanding exponentially, the following waves will and have been arriving much faster, as in single digits of years rather than centuries. A few of the technologies unimaginable a decade ago may be only 2 or three decades away. When the Human genome project began, the scientists predicted it would take 700 years to complete. It took 7 years. They didn’t take into account the “exponential effects” of technology. Not only Moore’s Law, but the impact of communication technologies allowing for collaboration at a scale unimaginable just 20 years ago.
We(I) welcome and desire your comments and thoughts! Are you excited, hopeful, freaked-out, doubtful, or opposed to this? Why?