Retaining Humanity in the Information Age

In recent times, situations with humans and machine computers increased. For evidence, there is a recent analysis by a doctor of philosophy student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL), Carrie Cai, and supported by Massachusetts Institute of Technology professors Rob Miller and Jim Glass, former CSAIL postdoc Philip Guo, and undergraduate Anji Ren. Adam Conner-Simons in CSAIL expressed the results of Cai’s leadership related to a language-learning app labeled with the name WaitChatter. Conner-Simons (2015) said, “In a pilot study, WaitChatter users learned an average of about four words a day over a period of two weeks. The system takes words from both a built-in list as well as the user’s ongoing chat conversations.” The presence of interconnectivity is apparent, but learning in and of itself as a purpose did not save even the wisest Ancient Grecians from travailing. For instance, the reader may look to the writings of Plato about Socrates and reckon the irritation that he felt at being the target of sophistry despite his effort of love for his people (Cahn, Markie, 2012 p. 16-32).

Within these times, Byron Spice shared information about the results of Facebook and Carnegie Mellon University researchers, Moira Burke and Robert Kraut, on personal interactions with computers. Spice (2016) said, “By considering mood and behavior over time, Burke and Kraut’s study revealed that Facebook interactions with friends predicted improvements in such measures of well-being as satisfaction with life, happiness, loneliness and depression.” The psychological importance of understanding what and who people love is consistently important for humanity. Othello’s moral failings because of not understanding Iago’s hatred towards him serves as a sign and a wonder of the opposite being true as well, forever (Shakespeare).

For people, what we do is not as important as why we do it. Marshall McLuhan spoke about media serving as extensions of the human body. McLuhan (1989) said, “Without the artist’s intervention man merely adapts to his technologies and become their servo-mechanism” (p. 98). Therefore, people engineering their environments might become re-engineered for the new environments; the man without creativity will be controlled by circumstances. The Book of Proverbs (KJV) states, “My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change” (24:21). People may integrate faith with reason or develop derivative works of human-to-human or human-to-world relationships in the form of human-computer interactions, and prayerfully the truths that apply to all people will be retained. For learning languages as part of daily labor, the labor should be retained as done by Cai’s team. When seeking the transcendent with love from people, dependence on emotion more than logic or credibility is a timeless warning sign about misplacing trust in the hearts of men given to change more than the wisdom of those who study and reflect on relevance beyond the self. Further, the human self without a consistent truth about him will be repurposed for someone else’s design. Therefore, when interacting with computers designed by humanity, the reader should take care that he retains what results in blessings for ourselves and other people; that the soul of man is enriched.

References

Cahn, S. M., & Markie, P. J. (2012). Ethics: History, theory, and contemporary issues (5th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. p. 16-32

Conner-Simons, A. (2015, May 14). Learn a language while you text | MIT News. Retrieved from http://news.mit.edu/2015/learn-language-while-you-text-0514

Shakespeare, W., & Barnet, S. (1996). Othello.

Spice, B. (2016, September 6). Friends Help Friends on Facebook Feel Better | Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science. Retrieved from https://www.scs.cmu.edu/news/friends-help-friends-facebook-feel-better

Advertisements

Excessive Autonomy or Excessive Control in the Digital Age

While reading through Egypt’s national mobile phone ethics code, I noticed some aspects that I think are pernicious. Particularly, the rules number one and fifteen. From ITP.net, “1. The mobile phone technology is considered one of the greatest technologies that emerged in the last few years to serve humanity, so do not ever use it to annoy or tease others” (Sutton 2009) and “Don’t respond to text messages or calls you receive from unknown numbers or sources because most probably they aim to swindle on you” (Sutton 2009). The idea that something as subjective as annoyance could be put an ethics code is potentially paralyzing because the annoyed are not homogeneous. Further, the idea that someone probably has nefarious plans for another because they are calling from an unknown number is self-defeating because it encourages paranoia.

When utilizing a mobile device, I consider its purpose. Today, mobile devices such as smartphones, tablet, and laptops are designed for human requirements. I wonder what those requirements are at the meta level. Jean-Paul Sartre shared his thoughts. Sartre thinking was, “Lived narratives comprise a succession of events and the responses one makes to them, and they are the basis of our identities” (Gillett, 2009, pg. 337). I think that the framework or narrative of the mind of the Messiah should be the basis of a Christian identity.

As Paul said to the Corinthians, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (NIV, 2 Cor 10:5). I think that this is an argument for internal thoughts more than external confrontation because the mind is what Christ sought for humanity rather than our bodies. I think that people should care about why they are utilized so that ideas like Egypt’s aforementioned code, frankly, do not propagate. When seeking safety, people are sometimes willing to give up freedom because the deluge of discomforting information overwhelms. However, I think that excessive control is as unacceptable as Sartrean identities without a true moral standard as God is.

