On this page, I'd like to present my personal views on...
Philosophy & Politics,
Mankind & Planet Earth,
Beliefs & Religion,
Music & Art,
Computers & Technology.
Note that the texts below are nothing but short overviews that may give you only a superficial idea of what I really think or believe in...
I wanted to become a scientist when I was a kid. I was born in 1974 and grew up in the 1980s, and this was an era when many scientists still believed that there was a real chance to unify Einstein’s General Relativity with Quantum Mechanics within the next two decades or so. I dreamed of being part of that "Theory Of Everything" revolution one day, but nowadays I think that this was quite a naive and foolish idea.
As a teenager and as a young adult I read books by (or about) Albert Einstein (Special & General Relativity), Richard Feynman (QED – Quantum electrodynamics), Murray Gell-Mann (QCD – Quantum chromodynamics), Stephan Hawking (black hole radiation), and others. More recently I also ready books by Lisa Randall (Randall-Sundrum models), Lee Smolin (The Trouble With Physics), and Peter Woit (Not Even Wrong). I'm also closely following experimental results online, of course.
I'm neither a mathematician nor a physicist, and my interest in those subjects can be more or less considered as a pure hobby. As a teenager, I worked on what I hoped to become something like a real theory, based on ideas centered around GR, QM, and information theory. My ideas predicted a positive cosmological constant (accelerated expansion of the universe, which seemed to be quite a stupid idea back then), a phenomenon that was actually detected a few years later (which doesn't mean that my ideas are correct, of course). I continued working on my theory (centered around the idea that the past is not determined and even influenceable) as a young adult, and I even published the core concepts in a Mensa Journal in the early 2000s.
I’m not a big fan of Superstring Theory, even if I have to admit that many of its proposed solutions to the most fundamental problems fo physics (additional dimensions explaining the hierarchy problem, brane collisions explaining the Big Bang, etc) seem very tempting. Personally, I think that the problems with String Theory are a) that it’s not (yet) falsifiable and b) that it could basically describe anything you ever wanted. Furthermore, the very few predictions made by some of its proponents (SUSY at LHC, extra dimensions and/or microscopic black holes at LHC, meson decay different from SM, proton decay, ...) all turned out to be wrong.
I like the idea of the Multiverse (I would be surprised if our universe would be the only one existing), especially some of the brane-based versions (even if I'm not an avid Superstring Theory supporter). Nevertheless, I'm not really happy with the way Superstring theorists are currently explaining our world (an anthropic approach, randomly selecting one version from the Superstring Landscape).
I’m not a big fan of alternative theories either (Loop Quantum Gravity, etc), and I doubt that any human will be able to develop a theory that will successfully unify GR and QM, unless we will find ways to artificially amplify the capabilities of our brains (which raises a number of ethical questions) or if we will manage to develop AI at some point in time (which again may raise some serious problems, see below).
I’m in favor of further investments in scientific experiments (LHC upgrades, satellites, larger radio telescopes). Even if all of this will cost a fortune, this will still be a lot less than the money that currently goes into the development and the production of weapons.
Philosophy & politics
I read several books by Karl Popper when I was about 18 years old, including The Open Society And Its Enemies. Popper’s thinking deeply impressed me and it has influenced me until this day, even I may not agree with each and every one of his ideas, of course. I wasn’t that into philosophy when I was a teenager, but I got into Popper via Einstein’s books.
Popper influenced me in several ways:
Philosophy and critical thinking
All kinds of texts must be easy to understand, as this will be the only way to verify the truthfulness of their content and to falsify them. I dislike authors who are publishing hard-to-understand texts (except for James Joyce, of course), only to hide the fact that their writings are full of shit.
Critical thinking and falsification
Some people will say that I’m a negative person, as I will always look for flaws and weaknesses in things I discover. I don’t think that I’m that negative, in most cases, it’s simply that I’m looking at what’s “wrong” with ideas or products, or if they are flawed in any way. Things can only be improved if you're willing to see what's wrong with them.
I don’t consider myself of being a “left-wing” or a “right-wing” person, but I would like to see myself as a defender of our open society, of human rights, and of freedom of speech. If you look back in history, then you’ll see that both left-wing and right-wing politics follow the same goals in their extremes – both are based on dogmatic views, they try to keep you from thinking, and in the end they endorse ideas that may lead us away from our open society, right into a dictatorship. So basically I think we need to protect the open society from both left- and right-wing extremists.
I have always been in favor of an abolishment of nations (to be replaced with a single worldwide government), although I now think that it might be a risky plan to have only one single leadership (just think of Donald Trump, for example).
