Is Rationality Morally Superior?

Most trained philosophers will probably have a panic attack from the way I treat concepts in this post, but I was triggered by a remark by Grimes in her interview with Lex Fridman. He says “Love can make you do irrational things” and Grimes reponds by asking “Are they rational or are they irrational”. I hope to answer this question, not the question asked but the question implied.

The question was embedded in a discussion about AI and technology of the future, where the question was how our robot overlords would deal with us. Clearly Grimes is grappling with the concept of love and altruism in the discussion. She states that she think motherhood should be better rewarded, become economically accounted for (which would make the sexes more equal and hints at a Brave New World style birthing process). With all this she shows herself to be quite rational, her world model is based on her world story more than a collection of experiences that associate without being named or linked to a conscious narrative.

Hyperrationality is often associated with cold heartedness, insensitivity. Often we see crazy professors in movies and we instantly intuit that its someone who’s ideas got the better of him. Often we see that the scientist or villain is someone that took a reasoning to its logical conclusion, except that the conclusion was to destroy humanity. Often the goal is wooorld domination, for what purpose is often unknown.

The insensitivity of (at least in movies) hyper rational humans does not mean they do not have an emotional basis though, its just that they are not demonstrated or not apparent from what is shown. My conclusion is that at the end of any chain of reasoning there is an emotion. How to find out? Well, just follow the chain : I want to destroy the world (why?) because it will give me power (why do you need power) because then I won’t be disturbed (why don’t you want to be disturbed) Because I was disturbed in the past and it hurt my feelings (the emotion). Or : We need to drop to 10.000 feet (why) Because there’s another plane at this altitude (why is that significant) Because it could crash into us (why would we avoid that?) Because we would die (Why would we worry about that) Because I don’t want to die! (Why not) Because I love my life/wife/children/future (the emotion). Any train of reasoning when followed will be found to have an emotion at the end, even the civil servant that is just following orders, he doesn’t want to be fired, follow that line..

So why do we feel that rationality is unemotional. Why do we even get cold when we get to detailed in a conversation about abstractions. I can’t explain this defnitively but first there’s a brain phenomenon that has not been highlighted much, which is the inhibition of inactive areas by active areas. So if we are thinking of one thing, as a direct consequence we are not thinking of other things. There’s a kind of contrast enhancement effect which is mediated by inhibitory neurons, and it can work between many different areas. In cases it does not work the ‘patient’ will have epileptic seizures. Epilepsie is basically a positive neural activity feedback loop. This doesn’t happen if you are on a ketonic diet, which is a known treatment for several mental illnesses.

Competitive inhibition in the brain funnily this describes exactly what i theorized in this post, that language thinking inhibits the emotional brain (archicortex). But then again I was a neuroscientist for a decade.

So when we are thinking or focussing on one thing we really can’t think of other things. This explains why we can be completely hypnotized when we are made to focus too much. For the discussion of rationality we know its an auditory/motoric interaction, and it can go from one concept to the next, and the more complex and abstract it gets, the more inhibition is necessary to keep our brain from screwing things up (with random activity).

The abstractness often results in constructs of quite principal nature, meaning the more primary regions are used, when we talk about visual art, architecture, or philosophy or politics. We have to focus so much we suppress our feelings, our more primitive brain, also because we have nothing to fear as we are consumed in our own world. A hyperrational person can access all the relevant experiences in his thinking through thought. He/she can reactivate the patterns of activity, can imagine what someone is talking about or describe their own imagination. But one can also be hyper-rational and never have left the house, or be it about quantum dynamics, or world domination.

The immorality associated with rational or hyperrational individuals may be explained in several ways : Less (self) loving individuals, possibly autistic, psychotic people that have developped good rationality will be more or less be forced to use it and reason about every situation to cope in the social context. Being morally deprived to begin with (morality is the intuition to protect life) or extremely hatefull to (specific) others due to mistreatment can bring about mad criminality or mad dictatorship. Hitler was obviously very rational, which is not the same as logical.

