Review by - See the full Documentary on Vimeo
Dr Ravi Warrier – BITS (Pilani) PHD (Australia) 25 Yrs in Information Technology
* What does the presentation describe?
* What does it explain?
* What is it for?
* What ethical guidance does it provide?
* The scholarly perspective
* Why is this research being undertaken?
* What does it assume about reality?
* How do we establish the validity of what we know?
* How has the data gathered and validated, based on which inferences are drawn? 3
* The finished artefacts
* Structure and navigation
* Partial notes for Volume 1. 5
* Partial notes for Volume 2. 11
This review is my personal response to having viewed two video files developed by Ramesh Kulkarni, entitled Everything is One. I viewed the presentation ‘cold’, i.e. without any orientation or expectation of their content. I had to watch the videos twice, partly because of this lack of orientation and the fact that they are both very long, running an hour and a half each.
The intent of this work comes through as an attempt to explain the history of humans as a biological, evolutionary journey towards a higher, more advanced specie. An understanding this journey and the roadblocks placed in its path, can help us work towards removing these obstacles to progress and thereby ‘align with the purpose of the journey’.
Kulkarni has clearly invested a lot of time trying to understand this evolution, pull together a large body of information about the human body and mind and connect this disparate knowledge into a coherent story. The presentation falls short of making concrete recommendations but does try to point us in a certain direction.
If you do watch these videos, I would urge you get past its superficial flaws and focus on the core message. I think you will find it useful and thought-provoking.
What does the presentation describe?
The two-part video presents the primary driver of the human progress as the zygote, a conceptual entity that:
* Has a set of objectives that it pursues
* Has evolved into a Master Operating System (MOS) that manages the following components:
o A database and DBMS for information, including episodic memory
o An input-output system (for information and material)
o Embedded autonomous systems to maintain the body and mind
o Intelligent autonomous agents to identify issues and restore the system to operating state
o Learning system to improve its ability to cope with the environment
Kulkarni attempts to correlate the anatomy, physiology, cognition and behaviour of the human being with the characteristics of an information system, in the form of a functional specification. Though Kulkarni’s model doesn’t deal explicitly with conscious awareness of the ‘self’, it does attempt to cover a wide range of human aspects, so the term functional specification for a human is appropriate.
There have been other attempts to model certain aspects of humans and human systems, e.g. Viable Systems Theory, Integrated Information Theory for consciousness and any number of cognitive, anatomical or physiological models that form the basis for building robots. This model is different in that it takes the evolutionary perspective to survey the entire human being.
Certain aspects of the description of the model raise concerns because Kulkarni makes statements as assertions of fact, where in some cases they are not supported by current mainstream research or one of several alternative theories. To cite a couple of examples, the mechanism for generating energy has been identified as a ‘fusion reactor’ and the pineal gland is the clearing house for episodic memory fragments and their management.
What does it explain?
The ‘why’ for the model is the zygote, the essence of a human being. The zygote has been assumed to be an agency, with a purpose consisting of objectives such as self-protection and propagation, which are in themselves neither controversial nor unique to humans. Other objects such as that of exploration, which has hitherto been considered an exclusively human trait, is now understood to be shared by several other ‘intelligent’ animals.The objective of wanting to evolve to an advanced specie brings the idea of agency into not only humans, but all organisms starting with the single-celled precursor to all living things – an idea that may not sit well with any of the current life-sciences mainstream schools, including those that subscribe to epigenetic transgenerational inheritance.
Some of the explanations for mechanisms that maintain the zygote on its ascribed path of evolution are also suspect. For example, the maintenance of physical and mental equanimity involves the simultaneous ‘interoceptive’ monitoring of a very large number of physical, chemical and possibly electrical states, not just the level of dopamine. In situations where individuals have reported validated information to which they could not reasonably have had access, such as past lives for example,the source of this knowledge is ascribed to ‘residual energy and data’ of deceased individuals that have entered the body ‘via the mouth’. While there is no clear alternative explanation for the phenomenon, this one seems rather simplistic and far-fetched. Kulkarni does admit some of these claims are subject to validation and therefore remain unconfirmed theory.
What is it for?
The presentation is intended to provide direction for aligning human individuals and society with the objectives of the zygote. The basis for this approach is two-fold. First, making sure that the input (knowledge, nutrients and so forth) are designed to support the objectives. Second, if something does try to enter the system that gets in the way of the objectives of the zygote the input is either blocked from entry or quarantined and neutralised. An example is the energy-data from a deceased human (‘malware’) that enters another human being (it is not entirely clear from the presentation how this can be prevented or cured).
