I think the title is wrong here, but the book is a highly useful perspective, however correct, on the enigma of China, its history, and distinct characteristics.
The issue of artificial intelligence is confusing, with a lot of hype and this book exposes much of the confusion.
The issue of ‘consciousness’ is totally misunderstood and the Turing test is mostly a joke. I (almost) made a mistake in Decoding World history of allowing AI thinking to influence my interpretation the eonic effect. The ideas of AI are of great interest and I indulged in a speculation that ‘evolution’ might hide some processes of the AI type, e.g. is evolution mechanical yet able to mimic intelligence or learning as it goes along.
That thinking never really enters the account, but I don’t think they explain anything at this point. Still,the recent explosion of AI deserves to be considered in relation to evolution. The time is perhaps not yet ripe.
The eonic effect is hard to observe, you must read a lot of books in multiple areas ancient to modern. Then you have to try and consider how to visualize processes operating over thousands of year. In fact you can’t visualize that except in part, from reading those books.
So the question of evolution is almost beyond our intelligence at this point. But we can ‘see’ evolution more or less as mental datasets whose action is reasonably clear. You can read ten books on Archaic Greece (recommended) and assess that intelligibly. That period is crucial in the eonic model and there is a huge amount of material there.
The key issue in evolution of the kind we explore is that of consciousness. Is nature in any sense conscious? The answer is framed by a quote from Bennett that ‘consciousness’ like electromagnetism probably has many forms that at first don’t seem related. You get it wrong either way here. Nature has to be conscious, no, nature as ‘conscious’ is mystical pseudo-science.
The answer is there is a disguise we can’t yet understand.
Darwinists want to claim random natural selection can create the whole of life, a species of stupidity inflicted on the entire secular public in the name of enforcing atheism and debunking the design argument. Scientists have let the religious right confuse them: the evidence for design has nothing to do with ‘god’ or theology. It is a natural process still beyond the powers of science. Everything was like that once, before being understood. The religious obsession of Dawkins et al is a distraction. We must find a higher level of science than what we have. The only controversy is that this ‘science’ will be far beyond causal physics.
The eonic effect is about civilizations but can most probably give us a hint about early evolution by showing the scale of species emergence, its complexity and its path via a set of transitions in a discrete/continuous sequences.
So what is evolution? The eonic effect suggests a shaping process of form factors that apply an abstraction to a species field (macro aspect) which then realizes that potential as a particular body form. There is no way around the necessity that ‘evolution’ be a creative force in nature…
Look at the way, visible now as history, that a series of transitions shape historical directionality by an infusion of creative innovations.
To get from to visualizing a species evolving over millions of years is data set so colossal, so humoungously colossal that to speak of a theory of evolution at this point is stuck at the level of thumbsucking, generally frowned on for those over fiver years old.
Edition 1 of Decoding is going to have to be rewritten, edition 2.
The confusion over AI stands near the ironic data for the ‘eoonic effect’ which seems like a sort of Gaian supercomputer directing the ‘evolution’ of civilizations. Such statements are debatable from the start but the hype over the Singularity confronts something in nature that appears to act at a still more elusive and complex fashion.
Horgan finds that, despite the enormous advances in neuroscience, genetics, cognitive science, and AI, our minds remain “as mysterious as ever.”
AI has not yet lived up to its hype, but there is already cause for concern about its influence.
The ghost of Edward Teller must have been doing the rounds between members of the National Commission on Artificial Intelligence. The father of the hydrogen bomb was never one too bothered by the ethical niggles that came with inventing murderous technology. It was not, for instance, “the scientist’s job to determine whether a hydrogen bomb More