HAL the logical villain

Rationality is usually treated as synonymous with logical thinking, but there is no relation in my opinion. There is almost no real logical thought in daily life. “I need to order salmon at the fishmonger because we have guests for dinner tomorrow” sounds logical but is hiding a lot of assumptions. Do I really need to order them? How much do I need it? Why does having guests mean I must order salmon? A lot of the world knowledge is not expressed yet the thought is rational. This has been the eye opener for the logical positivists that thought they could turn thinking in a mechanistic formulaic process, Wittgenstein I, but they could not.

Then logic is followed its a motoric process. I believe logic reasoning is imagined action. We have only one motor output usually, have to decide what to do. This is what causes there to be this true or false aspect to logic. Full disclosure, I was trained in logic deduction about 30 years ago. I loved it, I sensed it could be my world, so pure, clean (even with attempts to make it more fuzzy). No villain or psychopath will be truely thinking logically, but what happens is that people get stuck imagining a limited set of options, and when the pressure is high enough there is no room to imagine anything else.

Russian tank regiment commander killed himself

I learned that a russian tank commander had committed suicide on learning his tanks which had come out of the stored reserves of Russia where mostly unusable (this is written during the Russian invasion of Ukraine). Thieves had robbed any equipment with prescious metals, which could be targeting systems, radios, control systems. This man made a rational decision to end his life. This can only be because he was facing machine like eventualities. Logical imperatives. He could not flee, he could not face his superiors, he could not bare going into battle. Maybe he loved the young men too much to want to be the one to lead them to near certain death. In the end he must have had emotions of grief, anger, sadness, love and sensed an opportunity to be a force for good, by not being there.

So is rationality morally superior? No, I don’t think so. Maybe if the moral judgement only hinges on numbers, which can not be directly observed, felt, experienced. You are in a bunker and there’s a telegram that reads : We will either support the eastern front or the western front, but both is impossible. These are moral conundrums movies are made about. Usually the hero shows superior morality by not making a choice, by saving both. In such instances we feel rationality as almost immoral. Yet the hero merely asserts his emotions which redirects the rational process towards his new action. In the end rationality, morality, logic and emotion are all factors in decision making, the quality of which is determined by experience and the ability to love.

Scary Times for the World Market

The world economy was for the last 40-50 years based on control of coal, oil and gas and the ability to allow it to enter the market though the use of mainly the USD. This had everything to do with the dominance of the US, with bases in most parts of the world. The reach of US dominance has been shrinking in recent decades, as oil, coal and gas producers tried to challenge the idea all fossil fuels are sold in USD, at prices determined on US trading exchanges. The US has been fighting this erosion, because it is the basis of its power, which works like this :

Because fossil fuels are traded in USD and the US can print USD, the US is never short of fossil fuels, as long as it uses a sizable amount of it to prevent this USD trading rule from slipping. It is the same as when you hold the gun, you can keep holding the gun, when you lose it to someone else, you can not grab it without getting shot, or the first that gets to the sword is the king.

There is more sides to this dominance, its deeper than just the markets, its also based on expertise of oil/gas/coal companies. That expertise is protected. For example now that Russia has gone mad, the oil extraction experts have left the country, and Russia’s oil infrastructure is going to deteriorate unless it develops skills on its own. Same happend to Venezuela, or any country that does not want to comply.

Iran is an example of a country that tried to sell oil for Gold, but was quickly sanctioned. Iraq same story. Egypt tried to get from under the US puppet government recently, but failed. It was facing hunger because the US printed USD to hoard food and fuel, while Egypt could not, but yet Egypt was a supplier of oil the the US.

The refinery infrastructure is also vulnerable, sparse. This is not trivial, Iran can not turn its own oil into fuel, nor can Iraq. Some defense functions like fighter jets need special fuel. It seems Russia is not using much of its air dominance because it can’t make much of the necessary fuel.

