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  1. Default Controversial hot topics for the next generation.


    So, an interesting thought I've had for a while was what kind of issues we'd think would come to light socially at the turn of our generation. I find it really interesting how progress for equality meets these big bumps, and often its the previous generations that are a huge factor behind that bump; preventing progress with old values they grew up on that are incompatible with newer values their children's children are raised with. I'd nominate pedophilia into this; a subject so taboo and socially conditioned into most of us as something sickening, that the mere mention of it in casual conversation is enough to make most of us tense up and easy to tip over into feelings of rage.

    To elaborate what I mean, I'm talking about reform of pedophile related laws. Pedophiles are treated like scum, often portrayed as monsters, and constantly reminded by society that they are unwanted and would be better off not existing in the first place. Our scientific study of pedophilia is surprisingly lacking due to the inability to even get funding for research because of how taboo of a topic it is. When most people think of pedophiles, they immediately think of criminals, and often have no sense of empathy towards them.

    I'm an advocate for equality of many groups, and I can say from voicing my advocacy of pedophile rights that I've been constantly disrespected for and told I should go to jail or die for even defending pedophiles; as if just associating yourself positively with them revolting in itself. People don't even take the second to think that their reactions mirror those of their grandparents, who grew up in a time where transgendered children were "abominations" and gays were "papayagots who don't deserve to live." They grew up being fed misinformation, and often grew to hate a particular group simply because they were told to hate that particular group by everyone else. Many people who rise to a boiling rage at the thought of pedophiles don't stop to even think that these are actual human beings we're talking about here. Pedophiles are people, with urges that they cannot control, slaves to their biology just like anyone else. Not all pedophiles are sex offenders, and not all pedophiles wish harm on children, but they cannot help if they are sexually attracted to children the same way someone who is gay cannot help being attracted to the same sex. The issue is that there isn't even any way for them to get help for what they're going through, and they tend to live miserable lives with poor self esteem filled with guilt over something that isn't their faults.

    I can definitely see something like this being an issue as we grow older. Perhaps a famous celebrity will come out and say they're sexually attracted to children and want help, which may start snowball into may other high profile figures coming out of the closet to prompt more social awareness for the issue. There'd be more research done, more education and proper information about it spread, and misconceptions cleared (for one thing, did you know that pedophiles are not the same as hebephiles? I bet most of you have never even heard of that term considering we just lump them both into the same category and disregard the differences. Hell, my browser dictionary is telling me it isn't even a real word.).The fact that someone's life can be ruined if it's discovered that they have a sexual attraction to children is an issue that I don't think anyone in our generation is ready to deal with, and they most likely won't be ready to deal with it when it if it does come up.

    So what do you guys think are some hot button issues that we'd probably be against when we're old and bitter and unwilling to accept change? What envelope pushing controversies are you too afraid to fight for right now because of majority opposition of our generation?

  2. Default Re: Controversial hot topics for the next generation.


    How can you exactly help a pedophile? I mean to me personally, as long as you don't hurt anyone, I'm pretty open minded about a lot of things. When it comes to trans/gays, it's more about giving rights to adults to do what they want, when it comes to pedophilia you're talking about children who aren't exactly in a position to be independent. I feel prejudicing them as monsters IS unreasonable, but we certainly can't oblige or encourage their fantasies, it isn't fair to the kids.

    The only solution I could see that would be fair is to turn it into an electronic simulation, but it to me is going to be hard to wave off that stigma, since it's still taking advantage of something that isn't capable of comprehending exactly what is happening. I feel bestiality is another example that will probably be forced into this. I really dont think society will ever completely accept it, EVEN if it's specific to simulations, since it's never about consenting adults.

  3. Default Re: Controversial hot topics for the next generation.


    Provide actual help groups, lessen social stigma against them, allow them to actually speak to psychiatrists about the issues they face so they don't have to bottle them up and destroy their selves over it; and the most controversial idea I had in mind would be the end with child pornography witch hunt. What I mean by this is of course to not legalize the creation and market of child pornography, rather not place harsh penalties on the possession of child pornography. In order to prevent a market of child pornography from flourishing, the creation of child pornography should still be prohibited, since the ones creating it are abusing children, and the purchase of such material should be outlawed as well since it encourages creation (though not as harsh a penalty as creating, and certainly not the penalty of being given a "sex offender" title and put on the sex offender registry when you haven't sexually offended anyone). Hell, by that point we may even just have very realistic virtual reality simulators that could create virtual partners for people. Maybe we'd even have sex bots fully functional with niche models for them. It wouldn't exactly "solve" the issue, but it would provide release and more of a feeling of being understood rather than hated. I'm sure for many pedophiles, just the feeling of not being so hated by society for what they're born as is a relief in itself. The social pressures are the ones that drive a lot of them into deep depression.

