I read "Life Engineering" with great interest. Especially enlightening for me are the remarks on life assistance and machine intelligence in the year 2030. I don't know anything comparable. Also noteworthy are the considerations on quality of life, especially the distinction between Hedonia and Eudaimonia. I also believe that the willingness to rethink the values of a bourgeois society such as privacy or autonomy is crucial.

 

What needs to be discussed, in my view, is the thesis that there is not only a right, but in many cases a duty, to influence people. For me, this is not about the tension between individual vs. expert knowledge. Rather, I dare to doubt whether there is even something like a good to be defined for all people in a next society. Personally, together with Dirk Baecker, I tend to think that in a next society driven by digitization, one dreams in vain of a general, of the reason of the Enlightenment, the course of history, the laws of nature or the meaning of life, to which everything else can be assigned for evaluation. I too recognize the risks of capitalist or communist control of consumption outlined in "Life Engineering".

 

Alternatively, however, I do not see the control by superordinate instances committed to quality of life, but rather a society that dissolves into countless subsystems that function in relation to one another as mere neighbors. The individual subsystems are held together by the attitudes, visions and values of the actors in the subsystem. I trust that every power is challenged by a counter-power. Digital media make not only the power of the big Internet corporations or social scoring in China possible, but also new forms of social movement. Regardless of the vision, the question remains which social and political forces are driving the transformation of society. Hubert Österle rightly states that the mechanization of the world urgently requires new concepts for steering the economy and society for the benefit of people. It is possible, however, that not only the concepts for steering society, but also the "concept of steering" must be reconsidered. Exciting questions.

The book is certainly no easy task. The scenarios it describes are so realistic and comprehensible that I feel myself at the mercy of the development to super intelligence in a similar way I do with the Corona virus. Even though Hubert Österle writes about control before abuse and better understanding through a new science called "Life Engineering", after reading the book I have the feeling that the process is already out of control. Politics has not yet developed a sensorium for this. At least that is my impression.

Personally I feel as if, humor has not been considered enough.

For me, humour is not so much about making fun of the imperfection of others, but about being able to laugh at one's own misfortunes and mistakes. This is liberating and makes you happy. When I knock over a glass, for example, it seems much less tragic to me if I can laugh heartily about my own clumsiness than if I am annoyed about it. Humour simply takes a lot of the heat and gives a lightness that makes everyday life more colourful and worth living. Of course this doesn't always work and humour is often not appropriate. But to look at some things with a wink of the eye contributes significantly to life satisfaction. I doubt that a super intelligence can also have humor. But who knows?

"Life Engineering" should become mandatory reading for decision-makers in all relevant areas of society! In any case, I will gladly pass it on.

©2019 by Life-Engineering

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