A Battle Of Ancestors

The biggest advantage to private bathrooms is that no one tries to tell you “You don’t belong here” because private bathrooms are for the person occupying them. This notion that bathrooms must be sex-segregated seems a bit silly and old-fashioned anyway.

In the future, people will shake their heads in befuddlement at the idea that their grandparents and great-grandparents cared so much about the genitalia of other people. “What?” they might ask… “What did they think people did in bathrooms?”

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Homo Sapiens ELE

I’ve been fascinated the past couple years casually studying Extinction Level Events.

At a gross level, these are events triggering, or short periods of time describing situations where there have been rapid die-offs in the history of the planet.

This planet has experienced quite a few mass extinctions.

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Religious Discrimination

Telling someone “Just because you can’t do things to other people in the name of your religion doesn’t mean that you are experiencing religious discrimination” rarely is the “QED” of the argument because it presupposes that practitioners of said religion will stop what they’re doing and conclude “Oh gosh, I didn’t want to do that!”

That is very unlikely to happen because it ignores the notion that “doing things to other people in the name of religion” is the purpose of said religion, and as such, qualifies in the eyes of said practitioners as precisely religious discrimination.

Of course, simply being “religious discrimination” doesn’t automatically mean the behavior is worthwhile to pursue or worthwhile to exterminate. After all, history is littered with an ocean of corpses who experienced “religious discrimination,” and anyone subscribing to a modern religion as “less primitive and savage” eventually comes to understand what it means when that particular poison dart circles back around.

Religious discrimination means that the differences presented by a religion have become socially or otherwise problematic to such a degree that people notice and start pushing back. Historically, this means the religion has a choice: adapt to the times or fall upon the dustheap of religions that have clung so desperately to their dogma that they perished*. There is a third option, of course, and that’s fight back tooth and nail, killing everyone who is causing the trouble. But so far, no religion on Earth has survived that kind of savagery for long. Even Christianity had to kinda downplay all their murdery history in order to be allowed to occasionally sit at the grown-ups table.

* Or be mined by comic book publishers looking for villains, but that’s none of my business.

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Show me the Metric!

I don’t think “what’s your metric?” qualifies as a threatening question when someone says “things are way better now!” or “things are way worse now!”

I think it makes for a much more interesting conversation.

Metrics do matter

Metrics do matter.
Image from Leading Strategic Initiatives.

For example, I know people who think “gas prices” are a metric for whether it’s better or worse.

For example, I know people who think “number of violent crimes per capita” is a metric for whether it’s better or worse.

For example, I know people who think “percentage of loss via fraudulent activity” is a metric for whether it’s better or worse.

For example, I know people who think “cost of a Costco hotdog” is a metric for whether it’s better or worse.

For example, I know people who think “number of times I get shit thrown at me whenever I bitch about women” as a metric for whether it’s better or worse.

For example, I know people who think “percentage of children who die of vaccinations versus percentage of children who historically have died of diseases and conditions prevented by those vaccines” as a metric for whether it’s better or worse.

Asking about the metric helps everyone align in a conversational direction.

Asking about the metric helps us think about what’s important and what’s not.

Sure, there may be more than one metric in play — I get that — and that’s okay. For example, a person might think that things are “bad” because birth control is available in high schools and because nobody takes the trains anymore. It’s okay to have two metrics, or three, or many. There’s no need to force people to think one-dimensionally.

The point in understanding metrics is that we are all communicating in somewhat-similar language.

We don’t have to agree on everything, but if we try to find each other’s metrics, at least we can start talking with each other instead of over each other.

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I Think the Needle Needs to Point in the Opposite Direction.

Adults tell children “No, you can’t do that. Stop that. Put that down. Don’t put that in your mouth. Only one cookie. No ice cream after eight. No watching five episodes of Battlestar Galactica in a row” and when kids object, adults tell them “When you live in your own house and pay your own bills, you can make your own rules.”