    That aside, who's to say our views on sex in general will be the same by then? Another possibility to consider is, what if by then we're more open to sex and diverse relationships? What if by then we have such a huge control over birth control and STDs that the general views on sex differ drastically. The importance our culture places on sex has a huge psychological factor on us; it's possible that by that time we come to accept the idea of children being able to "give consent" since the value we place on sex would be so small that even if they looked back on it when they're older and feel they regretted the decision, it wouldn't really be that huge of a deal since sex is much less important to their culture. Just look at Bonobos, they're one of our closes relatives and have sex all the time. Young, old, same sex, doesn't matter, they're just having recreational sex as a form of bonding. They even essentially "teach" their young how to have sex by engaging in sexual relations with them, and encouraging them to be open about sex. In getting rid of the social importance we currently have on sex, it's very likely that we get rid of the idea of being scarred from having your "innocence" taken from you. Rape would still be rape, and children would just be educated that they can indeed say "no" to any unwanted sexual attention.

    That sounds really weird, right? Like the whole scenario is jarring to you. It takes a little bit of culture shock to truly come to terms with what may possibly be a controversial issue, because the reason why there's usually such strong opposition to these kinds of changes is because of how different the new values are to the ones we grew up on. They feel so alien, so disjointed, and rub us in all the wrong areas emotionally. I'm trying to dig deep into the mindset of what makes a bigot old coot into the type of person that'd be so adamant on their stance to hold everyone back from change, and I'm pretty sure that's a major driving force behind it. I think it's hard for our generation to come up with a proper solution to the issue, but that's kind of the point. The ones to come up with the solution would be coming into the ring with a completely different mindset, with different ideals and values. By then, it'll be their world, not ours, and we may not fully agree with the decisions t hey make based on those different mindsets.


    Edit: Another solution may possibly just be...gene therapy, but that's kinda cheating if we ever get to that point since it doesn't really "solve" the issue rather it just completely oversteps it. Though, now that I think about it, I'm sure gene therapy would be another hot topic for the next generations. There will be the group of people who find it unnatural, and create hateful labels like "frankebabies" and discriminate against them. There may be issues regarding the rich having access to gene therapy to keep a stronger hold on the poor; by injecting their children with "smart" genes and give them an advantage over others. Oh yea, the fight over genetically modified humans will be huge, I'd love to see that. I should try to find a scifi novel that deals with that topic, I just got myself really interested in it.

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    Default Re: Controversial hot topics for the next generation.


    There is of course a fundamental difference between being attracted to children and acting upon it. While we might debate the appropriate age of consent, the idea of a grown adult of either sex having intercourse with a prepubescent child who is quite definitely unable to give conscionable consent is justifiably repulsive. It's condemned by every modern society as far as I'm aware. There are some very real physiological reasons not to have sex at that age. I won't even talk about the psychological ones.

    I think that pedophilia is certainly some sort of psychological disorder and should be researched as such, but that doesn't mean individuals who exhibit these thoughts get to abdicate responsibility if they act on it. The reality is that our understanding of psychology is poor at best. I'd throw (active) pedophiles in the same group as people going postal. They're certainly mentally disturbed, but without some full proof method of medical rehabilitation they need to face the full force of the law.

    As far as future controversial issues, I predict that group marriages will be an issue in the next 15-30yrs (if it even takes that long). No doubt all of us will be railing about how marriage in our day was between two adults.

  5. Orbital Bee Cannon
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    Default Re: Controversial hot topics for the next generation.


    Funny you should say that. I actually see society moving away from the concept of marriage, at all. Not just in the sense of skipping the formal ceremony and simply cohabiting, but often not even that. A society of essentially single people, who may or may not spend a night or a year with someone, or someone(s), but never any formal or officially recognized commitment.

    Both that and group marriages, though, aren't nearly as much of a controversial issue as pedophilia. People who are not religious don't generally have any problem with adults living however they want, as long as they don't harm anyone. Personally the only issue I see is with responsibilities and privileges of parents and children. Just how many parents can or should a child have?

    Another issue that is controversial, and often mentioned in the same breath as pedophilia, is incest.
    But I'd rather not get into that, and must also ask you all to put the pedophilia topic aside, as we are still a child-friendly site.

    A different but equally shunned topic is that of mental ethnic differences.
    While it is undeniable that there are physical differences between ethnic groups, from the easily observable differences in skin and hair, to genetic diseases such as Tay-Sacks or sickle-cell anemia, it is taboo to suggest there might be such differences in the brain. The famous Asian studiousness, African sense of rhythm, or German punctuality, must be an unwarranted stereotype at best, or a cultural element at worst. Nurture, never ever nature, and don't even try to get funding for a study that might show otherwise, or you'll be branded "racist" and "Nazi". Is this something that should be changed? It's science's job to seek knowledge, but perhaps there are things society is not ready to know?

