- Sep 2017
Good proposed a meta-golden rule, which might be paraphrased as “Treat your inferiors as you would be treated by your superiors.” Its a wonderful, paradoxical idea
The author provides us here with some insightful guidance for navigating the pitfalls of technology in our near future. However, the dichotomy is that this poetic and magnanimous declaration is also implicitly self-serving. 'Let's be benevolent to our creations, so they don't rise up and incarcerate us.' This statement shows the complexity and discord of the human animal. I agree with Vinge that we should indeed adopt this philosophy in the future. I doubt that will happen though, as we don't do it now. As a rule, we don't treat 'lesser' species with any regard or 'humanity'. We don't even treat other humans with much compassion. The difference in living conditions and experiences from the richest of humans to the poorest would be inconceivable and rage inducing. We exploit the animals and our planet all to 'better' ourselves and get shiny new stuff. This duality comes from both our insecurity, and our hubris. Another quote sums this up succinctly. "In humans, the hardest development problems have already been solved." It would seem that even the authors think we've got it all figured out, even though they spend most of their piece warning of and impending techno-doom. But we haven't got anything figured out. Humanity is like a five-year-old with a gun. Do we really need a bigger gun?