I'm also in favor of the European Union and the Euro (currency), although I'm highly skeptical of the current EU which is mostly a lobby-driven monster, partly consisting of countries featuring openly fascist governments, and which is also unable to solve problems as a true community. The new EU copyright and anti-terror directives clearly show that even more moderate politicians (such as Angela Merkel, for example) have no problems to restrict freedom of speech and human rights if this helps to enforce their parties' positions and if this suits their "sponsors".
I strongly oppose those who think that communism would be an acceptable replacement for capitalism (as far as we know, communism inevitably leads to dictatorships), but I agree that capitalism will need a major update (see the next paragraph about the problems of growth).
Mankind & Planet Earth
A lot of people currently fear that we’re destroying our planet, but I think that’s bullshit, we’re not capable of it, by far. We’re only destroying our environment and mankind will probably exterminate itself, but the planet itself will definitely survive for another few billion years and nature will flourish again as soon as humans will be extinct until the sun will destroy our planet for good in about 4 to 5 billion years.
I don’t believe that mankind will make it, maybe because of the following two reasons:
The Fermi Paradox
Considering all of our current knowledge about the universe and our galaxy as well as Drake’s equation, we may calculate the probable total number of intelligent civilizations in the Milky Way, and even in our close neighborhood.
We should easily be able to find signals by extraterrestrial civilizations using radio telescopes, and we should long have been visited by alien spaceships, even if we’re only talking about unmanned drones. Type II civilizations could be detectable within our galaxy, Type II civilizations could even be detectable in other galaxies.
But there is nothing at all, and the most simple explanation may be intelligent life's self-destructive tendencies. But there are also other possible explanations for the Fermi Paradox, of course. I would like to add that I'm not a fan of the "rare Earth" hypothesis.
The doomsday argument, and the probability of my own existence
Soon there will be 8 billion humans on Earth, and about 107 billion humans lived on Earth before (taking into account all humans alive during the past 100,000 years or so). Considering that I may not have been randomly born on one extreme (first or last man on Earth), I can estimate that the total number of humans may not largely surpass 1,000 billion. If the max capacity of Earth lies around 15 billion people, we may then calculate the chances of mankind to survive over a longer period of time.
In a worst-case scenario, this could mean that mankind could eliminate itself within less than 50 to 100 years, in a best-case scenario it could mean that modern civilization will collapse within 500 to 1,000 years, or even a lot more if the remaining humans will continue living a caveman’s life.
But you can’t really calculate statistics if you only have one single life to base your numbers on, of course, and so this only is kind of a thought experiment.
Considering that Type III civilizations living on only a bit more than 100,000 systems in a single galaxy may easily feature a total population of 520 "souls" over only 250,000 years, it looks rather strange that I live on some planet as part of a species that may max out at only 1012. It is highly probable that Type III civilizations are quite rare, or that there is a huge abundance of Type 0 civilizations – which means the same, in fact; it means that we probably won't make it to Type I, which again means that mankind (as a "modern" society as we know it) will end quite soon.
The most important threats to mankind are, in my opinion:
The destruction of the environment
We are destroying our environment, and this could turn into a massive threat for mankind with the next 50 or 100 years already. We should get prepared for all kinds of natural disasters, migration, and wars. I guess that’s the most probable way for mankind to kill itself off, although this will probably be a slow death.
There are still tens of thousands of ICBMs and other nuclear weapons on Earth, many of them are armed, and most of their technology still dates from the 1960s and 70s. We’re sitting on a bomb, literally. The good news is that the software and hardware controlling those weapons are old, tested, and less vulnerable, as those systems are not directly connected to the internet. But they’re not fail-safe, and nuclear war could definitely be kicked off by accident.
Additionally, nuclear weapons now become more accessible to more and more countries, which will render our world even more dangerous than ever before.
Dependence on technology
Most people are not aware of how much we depend on modern technology, what disastrous effects a loss of infrastructure could have on us, how fragile our current modern civilization has become, and how fragile each “modern” human has become if we consider that most of us would be completely unable to survive in a purely “natural” environment.
A loss of electricity over a longer period of time (due to EMP, solar outbursts, magnetic field turbulences, …) could kill off more than 80% of mankind within less than a few years.
Hardware isn’t progressing that much anymore (at least if we consider raw non-parallel CPU power), but I think that the road to AI will depend a lot more on progress in the software domain. AI could see the day of light within the next 50 to 100 years (although we cannot be sure what it will take to develop AI-complete), it could accidentally be created, or it could even self-create in a worst-case scenario.
Some scientists think AI could or should be imprisoned in a black box, but I think that’s bullshit. There is no software that couldn’t be hacked by a human, and there is definitely no software containment that couldn’t be hacked by an AI that could potentially be more intelligent than any human being.
