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Autistic Savants... Is nature adapting to technology?

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posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 02:55 AM
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Could the mutation that causes certain forms of austism possibly be nature's response to human use of technology? As our tech gets more and more complicated, the requirement for incredibly large calculations increases. If artificial inteligence and super-computers prove to be too dangerous, could we exploit this mutation to fit a niche in our future social structures? Assuming that this is possible, maybe "humans" will eventually consist of a number of distinct species (whether or not we ever leave this rock). If anyone knows a good deal about this form of austism and its possible applications please share your knowledge




posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 02:59 AM
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Originally posted by veritas93
Could the mutation that causes certain forms of austism possibly be nature's response to human use of technology? As our tech gets more and more complicated, the requirement for incredibly large calculations increases. If artificial inteligence and super-computers prove to be too dangerous, could we exploit this mutation to fit a niche in our future social structures? Assuming that this is possible, maybe "humans" will eventually consist of a number of distinct species (whether or not we ever leave this rock). If anyone knows a good deal about this form of austism and its possible applications please share your knowledge



I like this idea. It reminds me of the girl in the movie The Cube who cracks the coding of the rooms with math. (Not that she was autistic)

The danger of this type of thing is remembering that autistic people are infact, human, and not computers, and would need to be treated as such.

But I like the idea that nature always presents a solution.



posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 03:11 AM
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I imagine that if our way of life depending upon them then we'd probably give them their due respect. However, I can also imagine that we'd need agressive educational campaigns to constantly reiterate the fact that the autistic savants are indeed still human beings.

Btw, I love Cube.
It's a great example of how you don't need a big budget to make a great sci-fi film.

edit:
The movie you mentioned was in fact the sequel. In the first movie an austistic savant WAS used to solve the equations in the original Cube


[edit on 26-10-2004 by veritas93]



posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 03:16 AM
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Also similiar in theme is Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.

Again, not autistic children, but defintely above average.

One need only play Playstation with a four-year-old who has grown up on the system to see how good kids can be.



posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 03:29 AM
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Originally posted by quango
One need only play Playstation with a four-year-old who has grown up on the system to see how good kids can be.


Good example. I also read a study once that claimed autism rates were higher around silicon valley where most of the jobs were math related. These people then began to marry eachother and many of their children were born with full blown autism. This suggests that those with a signifigant tendancy towards mathematics may in some ways be mildly autistic. Maybe this is a mutation (involving many different genes) that exists to some degree in a larger portion of the population and only manifests itself to an extreme when both parents possess a high number of these autism genes.



posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 10:03 AM
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The Autistic and Autistic savants can have a talent for things other than math and spacial tasks. Many have a gift for music, which is not defined as math per say, but seems to have many ties to mathmatical thought. A while back there was a study done on a group of people that were exceptionally skilled at music, but classified as mentaly retarded in other areas. They were also exceptionally friendly and good at socializing and warmth. Anyone remember this? The name of the disorder escapes me...

Having the Autistic replace computers or be an evolution doesn't make sense to me - it seems more like the opposite would be true of humans with the introduction of so many technological crutches. I would think we'd evolve away from math skill, and more towards plain ol' stupidity. We'd need to develop the ability to use tools, and have more padded butts to sit in front of machines all day.

The anti-social aspect of Autism I'd buy as something thats becoming more common. We're unlearning how to get along and socialize. Perhaps this is part of why people get so fighting mad at one another and violence is becoming so accepted.



posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 10:10 AM
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COuld the Autistic Savant be an evolved human, maybe a hint at the next step of what could happen to us in the future or is it a look at our past. Could these arguements be applied to someone with Downs syndrome also.



posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 10:31 AM
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Originally posted by RedBalloon
Anyone remember this? The name of the disorder escapes me...


Asperger's Syndrome?

Mozart and Beethoven come to mind. As do some artists like Picasso.


...with the introduction of so many technological crutches. I would think we'd evolve away from math skill, and more towards plain ol' stupidity.


Ain't that the truth!

I don't know what the evolutionary significance of higher rates of autism or other cognitive "disorders" is.

Is it good?
Is it bad?
Is it response of or effect?

Beats me.