What ethical guidance does it provide?
The intent of the presentation is to provide an overarching objective, i.e. act in a manner that supports the essence of a human (the zygote) in achieving its multiple goals, including its individual and pan-species goals. The implication of this goal is that each individual acts in a way that supports every human to achieve their potential, which at a minimum implies a ‘do-no-harm’ principle. This would prohibit discrimination based on individual characteristics (such as colour, nationality or religion), excessive material accumulation at the expense of others, homicide/war and so on.
The devil is of course in the detail of the implementation. How does one prioritize between two positive goals? Is the assumption valid that educating individuals to inoculate or isolate ‘malware’ influences will suffice? Much of this implementation detail is left to subsequent stages, with very little guidance
The scholarly perspective
Why is this research being undertaken?
The primary purpose of this undertaking is articulate an overarching framework for the goals, structure and functioning of the human body and mind. Given this framework is accurate and valid, humans as a species can act in a way that is naturally aligned with the objectives of the essence of the human being, the zygote. By supporting the objectives of the zygote, these actions will also support the evolution of the human being to a more advanced specie – a universal utilitarian purpose.
does it assume about reality?
The presentation is premised on the existence of an objective reality independent of the observer, or scientific realism. This presumes that the objects we can perceive outside of ourselves actually do exist and so do objects that we cannot directly perceive but can be inferred to exist on the basis of objective evidence ((e.g. electrons). This is in contrast to approaches such as the one suggested by the ‘brain in the vat’ thought experiment, i.e. that there is no reality outside our imagination.
How do we establish the validity of what we know?
In the presentation, the stated facts about the anatomy and physiology of the human body are based on broadly accepted medical knowledge. However, the human mind is represented by a set of programs (Master Operating Program, intelligent autonomous agents, etc.) that have been ‘developed’ over the course of evolution, driven by the survival and growth imperative of the zygote.
Kulkarni has drawn a parallel between the evolution of the computer and the evolution of the human body-mind combination, in effect avoiding having to explain how the physical body, which has indeed evolved from primitive life-forms has come to be conscious and possess a sense of self – the ‘hard problem’ of both science and philosophy. The assertions derived from the use of the computer system as a model for the human being are left to be confirmed by means of future research, e.g. what exactly in the human body represents the intelligent, autonomous agent responsible for the sense of spatial orientation or navigation.
How has the data gathered and validated, based on which inferences are drawn?
The presentation includes information about the human body for which sources can easily be located, though there are only a handful of references in the presentation. We understand the content has been, or is being, validated with scholars and practitioners in the scientific and medical fields. The basis for the analogy between the human body and a computer system has not been referenced, its strongest appeal being its plausibility. The difficulty with this approach is that it does not rule out alternative perspectives that might explain the phenomena equally well.
The finished artefact
The presentation consists of two video files, each running approximately 90 minutes. Though they build on a previous video presentation (Connecting the Dots – which this reviewer has not viewed), they do not presuppose any knowledge of human anatomy and physiology. However, they do presume some understanding of information technology terms, which is appropriate since they are intended for consumption by IT professionals.
The presentation includes a lot of information, much of which cannot be retained without considerable effort. What might help is a transcript or a summary that prepares and orients the audience to the material.
Structure and navigation
Each of the video files is meant to viewed end-to-end in a single sitting because they are not divided into sections that can be viewed separately. To start viewing the video from where one last left off, the viewer must make a note of the elapsed time. The presentation could be made much easier to view and absorb if properly sectioned, with an introduction and conclusion for each section, perhaps with a summary at the beginning and end of the presentation.
The first video has the following structure:
· Timeline – human conception to birth
· Subsystems in the human body
· The crucial concept of zygote
· Specification of information system that would be needed to replicate the human body
· History of the computer
· Evolution of the zygote
· Purpose and evolution of religions
· Nature of the zygote
The second video has the following content:
· Overview for the Master Meta-Operating System and its components
· Description of each of the 25 ‘senses’
It is difficult, based on the video to make an assessment of the completeness of its content or how the pieces fit together. What might help is an overview that describes the individual components and how they relate to each other.
There are some areas for improvement in the presentation of the video:
· Improve the consistency and quality of the visuals and displayed text
· Reduce the volume level for the background music in general
· Get an editorial review done of the displayed text (to remove some obvious spelling and formatting errors)
· Use a neutral accent for the voice-over since this is intended for an international audience