The AI constitution can mean the difference between war and peace—or total extinction.
- The question of conscious artificial intelligence dominating future humanity is not the most pressing issue we face today, says Allan Dafoe of the Center for the Governance of AI at Oxford's Future of Humanity Institute. Dafoe argues that AI's power to generate wealth should make good governance our primary concern.
- With thoughtful systems and policies in place, humanity can unlock the full potential of AI with minimal negative consequences. Drafting an AI constitution will also provide the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of past structures to avoid future conflicts.
- Building a framework for governance will require us to get past sectarian differences and interests so that society as a whole can benefit from AI in ways that do the most good and the least harm.
What is human dignity? Here's a primer, told through 200 years of great essays, lectures, and novels.
- Human dignity means that each of our lives have an unimpeachable value simply because we are human, and therefore we are deserving of a baseline level of respect.
- That baseline requires more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose.
- We look at incredible writings from the last 200 years that illustrate the push for human dignity in regards to slavery, equality, communism, free speech and education.
The inherent worth of all human beings<p>Human dignity is the inherent worth of each individual human being. Recognizing human dignity means respecting human beings' special value—value that sets us apart from other animals; value that is intrinsic and cannot be lost.</p> <p>Liberalism—the broad political philosophy that organizes society around liberty, justice, and equality—is rooted in the idea of human dignity. Liberalism assumes each of our lives, plans, and preferences have some unimpeachable value, not because of any objective evaluation or contribution to a greater good, but simply because they belong to a human being. We are human, and therefore deserving of a baseline level of respect. </p> <p>Because so many of us take human dignity for granted—just a fact of our humanness—it's usually only when someone's dignity is ignored or violated that we feel compelled to talk about it. </p> <p>But human dignity means more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose—a freedom that can be hampered by restrictive social institutions or the tyranny of the majority. The liberal ideal of the good society is not just peaceful but also pluralistic: It is a society in which we respect others' right to think and live differently than we do.</p>
From the 19th century to today<p>With <a href="https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?year_start=1800&year_end=2019&content=human+dignity&corpus=26&smoothing=3&direct_url=t1%3B%2Chuman%20dignity%3B%2Cc0" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Google Books Ngram Viewer</a>, we can chart mentions of human dignity from 1800-2019.</p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg0ODU0My9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MTUwMzE4MX0.bu0D_0uQuyNLyJjfRESNhu7twkJ5nxu8pQtfa1w3hZs/img.png?width=980" id="7ef38" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9974c7bef3812fcb36858f325889e3c6" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1225" data-height="451" />
American novelist, writer, playwright, poet, essayist and civil rights activist James Baldwin at his home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, southern France, on November 6, 1979.
Credit: Ralph Gatti/AFP via Getty Images
The future of dignity<p>Around the world, people are still working toward the full and equal recognition of human dignity. Every year, new speeches and writings help us understand what dignity is—not only what it looks like when dignity is violated but also what it looks like when dignity is honored. In his posthumous essay, Congressman Lewis wrote, "When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war."</p> <p>The more we talk about human dignity, the better we understand it. And the sooner we can make progress toward a shared vision of peace, freedom, and mutual respect for all. </p>
Historian Rutger Bregman argues that the persistent theory that most people are monsters is just wrong.
- How have humans managed to accomplish significantly more than any other species on the planet? Historian Rutger Bregman believes the quality that makes us special is that we "evolved to work together and to cooperate on a scale that no other species in the whole animal kingdom has been able to do."
- Pushing back against the millennia-old idea that humans are inherently evil beneath their civilized surface, which is known as 'veneer theory', Bregman says that it's humanity's cooperative spirit and sense of brotherhood that leads us to do cruel deeds. "Most atrocities are committed in the name of loyalty, and in the name of friendship, and in the name of helping your people," he tells Big Think. "That is what's so disturbing."
- The false assumption that people are evil or inherently selfish has an effect on the way we design various elements of our societies and structures. If we designed on the assumption that we are collaborative instead, we could avoid the "self-fulfilling prophecy" of selfishness.
Christmas was banned in 1647 and rebellions broke out across the country.
