In 1997 the IBM computer Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov in chess. In a few years, we might have enough computing power to challenge humans players in other games and sports. Like football: On the one side, Team Human, made up of the best players in the world for each position; on the other, 11 soft but clever Japanese robots.
This might have a uniting effect on us.
“Every man’s world picture is and always remains a construct of his own mind and cannot be proved to have any other existence.”
Erwin Schrödinger wrote these insightful words in his 1958 book Mind and Matter. Here is another quote from the same book, in my opinion outright amazing:
“The reason why our sentient, percipient and thinking ego is met nowhere within our scientific world picture can easily be indicated in seven words: because it is itself that world picture. It is identical with the whole and therefore cannot be contained in it as part of it.”
Found this cool drawing (here). Makes me think of the narrative self and how we all keep track of the myriad characters we encounter, both in our real lives and in the fiction we consume.
As a radical constructivist, an obvious but interesting point to make here is that the only thing that distinguishes the former category from the latter is an attitude of belief – we believe that a certain section of our character gallery (which includes our image of ourself) truly represents real people, even though the rest of the gallery has been constructed using exactly the same conceptual material. Making them real is just the flick of a mental switch. The border line between what we call reality and what we call fiction is extremely thin and uncertain, as we can all witness every night, in dreaming (and as anti-realists can witness every day as well, in our infinitely many habitual everyday superstitions).
It is incredible to me that our minds do not break down more often than they do. The mechanism is so fragile. Even prolonged thinking along these lines – reflecting on the apparently miraculous toughness of one’s sanity – threatens to cause the mechanism to malfunction!