    And in the same vein of ethnic differences, are cultural and religious issues. We are seeing places in Europe disallowing shechita (Kosher slaughter), as cruelty to animals. France is having issues with women wearing traditional Islamic garb in schools. And so on. What should be the bounds of Freedom of Religion?

    I agree with Kunagisa, that gene therapy and genetic manipulation in general (as in food plants and animals) is going to be getting bigger and bigger and cause much heated debate in years to come.

    And if we're talking science-fiction, and somewhat related to something KhainiWest touched on, artificial intelligence might become an issue as well. Just how "human" can or should computer programs to be? And at what point can we say the machine has developed self-awareness, and should be given certain human rights?

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    Default Re: Controversial hot topics for the next generation.


    @SaptaZapta; I actually almost brought up the decline in marriage rates as well. I'm aware of the statistics, but I don't have much personal experience with this occurring in my social groups. Among my friends and family, marriage is still the norm and definitely desired even if there is no religious implications.

    The divorce rate also has a lot to do with the expanding notion of "parents". My parents divorced and then both remarried leaving me with 4 parents and 8 grandparents. I actually consider myself fortunate to have so many people involved in my life (most of the time anyway lol).

    The mental ethnic difference is actually an old issue. But I think most of what you're seeing is nurture rather than nature. There's far more variety in brain physiology and chemistry within ethnic groups than there is distinction between them. I think a more poignant question would deal with the history of disenfranchisement of minority groups and the difficulty of breaking the cycle of socio-economic poverty that is actually culturally imbeded in some communities.

    I could talk about AI for hours, but there's no real prospect of sentience in the near future. Long term though... we'll have to watch out for Skynet.

  7. Orbital Bee Cannon
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    Default Re: Controversial hot topics for the next generation.


    Obviously this is not the norm yet, or there wouldn't be an issue at all. But some places in Japan and Europe already have more single-adult households than two-adult ones, and the trend is growing elsewhere, too. In a world where it doesn't take the skills and time of two people to maintain a household, all too many people consider committed partnership to be a burden. Is that good? For whom? I don't know, although its being tied to a rapidly dropping birth rate in Japan is somewhat worrying.

    Yes, and no. More people involved in your life is nice (if they are nice people, anyway). But more people with legal rights and obligations to you? Not necessarily nice. As it is, with two legal parents, sometimes the courts have a hard time deciding what is in the best interest of the child, when the two parents want different things for him or her. Can you imagine what would happen if 4 legal parents, each pulling their own way, went to court?

    Example of an issue: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashkena...h_intelligence
    Now, obviously there are very stupid Jews, and there are non-Jewish geniuses. The variance is very high in all humans. But, do Jews on average have a higher intelligence? (Just as men, on average, are taller than women, even though the variance within each gender is much higher than the difference between genders). And if they do, is it of genetic origin?
    Neither the original paper nor its rebuttals have done any actual studies of cross-adoption in order to try to verify or rule out a genetic component. Could any institution today fund such a study without being accused of racism? I doubt it.

    As for the history of disenfrancisement and so on, that is a different hot issue, definitely. You have those who believe that while discrimination existed in the past, it has mostly been done away with (or even taken too far in the reverse direction), and now it's people's own fault if they keep failing. And you have others who believe that discrimination is still very much around, either directly or indirectly as in the cycle you described.

    I'm aware of that. But already today, with very limited AI's, we have people in love with "virtual girlfriends", and we have people treating their iPhone's Siri (and similar tools) as a human assistant - for good and bad. Is there anything wrong with that? Some think so, some don't. The ancient, "go outside and play with real kids instead of watching TV all day" now takes the form of "go outside and play with real friends rather than online ones" and will turn into "go online and play with real kids rather than virtual ones", but the next generation will not listen. What will that do to human society? Remains to be seen.

  8. Default Re: Controversial hot topics for the next generation.


    I think robots more than A.I. will be a hot topic just for the fact that they don't need full A.I. to affect human race in a way we haven't seen in over 200 years.

    That made me thing that this along with dropping marriage rates could be the start of dare I say state nursing homes(with paring done via a program) just to keep a stable population.

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    Default Re: Controversial hot topics for the next generation.


    Isaac Asimov, The Naked Sun

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    Default Re: Controversial hot topics for the next generation.


    At least in Japan, gender equality and social stigmas play a large role in encouraging this trend. I'm not sure the same incentives for single women to remain unmarried exist elsewhere (to the same extent), but I'll certainly concede that it's very possible.


    I hadn't even considered that. It's certainly a terrible prospect. Add to it the declining birth rates and you may have a single child (or other small number) responsible for a large number aging, retired adults. It may make the baby boomer generation problem look minor by comparison if the social security system even lasts that long.