'Critical Tourist Map of Oslo' offers uniquely dark perspective on Norway's capital.
- Your standard tourist map is irrepressibly positive about its location—but not this one.
- Norwegian activist/artist Markus Moestue reveals the dark and shameful sides of Oslo.
- He hopes his 'Critical Tourist Map' will inspire others to reveal the dark side of their cities.
"Only negative stuff about Oslo"<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="afa824839d1b396332eec13dde629cf1"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/HI1paJLc9Bo?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Tourism is a conspiracy of euphemisms. Visitors only want to see the best parts of the places they visit. And the places they visit only want to show them their nicest bits. But now, Norwegian activist/artist Markus Moestue is completely reversing that premise. His 'Critical Tourist Map' of Oslo shows the worst, most shameful parts of the Norwegian capital. "It's just like a normal tourist map," he says, "but everything is negative."</p><p><span></span>In a clip on his website, he's seen wheeling a self-made kiosk across Oslo to distribute his work to passersby: "You guys want a free tourist map? It's a critical one: only negative things. So, nothing about sweaters or lasagna, only negative stuff about Oslo and Norway." Some hesitantly accept the map. Most walk by, nonplussed.</p><p><span></span>In the same clip, Moestue muses: "If you feel like you live in the best country in the world, take a moment to consider: Is that really a fact? Or is that just the result of a very successful national propaganda?"</p><p><span></span>One thing is for sure: Norway does have a very positive opinion of itself, and successfully projects that image to the rest of the world. Like its neighboring countries in Scandinavia, it regularly tops global rankings of happiness, equality, eco-awareness and other positive social indicators. </p><p><span></span>But Moestue argues that there <em>is</em> something rotten in the state of Norway, and he uses the otherwise irrepressibly positive medium of the tourist map to make his point. </p><p><span></span>"The Critical Tourist Map of Oslo might help you shatter a few myths about the greatness of Norway. Among the topics you'll learn about is Norway's aggressive foreign policy, our involvement in colonial slavery, the unfair asylum system and why Amnesty International has their eyes on our prisons."</p><p>A short overview of the places and issues he singles out (see map for full text) follows.<br></p>
"Cleverly constructed doublethink"<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDc2NDA0MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MzE2Njg2OH0.f-P7CZ6HWXngFmGcYH9GCgTkD9zSIk8XdG3u6wUu8W4/img.jpg?width=980" id="a836f" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d0fb7e033d4121b4400670417eefcf61" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="The Royal Palace in Oslo was built in the first half of the 19th century as the Norwegian residence of Norwegian and Swedish king Charles III (Carl Johan, Charles XIV of Sweden) and is used as the official residence of the present Norwegian Monarch. The crown-prince couple resides at Skaugum in Asker Municipality outside Oslo." data-width="3706" data-height="2720" />
The Royal Palace in Oslo. "The Royal Myth was created by King Olav in 1973, when he arranged a photo of himself pretending to pay for a tram ticket," says Moestue.
