Take a look at your screen. This world we live in relies heavily on technology, and this can be seen as a problem both on the individual and the communal level. But how much reliance is too much? Where do we draw the line? We understand that we cannot spend no possible time without technology for our work and our time, but we recognize that spending all day with it is incredibly unhealthy. What exact second is the tipping point? How do we determine what is too much on a sliding scale? Similar problems has been posed for millennia; Sorites’ paradox, otherwise known as the paradox of sand, posed a question about what determined a mound of sand. One million grains of sand piled upon one another in a massive pile would be a mound, but what about 999,999 grains of sand? What about 999,998? As the grains of sand start to decrease towards one single grain, we can see a distinction between both mounds and non-mo. Where do we draw the line? The paradox struggles with the distinction between seemingly clear cut items. This paradox, old as it may seem, has ideas intricately tied to the core of the next big technologies.
- For simple image characterization in AI, the computer has to determine between two or three options for an image. Differing between something like dogs and cats are considered through scales and comparisons, and distinctions are incredibly important to accurately characterize each option. This is a fairly harmless example, but distinctions could be used to determine between benign and malign tumors.
- Quality for many things is measured through things like good and bad. For example, a process for finding the correct drug for a certain type of cancer has a massive necessity for a high rate of success, but the distinction between a high rate and low one is incredibly small, and it often depends on the consumer to decide whether to use it.
- Quantum Computing breaks the binary itself, moving past these distinctions between on and off. Regular computers use switches for flipping between off and on whenever needed, but quantum computing breaks that barrier by allowing both on and off at the same time. Distinctions switch between off and on to All tasks are much more efficient, and the classifications take different forms instead of what we truly believe the world to be.
There are many, many more that I haven’t listed here, but each and every technology has its own distinctions to make. As distinctions grow certain technologies into massive life-changing ideas, they could also be used to hinder these technologies.
Although many technologies have the potential to set the world ablaze, there are massive hurdles to let these ideas hit the open market, and they all come with their own set of distinctions.
Whenever bills and laws are placed into the world from legislatures and rulers all throughout the world, there has to be a certain level of support throughout the nation or at least throughout the deciders of the bills. This level is seemingly arbitrary, but each country has made their own decisions when determining whether a certain law will continue to be law. The political ramifications of these regulations all have certain responses based on the distinctions to which politicians determine if it is worth acting over. Here, distinctions determine whether a country lives or dies.
Ethical concerns are a massive part of regulation, through having a certain response based on a certain action. If this action would harm x amount of people while benefiting y amount of people, regulation could be made off of that data point.
The Trolley Problem
The trolley problem also has a certain number of distinctions involved in it; if you are forced to turn a lever to kill one or not touch the situation and let five people die, what decision would you make? Making the decision between whether you would ‘murder’ a person or letting five people die by itself is a distinction, but there are multiple other variations to this problem. Would you still switch the lever if you knew that the people you were saving were horrible people who commit crimes against humanity?
At this point, we distinguish between what kind of life is worth saving. Regulation is classifying what is worth saving, whether it be tradition, health, or our lives.
Beyond the future of innovation, we can look at the paradox to find our own distinctions. We can decide how to regulate our own lives and what we should preserve, but we can also separate what we should continue to spend our time on. Time is everything in our life, and if we cannot determine how we distinguish our time to help our own lives, how can we determine what our lives will be like? These distinctions make every individual lead a different life throughout their own paths to success. Without these distinctions, we are nothing.
I’m Aniket, and I’m curious about the world we live in. If you would like to contact me, here is my Linkedin.