Because of the global dominance of the US and the global oil/gas market (or the illusion of it) we all feel like our Euro, Dollar, Swiss Franc etc, is hard currency, we expect to use it. We expect our stock in NY or Frankfurt to be sellable, we have a global financial system. When we transfer USD to Singapore it is going to have roughtly the same buying power as in Amsterdam.

This can change. The determining factor is the shared fossil fuel market under a managed currency basket (USD, JPY,CHF,EURO,CAD,GBP) with relatively stabile exchange rates. If the fossil supply desintegrates for some reason, the currencies will all develop differently, as if a continent split into islands.

As Russia invaded Ukraine recently, and the world was trying to figure out how to deal with its oil/gas sanctions, China looked on with some trepidation, and signs of the above scenario where apparent. China had to openly say it would support the world economy in the far future, as well as it would not withdraw Chinese companies listed on US exchanges.

The latter would definitely happen if the world became a group of autonomous energy islands, which it will become some time in the near future. The reason for this is simple : If the energy used to make a product in China has no relationship with the energy used in the US (through a shared currency) then US money has no value in China. Especially if the production of goods and services in China is sufficient for all needs in China. A chinese manufacturere would have no use for US dollars, it would not spend them in the US, nobody else would have any use for it. Today any chinese manufacturer HAS a use for USD because it can buy oil/gas/coal which is usefull to a manufacturer.

So what would happen if every continent developed its own energy supply, not fossil, not shared, not globally traded? The same things could be made on every continent, but there would be efficiency gains if one would make all the things needed in Europe.. in Europe.

Today, because banks want to remain important and because the US can fund oil consumption, and because of the artificial global oil market, the location of production is not too relevant. Banks made themselves more important by maximizing the distance between producer and consumer. This also helps with obfuscating abusive, criminal, ecologically damaging activities.

Why don’t we have Cheap Think Film Solar

Thin film solar panels are solar panels where the photovoltaec element is very thin. Silicon is very brittle so the slices are relatively thick, and you have to encapsulated it in heavy glass and aluminium. A thin film or thin Silicon layer would be more bendable and able to be encapsulated in much lighter and less energy intensive materials like a plastic laminate. Because this would be cheaper it makes no sense to me we are not being flooded with thin film options.

Thin film silicon panels

Thin film Silicon panels or sheets are for sale but they are mysteriously expensive. More than 1,7 $ Per Watt. You can get 12-22 Volt flexible panels for campers, but those are non standard, and also ~$1,1 Per Watt. Thin film Silicon is cheaper to make also because less Silicon is required. It is ideal for flat roofs, and companies making them should be multiplying like rabbits. Covering the desert with thin film is way easier than using heavy silicon panels. Both have a plastic layer that could yellow, and yes, glass is a great UV filter, but some thin film panels pass all durability tests.

Left the solar spectrum, right the sensitivities of different types of metal/semi metal mixes..

Mixed Metal “Amorpheous” Panels

Silicon works well because of its unique properties. Light, consisting of photons, has to move electrons in the panel, and this only happens if the push those electrons need is of a specific size. This is the so called “band-gap”. For Silicon its in a range from yellow light to near UV. A lot of sunlight however is in infra red (heat), which you could design a different material for with a specific bandgap. It was found that mixing metals can shift the bandgap of the individual metals. For IR you can mix Gallium and Arsenicum. There are many mixes possible, using Indium, Gallium, Germanium, Lead.

Use of solar spectrum Multijunction solar cells use the solar spectrum more efficiently.

If you want to utilize the full variety of photons reaching Earth from the Sun you need to have a combination of material mixes, not just Silicon. These kind of cells are called ‘multi junction’ cells. They where originally designed for space and concentrated solar power plants. It turns out to be quite difficult to make them (at least that’s what is being said), because of differences in thermal expansion and of course the challenges with extracting the electrons. Maybe industry or banks objected to the use of the materials for this purpose or the supply was not going to scale.

