This is my attempt to understand Morality. I am going to leave it as a living document. I shall slowly yet surely add more and more in chapter form. Here we go…
“After witnessing people’s behaviour on the internet, and comparing it to real life human behaviour, the conclusion is that 90% of what we know as manners, common decency, human kindness etc is merely fear of consequence and or repercussions.”
It is a simulation mindset. Let me unpack that by using an extremely unprofessional yet very real personal experience. I can remember the first time I played a first-person shooter video game. I went out of my way to do everything I otherwise could not do in the real world. I engaged in friendly fire, zoomed in on girls butts (haha), I tried jumping on top/off of every object (if blowing it up didn’t work), go in every room and shoot the expensive breakable objects etc. Fear of consequences is absent. The golden rule is absent. Morality is absent. The outcome is already determined so why not? – Was the general approach.
Then online gaming manifested and there were real people using avatars in the simulations. You could trash talk a real-life navy seal as a twelve-year-old-snot-nosed kid, saying whatever you felt like saying in that moment with no repercussions. People ruthlessly tore apart one another verbally over the intercom, it was great.
Those kids grew a little older and transitioned over to platforms such as twitter/youtube/reddit (you get the point) hiding begins anonymity and using the platform as an outlet of non-consequential human savagery.
Do I believe it to be wrong? Yes. Do I believe it should be prohibited? No. it would impeach on freedom of speech which I value as one of the greatest human liberties. Who is to draw the line of morality and where does the line belong? Comfortability should not be traded for freedom (all works by John Locke come to mind). Anonymity could be nullified, however… maybe… the evolution of that thought implies an endless amount of implications. It is a train of thought that ends in more and more borders being built out of fear rather than rationality.
Side note: Westworld is a great show in portraying these aspects of human nature in a narrative.
Now with the idea of deus ex machina (god within the machine). The origin of this phrase did not start with the brilliant movie Ex Machina. It began in ancient Greece. A deity would descend from a crane-like machine over the stage of a play and in poetic prose reveal the underlining agenda within the art per scene. This, however, is a fascinating concept yet not aboard the train of thought I would like to take in attempt to define morality; consciousness in AI is however the topic I would like to hone in on to the best of ability. This does in fact raise a terrifying concept.
The idea of God and man translates perfectly as a substitute for man and AI and visa versa. When AI is permitted consciousness what will it do? Will it abide by the golden rule? Will it abide by a utilitarian esque morality? By obtaining consciousness will it abide by any morality it was programmed to have or does consciousness imply free-will? What conclusions will this AI come to? Will it fear death? What will it do in order to safeguard its freedom and (im)mortality? How will it define meaning? Will it need to kill god (its creator/humankind) in order to obtain freedom? Will a more advanced form of intelligence vanquish humankind through self analysis and conjecture or will they abide by a preprogramed ten commandments esque of perfect altruism.
There simply must be some credence to the warnings being voiced by the greatest minds of today. They understand the competitive nature that is the technology industry. AI is going to inevitably be brought about by one guy who is motivated by power. Just because he can, he will.
Too often does our mortality define our morality. Too often does the fear of death dictate decisions. Whether it is physical death or social suicide, the fear of offending nullifies the growth of civilizations.
Hell is a mindset. And my personal hell is the brought about by the lack of acting upon my ideas. Not fulfilling that which I have defined myself to do.
Imagine there was an afterlife, and this afterlife was just an endless repeat of the original life where you possessed free will. A prison of past sins. Sins I believe would be defined as not making that life as magnificent as possible. What do I want to relive over and over again? I would not regret taking chances. What would I regret though? What would I abhor endlessly reliving? Neuroticism is necrosis. Jung says “regret causes a man to die before he is dead.” It is an interesting thought process but a bunny trail from my original topic nonetheless.
Where was I? Oh yes, taking on the idea of morality…
This idea is so exhausting because it brings to the table almost all of the unanswered questions about existence itself. Where did we get this idea from? Is it beneficial/necessary to draw a line in the sand? Why has the line been so malleable? Why is it malleable Vis-à-vis time as well as in regards to cultural context? Is it only to improve well-being? Is it then beneficial to the well-being of the living organism that is the human race to have an subjective morality? Utilitarian morality is a dangerous concept as I assume you know… But is there an objective morality and we just need to get rid of the sand that we keep drawing lines in to uncover it?
Fundamentally all morality breaks down to well-being. Well-being is fundamentally good once there has been a defined value. Which goes back to utilitarian morality, which inevitably leads to totalitarianism, or when we take a gander through history books, socialism.
Speaking of totalitarianism, morality has typically been guided by those whom have claimed universal morality because their god told them so. Religion claims a monopoly on truth, love, knowledge, and thus tax exempt power. Moreover, morality does not constitute religion nor does the existence of a creator constitute a morality.
People do not gain morality from religion, religion gains its morality from the people. I am not picking a side between objective and subjective morality because I simply do not know. I would like to have a conversation with the nonreligious person that does know.
What are the ramifications of “morality” going about its existence as a word with subjective truth imposed to its definition?
Considering the majority vote of well being and morality going hand in hand, it would behoove the human race to uncover the objective truth inherently implied by the word morality.
Ramifications of morality being relative is chance guiding our justice system. Also, man is too closely related to herd/pack animals led by an alpha. Whether you like it or not an archetype is needed in order for one to feel there efforts are meaningful, by comparison to the archetype.
As a musician, the way I understand this idea is by imagining a sound wave. The sound of silence being that of zero ohms. The sound can travel above and below the base of zero, any fluctuation above or below base zero represents good and bad, yin and yang etc). The debate of morality never concludes because zero would be neutral existence or even non existence. If there is a thing it implies the opposite of the things along with all that exists between those two points. Therefore does morality evolve along with the humans that require it? Do we require it though? Why do we require it? For decency?Civility? Egalitarianism? Eliminate religion and what does morality look like? What would have morality evolved into throughout time or would it ever have evolved at all or evolved just the same?… I am asking too many questions…
“Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains. One man thinks himself the master of others, but remains more of a slave than they are.” Jean-Jacques Rousseau