    My point wasn't that it couldn't be true, scientifically it may. My point was that it would be pointlessly difficult to study. There are far too many variables for an population data to produce meaningful results and you'll never get people to consent to experimental breeding. It's mildly possible for this to be proven genetically, but subsequent gene manipulation a la Gattaca would make it a moot point.

    Again, you're mixing a social issue with a scientific one. No one would classify the "virtual girlfriends" as AI or in any way sentient. It's the digital equivalent to an imaginary friend or talking barbie. The sentiment can be very real, but it's completely off base. Unless you're predicting future romantic relationships with AIs? I'd say that's a given although we have no idea how an AI might react to such affection... Sex bots are certainly coming, but I'd say any emotional attachment would result from personification rather than actual intelligence.

    We'll certainly see a change "real" vs virtual societal norms. I fully expect the term "irl" will become obsolete shortly. The friends made while online are every bit as "real" as the ones met in the physical realm (possible excepting predatory scammers). With the meteoric rise in both casual gaming (mobile social media platforms ) and the MASSIVE popularity of games like LoL, the sheer number of "gamers" will force the transition. I can only see this exacerbating the current obesity problem in the US and other countries.

    @Luxeraph; A very interesting point. In some respect, I can actually see it being a great social equalizer. But it blatantly defies millennia of Darwinian instincts to protect your genetic offspring. I can't really picture the human race voluntarily giving up close ties to it's offspring in any kind of majority.

  11. Default Re: Controversial hot topics for the next generation.


    Indeed but when population starts declining people would be forced to choose between whatever life they got and having babies and we already got people already having their offspring being raised by strangers, plus I doubt ads(or is it educational video?) like the one in futurama about daiting bots will help.

  12. Default Re: Controversial hot topics for the next generation.


    I know that its very politically incorrect to say so but to me its obvious that intelligence is mostly genetic. Otherwise a well brought up chimp could be a doctor. And I don't doubt that some ethnic groups have more than their share of outliers on the high side.

    The idea of eugenics is very much out of favour, but does anyone realize that eugenics is very much in practise, especially in the USA?
    The US has I believe the highest rate of incarceration in the world, and the inmates are disproportionally dark-skinned or dumb or violent by nature. If you believe that these traits are even partially genetically determined, then locking these people up for most or all of their lives (sometimes for ridiculously minor offenses) prevents them from breeding and passing on those genes. This is pretty much the definition of eugenics:
    Wiki:" It is a social philosophy advocating the improvement of human genetic traits through the promotion of higher reproduction of people with desired traits (positive eugenics), and reduced reproduction of people with less-desired or undesired traits (negative eugenics)."

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    Default Re: Controversial hot topics for the next generation.


    Baring the invention and widespread use of literally free contraceptives, the population decline won't be universal. Minority groups and the impoverished continue to breed disproportionately regardless of the invention of expensive sex bots.

    @MissingLink; The above is also relevant to you. Minority groups do indeed suffer disproportionate incarceration rates, but they also have a disproportionate number of children. Since many inmates are also permitted conjugal visits, I don't really think we're getting significantly fewer minority births since their population continues to make up a larger percentage of the total US population (immigration is very significant to this as well).

    As for the premise that intelligence is mostly genetic:
    Your example is wildly fallacious. Any genetic links to intelligence (and there surely are some) work more as a potential cap on raw intellect. Having more brain power doesn't actually imply success in life or breeding. I'd wager that after a certain point (say 80th percentage), genius level IQs actually make you less likely to find a mate and reproduce. Many of these would also have accompanying disorders like Asperger's. It's been show again and again that the biggest predictor of academic and economic success is the parent's socioeconomic status. So when you're looking at the racial percentages of doctors or other "intelligent" professions, you're far more likely to see the effects of social and economic status than any genetic level intelligence.

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    Default Re: Controversial hot topics for the next generation.


    Here are my predictions:

    1. A.I will surpass humans due to technological singularity. Development of human race has already accelerated in recent years due to the calculation speed of supercomputers. If a robot or cyborg can use the speed and powers of a supercomputer, while having the intelligence of human brain, it will achieve equal amount of development what took human race thousands of years, in... almost no time. The theory is that the A.I keeps coming up with better A.I and so on.

    2. Normal humans will appear too stupid for Humans v2.0 and lose the control of this planet (kind of a good thing because we would've been simply too stupid and emotion-driven not to go extinct with our planet eventually).

    3. Human race is exterminated. New overlords of earth, out of gratitude for their mortal ancestors and creators, saved consciousnesses of the entire human population which are then moved into a virtual clone of our universe (extremely advanced virtual reality).

    4. All memories of events after the technological singularity and A.I revolution are wiped out of the heads of humans (or, their virtual avatars inside the matrix).

    5. Humans live in the faux universe unaware, making predictions about A.I revolution in the future.



    ... wait




    Spoiler

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