Organic Thin Film

Categories
roboeconomy

Optimus and the Roboeconomy

Tesla is developing a bipedal robot that can replace human labour in places where the work is boring and/or dangerous. Amazon has a robot called Digit, but its not been in the news lately, it has strange legs that look alien. Boston Dynamics has developed several robots, more humanoid, but that one is probably waay to expensive. It carries a fossil generator on its back..

Digit, Amazon’s bipedal robot, without good AI though, Lidar is a good thing because it really knows if there’s stuff, even if its pitch dark, misty, air colored..

Walking robots are not easy, the double pendulum effect, or predicting what force you need to achieve what result when you have several degrees of freedom and inertia is hard, even for humans. It would be amazing if Tesla managed to make a reasonably agile robot in a year, but then again both actuator, sensor, analysis, energy storage, even part design and manufacturing is advancing at such a pace that its possible. It also helps that the teams no longer try to use math all the way, but more itterative methods to get the right plan for movements.

Bipedal robots can be way more efficient than drones, way more usefull in environments designed for humans

Optimus development should be going on in each first world nation, to push the boundaries of technology, but also because we need the help. We need bipedal robots. We need ‘Roadbots’ (autonomous mobile electric robotic platforms), because of climate change. Work that is dangerous is increasing, because working outside under the beating sun is becoming a problem. Such that you can now buy cool vests (ventilated vests) for people working in roadbuilding and construction.

There will be a catwoman version as well..

If Tesla builds a lightweight bipedal mobile platform that can do real work (you could actually imagine a light weight system plugging itself into extra wall power if it has to use high torque for longer periods of time), that is already a game changer, it does not have to be able to keep a conversation going. I have seen videos online of a robot that can explain why its doing things, but its not clear if that is scripted or not. It will happen, I have written about it before, the hardest thing is to get the robot to have an idea of what a human is and how its behaviour could be a risk to humans. This is also hard even for humans. Humans love, and the fun fact about love is that it takes whatever comes in and makes a ‘thing to protect’ out of it. Its a messy way to do things, it will be very interesting how this pans out when done by an artificial neural net in a humanoid body.

The cute dog like gaze of Edward Siccorhands makes us love him, and accept whatever he is. Robots need to ultimately learn that trick to be safe..

A bipedal android that can be produced in large numbers for relatively little money will immediately be bought by mining companies, logistics, farming, chemical companies. The fun thing is that if they are as robust as Tesla cars, and the owner has its own renewable energy, they can work contiously for a fraction of the cost of a human. I described this consequence years ago because its part of my Roboeconomic vision (this is also a post on Roboeconomy.com).

The (slightly updated) question fundamental to the Roboeconomy is:

If we had a machine (system of robots) that could make everything we need that ran on renewable energy it could maintain, would we:

  1. Be out of a job and not earning money, so unable to buy anything?
  2. Be free to use whatever it produced without cost or based on a basic income ?

Of course everything would be free or we’d have a basic income, we’d have robots maintaining everything intcluding themselves. We’d have them set up factories, flatten the ground, make solar panels, install them, make more robots, build chip fabs, run them (also a very good place to use them). With AI and Robots and renewables a new kind of activity would come alive on Earth, we’d be pets or as Elon Musk once put it “We’re the bootloader for AI”

An important thing to note is that the Roboeconomy is not like our current fossil/nuclear/burning stuff economy. The burning does not occur. The energy is abundant, robots are expanding the capacity all the time. We won’t need to fight over it. Our current fossil habit is a serious risk because it generates objectives in people’s minds that are destructive, genocidal “If only those Ukrainians didn’t use all my gas an piss on me, if only I could eradicate them”. If those kind of ideas get hoisted onto an AI before we get to the abundant renewables phase we are in a lot of trouble. We are in a lot of trouble.

