genox.ch

13.2.2017
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Facts, opinions

Just a theory that rolled around in my head and I can't quite figure out its viability.
Not a long time ago (and in some places and societies this is still the case), life was regulated by belief and religion. Before Christianity came around in Europe, it was shamanism and occultism. As soon as humans developed advanced cognitive abilities, they began questioning events happening around them and were searching for answers. Cognitive abilities force individuals to search for answers, science and religion are both a byproduct of the evolution of the human mind as they are providing this hard sought resource.

Over the course of thousands of years, we came to accept that a thunderstorm is not, in fact, an angry diety but simply the result of our environments dynamics. The scientific explanations were comparatively easy to understand even if you did not have the background knowledge about physics and volume dynamics and so on. It was acceptable, it sounded rational.

We now ended up in a place where almost everything that we can touch and what we can see in nature is explained in scientific terms. Science moved on to tackle more abstract themes that regular people without the large amount of knowledge that builds the base for all the abstract questions simply can't grasp. At the same time, we ourselves created objects that someone without an engineering degree can't really understand. This blows wind on the windmill of religion.

The more abstract technology and science get, the more people simply switch off their receptors for scientific ideas. They probably feel left out and as a result, underprivileged. It probably feels like a promise has been broken.
As a result, they turn back to more archaic ideas. They heard somewhere that radiowaves are everywhere. For example, they don't know exactly what a radiowave is. They develop theories based on fragments of knowledge they picked up and develop a belief that is based on such fragments. And they use it to explain things they can't explain.

Someone feels bad, can't sleep, doesn't know why. Notices the proximity of a mobile phone antenna and that gets them thinking and asking questions. Even before considering other things, they now turn to that.

Before there were GSM antennas, it was the spirit of an ancestor that was wrongfully accused or the wood elve's revenge for cutting down that oak tree the day before.
Much like esoterica, a person is most receptive for such ideas when they themselves go though a hard time, physically or menthally. This state of feeling unwell is a large source for questions that need answers. Answers that science and medicine fails to provide in some cases. So we turn to something else to look for answers. And at this point in time, almost every answer is right, as long as there is one.

We have spent so much energy on technological advancement and physical medicine, yet what goes on in our heads is one of the last frontiers. How does a cognitive mind develop? Is a few synapses and neurons, learning and mimicking, really all there is to it?

We now enter the age of artificial intelligence. We have seen a few glimpses here and there and since the advent of science fiction, we are overwhelmed with scenarios in pop culture. While I personally look at it as a positive thing, a chance to learn more about what makes us "us", most people are probably frightened by the idea. Sentient artificial intelligence must look to them like a rider of the apocalypse.

For the past couple of hundred years, science was dominating the playfield. Religion was reformed, democratic society replaced the all-ruling god states we lived in before that. The philosophical and societal revolution, enlightenment, paved the way for being able to question the existing, dominant ways, namely religion and monarchy.

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