Originally posted on the IEET weblog

Postmodern Regression Towards the Mean

This is a humorous look (or not) on both postmodernism and structuralism, in a deferential way. The regression towards the mean concept is used metaphorically.

Perhaps this article should be called the “Not-So Post-Modern Regression Towards the Mean”, but I would have to say I don’t know myself. Postmodernism attempts to make it clear that we live in a “post-modern” society, a society so diverse that multiplicity alone makes it hard to understand what exactly people want, value, and believe – from art, literature, scientific theories, to technology.

The image to the left represents a far left take (from the Industrial Workers of the World) on capitalism and its ways of exploiting workers. The IWW’s political stance can be placed somewhere between Anarchism and Marxism. A little to the right of this standpoint we have radical progressives and post-modernists. In reality, I believe the political spectrum should actually contain just these few rational stances.

However, who would have thought that we might actually see artificial mental systems up and running in our lifetime? To me that is postmodern, the very idea of transhumanism and posthumanism and all they entail is postmodern in that who would have thought that a post-human future would have really been possible except some artists and sci-fi writers back when Anarchism and Marxism came to the forefront of radical politics?

At the same time I would like to also take a leap of faith and say that some things will not change as much as some postmodernists or post-structuralists would lead us to believe. This is where the regression towards the mean plays in.

There are fundamental laws of nature, perhaps of mind, ethics, and knowledge that will remain. In fact, I would like to argue that if anything, most post-modernists and modernists/structuralists believe in egalitarianism and equality for brains/minds/consciousness, whatever you want to call us, because it isn’t going to be called “human” for much longer.


J. Storrs Hall writes just about this in his book Beyond AI. He wrote that Carnegie Mellon’s roboticist, Hans Moravec “hints at a moral sense in the superhuman robo-corporations of the future: “Time-tested fundamentals of behavior, with consequences too sublime to predict, will remain at the core of beings whose form and substance change frequently”. He calls such a core a constitution; I would call it a conscience.”

Progressive minds with conscience will work towards some kind of mean of egalitarianism, somewhere between radical left and radical progressive left, if you understand what I mean... Nevermind the pun, the point is, is that the enhanced brain will be radically progressive, and will be against exploitation of sentient beings because of enhanced intelligence.