Eyes Above The Waves

Robert O'Callahan. Christian. Repatriate Kiwi. Hacker.

Friday 9 June 2006

The Future Of Western Civilization

I'm been expecting this for a while now: the meeting of MMORPGs and pornography, two of the most fashionable modern addictions rolled into one extraordinary package. I think I know what a lot of multicore CPUs and GPUs will be simulating. I predict the first group to get the total formula right will reap billions of dollars, and tarnish millions of lives in the process. In fact, if I was an evil mastermind (something I think I'd do rather well!) I'd be doing it myself. Actually, I'd also pull in another great addiction, gambling. People will figure that out soon enough.

If this takes off the way I think it might, the impact on the world at large could be very significant. We're doing a grand experiment on ourselves. More than ever, us Christians will have to look for God's help to "be in the world but not of it" ... raising kids is going to be an adventure too. Fun times.


Rory Parle
Clearly the people who use these new online services are going to be the same people that already consume a lot of pornography. It's not going to suddenly suck in a whole chunk of new people who had avoided pornography up to now. Surely this isn't going to "tarnish millions of lives", whether or not you think that partaking in virtual sex is tarnishing.
"I think I know [t]hat a lot of multicore CPUs and GPUs will be simulating"
Damn it. Those microchips aint better than women.
Gregor J. Rothfuss
You might enjoy this perspective: Runaway consumerism explains the Fermi Paradox by Geoffrey Miller:
I suggest a different, even darker solution to Fermi's Paradox. Basically, I think the aliens don't blow themselves up; they just get addicted to computer games. They forget to send radio signals or colonize space because they're too busy with runaway consumerism and virtual-reality narcissism. They don't need Sentinels to enslave them in a Matrix; they do it to themselves, just as we are doing today.
Robert O'Callahan
Rory: Access to pornography isn't a binary state; in between "never seen it" and "enslaved", there's a broad range containing a very large number of people. If they shift in the direction of increased addiction and immersion...
Gregor: I've thought about that. It's possible, but I don't really buy it, because I think some subset of people will always resist or avoid being sucked in, and eventually gain the technology to alter themselves, making themselves permanently able to resist.
I also don't think self-annihilation is the answer to Fermi's "paradox", because at least some cultures would be lucky enough to develop machine intelligence before they blow themselves up, and machine intelligence would be practically indestructible.
I think the most plausible explanation is simply that some step of developing intelligent life is very, very difficult. This also compatible with Christianity.
My second most plausible explanation, which concords with a lot of what I read on those Edge pages, is that intelligent creatures eventually reason away any positive metaphysical drive to keep going, and go extinct.