Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Friday, March 07, 2008

An Interesting Question

Jim asks, in the Moot, in a quite substantive response to what was a rather glib prompt on my part on the topic of the Fermi Paradox:
Why is it that the >Hist types take the "Paradox" so seriously? -- assuming that if "they" exist at all, they would certainly have taken over all the real estate by now. Some sort of Ayn Randian projection?


jfehlinger said...

> Jim asks, in the Moot, in a quite substantive response
> to what was a rather glib prompt on my part. . .

Adducing evidence from Star Trek is a "substantive response"?
Are you mad?

Eliezer! Guide us, Eliezer!
The real reason why people are so worked up about this issue?
Because of the words "Star Trek" and "fan film." Either one
of those phrases by themselves would be enough to get people
tweaked. Together, they're like your serious writer person's
worst nightmare.

Nick Tarleton said...

Good point. But that just changes the conclusion of the paradox to "either aliens are rare, or expansionism is rare", either of which would be interesting.

Offering fiction as an example is not generalizing from fictional evidence (what I assume the Eliezer reference was about).

jfehlinger said...

Nick Tarleton wrote:

> Offering fiction as an example is not generalizing from fictional evidence
> (what I assume the Eliezer reference was about).

That, and yet another Star Trek joke: "Landru, guide us! Landru!"
("Return of the Archons"). Multi-level humor -- it is a difficult
concept! ;->

(BTW -- Landru is an uploaded human(oid) consciousness who has
lost something in the translation.

Marplan: Landru! He comes!

Landru: Despite my efforts to save you, you have invaded the Body,
and you are causing great harm.

Kirk: We have no intention of causing harm.

Landru: Obliteration is necessary. The infection is strong.
For the good of the body, you must die. It is... a great sorrow.

Kirk: We do not intend to die.

Landru: All who saw you, all who know of your presence here
must be excised. The memory of the Body will be cleansed.

Kirk: Listen to me. . .

Spock: Useless, Captain. A projection.

Kirk: Yes, Mr. Spock. Let's have a look at the projector.

(Phaser fire dissolves a wall, revealing a computer.)

Kirk: Of course. It had to be.

Marplan: Landru?

Spock: A machine. This whole society is a machine's concept
of perfection -- peace, harmony...

Kirk: But no soul.

Landru: I am Landru. You have intruded.

Kirk: Pull out its plug, Mr. Spock.

Landru: Your devices have been neutralized.
So it shall be with you. I am Landru.

Kirk: Landru died 6,000 years ago.

Landru: I am Landru! I am he! All that he was I am --
his experience, his knowledge.

Kirk: But not his wisdom. He may have programmed you,
but he could not have given you a soul. You are a machine.

Landru: Your statement is irrelevant. You will... be...
obliterated. The good of the Body is the prime directive.

Spock: The good of the body, Captain. That's the key.

Kirk: Yes. (To Landru) What is the good?

Landru: I am Landru.

Kirk: Landru is dead. You are a machine.
A question has been asked. Answer it.

Landru: The good is the harmonious continuation of the Body.
The good is peace, tranquillity. The good of the Body is the directive.

Kirk: Then I put it to you that you have disobeyed the prime directive.
You are harmful to the Body.

Landru: The Body is. It exists. It is healthy.

Kirk: The Body is dying. **You** . . . are destroying it.

Landru: Do you ask a question?

Kirk: What have you done to do justice to the full potential
of every individual of the Body?

Landru: Insufficient data.

Kirk: Without freedom of choice, there is no creativity.
Without creativity, there is no life. The Body dies.
The fault is yours.

Spock: Are you aiding the body, or are you destroying it?

Landru: I am not programmed to answer that question.

Lawgivers: Landru! Guide us! Landru!

Spock (waving away Kirk's phaser): Not necessary, Captain.
They have no guidance, possibly for the first time in their lives.

Kirk: Landru. . . answer the question.

Landru: Peace, order, and tranquillity are maintained.
The Body lives, but I reserve creativity to me.

Spock: Then the Body dies. Creativity is necessary
for the health of the Body.

Landru: This. . . is. . . impossible!

Marplan: Is this truly Landru?

Kirk: What's left of him after he built and programmed this
machine 6,000 years ago. (To Landru) You must create the good.
That is the will of Landru, nothing else.

Landru: But there is evil!

Kirk: Then the evil must be destroyed. That is the prime directive.
And **you** are the evil.

Landru: I think! I live!

Kirk: You are the evil! The evil must be destroyed!
Fulfill the prime directive! You. . .

Landru: Landru, help me!

Kirk: . . .are the evil. Fulfill the prime directive!

Landru: Help me! Help me! Help me! Help me!

Kirk: Well, Marplan, you're on your own now.

"Marplan", BTW, is the trade name of an MAO inhibitor antidepressant
(which was, no doubt, more commonly used in the 60's than now).
The humor never ends.