Diary of a Knowledge Broker by Steve Bosserman

Independent investigation of the truth; collaboration for social justice

Independent investigation of the truth; collaboration for social justice

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August 29, 2005

The Concept of Human Equivalence

Human equivalence—the point when the collective capacity and capability of integrative technologies equal or exceed the thinking and decision making powers of humans—represents a unique stage in the development of human civilization. It can be easily argued that due to the fuzzy mix of outright complexity and occasional irrationality that characterizes the functioning of the human mind, equivalence by "the machine” is a theoretical supposition that is unachievable in the real world. However, each year that passes brings a significant up tick in the power of technology to blend human and non-human processing and behavior patterns. Writers such as Hans Moravec, Ray Kurzweil, and Eric Drexler point to these trends and postulate futures where not only is equivalence reached, but exceeded in a transhumanistic experience associated with technological singularity. For the most part, looking at the near future as Bill Joy, co-founder and former chief scientist at Sun Microsystems, outlined in his Wired Magazine article entitled, "Why The Future Doesn't Need Us,” the combination of robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotechnology is having a profound, transformative affect on the integration of humans and machines—right now.

These changes in technology complement changes underway in two interrelated streams of development: energy and environment (specifically, an environment for life).
Irresistible Forces, Figure 1a.JPG
The diagram above illustrates how energy, an environment for life, and technology converge at a point of human equivalence and extend beyond into an unseen future. These three constitute a "strategic framework” upon which updates on the rapid changes taking place along each line can be attached. These postings document the transition from dependence on fossil fuel to adopting alternative sources ranging from an established choice like nuclear to less advocated possibilities like solar, wind, and geo-thermal. They also include acknowledging the condition of the planet in its varying capacity to sustain life and tracking a commensurate bifurcation within agriculture toward globalization of fuel, fiber, and feed production and localization of food production for human consumption.

The central theme is that as convergence on human equivalence draws nearer, circumstances press us to reconsider and redefine our relationships with "the machine,” the environment that sustains us, the sources of energy required make it all work, and, ultimately, one another. Although these responses and reactions are as unpredictable as the context that shapes them, our ongoing commentary on trends, conditions, and events within a logical, strategic framework guides the purposeful action and collective influence that ensues. The dawn of human equivalence is a clarion call to rise-up as individuals and co-determine destiny.


posted by Steve Bosserman on Monday August 29 2005
updated on Saturday September 24 2005

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Related Articles

A Broader Framework in Which Localization Occurs
One of the drivers behind technology development is the quest for human equivalence the point where technology performs at a level of functioning that is equal to or greater than the functioning of the human brain. While it is speculative at best to estimate if and when such a goal is achieved, recent history illustrates that the increase in capability and capacity of technology is ramping up a rather steep... [read more]
July 10, 2007 - Steve Bosserman

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In response to my earlier posting about Localization, Bob Banner, publisher / editor of Hope Dance Magazine sent me an email noting that Julian Darley was the founder and director of the Post Carbon Institute. While James Howard Kunstler is an Institute Fellow, he has his own website that covers a wide range of related topics. Please note that my 6 July posting is now updated to reflect this correction.... [read more]
July 08, 2007 - Steve Bosserman

The Case for Localization
Over the past five months I have dedicated considerable attention to "localization." According to Wikipedia, "Localization may describe production of goods nearer to end users to reduce environmental and other external costs of globalization." The Relocalization Network, which is affiliated with Julian Darley's Post Carbon Institute defines "relocalization" as "a strategy to build societies based on the local production of food, energy and goods, and the local development of currency,... [read more]
July 06, 2007 - Steve Bosserman


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