Transcript of my talk at Sophrosyne’s Saturday Salon


Here is the transcript of my talk at Sophrosyne’s Saturday Salon from yesterday, entitled “The New Renaissance”. It is fairly long: you can find the full text on Scribd.

[13:04] Sophrosyne Stenvaag:
Hey everybody, welcome – we’ll be starting in a few minutes – still lots of people coming in – If this is your first time here, please feel free to grab a gift bag and some treats from the back tables – and welcome to to Sophrosyne’s Saturday Salon

[13:06] Sophrosyne Stenvaag:
Our Salon Spotlight Guest this week is Davidorban Agnon. David is the Founder of OpenSpime, Inc., Vulcano, a community in SL, Lunarez, and numerous other companies and nonprofits, is a blogger, inventor and creative thinker – and David’s going to be talking about his activities, and about The New Renaissance – welcome, David!

[13:08] Davidorban:
Thanks Soph, for the kind intro. Hello everybody! Thanks for having me in front of such an interesting and stimulating audience.

I will speek for about 20-30 minutes and then it will be great to open the floor for discussion and questions and all the fun we can have. But first, I would like to ask some of you some questions.

When I speak in front of a physical audience I always try and establish their ‘breaking point’ in terms of what tools online they do use or even have heard of so let me ask each of you, and just answer with a yes or no.

First question: have you ever contributed to Wikipedia?

[13:12] Grace McDunnough: Yes
[13:12] Sophrosyne Stenvaag: no
[13:12] Velicia Llewellyn: Nope
[13:12] Zentinal Ziskey: yes
[13:12] Crap Mariner: Yes
[13:12] Chimera Cosmos: read only
[13:12] Alesia Markstein: No
[13:12] Stan Aichi: yes
[13:12] Shava Suntzu: yes
[13:12] Tara Yeats: yeds
[13:12] Extropia DaSilva: No.
[13:12] Galatea Gynoid: minor edits
[13:12] Yel Oh: no
[13:12] Shava Suntzu: and went to wikimania
[13:12] Tara Yeats: -d
[13:12] Malburns Writer: once or twice
[13:12] Velicia Llewellyn: I try to aviod acting like I know things…
[13:12] Ciaran Laval: Yes once or twice
[13:12] Centrasian Wise: yes

[13:12] Davidorban: Second question: do you use Twitter?
[13:12] Grace McDunnough: Yes
[13:12] Zentinal Ziskey: no
[13:12] Sophrosyne Stenvaag: gods yes
[13:12] Shava Suntzu: addictively
[13:12] Velicia Llewellyn: Yepyep!
[13:12] Yel Oh: hi Alanagh
[13:12] Centrasian Wise: yes
[13:12] Ciaran Laval: Yes
[13:12] Alesia Markstein: No
[13:12] Tara Yeats: yes
[13:12] Dani Revnik: no
[13:12] Kanomi Pikajuna: not any more
[13:12] Crap Mariner: Twitter uses me
[13:12] Yel Oh: no
[13:13] Galatea Gynoid: reluctantly :p
[13:13] Chimera Cosmos: yes, a litle

[13:13] Davidorban:
Third question: would you go as far in lifestreaming as to put (assuming you have any) biological signals online in realtime (for example heartbeats)?
[13:13] Centrasian Wise: yes
[13:13] Zentinal Ziskey: nope
[13:13] Velicia Llewellyn: No
[13:14] Sophrosyne Stenvaag: n/a
[13:14] Nikitten Ninetails: no
[13:14] Grace McDunnough has no heartbeat
[13:14] Stan Aichi: sure
[13:14] Yel Oh: if I could think of a good reason to . . yes
[13:14] Extropia DaSilva: Me? No. My primary might but not me.
[13:14] Tara Yeats: unlkiekly
[13:14] Crap Mariner pleads the Fifth
[13:14] Galatea Gynoid: Not sure there’d be a point…
[13:14] Shava Suntzu: unlikely
[13:14] Chimera Cosmos: sure

[13:15] Davidorban:
Fourth question: assuming you could (with an implant or upgrade) merge thoughts, and PURPOSE, with more entities, would you do it?
[13:15] Malburns Writer: Mal hopes to put memories online before heartbeat fades, but …
[13:15] Grace McDunnough: Yes
[13:15] Centrasian Wise: yep
[13:15] Galatea Gynoid: Yes
[13:15] Sophrosyne Stenvaag: yes
[13:15] Crap Mariner: No
[13:15] Velicia Llewellyn: …..come again Dave?
[13:15] Yel Oh: yes
[13:15] Stan Aichi: yes
[13:15] Galatea Gynoid: Crap: Resistance is futile. :p
[13:15] Shava Suntzu: I want to know more about it before I’d say yes or no
[13:16] Grace McDunnough: Join the merge, Vel . you know you want to
[13:16] Zentinal Ziskey: yes, selectively and voluntarily
[13:16] Velicia Llewellyn: Gotcha

[13:16] Davidorban: So.. thanks for this. It is interesting how when speaking to different audiences you can always lose them after a while with the answers becoming prevalently no, or huh, but not here! 🙂
[13:16] Grace McDunnough winks
[13:17] Davidorban: So, let’s start!

