Wednesday, 4 March 2015

five horsemen or executive-decision

Slate magazine has a pretty provoking essay on the nature of our executive faculties of decision making, also known as free-will, and how technologies emerging a-pace is altering the landscape of choosing and prerogative.

In some ways, buffeted by legislated morality disguised as cautious health and safety regulations, our feelings of being in control, having a choice translated into a statement and stance, individual will seems strengthened. There is some hint of distaste, however, that that confidence is illusory, and that seed of doubt is sown in a very fecund field. Maybe when faced with a paucity of alternatives, we’d like to imagine that we’re still being deliberative in a narrow framework—where the technology has already decided for us. The article speaks of five horsemen, those galloping fields of bio-engineering, robotics, artificial intelligence, nanites and the manipulation of judgment, perception and reason (also said to embrace free-will itself), that are canting leagues—some say, of the institutions, laws and even our own ability to cognitively cope, which while not heralds of assured destruction do seem to announce an era of difficult choices and direct dialogue.