dingle mcringleberry

Student , A brainwashing clinic

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A supercomputer that would turn said problem (consumerism) into the solution.

Most would agree, that consumerism is a horrible aspect of American life, and it would be best if we rid ourselves of it.

This idea would only be put to good use in the case that a majority of people are plagued by consumerism, and the pursuit of happiness for many has turned into an aspiration for the newest product or piece of technology.

This idea would not be useful for those who are not affected by consumerism, and are happy with their current situation and do not need products to achieve happiness.
This idea is also only useful under the circumstance that consumerism can not be reversed. (a strong case could be made to support the assumption that it will not)

Okay, so here it is. People these days are always looking to get the new product. What will make me happy? The new iphone came out, now I can call and text at the same time. That will make me happy! It sounds ridiculous, but it happens way too commonly. These people are completely caught up in achieving happiness by obtaining products and material things. Although much harder, it is possible to obtain happiness through material goods.

Here is what this supercomputer would do, and what it would be.
People would go out and buy these smaller, very powerful, "mini supercomputers". They would enter their current situation, how they feel, where they want to be, and how they want to feel. The computer would then calculate what they need to do to reach this threshold of happiness that they aspire to reach, and pinpoint what they are doing wrong. These supercomputers would determine how they need to go about living in order to be happy.

Now, this concept can also be applied to government. Everybody has their plans, and everybody knows what they need to do. Now, they all upload this information to the central supercomputer, and utilizing the technology of the future setting this would be possible in, it calculates what the country as a whole has to do in order to become a utopia.

This is a brief summary

  • Jun 25 2011: When one dreams of an utopia, like everything else, their visions are different. Ask a seven year old, and it might be a place where there is always free ice cream. Ask a fifty year old and it might be where the kids weren't so irresponsible. Even if the computer took every single person's idea of an utopia and tried to put it together, it would more than likely crash as there would be plenty of people wanting the exact opposite as someone else. Even if the technology went based on the majority, it would still not be an utopia, as the minority would be left out. It might be possible for the technology to one day sort categories of people out to have them live in the same area so there may be many utopias cohabitating, but humans are very complex, as has already been stated, and it will be difficult to keep up with how each person's opinions and feelings towards events and objects change. I don't doubt that technology will one day be able to work out equations to deal with each person, but to try to deal with each person, and then everyone else on the same scale to try to create harmony and any kind of an utopia may be nearly, remember I say nearly, impossible.
  • Jun 25 2011: It is a critical, and exceptionally dangerous, idea that any system could ever do what you propose. Human beings are a complex system (in the scientific sense of the term). You can not build a system which can accommodate a complex system without building a system of equal complexity. To a degree, your idea also abandons the concept of free will and goes further into requiring that you believe that not only are human beings behaviors and reactions deterministic, but simple enough that other human beings can create a system of rules which can capture and make useful predictions about it. This is impossible. Any system such as this would be guaranteed to fall short of the complexity of human beings and result in profound suffering. Every large-scale social tragedy in history is the result of some people believing they could come up with a system which, if applied rigidly enough, would create happiness for society. History shows us that not only does this not work, but it generates tragedy on almost unimaginable scale.
  • Jun 2 2011: First off, I still stand on the belief that any projections about limitations on computer is mere hogwash. We have no capability to understand the subtleties and elegance of the universe at this time. The computer will continue to advance indefinitely, it is limited only by our imagination.

    Second, happiness cannot be attained by material goods. I think this is the heart of the debate, really. Any lasting happiness I have in life has not been derived from anything which I own, it has come from what I do.
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      Jun 2 2011: Again, my bad. I didn't make myself clear.
      This technology would outline what these people need to do to reach what they think will bring happiness.
      Regardless of whether or not everyone knows exactly how to be happy, standard of living would soar.

      Any comments on the application of this to politics?
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    Jun 2 2011: Bump....I really want to get feedback.
  • Jun 1 2011: Better yet, why don't we just replace our brains with computers!

