Saturday, April 29, 2017

From doing to thinking: 

The evolution of mankind     

Doing can only be important if it is a consequence of thinking.
Doing without thinking has characterised life on earth for millions of years.
You see it e.g. if you look at cattle in a pasture.  All animals there are doing the same at the same time, since they are programmed to do so and are only reacting on incentives from their environment.  Though some animals show traces of specialisation and collaboration, e.g. hunting lions and wolves, bees and ants collecting food or elephants protecting female and young ones in the herd, also this seems mainly to be the result of their genetic programme.
If the animals would have developed the capability to communicate, they could also have agreed who is doing what. As a consequence of such a communication, specialisation would thus become meaningful. As a consequence of communication and specialisation, they could have collaborated to improve the quality of their living, each according to its own specialisation. But this had to wait, because their brains were not yet designed for intensive and detailed communication.
During the evolution of mankind, brains developed and thinking became gradually more important than doing. Although power and the ability to react and defend, had been the main factors of success in evolution for a long time, emphasis on the brains did mean a real breakthrough. Finally the evolution did back the right horse.
Especially as a result of the progress of natural sciences and its consequence, i.e. the worldwide technical revolution, life of men has been changed exponentially in the last centuries and especially in the last decades of the last hundred years. Not only many more men are involved in science and technics, but also their results are rapidly distributed as a result of internet and email.
Communication and specialisation did allow efficacious research centres, but also hospitals, airports, logistics, space flights,  etc. It allowed men to visit the moon and to look under the arctic ice caps.
Nevertheless, if men are thinking, this is not always seen by other men. In contrast, if men are doing, this can be seen by anyone. As a result doing people are generally more appreciated than thinking people, in spite of the fact that robots, which are mainly the result of thinking, can do a lot more than men in the same time and during 24 hours a day.
Of course, natural sciences are not only a question of thinking, since the hypotheses resulting from thinking, should be tested by performing the right experiments. In universities such experiments are often performed by PhD students as part of their training.
That thinking is less popular than doing because it is less visible for the majority of other men, may be explained by the same mechanism which explains why it is generally accepted that environmental factors influence our behaviour and health, whereas genetical programming is usually not considered to play a significant role. Also in the latter case, environmental factors can be seen by anyone, but genetical factors are not clear to most of us. For that reason, biology and especially evolution biology should become one of the main disciplines in every form of education.
Nevertheless, thinking by the right man or woman, at the right moment on the right place, can add much more to the progress of mankind, than work done by hundreds of men working hard together during hundreds of years. Although doing men will have generally more fans than thinking men, as shown by the new president Trump and his supporters in the USA, this is no problem for thinking men, since they might prefer thinking fans.

Gradually the capabilities of robots - as a creation of men - will increase and they will take over the work of men. Initially only that of men without any specialisation, but later also that of those who did specialise.  Robots will become self-learning. If one looks e.g. at agriculture and industrial factories, one can only reach the conclusion that robots rapidly take over the work of men and it is obvious that this process will be accelerated in the decades to come. A question that haunts some science-philosophers is this: Would it be possible that robots, created by men, will ever be able to get rid of their creators? Some of them, also described as "future-watchers" are afraid that robots may become able to surpass their creators, at any time in the future and take over their position in evolution.
Given that men are the result of a gradual process of evolution of life on earth, long ago started as the coagulation of molecules, in volcanic areas as thought by scientists, one might wonder whether  planning as a consequence of thinking, would not be able to surpass the time consuming process of evolution, based  on accidental changes and survival of the fittest. If such changes are planned in stead of being a result of accidents, the process could be accelerated considerably.

Another question could be: Would it be possible to avoid a scenario in which only few people are working whereas the majority of men feels bored?  The provisional answer could be: "Probably not!" An alternative answer would be: "Unless we have destroyed our liveability on earth meanwhile, e.g. as a result of decisions of politicians such as Trump, who distrust scientists if their conclusions are not in agreement with their own believing!"
A more positive answer could be given on the question: "What could we do to prevent such a scenario?"
At first, education of children and adults should be improved. Not as a non-committal possibility to prevent boredom and to keep them from the street, but to use all of our possible human capabilities.
In general people will be happy if they can do work, best fitting with their interests and capabilities.
All forms of education, as well theoretical as practical, should be accessible to all children and also to adults who have to retrain, since their jobs are taken over by robots. Costs of all education should be paid from taxes. As a result no people are right if they say that they did not get a fair chance.
Of course we should avoid that trends are determining the choices of education. That all students want to become psychologists - as we have seen in the past - of which predictably only very few can find a job after finishing their study, should be avoided. Especially, if at the same time e.g. not enough physicists and chemists are available. Students who cannot find a job will be dissatisfied too. We should do everything to avoid that people are right if they say: "My life did happen to me, but I could do little to influence it".
Of course, support should be given to all who are willing, but are not able to participate. 

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