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Rosenberg et al. (2002) also used the program structure to explore patterns of human genetic variation in the HGDP-CEPH dataset (Fig. 2). They found support for a model of six genetic clusters, five of which roughly correspond to the broad continental regions of Africa, Europe/Middle East/Central Asia, East Asia, Oceania, and the Americas (the sixth cluster corresponded to the isolated Kalash population of northwest Pakistan). While some spuriously interpreted the identification of these clusters as support for a genetic basis for human racial groups (Wade 2014), others identify aspects of these results that are inconsistent with such an interpretation. First, Bolnick (2008) notes that in addition to finding support for the six-cluster model, Rosenberg and colleagues found support for models specifying a larger number of clusters, although the groupings of the 52 populations within those clusters were often inconsistent, suggesting a low confidence in any given clustering of the populations. The existence of multiple clustering models of human genetic variation contrasts the rigid breed-aligned clusters identified for dogs by Parker et al. Second, Rosenberg et al. found that most individuals had membership in more than one cluster, implying that genetic clusters did not represent discrete genetic units. This pattern was particularly noted for humans living near the borders of these geographically linked clusters. This supports a distribution of genetic variation that is driven by constant mating among neighboring populations and relatively low levels of genetic differentiation driven almost entirely by geographic factors.
Racial categories in the U.S. are drawn, in part, on the western concept of race first described by Linnaeus, which emphasized differences among humans based on geographic, physical, cultural, and behavioral factors. As described in Marks (2016), these categories were heavily influenced by the social, cultural, and political factors of that time. These included extended sea travel by Europeans (traveling great distances by sea tended to emphasize differences in appearance and culture, while land travel highlighted more gradual changes), as well as the strong motivating sociopolitical and economic influences of both colonialism and slavery. From the beginning, racism was embedded in race science. Within the U.S., racial categories (as recognized by the U.S. census) have shifted over time, reflecting concerns about slavery, immigration, hypo- and hyper-descent, and access to resources (Snipp 2003). Alongside that ongoing history, there has been disagreement among geneticists about how human genetic variation is patterned, most famously between Lewontin (1972) and Edwards (2003). For perspective, Marks (2010) wrote,
In contrast, dog breed differences in stature are far greater than what is observed across U.S. census divisions of humans. The median shoulder height in Great Danes (76 cm, 30 in.) is four times greater than in Pekingese (19 cm, 7.5 in.; Stone et al. 2016). When scaled to human height, this would be equivalent to a difference of 470.7 cm (185.3 in.) or about the difference between an average human and a two-story building. Years of breeding to divergent standards combined with low genetic diversity has resulted in limited and non-overlapping height variation for many breeds (Sutter et al. 2008). Even within dogs in the middle third of the height distribution, like Italian Greyhounds, their top 5% for height does not overlap with the shortest 5% of Golden Retrievers.
Height, like most traits in humans, is extremely complex, meaning it is regulated by a large number of genes (the vast majority of which show nearly identical variation across all human populations) plus environmental factors. It takes more than 400 genetic loci to explain only half of human height variation (Wood et al. 2014), but for dogs, only six major genetic loci explain roughly 50% the variation in size between breeds (Chase et al. 2002; Jones et al. 2008; Rimbault et al. 2013; Sutter et al. 2007). Considering dogs, one haplotype in IGF1 explains 47.6% of the variation in height, with a single haplotype variant of IGF1 shared across all small dog breeds (of 14 small and 9 giant surveyed; Sutter et al. 2007).
The idea of machines overcoming humans can be intrinsically related to conscious machines. Surpassing humans would mean replicating, reaching and exceeding key distinctive properties of human beings, for example, high-level cognition associated with conscious perception. However, can computers be compared with humans? Can computers become conscious? Can computers outstrip human capabilities? These are paradoxical and controversial questions, particularly because there are many hidden assumptions and misconceptions about the understanding of the brain. In this sense, it is necessary to first explore these assumptions and then suggest how the specific information processing of brains would be replicated by machines. Therefore, this article will discuss a subset of human capabilities and the connection with conscious behavior, secondly, a prototype theory of consciousness will be explored and machines will be classified according to this framework. Finally, this analysis will show the paradoxical conclusion that trying to achieve conscious machines to beat humans implies that computers will never completely exceed human capabilities, or if the computer were to do it, the machine should not be considered a computer anymore.
