As humans, learning often feels good, food often tastes good, novelty brings joy to life, living by values that we set brings order to our consciousness, and besides very few…
A Piping Plover can be defined as:
Any human being who (a) overtly refuses any kind of brain augmentation or cognitive enhancement, and (b) believes that brain-augmented transhumans or AGIs would (or should) treat humanity well due to the inherent and unique value of hominids.
This is a belief that can only be held by someone who has never observed nature – and/or who has never read history.
The real piping plovers are lucky that we humans have deigned to step in and do a damn thing about preserving their species.
Something like 99.9% of all species who have ever lived have gone extinct, and thousands more die off forever every year – they have no such benefactor. Nature doesn’t step in and save anyone. Nature spews it’s fecundity forth and observes all the carnage indifferently – plover, human or otherwise.
One day, doubtless, humanity will have priorities other than the plover’s wellbeing, and will leave them to perish – with no notable detriment to human life or nature generally.
I would not wish harm upon these lovely little birds, they’re adorable. But if nature’s justice mandates that they perish, it seems odd that we’d rip tax dollars away from things like healthcare or education to support them.
I don’t wish hard upon the people who wish to stay “human,” they mean well. But nature’s justice will take the scepter from them, the world will be steered by higher and more powerful beings, and it will seem odd for super intelligent agents to rip resources away from it’s higher goals to support the happiness of a mostly-useless species.
The position of the plovers is not only that they have an inherent “worth” that they think posthuman intelligences will respect (almost certainly wrong), but they willingly step a position of weakness, of losing agency and ability to determine and build the future.
And they think – useless as they might be in the grand scheme – they will be taken care of by future intelligences?
Beyond volitional weakness, it is a position of entitlement. It is yelling out, like a petulant child:
“I deserve respect and resources from beings greater than me, not for the value I bring, but for my inherent qualities as a special human!”
Expect no babysitting or “care” from super intelligence, just as you expect none of it from cold nature, and just like every damn species of nearly-extinct bird other than the plover gets more care from us.
You want comfort and safety -and I would wish you to be safe also – but in the only way that safety can really be achieved: Strength (a la: The last words of Alexander).
Header image credit: allaboutbirds.org