There’s a great video on Youtube(above) called ‘The War on Science’ by ASAPScience which outlines an oft misunderstood conflict. That conflict is when:

“Science and society are often at odds”.

Putting the conflict in these terms clearly shows the wrong-headed thinking of those who are undercutting the intellectual values of science with the social values of society. Current social norms may be more convenient to defend and continue for society but it not intelligent to continue thinking the same thing when evidence shows otherwise.

In fact, rather than simply wrong-headed, such defence of social values in the face of intellectual values to the contrary, is immoral and not supported by the MOQ.

The historical risk though, is that without the Metaphysics of Quality the intellectual level can start to undercut the quality of society and defend biological values at the risk of social cohesion. This could well explain why many a political conflict throughout the world simply are between those who defend social values vs those who support intellectual ones.

The MOQ however, shows there is a more nuanced way to view social vs intellectual conflicts such as this. Within the structure of the MOQ is the ability to morally defend intellectual values while not risking social decay in the process. This is clearly shown with the MOQ’s ‘Codes of Morality’ and in the difference between ‘The Law’ and ‘Intellectual Morality’ the latter of which is not acknowledged with our current Metaphysics.

I’ve seen lots of talk recently about the moral threat of AI. So, what does the MOQ have to say about it?

To start with, how about a fact which appears to be lost in much of the discussion.

No computer has ever made a moral judgement which it hasn’t been told to make and so there is no reason to think this will ever change. Believing this will change spontaneously as a result of improved intelligence of machines is just that, a leap of faith, and not supported by evidence. As it stands, it is the human programmer making all moral judgements of consequence. Computers, being 0’s and 1’s, are simply the inorganic tools of the culturally moral programmer.

Unfortunately though, this isn’t likely to be appreciated any time soon because of a philosophical blind spot our culture has. That blind spot is our metaphysics which neglects the fundamental nature of morality and in doing so gets confused about both where morality comes from and whether machines can make moral judgements independently of being instructed to do so.

For example, in the case of a recent foreign affairs article – Nayed Al-Rodhan appears to believe that AI will start making moral judgements as a result of more ‘sophistication’ and learning and experience.

“Eventually, a more sophisticated robot capable of writing its own source code could start off by being amoral and develop its own moral compass through learning and experience.”

The MOQ however makes no such claim which, as already mentioned, is contrary to our experience. According to our experience it is only human beings and higher primates who can make social moral judgments in response to Dynamic Quality. Machines are simply inorganic tools and their components only make ‘moral decisions’ at the inorganic level.

That’s not to say though, that there aren’t any dangers of AI and that all risks are overblown. AI – being loosely defined as advanced computational/mechanical decision not requiring frequent human input – threatens society if it is either poorly programmed and a catastrophic sequence of decisions occurs or if it is well programmed by a morally corrupt programmer. However each of these scenarios aren’t fundamentally technological but philosophical, psychological & legal in nature.

The unique threat of AI is this aforementioned increase in freedom of machines to make decisions without human intervention making them both more powerful and more dangerous. The sooner our culture realises this, the sooner our culture can start to discuss these moral challenges and stop worrying about the machines ‘taking over’ in some kind of singularity apocalypse. Because unfortunately, if we don’t understand the problem, a solution will be wanting, and therein lies the real threat of AI.

The New Age movement and the MOQ on first glance are well suited for one another. As Wikipedia says:

‘The movement aims to create “a spirituality without borders or confining dogmas” that is inclusive and pluralistic. It holds to “a holistic worldview,” emphasizing that the Mind, Body, and Spirit are interrelated.’

However the problem begins with the addition of the term ‘spirit’. It’s a slippery word which can lead to folks getting burned at the stake because of their bad ‘spirits’. Once ‘spirit’ is brought into the conversation you can say goodbye to the empirically verifiable strength of science and hello to pseudoscience and anyone bringing in whatever pseudo-scientific thing they see fit.

The term value on the other hand cannot be co-opted in such a way. Anything can be valuable but using the MOQ we can break value up into a hierarchy of values, each level of which are part of experience and can be empirically verified.

There is an advantage to the New Age movement however and that’s in its ability to create a space where science, and specifically quantum mechanics, can be discussed in an easily accessible way way that won’t shy away from any apparent logical inconsistencies.

In a popular New Age movie called ‘What the bleep do we know?’ there is a great explanation (above) of the famous double slit experiment. The explanation ends with the statement “The observer collapsed the wave function simply by observing!” and from a value free objective scientist perspective that would be the correct way of putting it. However a better way to put it is that the “values of the observer dictated what was observed” because , unlike a scientist may assume, values are more fundamental than physical matter.

If you’re doing not much else on a lazy Sunday afternoon, you could do worse than watch Gattaca.

Gattaca is a great film for a number of reasons; but first and foremost is the sentiment of the underlying tagline that “There is no gene for the human spirit”. The Metaphysics of Quality agrees with this sentiment and the film is nothing but a wholehearted expression of the idea that there is a more powerful thing beyond the physical genes which dictate how our bodies work. However the term ‘spirit’ is perhaps not the best choice for a word to represent that which is beyond the physical. I mean, a few hundred years ago folks were burned at the stake for their evil ‘spirits’ and so there are negative connotations with it which another word does not have. Of course, that word is ‘Quality’. There is indeed no gene for the human quality and I’d struggle to create a better movie than Gattaca to represent this idea.

Other great things about the movie :

The Probable Science Fiction Future – It would be hard to find another science fiction film which represents the ‘Not too distant future’ better than this. While it has made one predictive error since it was created in 1997 (Laser eye surgery exists now – instead of either an eye transplant or contact lenses as claimed). Designer babies, prevalent solar power, electric cars and ubiquitous space travel are all becoming more probable than less as the years roll by. Furthermore, only the best Science Fiction gives cautionary moral tales about possible futures knowing that as a result of watching them we are made wiser and can hopefully avoid these unpleasant scenarios in the future.
The Heroes Journey – The film follows Joseph Campbell’s universal heroes journey narrative very closely.
The Cinematography – Beautifully crafted shots which feature a pristine palate reflecting, perhaps, the artificial world in which the ‘Godchild’ Vincent inhabits.
The Sets– Featuring the ‘Marin County Civic Center’ by Frank Lloyd Wright. Plenty of circles which are pleasant to the human eye too..
The Soundtrack – Beautifully crafted piano pieces by Michael Nymann.

Russell Brand does yoga and meditation. In the above video he talks about how both of these things help him find a connection which Drugs and Sex cannot. It’s rare to have a celebrity with such considerable self confessed experience in drugs and sex, speak with such honesty in what way they don’t work.

“I’ve really tried drugs. I’ve really tried sex. I really tried all these things and they do not work.”
Russell Brand