Credit: Palickap, CC BY-SA 4.0<p><strong></strong><strong>1. Monarchy</strong></p><p><em>Det Kongelige Slott (the Royal Palace) – Slottsplassen 1</em></p><p>"The Royal Myth was created by King Olav in 1973, when he arranged a photo of himself pretending to pay for a tram ticket. That iconic image showed the king being just like us. But of course, it was such a big deal because he's not one of us. This is very cleverly constructed doublethink."<br></p><p><strong>2. Parliament</strong></p><p><em>Stortinget (Parliament) – Karl Johanns gate 22</em></p><p><em></em>"In 2011, these people voted to bomb Libya. 588 Norwegian bombs helped reduce that country from one of the most stable states in Africa into one of civil war with extreme suffering for its people." </p><p><strong>3. Slavery</strong></p><p><em>Tordenskioldstatuen (statue of Tordenskiold) – Rådhusplassen (east side)</em></p><p>"Our national hero Tordenskiold operated as a slave-trader during the colonial era. Norway actively downplays this part of our history and has not provided any apologies or paid any reparations."</p><p><strong>4. Oslo Prison</strong></p><p><em>Oslo fengsel (Oslo Prison) - Åkebergveien 11</em></p><p><em></em>"Amnesty International has complained that this prison in Oslo keeps prisoners in isolation for up to 23 hours a day. This equals torture and may have long-term implications for the prisoners' mental health." </p><p><strong>5. Lesbian bench</strong></p><p><em>Karl Johanns gate (?)</em></p><p><em></em>"This bench is a memorial for all in Norway who have been discriminated against—and still are—because of their sexual orientation. Still today you can find discrimination, and some religious sects are still trying to 'heal' young people from homosexuality." </p><p><strong>6. Indigenous peoples</strong></p><p><em>Samisk Hus (Sami House) - Dronningens gate 8B</em></p><p><em></em>"Many efforts have been made to assimilate the indigenous people of Norway. Sami and Kven have had their cultures diminished. Use of their languages and symbols was discouraged, sometimes outlawed. Today, these languages are under threat of extinction."<br></p>
The gap between history and reality<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDc2NDA1Ni9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzOTg5NTQ1NH0.BINAtAOzGyUMfBdjCUuBI4jcE-JGF5NJMM4cL4SeMe4/img.jpg?width=980" id="0bad8" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d468a23fd5d94b61348f94c4779ff48f" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="\u200b"In most countries, what we are taught about our own nation in school does not correspond much to reality," says Mr Moestue. This map sets about correcting that shortcoming, at least for his own country: "Is Norway the most happy place, the most environmentally conscious, the most peace-loving or the most ethical (country on earth)? Hardly!"" data-width="3508" data-height="4961" />
"In most countries, what we are taught about our own nation in school does not correspond much to reality," says Moestue. This map sets about correcting that shortcoming, at least for Oslo and Norway.
17th-century sugar<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDc2NDA2Mi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NTAxMjkxMX0.gznqzdg6ts4Ao3tZnJSpg93nCj0YUBi8ycrYKcBg1bU/img.jpg?width=980" id="a18ce" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="51d624d1e603cdae225ef8fca66a9764" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Seagull resting in Tordenskiold's hat. "We had fortresses in Africa and colonies in the Caribbean. Norway actively downplays this part of our history and has not provided any apologies or paid any reparations," says Mr Moestue. "It sometimes feels like Norway has no colonial history and nobody ate any sugar in the 17th century."" data-width="2486" data-height="2109" />
Seagull resting in Tordenskiold's hat. "It sometimes feels like Norway has no colonial history and nobody ate any sugar in the 17th century."
Credit: Michal Klajban, CC BY-SA 3.0<p>Perhaps somewhat too convinced of the malleability of public opinion, Mr Moestue muses: "People don't want to just come to Oslo, look around, go back home and say: <em>Hey, I've been to Oslo, to have the best kebab or to have some mediocre Chinese food there</em>. No. People want to go to Oslo and then they want to go back home, and they want to say: <em>I've been to Oslo. I've seen Oslo. And it's really, really bad</em>."</p><p>Most foreigners - and a good deal of Norwegians - will probably not know that the country has a colonial past, for example. "We had fortresses in Africa and colonies in the Caribbean. Norway actively downplays this part of our history and has not provided any apologies or paid any reparations," says Moestue. But "it sometimes feels like Norway has no colonial history and nobody ate any sugar in the 17th century."</p><p><span></span>However, don't mistake Mr Moestue's negativism for nihilism. Ultimately, his map has a positive point to make: "I feel that Norway is using too much resources <em>appearing</em> to be good, and too little effort actually <em>doing</em> good!"</p><p>And there's another thing the artist hopes is map will achieve: "I'm hoping others will make their own tourist maps about their own cities. If they look hard enough I'm sure it's also pretty bad!" </p><p><br><br><em>Learn more about Mr Moestue's map on his <a href="https://markusmoestue.no/" target="_blank">website</a>.</em></p><p><em></em><strong>Strange Maps #1056</strong></p><p><strong></strong><em>Got a strange map? Let me know via </em><a href="mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a><em>.</em><br></p>