CREDIT DEFAULT SWAPS vs. TECHNOLOGY
(Editorializing a doomsday metaphor)




Maybe we need some credit default derivatives for Main Street. Why should Wall Street be the only recipient of bad credit protection? That way when mortgage companies and brokers sell deceptive products to the consumers the seller pays. How about that?

All the wishful thinking aside, I heard that Warren Buffett termed these derivatives toxic “weapons of financial mass destruction”. A op-ed contributor Richard Dooling to The New York Times and author of “Rapture For The Geeks: When AI Outsmarts I.Q.” argues that the geeks who created these “evolutionary algorithms” that transfer the credit exposure to the seller, can be so complex that no one may ever understand where the 62 Trillion dollars is, except maybe the computers. If this house of cards falls, look out!

I can sympathize with Dooling’s comparison to a 1981 documentary called “The Day after Trinity” by Theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson who decried the seductive power and glitter in creating nuclear weapons and a kind of arrogance that could lead to the end of mankind. It gives people an illusion of illimitable power. I can also agree with Dooling that the Wall Street geeks likely succumbed to a similar and irresistible lure of “illimitable power”. Dooling also mentions Physicist Dyson’s son now some 30 years later George Dyson and author of “Darwin Among the Machines”. George Dyson is a historian of technology, and according to Richard Dooling’s New York Time article “a book that warned us a decade ago that it was only a matter of time before technology out-evolves us and takes over.” It appears that George Dyson laments a time in history when funds transferred by means representing proof positive that gold existed somewhere to back it up. He reported that that was good enough for 600 years as if today technological efficiencies and computers are unsustainable.
 
As you may have guessed by now, I may agree with Richard Dooling’s metaphor comparing the Manhattan Project to today Wall Street melt down and Freeman Dyson’s and George Dyson’s concerns, but I don’t entirely agree with their doomsday scenario for technology and the human race. Although, I believe that their scenario could come true, I would like to approach the subject more hopefully and optimistically.

If they really believe that risk in the past were any better, then I suggest that we cordon off a Western state in America and surrounded it with an electrified like Jurassic Park fence, then we could place them behind it without any of today technologies, and just see how long it takes them to come out. The fact is that the Earth is likely to be destroyed by many natural calamities aside from mankind himself. I could name many of them from space and on Earth itself, but why repeat what most educated individuals already know. The truth is that even if we regressed to a primitive time our life span would only be about 20 years, and even now, only about 100 years. So, to me, if one doesn’t preface a hopeful solution along with doomsday, then I’m disappointed.
Life is full of risk, and I’m not sure that there is ever certainty. The scientific “uncertainty principle” was envisioned as far back as 1926. That principle is still honored in today science. Quantum uncertainty and lives uncertainties go along with the territory. I believe that the future is where we are headed and that only in the future is there hope. I comport with a saying that I heard recently from Hillary Clinton “if you don’t bloom you’re buried.”

One of the primary fears that doomsday advocates continue to bemoan is AI artificial intelligence taking over the world. I believe that it could happen, but I’d rather believe that it wouldn’t. I believe that artificial intelligence will never be holistic without biological senses. We will merge and a new human hybrid will inherit the Earth. This hybrid will be powerful beyond the imaginings of today laymen…and most educated. My question is what will be the outcome for the human race. Out of some 6 billion people on Earth who will live and who will die? The outcome could look a lot like a religious prediction except for the process. A God like being could arise upon the Earth. Only this God like being comes from God like ideas and seeming imperatives buried deep within the original purpose of the universe itself. It’s as though the outcome is the assembly of a God that had always existed inside of nature.

Although I believe that this future is hopeful, and it's where science and life are headed, I have many questions regarding the outcome. In that Judgment-day, will only the rich and powerful, partake? Will some six-billion (plus) human beings on Earth all equally partake? What about the terrorist, serial murderers, tyrants, slave owners; at present, will some two-hundred million slaves, partake? Will devious, dishonorable, loathsome, or just plan ignorant politicians, police, and military, partake (not all such individuals are dishonorable - too many are)? Will we consider simply remaking their brains so that they too can partake, or are some human beings simply beyond redemption? I would consider saving the poor, and one disenfranchised little 5-6 year old child that I saw on a PBS show about slave labor, and remove all her pain of the experience, improve her brain with the more perfect wiring of a genius, add omnipotence, and place her on the jury! Are the powers that we are creating so incredible and enormous that to remain primitive in our nature is simply unthinkable? I'm not formally religious, but do the words still ring true, "The meek, and pure at heart shall inherit the Earth"?

Copyright 2008

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