On this page, I'd like to present my personal views on...
Philosophy & Politics,
Mankind & Planet Earth,
Beliefs & Religion,
Music & Art.
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 revolution one day, but nowadays I think that this was quite a naive and foolish idea.
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.
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 us 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 only to hide the fact that their writings are full of shit (except for James Joyce, of course).
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.
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 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.
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 of years and nature will flourish again as soon as humans will be extinct.
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.
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. 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, with the remaining humans to 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.
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 is 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 imprisonned 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).
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
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".
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.
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 10 years, and the project was finally revealed to the public in 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 a first 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.
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