Philosophy of Engineering and Artifact
in the Digital Era

an exploratory workshop

2009 February 6-8
“Stefan cel Mare” University of Suceava

Florin Munteanu



Quantum Technologies and Ethics in the Consciousness Society

The already accumulated know-how as well as the latest studies on the evolution of both the Universe, on one hand, and the evolution of the mankind, on the other hand, strongly suggest a constant and permanent increase in complexity. This is characteristic and affects not only these systems per se but other living structures, as well as other affiliated or resulting artifacts that appear during the above mentioned evolutionary processes. We propose here that this complexification process is described by an underlying principle that can be called “the principle of MESIT efficiency”. Let us clarify and give a quick and broad definition of this principle.
A living organism’s exponential growth of its capabilities to adapt to the environment and –at the same time– to explore it is a dynamic and complex process. Furthermore, the last period in History has witnessed a hitherto unknown phenomenon, the appearance of artefacts, and -especially in the modern era- intelligent artefacts. The meaning of the term “last period” can be understood both on a macro scale, i.e. the relatively infinitesimal interval of time (as compared to the Geological eras and the immensity of Time) in which Mankind and its artificial creations have appeared and progressed, as well on a “micro” scale, i.e. the period after the Second World War and especially the last decades, in which the most amazing and essential findings have been made, e.g. the transistor, the laser, the integrated circuit, the computer, nanotechnology, and the promise  of Artificial Intelligence. The evolution of both a living organism and of Mankind, and of its artefacts, especially those that use and/or store Artificial Intelligence, clearly require an essential underlying restructuring of its informational, energetic and material structures/aspects. We therefore assert that, in this Universal evolutionary process, for a given performance level, the newly creaeted/generated structures of a newer generation require increasingly less Matter and Energy are necessary, occupy an increasingly more compact Space and process much more Information in a shorter Time, thus being more efficient than their ‘parents’ of the previous generation(s), hence the proposed name of “MESIT efficiency”.
This trend can be identified in the evolution of the human society, too: the amount of data which can be labeled as “Knowledge” and/or know-how is also increasing exponentially. Mankind has thus progressed ever more rapidly from the agrarian society to the industrial one, which is now gradually fading away to the newly appearing Knowledge  society. Each new stage demands that Men acquire or develop new skills, attitudes and aptitudes, i.e. it compels Mankind to leap higher, to a new level, by developing a new Paradigm, and, therefore, to also inherently generate a new Ethics and a new Culture, both specific to this new phase.
Indeed, each new leap to such a new and higher level that has taken place until now in the History of the Mankind can be considered/viewed as a criticality, a bifurcation point. One can easily understand that the period of change before such a leap is not only a period of opportunities but also of dangers, of risks that have to be assumed and of deadlines which have to be met in time in order to enable such a leap. Most importantly, the lack of a profound and clear understanding of what is required in order to generate such a key Paradigm shift and what are the consequences resulting from its implementation can lead to accidents and negative outcomes which can reach tragic and disastrous levels. This is because each new leap requires “tunneling” to higher peaks, and with every such increasingly high leap there is more at stake. In other words, just as the evolution increases exponentially, the risks and dangers also increase correspondingly, in the same fashion, hence the negative consequences can become devastatingly catastrophic both in intensity and affected spatio-temporal “area”. The present new leap that Mankind has to do is therefore even more important, given not only the unprecedented large ‘height’ in Know-how and in the paradigm change that needs to be done (and in a shorter time), but also because of the more serious implications and catastrophic results that can appear if the attempt to do this leap fails.
Our work will highlight and briefly detail the following essential aspects:

  1. Sketch the main features of this difficulty in carrying out a successful transition from the industrial society to the Knowledge-based one;
  2. Help to configure the necessary directing vectors in the formation of the new Knowledge society;
  3. Draw attention on the necessity of synchronizing the technical & scientific development with the spiritual one as well as with the simultaneous definition and/or reconfiguration of moral and ethics norms, as a strict necessity in order to ensure Mankinds successful survival, particularly in the modern context of increasingly more performant technologies with expanded potential, such as nanotechnologies and quantum science.



Asupra tehnologiilor cuantice şi a eticii în societatea Conştiinţei       

Studiile efectuate asupra evoluţiei Universului şi a societăţii omeneşti au sugerat o tendinţă de complexificare constantă, atât a structurilor vii şi nevii cât şi a artefactelor, după un principiu pe care l-am putea numi “al MEST eficienţei”.            Creşterea exponenţială a performanţelor unor organisme vii de a explora şi a se adapta la un mediu, el însuşi dinamic, dar şi a artefactelor,  mai ales a celor care înmagazinează inteligenţă artificială, sugerează o restructurare info-energo-materială continuă. Astfel,  pentru o performanţă dată, este nevoie din ce în ce mai puţină Materie, mai puţină Energie, ocupă un Spaţiu din ce în ce mai compact şi procesează într-un Timp din ce în ce mai scurt.        Această tendinţă se poate identifica şi în evoluţia societăţii umane, cantitatea de cunoaştere crescând exponential, de la societatea agrară, la cea industrială, la cea informaţională pentru a face loc acum societăţii Cunoaşterii şi a permite prefigurarea societăţii Conştiinţei. Fiecare nou stadiu impune o anumită particularitate a dezvoltării Omului într-un cadru definit de o anume paradigmă şi inerent, capabil să genereze o cultură şi o etică specifică.
            Fiecare salt în cunoaştere poate fi considerat un punct critic pentru umanitate căci, în lipsa unei înţelegeri profunde a noii paradigme şi a consecinţelor aplicării acesteia, se poate ajunge la accidente, a căror consecinţe cresc exponenţial, atât ca intensitate cât şi ca arie spaţio-temporală implicată.
            Lucrarea urmăreşte să schiţeze dificultatea tranziţiei de la societatea industrială şi informaţională la cea a Cunoaşterii, să prefigureze vectorii directori ai societăţii Conştiinţei şi să atragă atenţia asupra necesităţii problematicii de dezvoltare spirituală a omului şi a rafinării continue a normelor de morală şi etică, pentru a asigura supravieţuirea speciei umane şi a vieţii pe planeta Pşmânt, în contextul dezvoltării şi utilizării nanotehnologiilor şi a tehnologiilor cuantice.