And then come back to see what the questions could/should mean, if anything… Let me start with a little dash into history. The ages of humanity have been determined by the evolution of ideas, and their implementations in technology, and societal organization. We have had several epochs, that have been characterized by the interplay between structures and aggregations of various levels: the individual, the family, the clan, the village, the city, the kingdom, the nation state.

Today’s dominant organization, the nation state, is creaking under the forces of globalization. Not only global commerce of products, but also services, and in general the flow of ideas. The metaverse is one of the most important harbingers of the forthcoming changes. And we, in Second Life are experiencing the approaching shockwaves: all the various crackdowns on innovative and controversial practices in SL are a sign of how disquieting, and at the same time how important these experiments are for the physical world.

They are just afraid and rightly so: change is too hard for lazy mammals.

And we are the ones who have to reassure the physical world that change can be beneficial, and while hard, not drammatic, or tragic.

One of my main interests in memetics, and universal Darwinism in general… Dynamic evolution in the metaverse in omnipresent. The evolutionary aspects of Second Life itself are undeniable:
– an environment with constraints hosts
– activities that are observed and copied
– with variation through reinvention
…this is the basic recipe for any universal Darwinian evolution.

I created Vulcano in SL, which you are all welcome not only to visit, but also to be part of, as an evolving social structure. Vulcano on Second Life has been born as an experiment in applying these rules within a social structure. What happens if you let everybody do what they most want to do and learn in SL, to build whatever they want?

The only ‘seed’ as the starting point of the evolution being “apply common sense”!

Since everybody’s definition of common sense is different, there will be a lot of variation, as the news of Vulcano is passed around and people here “Hey you can do anything on Vulcano, as long as it makes sense”. And given the maximum number of prims on a land, there is an environmental constraint that is applied, eliminating what are the stupid ideas, and keeping the ones that in this context make most sense.

After more than a year of evolution on Vulcano we are ready to start and abstract some of the things we learned!

Lesson one: stakes must not always be raised!
We have had thermonuclear attacks, which we survived, and decided not to ban the attacker. The biological necessity of always trumping the enemy so that you won’t be exterminated doesn’t apply!

Lesson two: you can encourage mistakes!
The wonderful sensation of being free to experiment (the childlike wonder, as FSJ would say) is here to stay even as adults when you realize that other people are making the same at the same time as you are or that they went through the same experiences as you are.

Lesson three: metarules are fundamentally important!
In order not to burden the growing community with more and more rules, we have metarules that establish the survival value of the social structures, and the rules that sustain them.

Our next excersise running right now is going to be the design of a dynamic constitution that will have an XML formulation in order to be machine readable, and allow the evaluation of DIFFERENCES between different forumlations. Why is this very important in our opinion? When different online worlds in the metaverse interoperate the frontier crossing them will beeven more important than those between countries today as the changes will impact the laws not only of the social structure, but ownership, DRM, control, identity. When you are crossing in an Open Source world, you shall leave all your nice DRM protected dresses behind!

(BTW: as a consequence, since this filter is not symmetrical, Open Source creation is bound to overcome greatly close sourced creation in the metaverse as well)

So, to start the final part of my speech…
When ideas flow freely, since they are not a scarce resource, what you must keep is adding value through further elements of invention, and creativity.

What happens to humanity as we merge with machines?
What will become of natural humans in a world of automation, where white collar jobs are as regularly mechanised, as blue collar ones in the ’70s or the ’80s?

Too many people are living in a state of fear. Because they confuse evolution with extermination. Still today the most numerous life forms on the planet are bacteria.

Humans are the foundation of the technological evolution, which is going to acquire a large degree of autonomous life. When humans decoupled themselves from the grind of the natural environment 10000 years ago with the invention of agriculture, they took on the new grind of organizing their new life as mechanizers. After 10000 years of trying we are now on the verge of actually being able and go back to what we are good at: chatting, grooming, telling stories, etc.

Without the heartbreaking realities of a 20 year long average lifespan and without the incredible loss of ideas being born just to be extinguished becaue of lack of connectedness.

This is what I call the New Renaissance!

Going back, by going forward: embracing technological tools, to achieve fulfilling and stimulating lives where creativity is unbounded by commercial rules and flows openly adding to humanity’s happiness in an inclusive society that is not afraid of the future that it is building

[13:41] Davidorban: THE END 🙂

Please read the full Q/A session on Scribd