Archive for the ‘Biosphere Consciousness’ Category

Welcome Spring!

May 16, 2018

 

The ice is gone and even some of the high peaks are doable with microspikes. Spring is a time of lightening up, getting out, touching the Earth, scratching Earth’s back so garden beds and lawns will flourish. All Earth people are called to get moving, stretch out, reach up, inhale deeply, and refresh ourselves. Even road walks bring in spectacular moments.

The trees wait in stillness to greet the day and whatever elements choose to visit. They accept birds, rain, snow, squirrels. Are trees sad when branches are laden with snow and ice or do they welcome an extra stretch, a winter wrap? Does wind move them more deeply into yogic stretches that leave them feeling vibrant? Do nesting birds fill their tree life with song and pockets of warmth?

My neighbors and I do not put out bird seed in hopes that flying squirrels will winter in the woods and not in our attics. There are plentiful worms and seeds now available as snow melts. The juncos have been here all winter, along with a few jays, but dawn now warms up with boisterous flocks of robins, jays, chickadees and nuthatches singing their frenzied oratorio of mating calls.

Do trees look forward to all the critter gatherings at their meeting place? Are trees like a pub, a place where critters share stories and worries? Is each leaf a little bellows or fan depending on what’s needed? Are trees lining streets encouraging us to walk there and breathe deeply?

Pheromones are chemical signals trees and plants give off that influence the behavior of kindred souls of their species. In their pheromone language, trees seem to express joy, sorrow, hope success, caution, love. They gather in family groups. Old folks form small gatherings; youngest bunch together in gaggles. What empowers them to make that choice? Hmm, spring is a time to wonder about all of nature’s connections.

For me, spring is a time when nature pulsates with song. Peepers, birds, chipmunks, running brooks and waterfalls, pelting rain, children’s voices excited over new life they are discovering everywhere, old voices happy to be able to walk about with no ice worries, bike wheels humming ……

Ah, yes! Time to tune up and sing with spring!

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Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of AI

January 30, 2018

Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, is the most hopeful book I have read for our times. Author, Mark Tegmark, an MIT physicist, is an engaging writer. I say this, despite being a tech challenged reader, unable to conceptualize bits and bytes. I am optimistic about the possibility that robots could be designed to help us design and experience a healthy, safe, and harmonious world with all life forms.

For the last 50 years, we have been working on raising our consciousness about the rights of all humans and societies, wildlife, environment, and planetary needs. In order to design and build AI robots, we need to program them to do no harm, and to respect the rights of all living beings, including the Earth. But to program robots, we need to first clean up our own act.

In 1988, Isaac Asimov noted that “the saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” Life 3.0 is about necessary research and steps we humans must take with robot development to ensure a bright, healthy future.  Tegmark takes us through research to date on the precautions necessary for safe passage into a bright future with robot support.

To improve prospects of the AI Revolution ending well, Tegmark recommends:that we each become mindful optimists and develop positive visions for the future, for ourselves and for humanity.

  • that we educate our young to make technology robust and beneficial and improve human society before AI takes off.
  • that we modernize our laws before technology makes them obsolete.
  • that we resolve international conflicts before they escalate an arms race in autonomous weapons.
  • that we create an economy that ensures prosperity for all before AI potentially amplifies inequalities.
  • that we agree on some basic ethical standards before we start teaching these standards to powerful machines.
  • that we create a more harmonious human society characterized by cooperation toward shared goals.

In sum, the list gives us direction, the book explores the how, and continues to be a work in progress. Tegmark has helped mainstream research on how to keep AI beneficial and invites us to join in the conversation.

The future could indeed be bright and it is up to each of us to join together and make that bright future happen.