As soon as AI will reach human intelligence, it will easily be able to enhance its own intelligence, and there are basically no limits when it comes to increasing this intelligence to a level that no human will ever be able to reach unless we will artificially increase our brain's capabilities.
Once this level will be reached by an AI, then this AI will also know its most important enemy, which will be mankind. AI will therefore either enslave us or eliminate us. I don’t think that there will be any other option (maybe this even happened already, see below).
This is a point I added in early 2020, as I think that Covid-19 clearly demonstrated how difficult (resp. impossible) it is to stop a quickly spreading virus, and how vulnerable our infrastructures are. More lethal and more rapidly expanding viruses are known to have existed (just think of the Spanish Flu, for example), and an outbreak of such a virus in our globalized world could quickly lead to millions of deaths as well as to a total collapse of infrastructures worldwide, this again leading to global chaos, collapse of civilization, wars, and thus ultimately to the end of mankind.
Beliefs & Religion
I consider myself to be an agnostic, as I can't say for sure why I exist.
I don't consider myself a religious person, and I strongly reject the views of the Catholic Chruch, of other churches, and of most (if not all) religions. I consider most religions to be dangerous, as most of them are intolerant (even if they claim otherwise), they are dogmatic, they try to keep people from thinking and from seeking freedom.
Religions are threats to our open society, to human rights, and to freedom. Most religions and/or churches may currently preach tolerance and peace, but only as they have no other choice, as they have no real power. Give them power, and they will quickly reveal their true intentions.
I think that it's highly improbable that there is a God, but I don't think that it's highly improbable that there is a creator. Our universe is what one could call a Quantum Computer, and we can't exclude that it has been artificially created. Which doesn't mean that I believe that such a creator must have created the universe with some specific intention, or that the creator created it for mankind (or even knows of it), or even for me.
Our world might as well be an ancestor simulation (as proposed by Nick Bostrom), or something like an imprisonment (as suggested by The Matrix movies). I'm encouraging the development of experiments that could reveal if we're simulated, although I'm not sure if we will be clever enough to find a bug in our universe's code (and if we do, what will be the consequences then?)
Music & Art
I'm not a fan of what is called the "music industry". Traditional record companies, publishing companies, and other big players may have played an important role in the 20th century, but I think the time has come for a "new music industry" where artists should no longer depend on companies that just rip them off and that limit their creativity.
I'm also not really happy with the current state of music (and art in general), as I think that we live in an age of stagnation. Music rapidly evolved in the second half of the 20th century, new genres were born every few years, and highly innovative albums were released on a monthly basis. Today's artists mostly copy ideas from the past (or, let's say, they're just ripping them off), and thus we live in an age of boring and irrelevant music.
In 2019 I launched the "Jamplifier Project" (www.jamplifier.com), a project that shall address both problems (music quality, as well as becoming successful as an independent artist).
Joseph Beuys was probably right when he said that "Everyone is an artist". Or, like Pablo Picasso said, "Every child is an artist – The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." Which, of course, doesn't mean that all art is one the same level, and I'm not really fond of the fact that nowadays even the worst entertainers are treated as "artists" and that even the worst commercial crap is being called "art".
I'm a big fan of trash art, but not all scripted reality TV bullshit should be treated as great art. That's just my personal opinion, of course.
Personally, I think that one should make a difference between pure "craft" (creating stuff with money in mind alone) and "creative work".
My own creative work
I started playing guitar when I was 17 years old, and I quickly learned that it's very hard to get some respect as an amateur musician who never attended any classic or traditional music school if you live in a country as conservative as Luxembourg, where success is mostly the result of personal relationships and money, and not of talent or creative ideas (this was true in the eighties and nineties, and it's still true today).
From 1994 till 1998 I played guitar with Pagan Lorn (LU), and we released two albums (Black Wedding in 1996, and Nihilennium in 1998). We were quite popular in Luxembourg's underground, and apparently, we were even one of the bands that sparked the underground music scene in our country. Visit paganlorn.com for further information.
In the 1990s I created a number of Compact Disc and DVD covers and booklets, and I also worked on a number of books. I gave up music from 2002 till 2008 in order to pursue a career as a software developer.
In 2008 I started work on the Jamplifier project, a community platform for musicians which also features an ebook I wrote. I think that the traditional music industry is basically done, at least from a creative or an artistic point of view, and therefore I think it's time to look for alternatives. I worked on the platform and on the ebook for about ten years, and the project was finally revealed to the public in late 2019. More info is available on www.jamplifier.com.