19. Following a period of irrational confidence in progress and human abilities, some sectors of society are now adopting a more critical approach. We see increasing sensitivity to the environment and the need to protect nature, along with a growing concern, both genuine and distressing, for what is happening to our planet. Let us review, however cursorily, those questions which are troubling us today and which we can no longer sweep under the carpet. Our goal is not to amass information or to satisfy curiosity, but rather to become painfully aware, to dare to turn what is happening to the world into our own personal suffering and thus to discover what each of us can do about it.
34. It may well disturb us to learn of the extinction of mammals or birds, since they are more visible. But the good functioning of ecosystems also requires fungi, algae, worms, insects, reptiles and an innumerable variety of microorganisms. Some less numerous species, although generally unseen, nonetheless play a critical role in maintaining the equilibrium of a particular place. Human beings must intervene when a geosystem reaches a critical state. But nowadays, such intervention in nature has become more and more frequent. As a consequence, serious problems arise, leading to further interventions; human activity becomes ubiquitous, with all the risks which this entails. Often a vicious circle results, as human intervention to resolve a problem further aggravates the situation. For example, many birds and insects which disappear due to synthetic agrotoxins are helpful for agriculture: their disappearance will have to be compensated for by yet other techniques which may well prove harmful. We must be grateful for the praiseworthy efforts being made by scientists and engineers dedicated to finding solutions to man-made problems. But a sober look at our world shows that the degree of human intervention, often in the service of business interests and consumerism, is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful, ever more limited and grey, even as technological advances and consumer goods continue to abound limitlessly. We seem to think that we can substitute an irreplaceable and irretrievable beauty with something which we have created ourselves.
36. Caring for ecosystems demands far-sightedness, since no one looking for quick and easy profit is truly interested in their preservation. But the cost of the damage caused by such selfish lack of concern is much greater than the economic benefits to be obtained. Where certain species are destroyed or seriously harmed, the values involved are incalculable. We can be silent witnesses to terrible injustices if we think that we can obtain significant benefits by making the rest of humanity, present and future, pay the extremely high costs of environmental deterioration.
42. Greater investment needs to be made in research aimed at understanding more fully the functioning of ecosystems and adequately analyzing the different variables associated with any significant modification of the environment. Because all creatures are connected, each must be cherished with love and respect, for all of us as living creatures are dependent on one another. Each area is responsible for the care of this family. This will require undertaking a careful inventory of the species which it hosts, with a view to developing programmes and strategies of protection with particular care for safeguarding species heading towards extinction.
55. Some countries are gradually making significant progress, developing more effective controls and working to combat corruption. People may well have a growing ecological sensitivity but it has not succeeded in changing their harmful habits of consumption which, rather than decreasing, appear to be growing all the more. A simple example is the increasing use and power of air-conditioning. The markets, which immediately benefit from sales, stimulate ever greater demand. An outsider looking at our world would be amazed at such behaviour, which at times appears self-destructive.
60. Finally, we need to acknowledge that different approaches and lines of thought have emerged regarding this situation and its possible solutions. At one extreme, we find those who doggedly uphold the myth of progress and tell us that ecological problems will solve themselves simply with the application of new technology and without any need for ethical considerations or deep change. At the other extreme are those who view men and women and all their interventions as no more than a threat, jeopardizing the global ecosystem, and consequently the presence of human beings on the planet should be reduced and all forms of intervention prohibited. Viable future scenarios will have to be generated between these extremes, since there is no one path to a solution. This makes a variety of proposals possible, all capable of entering into dialogue with a view to developing comprehensive solutions. 2b1af7f3a8