Monday, April 1, 2024

How do we save humans, an endangered species?

Old and useless tools cannot solve the ethical issues threatening humanity's survival. On the other hand, without new tools, our species is close to a collapse that will have nothing to do with its internal struggles or climate change. The combination of demographic ageing and infertility (or birth suppression) is, in the long run, fatal for any species.

The recently disappeared John Tooby (1952-2023), founder of evolutionary psychology, wrote an enlightening text on this subject.

The Race Between Genetic Meltdown and Germline Engineering

By John Tooby

The most remarkable breaking news in science is that I exist. Well, not just me. People like me who, without technology, would have died early. Of the roughly 5 ½ billion people who survived past puberty, perhaps only one billion would be here were it not for modern sanitation, medicine, technology, and market-driven abundance. Ancestrally, the overwhelming majority of humans died before they had a full complement of children, often not making it past childhood. For those who live in developed nations, our remodelled lifetables are among the greatest of the humane triumphs of the Enlightenment—delivering parents from the grief of holding most of their children dead in their arms or of children losing their parents (and then themselves dying from want).

But there is hidden and unwelcome news at the core of this triumph. This arises out of the brutal way natural selection links childbearing to the elimination of genetic diseases. 

Genetic repair would replace the ancient cruelty of natural selection, which only fights entropy by tormenting organisms because of their genes.

One can find this micro-essay and other John Tooby's critical reflections at Edge.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

AI systems + Democracy Maps

Governance of superintelligence

Now is a good time to start thinking about the governance of superintelligence — about future AI systems dramatically more capable than even AGI.

May 22, 2023


  • Sam Altman
  • Greg Brockman
  • Ilya Sutskever

Responsible AI, Safety & Alignment

...We believe people around the world should democratically decide on the bounds and defaults for AI systems. We don't yet know how to design such a mechanism, but we plan to experiment with its development. We continue to think that, within these wide bounds, individual users should have a lot of control over how the AI they use behaves.

...we believe it would be unintuitively risky and difficult to stop the creation of superintelligence. Because the upsides are so tremendous, the cost to build it decreases each year, the number of actors building it is rapidly increasing, and it’s inherently part of the technological path we are on, stopping it would require something like a global surveillance regime, and even that isn’t guaranteed to work. So we have to get it right.

Read the entire statement

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Democracy maps, eleven years after its hibernation

On March 22, 2012, I created Democratic Party. After a long eleven-year hibernation, I resurrected it yesterday after realizing the revolution of the so-called AIs (artificial intelligence) and AGI (Artificial general intelligence) and the change that will soon sweep over the human societies as we know them today.

In 1998 I imagined what would become, seven years later, Google Maps. This imagination turned into a project called Portugal Digital, presented at the Pavilhão do Território at EXPO '98. But unfortunately, the teams that developed and programmed my intuition sold their souls to some local devils of technological speculation instead of continuing to work with me. Such arrogance prevented the Google Maps algorithm from being developed before 2006 and, probably, in my country. Nevertheless, it would have been EXPO '98's most outstanding contribution to the country's technological development. 

Later, in 2005/2006, I imagined creating a utopic art technology town called Virtual Museum Park (Parque Museu Virtual). It would have been born in the small Portuguese city Montemor-o-Novo. The local government welcome the project, even assigning Herdade da Adua as a place for its future implantation. And I envisioned something else in 2012: Democracy Maps. The idea here was to use geographically referenced databases to build from their dynamic potential the foundational matrix of a kind of global democracy not imposed on the tip of any bayonet. Some diagrams I draw for this project deserve a review, particularly in light of the emergence of blockchains, OpenAI and DALL.E.

What does this have to do with art? First, I would say that reading authors like Claude Lévi-Strauss, André Leroi-Gourhan, Jean-François Lyotard, John Dewey, Alfred Gell, or Immanuel Kant, and keeping in mind the impact that artists like Kasimir Malévitch, Mondrian, Marcel Duchamp or John Cage continue to have in the continuity of the arts, everything! Secondly, difficulties at the core of AI lie in the very nature of human flesh, our brains, and all our sensors: skin, eyes, ears and how we have developed our language system.

Mapas de democracia (um novo paradigma)

Em 22 de março de 2012 criei o Partido Democrata (ler este post). Depois de uma longa hibernação de onze anos ressuscitei-o ontem, depois de me aperceber da revolução das chamadas AIs (inteligências artificiais) e do AGI (artificial general intelligence), bem como da mudança que irá varrer em breve as sociedades humanas que hoje conhecemos.

Em 1998 imaginei o que seria sete anos depois o Google Maps. Esta imaginação deu lugar ao projeto chamado Portugal Digital apresentado no Pavilhão do Território da EXPO '98. Infelizmente as equipas que desenvolveram e programaram a minha intuição venderam a alma a uns diabinhos locais da especulação tecnológica em vez de continuarem a trabalhar comigo. Uma tal arrogância impediu que o algoritmo do Google Maps pudesse ter sido desenvolvido antes de 2006 e no nosso país. Teria sido a maior contribuição da EXPO '98 para mitigar o nosso atraso entre as nações desenvolvidas. Mais tarde, em 2005/2006, imaginei a criação de um Parque Museu-Virtual em Montemor-o-Novo. O município viria a acolher favoravelmente a minha proposta, atribuindo-lhe mesmo a Herdade da Adua como sítio para a sua futura implantação. E imaginei ainda outra coisa em 2012: Democracy Maps. A ideia, desta vez, foi a de poder usar bases de dados geograficamente referenciadas para construir a partir do seu potencial dinâmico a matriz fundacional de uma espécie de democracia global não imposta na ponta de qualquer baioneta. Existem alguns diagramas que merecem agora uma revisão, nomeadamente à luz do aparecimento dos blockchains, do OpenAI e do DALL.E.

O que é que isto tem que ver com arte? Diria que, lendo autores como Claude Lévi-Strauss, André Leroi-Gourhan, Jean-François Lyotard, John Dewey, Alfred Gell, ou o fundamental Immanuel Kant e mantendo presente o impacto que artistas como Kasimir Malévitch, Mondrian, Marcel Duchamp ou John Cage continuam a ter na continuidade das artes, tudo!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Democracy Maps©


As principais variáveis objetivas necessárias à decisão política democrática podem ser cartografadas, dando origem a mapas intuitivos de grande clareza, os quais terão no futuro grande importância na formação da opinião pública e das decisões democráticas.

Entre as áreas de investigação do lab-D, Laboratório de Política do Partido Democrata, há um projeto a que demos o nome de código Democracy Maps© [2012].

Objetivo: desenvolver o conceito de democracia eletrónica, em rede, nomeadamente através do acesso online a Democracy Maps©, sondagens deliberativas, e a modelos de realidade mista e aumentada associados aos processos eleitorais.

António Cerveira Pinto

Exemplo #1

Democracy Maps by António Cerveira Pinto