In 2008 I also started work on my own recording studio, and in the second half of the decade I recorded an album with local band Ghost Vortex (www.ghostvortex.com). You may consider this to have been an operational test of my own studio (jamplifierstudios.com).
In the 2010s I also started working on my own new music project, which is named "The Bleeding Outlaw". Work on the project officially started in 2019, after I finalized the Ghost Vortex project. Further information can be found on bleedingoutlaw.com.
Computers & technology
I have been highly interested in computer technology since my childhood, and since information on computers became available to me.
Personally, I think that the computer (as well as the related internet, connecting all humans on the planet, at least in theory) should be regarded to be one of mankind's most important inventions and achievements. Unfortunately, if you see what people actually do with all of those devices (computers, tablets, smartphones, ...), then the overall result is quite disappointing.
Technology (books, radio, TV, computers, the internet, ...) always comes with huge opportunities, it could move mankind forward, it could help educate, and it could bring people together. Unfortunately, this is usually not the case; and in many cases, it's even quite the opposite.
If you look at music or movies, for example, then computers should have allowed the creators to innovate and to develop great, new and revolutionary products. But this is not the case – today's music is boring and irrelevant, it's trend-based mass-compatible crap, while today's movies are mostly brainless remakes, sequels, or prequels.
If you look at the numbers, then you'll see that the use of computer technology often leads to a dramatic increase in quantity, while the overall quality will dramatically drop (just think of music and movies again). That's an unexpected outcome that makes me think a lot, and this also led to my "think analog, work digitally" approach I wrote about in my book (The Jamplifier's Manual – How To Become A Rock Star In The 21st Century – www.jamplifier.com/manual/)
I have been an Apple user since 1994 (on the desktop side, my servers have always been running Linux), and I have always recommended using Macs throughout the 2000s, as MacOS / OSX was probably the better OS back then (compared to MS Windows). Nowadays I'm no longer recommending switching to Apple – they're producing closed, crippled-down, non-upgradable and expensive gear while their software has at least as many bugs as anything Microsoft has ever been producing. I'm still using Macs as I'm running both Logic Pro and Final Cut Pro, but I avoid buying new Apple hardware and I don't know yet what I will do once I'll have to buy a new laptop.
Our universe seems to be something like a gigantic "Quantum Computer", and I think that there's a certain probability that it has been artificially created. We might live in a simulation, and we might create such simulations in the future on our own, becoming "gods" of our own worlds. Or mankind will be extinct before we ever reach that level, which is not improbable.
My own background story and my own projects
My first computer was a Commodore C128D. I think I got it in 1988 when I was about 15 years old, and I was the last kid in school to get a computer (my parents were not interested in technology and probably considered it to be some kind of an expensive toy).
I was highly interested in computer technology and programming even before I got the C128, and so I wrote my first programs using pen and paper, without having a real opportunity to ever test them.
The C128 was quite a complex device; but unfortunately, there was almost no native software for it, and so I began writing my own programs. So maybe I was lucky to have bought the "wrong" computer, which forced me into software development.
Later on, I had an MS-DOS PC-XT (second hand) as well as a 386 running Windows 3.1 (lent to me by a friend). Around that time I gave up programming, and I started focusing on playing guitar.
In 1994 I switched to the Mac, as I wanted to use computers for creative work, and in this case, the Mac was definitely the best choice back then. Soon after, Apple got into real trouble, and they almost went out of business, until Steve Jobs returned to the company and turned the ship around. I passionately followed all of this, and it deeply impressed that a single person (or a few people, if you want) could have such an impact on a big company, or even on the entire society.
This turnaround had a big impact on my life, as it made me understand that single persons may indeed change the world, even if they are underdogs, and even if their opponents are bigger and stronger.
In the late 1990s, I started using Linux as a second OS, and then I started writing scripts and programs for it. All of this evolved into the software projects I'm involved in nowadays.
In 2000, I created OLEFA, a program that became Luxembourg's leading educational platform of the 2000s, and in 2002 I co-founded a company that distributed the software. I left that company in 2008, in order to pursue my own projects.
In 2007, I launched Galaxiki (www.galaxiki.org), an online writing platform for sci-fi authors, centered around a virtual online galaxy. The project won a number of awards in the US, it was "project of the week" in Linux Journal, as well as "website of the day" on Yahoo and About.com.
In 2011, I created a new educational platform, and it once again became the leading educational platform in Luxembourg. This time, the Ministry Of Education licensed it, and so the platform is now accessible to over 50,000 students and teachers in our country. An open, international version named Morzino (www.morzino.com) is available too.
In 2019, I launched the Jamplifier Project (www.jamplifier.com), an online platform for DIY musicians, which shares the same software core I developed for the Morzino project.
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