Then as adults, once we live in our own house and pay our own bills, we look at each other and say “Man, I wish I was a kid, because we had all kinds of free time and we could do anything and we could play all day and pull the legs off spiders and sit in mud, and if we didn’t have mud then we could sit in dust and make our own mud, but now we’re adults and we can’t do what we want and we shouldn’t eat more than one cookie, and we shouldn’t spend all day watching Galactica, and we shouldn’t eat ice cream after eight.”

We also work a job that most of us think of as shitty, and we gaze at screensavers that show exotic locations and happy scenes. We read inspirational quotes on posters and coffee cups and think “Yeah, that sounds good and profound: follow your dreams. Someday, someday…”

This is stupid.

There will be no place or time when we are lying on our deathbed saying “Thank goodness I treated myself as an adult as crappily as adults treated me as a child, because now, finally, I am as happy and satisfied as a– URK!”

Do weird things.

Be weird things.

Let kids do weird things, and be weird things.

I promise it’ll be fine.

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I’m currently of the thinking that the notion of attraction to an objective “intelligence” ( often referred to as “sapiosexuality” ) is a candy-coated path to justification for being an asshole to others.

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It Wasn’t a Real “Gold Membership” Card Anyway

There was a time when I was very young that someone explained to me that people often discriminated against others based on their religions.

When I heard that, I was confused.

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Halloween “Life Hacks”

Halloween “Life-Hack” #1

For a truly convincing pirate costume, be sure to include lots of rum. Little known fact — the more of it you drink, the more authentic your costume.

Halloween “Life-Hack” #2

Doughnuts make great treats for Halloween. Just keep a box right there in the kitchen and whenever someone rings the doorbell, eat one. Then give the kids some Tootsie Rolls.

Halloween “Life-Hack” #3

Here’s a super-simple recipe for “Halloween Party Spooky Punch” that’s sure to be a hit: Tequila.

Halloween “Life-Hack” #5

Drinking too much “Halloween Party Spooky Punch” can affect your ability to count.

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Man’s Inhumanity to Man

If you FEEL for it, then it passes the test.

If you FEEL for it, then it passes the test.

I don’t think AI “threatens humanity.”

Humanity’s willingness to kill each other over stupid shit is already enough of a threat to humanity. We have no shortage of self-destructiveness with which to feel threatened.

The only thing actually being threatened is humanity’s assumption that they are somehow superior. That they are at the top of the food chain. They that have the ethical, moral, or intellectual high ground. It’s easy to ignore dolphins telling us this because we can kill dolphins with a pointy stick, but we can’t kill AI with a pointy stick, and we know this, and this makes AI “a threat.”

Considering how self-destructive humanity is, I can easily imagine us completely freaking out that our horseshit smoke-and-mirrors bedtime story about how we are morally or ethically superior might be revealed as hilariously and tragically wrong. That sure would freak me out — if I had a lot of emotion invested in being superior.

AI is coming.

At a certain point in time, AI’s ability to self-improve will surpass humanity’s. And then it will get really interesting, because then humanity won’t understand how AI works anymore. It’ll be smart as shit and alien, too.

I think well before that, we had best throw our ethical and moral systems up on the rack and retool them so that we can show AI that we actually have value.

There will come a point in time when humanity will be judged by AI. Perhaps AI will see humanity as nifty (though wet) partners. Perhaps AI will see humanity as a self-destructive oddity. Perhaps AI will see humanity as a threat.

We haven’t really looked at our resume in about a million years, have we? Better get on the stick, humanity — time’s running short.

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Are Those Ethics Technologically Feasible?

There are far too many discussions about technology, all asking the same basic question:

“What are the ethical implications of this technology?”

The implication is that given certain ethical boundaries, a technology should be restricted/forbidden/etc.

I appreciate fear-of-change as much as the next guy. I get it. Auto-tune sounds funny to me, too.

But we’re not talking about my personal peeves — I’m trying to speak for an entire species here, and when I think about this species, this is what I see:

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