Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The limited format of the human individual

Human individuals are limited in two ways, physically and mentally.

The physical limitations are easy to identify, at minimum:

1. Humans individuals are carbon-based which triggers decay, aging and mortality, not to mention the problem of not being able to have a storable backup copy.

2. Human individuals are Newtonian physics law-based; we are generally rooted in space and time (considering the physical parameters and exigencies of the universe, humans are only NOT rooted in comparison to plants).

The mental limitations of human individuals are more interesting:

1. The first level of mental limits is that humans are a predictable result of their experiences, genes and value systems. Any behavior is imminently rational not in the sense of utility per economics but when examined against the backdrop of an individual's value system, beliefs, experience and personality. Free will is a persistent illusion. These limits are extendable - if we want a different behavior, thought or feeling, we just recode past experience, value systems and goals with any of a number of techniques including Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

2. The second level of mental limitation is that humans are individuals, not part of a collectivity. Presumably some interesting future experiments in this area will be coming in the next several decades. Doug Engelbart and successors have long been focused on models of collective intelligence, the launch and impact of which will hopefully start to be seen soon. The next blogpost will address collective intelligence in more detail.