How will people be able to change?

One of the more realistic criticisms I have heard for the system I am planning is that people will find it difficult to escape the impressions of others.

Consider a study done in the UK. Researchers put the test subjects through a word-association test. The test was a ruse to allow them to expose the participants to a variety of words. They then kept track of how quickly the subjects walked from the laboratory to the elevator. Participants who had been primed with words associated with age and the elderly took a statistically significant thirteen seconds longer to make the trip.

Much as was suggested with the egg salad study, our brains are significantly more complex than we understand.

One of the things that will have to happen in order for this experiment to succeed is a change in the public perception and fear of technology. The narratives that we have in our media include:

  • Wall-E type where populations are lulled into into laziness when their every whim is met. The danger being that we don’t want to solve our problems because somehow humanity will grow bored.
  • 1984 types where the prevalence of invasive technologies have eliminated the capacity for creative action to the point that everyone’s a slave to the system.
  • The Matrix and Terminator are variations on that to where our technology grows beyond our capacity to control it and we have to fight it off.
  • I, Robot is an alternative version where well-meaning creators of technology make systems that, in their desire to protect humanity, limit its freedom.

If the next steps in our race’s development does involve technological components, then there will have to be a new narrative created. This interests me as I attempt to use technology for peace since peacemakers tend not to die of natural causes. I have no desire for a well meaning Christian to put a bullet in me while trying to stop the anti-Christ from putting the mark of the beast on everyone.

The narrative that needs to be come more dominant is a simply one. We create tools and we control them. Take the issue of priming as a case in point.

Priming exists. We were bright enough to figure it out and we are bright enough to do something about it. We are also, I believe, bright enough to figure out how to cope with it.

Here’s a system I was considering. Let’s say you have a person and they’re not really happy with all of how they are perceived. Either they think there is something that others misperceive in them or they simply have a characteristic they want to change but find it hard because everyone assumes it will be true.

The point is they aren’t simply changing at random. If they want to change at random, they can do that as well, but in this situation I’m considering people who mostly like who they are and are interested in tweaking things a bit.

They can broadcast a description of the person they are interested in becoming, or simply a description of the person they dislike being. I can then throw a party where I invite people based on the new personalities that people are interested in trying out and either I can have the tagging system prime people for this new personality or I can just have everyone check their phones at the door.

Either way the negative effects of priming can be eliminated.

The point is that we don’t have to fear technology because for the foreseeable future our crude attempts at artificial intelligence are in no way whatsoever in any position to rise up and overthrow anything.

We will still have to watch for human abuses of power which is the whole reason the whole system I’ve described only has power as voluntary aggregations of esteem. If someone abuses their power, they can be pointed out publicly immediately and if there’s a consistent pattern, they’ll lose their power.

We just have to realize that one way or another we are in control of where things are headed. We only get to choose how much of it we are going to do on purpose.

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