In the Roboeconomy nobody will own the energy first. Banks will not exist anymore, in fact the big bank we will have is being launched by Tesla (although not announced at the Q1 ER). Batteries will be the banks, energy will be traded for a currency the owners invent, the tax office will probably hand it out to the people on a monthly basis or something.

Not sure what happened to Digit. Its Bezos mindset that works against breakthroughs although he seems to have ideals. He does not think he should solve other people’s problems. Zuckerberg also really doesn’t care about suffering in the world. Many people do however, and my hope is those people will be the ones to bring about the Roboeconomy as an act of kindness.

An older version on this topic “Tesla, Optimus and the Roboeconomy”

Earliest post on the Roboeconomy (2011)

Roboeconomics

Large Scale Kelp Farming

Based on “How farming giant seaweed can feed fish and fix the climate” one would want to grow kelp at large scale even not for profit.

“The kelp draw in so much carbon dioxide that they help de-acidify the water, providing an ideal environment for shell growth.”

Low Cost Model for Valuing the Benefits

Negative_Carbon_Via_Ocean_Afforestation

Seaweed Solutions does it have solutions?

Greenwave Organization does it do anything yet?

AtSeaNova Seems active

Scotland Experimental seaweed farms

Seasteading Institute Costa Rica

Modelling Seaweed Production

Aird Fada Seaweed Farm

Dutch Seaweed Group

Pyrite, FeS2 Solar Cells

Pyrite solar cells have been researched for decades now. What gives, why aren’t they made. Publications on them have been positive, but also about postponing their arrival. One of the reasons not to allow new cheaper solar tech on the market is obviously the impact on fossil revenue.

Materials with good PV potential. FeS has high potential efficiency

Secondary to that first replacement threat is that solar energy technology that requires a lot of fossil energy to make is prefered to types that require very little energy. Silicon solar is about the most energy intensive you can get, it requires silicon but also glass, aluminum, results in heavy products that need to be hauled and can break. But all these negative aspects are economic positives : More cashflow, more fossil fuel use.

Thin film solar, which includes Pyrite PV, will be super cheap, and with Pyrite there is no shortage of the stuff on Earth. But it may well be that it has only been a research fund excuse, so a method to get funds. It may well be its still keeping a lot of research alive (and thus may not become a solved problem). It may be that all the research is controlled by Shell (part of it is!). If you see people professionaly explaining what the problems are and why its hard you have to suspect some type of supression (because who would make a voluntary day job out of that message?).

So I will list positive and negative publications below.

Positive

A clear path forward, along with the necessary tools and methods, is shown to enable pyrite to live up to its potential 

Status and Potential of Pyrite Solar Power

Negative

 Now we understand why pyrite does not work

What Is Limiting Pyrite Solar Cell Performance?

A long way to go for iron pyrite solar cells

De Markermeer Zonnecentrale

Intro

Dit is de nieuwe website ter promotie van de Markermeer Zonnecentrale. Het plan is om een grote zonnecentrale te bouwen op het Markermeer met inbreng van alle nederlandse gemeenten, die dan zelf over de gewonnen energie kunnen beschikken. Het Markermeer is rijksgrond, het rijk beslist er over, en het is dus de hoop dat dit gebeurt.

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Het Project

Er zijn veel details te melden wat betreft dit concept, deze zullen in andere blogposts worden ondergebracht (net als op de orignele website). Niet alleen kun je energie opwekken, dwz stroom en warmte, maar ook woningen realiseren, recreatie gebieden en jachthavens, viskwekerijen.

  • Energie opwekken
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  • Vis productie
  • Recreatie

De kosten zullen over jaren gespreid zijn en men kan externe partijen interesseren om mee te bouwen (zoals Tata en Meta). Ook kan innovatie op gebied van zonnepanelen veel in de kosten schelen.

Technische details

Voorbeelden drijvende zonnecentrales

Als u contact wil opnemen kan dat via email naar frits@rincker.nl ovm de Markermeer Zonnecentrale