Photo Source: Pixabay
One of the reasons I created Twenty-Two Twenty-eight was because I believe that in the future our period will be seen as a transition period not unlike the Middle Ages or (as it is also more bleakly known) the Dark Ages. Transition periods are historical eras where humanity must cope with the old ways dying out and must create a whole new world complete with new mores, new governments, and perhaps even new bodies and brains. Rome’s absolute dominance leaked, burned, and faded away, and yet there was no other leader or nation that could effectively deliver governance and security to the west. In fact, there was not even a Europe yet—not the one that we think of today. It is striking that in letters between St. Clare of Assisi to Agnes of Prague (1234-1239) they speak of the “youngness of Europe” and what a wild time they live in as Europe fights itself into being.
Transition periods are usually hard times. Constant wars, plagues, mass hysteria, severe religiosity, and steep class imbalances are just a few hiccups humanity faces when they are confronted with a collapsing world behind them and nothing even closely resembling order and justice ahead. Additionally, transition periods can go on and on—for centuries even. However, I am the eternal optimist, and while I think there is no way to avoid this transitional period (with all its ensuing hardships) we can in very real and meaningful ways do things to protect and enlighten ourselves, our families, and our communities.
One of the most difficult things regarding our transition is that it is not a massive, easy to see thing like hordes of Vikings running through your city. Rather, it is a small society of extremely brilliant futurists, engineers, scientists, and philosophers who are recreating nearly every aspect of our world and dismantling the Industrial era(and some of the things they are happily disregarding might be things you do not want disregarded like privacy or jobs or traditional, in-person sex). Since the 1990s I have been seeking out and doggedly following the writings, workings, and talks of these “super creators” in an effort to actually feel the heat of the water I’m in (so I can warn and help my fellow frogs who are happily cooking away).
Dr. Ben Goertzel is one of the super creators who I believe should be followed. I very much like him, but he paints a future that feels terrible to my moldy-old early 21st Century brain. He has been at the heart of computer innovation—particularly in the field of Artificial Intelligence since the early nineties. Currently he has taken things to the next logical step and is working on Artificial General Intelligence—the sci-fi kind of intelligence where robots are just like people. He is Chief Scientist of financial prediction firm Aidyia Holdings, Chief Scientist of Hanson Robots, Chairman of AI software company Novamente, LLC, Chairman of the Artificial General Intelligence Society; Chairman of the OpenLog Foundation and writer of several books.
Below is a great thirty-minute interview of him. Definitely scrape together a little piece of time and quiet and watch it. As I watched it I kept asking myself, “Is this really how it has to go, and are these brilliant scientists and mathematicians not so brilliant when it comes to people?” Check it out…I would love to know what you think of his vision of the world to come.
Jennifer Barnick is a painter and writer. She studied painting at the San Francisco Art Institute. She founded Twenty-two Twenty-eight. “One of the most exciting aspects of Twenty-two Twenty-eight is building a channel for artists and writers to share their work with the world.”
Check out Jennifer’s book. You can read the first short story for free on Amazon here.