Contact II – Leone van Rijn

This is a follow-up blog post of the earlier conversation with philosopher Leone. To read the full article, click here.

Hi Sabine,

I am sorry for responding this late, and admittedly it is not even because I needed time to reflect upon our conversation.

I must agree with you that there is a material fixation which stands in disregard of life itself. This is not only the case in the way we treat our environment, but also evident in the ways we treat ourselves. Appearance seems to be of greater importance than the human being underneath the clothing.

You are convinced that taking the train and eating little to no meat won’t solve our problems because our relationship with ourselves and our environment is inherently corrupted, but in my opinion these are signs that some humans do care and attempt to promote their sets of values. The major issue, in my view, is that we are running out of time to properly address this. To have a broad discussion in which we collectively reassess our values on a global scale. This is even worsened by the liberal democratic paradigm, which takes everybody’s opinion into account. Hence my question to you; is there, in your opinion, enough time to reset our values? Or should we consider other modes to address climate change and the ways in which we relate to our planet and its inhabitants?

Personally, I am afraid that we have no more time to re-examine ourselves and our behaviours, considering the scale of the environmental problems we face and the technological revolution that is taking place right here, right now.

With regards to AI, I cannot think of a more convenient time to review our values than now; we are creating a new species, and if we want a world that is still a bit human (humane? And if we want to keep our humanity intact ever so slightly), it is imperative that we consider how to transmit certain values.

Maybe we should consider both issues separately, although our alienation from nature could be ascribed to the love story between the human species and technology. Yet, we could also claim that the ways in which things evolved—for better or for worse—are also part of nature, of our nature. AI offers us the possibility to move beyond our nature, beyond our greed and selfishness and is perhaps the best cure for our planet.

(I am in doubt, again )

Hope to hear from you soon.

Leo

Autumn?  – millions of us are enjoying the heatwave outside. But in the sweltering hot weather lurks a climate change depression.

Philosopher Leone van Reijn shares her first thoughts with us on technology and climate change. A start of a long-term letter exchange.

Feeling the urge to ventilate? Feel free to send your opinion to viewpoint@futurebased.org.