    Sorry, I couldn't resist the sarcasm. This is a well intentioned idea, but it far exceeds the capacity of computers. There is no way a computer could take into account all of the variables in the person's life. Besides, happiness is a result of something different for each person. I personally take joy from working all day programming while most of my peers would be bored to tears.

    Here is a revised idea:

    Teach children that joy in life comes from hard work, community, and learning (Plus a little fun stuff on the site ;) ..)
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      Jun 1 2011: You are in no position to make the assumption that computer science has peaked and that this will never be possible. Computer science, according to physics, will reach it's physical limit roughly around the year 4000 (if it develops at the rate it is currently).

      Keep in mind, this is a super computer.
      Keep in mind, I said this would only happen in a setting where this technology is possible.

      And knock on wood, that is not a revision but a mutual agreement.
      If you had read this thoroughly you would have seen that this would only apply to those who are completely plagued by consumerism and have no hope of realizing they do not need material goods to become happy.

      The threshold of happiness is reachable through technology. It's really difficult, and incredibly pointless, but one can achieve happiness through technology. A brainwashing nonetheless, but aren't we all brainwashed? Many have "revelations", or go to god for answers.
      What is the difference?
      Well I can say for certain that the answers this computer would give would be much more specific and beneficial than "god's"
      • Jun 1 2011: The level of complexity required to create a machine of that level is simply infeasible. It would require an absolute knowledge of what drives each individual person. Now if we are assuming that people are essentially deterministic beings controlled by some wiring of the brain then yes, this might be possible. However I don't know any scientists of good repute that hold this belief.

        As far as happiness, I fundamentally disagree. First, we should clarify terminology. Happiness is a temporal euphoric feeling. What I believe you are actually getting at is joy. Joy, as opposed to happiness is more permanent and lasting. If we move from this starting point then we would look for something more than the temporary happiness of visiting an amusement park.

        Joy is not going to be found in technology any more than joy is found in anything else. I would differ to the wisdom of John Wooden in his definition of success: "Success comes from know that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming." If we have this sort of success, I believe that we will have some measure of joy, that is to say a lasting happiness.

        To be honest, I compare using technology to guide us through life almost like a "walkthrough". When playing a video game, or doing a puzzle, one is given much more satisfaction when solving the problem or completing the game on their own. Using a walkthrough cheapens the result. If we use anything other than our own gumption, beliefs, and innate abilities to guide us towards joy, the result with be cheapened and so the joy diminished.

        I recognize where you are coming from, and this is a good idea. However I believe that you are approaching the solution from the wrong end. How do you expect to teach a computer to tell someone how to be joyful if you cannot reach it on your own?

        As a side note, the date given (4000 AD) is not a very accurate measurement. The computers that will be developed by that time, or by 2111, we have not even imagined.
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          Jun 1 2011: The immediate effect of technologic engagement? Yes joy.
          But in the long term, one can obtain happiness through material goods. Whether it be a vacation home, or a trip to another country.

          I agree, in the sense that technology is not a good source of happiness. Think of technology as a stock of corn that lacks a good amount of nutritional value. Although people can nourish themselves with this corn, it is much much harder.

          Secondly, you say the human brain is not wired, or not able to be determined definitely.
          Yet you went back on this when you drew a line between happiness and joy.
          For some, they can have the same meaning. For others, they are different. This is in direct opposition to what you said regarding the human brain earlier.

          This computer would not instruct how to obtain happiness, it would instruct how to go about reaching the threshold that people believe will give them happiness.
          Here is a citation
          "would then calculate what they need to do to reach this threshold of happiness that they aspire to reach"
          SO, a bad choice of words on my part, I guess it wasn't as easily understood as I thought.
          This would not say, "I am the all knowing computer that knows how to be happy"
          It would only make calculations that lead to happiness within the boundaries of our frontal lobe, and what the frontal lobe perceives as a happy future.

          Thank you, for the recognition of this as a good idea. I tend to go about things in a militant stance. I'm very argumentative, sorry about that.
          Also, when I said 4,000 AD I meant the physical boundaries, as in computer science will no longer be able to evolve into anything greater.