Bibliography

Gillett, G. (2009). Intention, autonomy, and brain events. Bioethics, 23(6), 330-339 10p. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8519.2009.01726.x. Pg. 337.

Sutton, M. (2009, October 31). Egypt introduces mobile phone ethics code – – ITP.net. Retrieved March 30, 2016, from http://www.itp.net/578306-egypt-introduces-mobile-phone-ethics-code/?tab=article

Conceptualizing Worldview and Expressing the Biblical Worldview

Throughout history, various perspectives which could be called worldviews have been formed, and with the life of Jesus Christ, the Biblical worldview has as well thus this paper is seeking their delineation. Eugene Webb, Professor Emeritus in the University of Washington Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, asserts what he views as an essential part of humanity. Eugene Webb states, “No human being lives without a worldview, but comparatively few ever give much thought to what worldviews are, how they come into being, how they change, and how they are held” (Webb, 2009, Pg. 1). Another way of saying this is that all of humanity perseveres with a worldview. This essay is an inquiry into what the Greeks called οὐσία, which is translated to English as being or, as an adjective, factual in the state of the things as they are. Therefore, this is to deduce what a state of being is and what can be defined as any true Christian fact, if any. The process of analyzing these views is something which is a substantial effort and it is possible that all details fundamental to them may not be described in this essay which shall be addressed in the form of implications for the reader to apprehend through induction. Furthermore, the outcome of this essay is not to express what a conceptual worldview and the Biblical worldview should be, normative proposals, but rather to express what they are, descriptively. It is thus this writer’s contention that the concepts of worldview and the Biblical worldview can be bounded.

To understand a word, apprehending its etymological roots can be worthwhile. The research of James W. Underhill about the origin of the meaning of worldview shows insight. James W. Underhill says that the German word “Weltanschauung” (Underhill, 2009, Pg. 54) is associated with the idea of “’function[ing] as an idea of pure reason to bring the totality of human experience into the unity of the world-whole, or Weltganz’” (Underhill, 2009, Pg. 54). The converse of this is the totality of Weltganz, another German word, into the unity of the human experience. This writer asks if this is a sound relation with some skepticism. If it is, then it a functional idea about which the human experience and the world-whole and sets of values can be input to output information relevant about the entirety of existence. However, looking at the history of the world and its state of not knowing everything in existence, even that of human experience, it is clear to this writer that this term could be, at best, viewed as a conceptual ideal rather than the relationship between humanity and the world in fact or as de facto situation. Therefore, at the very least, worldview is not a relationship between human experience and a unified understanding of the world. Having stated this, it follows that the Christian worldview could be inquired about for the sake of understanding its characteristics.

At this point in this discussion, the word Christian in Christian worldview can be seen as a characteristic of worldview, being an adjective. However, this writer asks if this grammatical explanation is a sufficient one. To reflect, the apostle Paul states something worthwhile to the Romans. Paul says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom 12: 2 King James Version). This writer holds the view that exegetically, this is to say that if there is a single Christian worldview it is thus not a characteristic of the world hence it forgoes that of attribution to worldview in its true form. Therefore, a more reasonable identification of this understanding should be described as the worldview of Christianity.

During Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians, he writes about the natural state of Christ in the world. Paul states to the Corinthians, “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now if you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it” (1 Cor 12: 26-27 King James Version). A view of this writer is to express that the humanity of Christianity is connected by Christ. Therefore, the worldview of Christianity is hierarchically subordinate to him as if Christ is the metaphorical roots of a tree or a mainframe system of a computer network. It follows that the prior identification of worldview as not that of a relation should be compared to the Christian worldview. Interestingly, all of humanity is linked with Jesus, collectively, and Jesus is linked with all of humanity by Paul’s assertion.

After contemplation, David Mathis states that Christ is the son of the unifier of the gospel. David Mathis states, “And, mark this, no one cares more for her unity of his church around her Savior, his own Son, than God himself.” (Piper, Mathis, Warren, 2011, Pg. 11). This is to say that the will of Christ is a characteristic of God, yet the Holy Spirit is a third person thus the Triune God would necessarily be a collective relationship with all of humanity. It cannot be humanity with Jesus and God, and the Holy Spirit, separately, and be a relation. Therefore, at the very least, a worldview without the collective of humanity considered as a single idea with a body of knowledge as the Christian worldview is not a relation. It follows that it cannot be functional. This is to say that while a worldview and the Christian worldview, so to speak, may be concepts that human recognize without a true form of apprehension, at least we may be aware of what these concepts are not.

Bibliography

Piper, J., Mathis, D., & Warren, R. (2011). Thinking, Loving, Doing. Wheaton, IL: Crossway. Pg. 11

The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2004). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson. Cor 12: 26-27.

The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2004). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson. Rom 12: 2.

Underhill, J. W. (2009). Humboldt, Worldview and Language. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Pg. 54.

Webb, E. (2009). Worldview and Mind: Religious Thought and Psychological Development. Columbia: University of Missouri Press. Pg. 1