Another route to change

The human problem of moving beyond “fast thinking” small group morality and its inherent failings has been my concern for a number of years. Having studied technology driven paradigm shifts for forty some years has left me at the same conclusion. We have come far in moral evolution but the bulk of the population is still easily manipulated by emotion to completely discount effects beyond their immediate identified community and family. Our movement away from violence to ‘politics’ has made the manipulation of emotion our primary political weapon.

While it’s certainly better to manipulate than round up and kill our opposition, we have only recently moved that to our preferred action list. The people caught in archaic thought patterns are barely constrained even now and troubled societies, America is clearly one, fail to even act against mass killings as if it is too natural to do anything about.

Our technology has empowered us so far beyond that that we have trouble discussing it. People arguing an obscure and irrelevant 18th century political statement are hopelessly over their heads.

Speeding up evolution is one alternative. I hadn’t really considered that because of the difficulty of ordering everyone to do it. To the, shall we say, problem minds, genetic modification for justice and compassion would be seen as a clear disadvantage not only for themselves but for their (male) children. And that would be true unless it was universally implemented. Survival of the species be damned.

My preference is to go with the existing line of inevitability and develop moral agency in AI/ML management systems. Initially this could be programmed and presented as standard risk/benefit analysis with an algorithmic orientation toward abstract justice and compassion.

In my case, abstract justice is the goal but compassion is both an emotional justification for being humane and a trainable characteristic of people. This discussion makes me think a milder genetic modification for empathy and compassion might be workable. I believe that is a focus Of change in Pinker’s book also although I haven’t gone back to check it.

Educator, CIO, retired entrepreneur, grandfather with occasional fits of humor in the midst of disaster. . .

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