But computer technology has only been around for a generation or two. Too short of a time to have a large impact on human evolution in my opinion.

PS: Cube was a great movie and Ender's Game a very entertaining read!



posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 10:42 AM
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Nope wasn't Aspergers - they were extremely social and good at personal relationships and friendliness. More so than average people. Huge smiles and facial features that were common among them. Something you could likely spot without even speaking to a person kind of thing.

Hmm.. if it comes to me I'll post it.



posted on Oct, 26 2004 @ 01:02 PM
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Originally posted by RedBalloon
Having the Autistic replace computers or be an evolution doesn't make sense to me - it seems more like the opposite would be true of humans with the introduction of so many technological crutches. I would think we'd evolve away from math skill, and more towards plain ol' stupidity. We'd need to develop the ability to use tools, and have more padded butts to sit in front of machines all day.


I guess that what I'm suggesting is that this may have been a mutation that existed in a larger part of the population (probably for some time now) that only manifested itself to an extreme when people who possess a high number of these genes actually reproduce. In a natural environment, these mutations would probably have proven detrimental and would not have been passed on, but as you've pointed out... modern culture does have a use for them. Our love of art in all its forms is a good example. I was under the impression that all art required an unconventional form of mathematics.

Most of us would probably "evolve" to be less than mathematically gifted, but someone somewhere would still need to be developing these technologies and using the more complicated, less self reliant ones. I guess that's why I suggested multiple species in the future... those who make and operate... and those who benefit from their use.

If it is true that some of these mutations in fact leave it's carrier quite socially capable, then our arguement of them being mistreated in the future would be unlikely.

As for a link to downs syndrome... considering that downs syndrome involves an extra chromosome (I think but am not positive), then I suppose that it could be the result of some form of attempt at evolution or another. Who's to say whether or not it's a successful mutation or not. As Gools pointed out, we just haven't had enough time yet to see



posted on Oct, 30 2004 @ 01:28 AM
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There are some theories that ADHD is an evolution. The "disorder" is typified by a short attention span, distractability, and hyperactivity.

Now think about our fast paced technological world, fast food, technological advances, the need to be able to mulit-task. Everything in modern society is moving faster and faster, it makes sense that the species is adapting, but the downside is harnessing the best of both worlds. The old school is ADHD is disruptive, because it goes against good old ethics, many kids with ADHD are also anti-social, yet are suprisingly empathetic. We live in a blog/im world where human contact could literally be minimalized and one would never need to actually have a face to face talk with anyone.

The more fluffy spiritual movement of The Indigo Children also believe people with ADD and ADHD are a spiritual evolution, adapting to the needs of fast everything, and deeper spirituality but not necessarily in a standardized religious sense.

A good search on this site, or Google will reveal The Indigo Children.

-ADHDsux4me



posted on Nov, 28 2004 @ 05:05 AM
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The idea that humans are evolving in response to technology doesn't seem to hold water. The response time for evolution is way too long to atribute it to technology. Also, how does being autistic in a technology world increase someone's chance on passing on their genes?



posted on Nov, 28 2004 @ 05:17 AM
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"Idiot savants" were around before technology was, well, technological.

Your assertion would indicate that somehow nature was preparing for technology before technology was.

That puts the natural cart before the horse, so I'd have to answer by simply saying, "no".



posted on Nov, 28 2004 @ 06:08 AM
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Hm, I'm not sure if this has any relevance, though I think it does. The thing about Autistic Savants is that they don't know how to use their gifts. For instance, one Autistic Savant can read a phone book and have every name and number in the thing memorized. He can start listing it from beginning to end without a mistake. But if you were to ask a question like, "Hey what's John Parson's phone number?" The Savant wouldn't be able to answer, simply because names are listed last name first, and you didn't word your question that way. I'm not sure how deep it goes, I'm sure it's different in each case. It may be that the Savant can ONLY recite it from beginning to end, and not even pick out specific names. I'm not sure.

I suppose this is kind of like a computer, though. Because a computer has limits much like those, although, admittedly on a much smaller scale. Although I often think of the human brain as a super-evolved computer, (evolved...computer...?), the human brain just seems so much less restricted. I think the cases of Savants is they're brain only developed to a certain point, and then stopped. You could add on to what they know, but you couldn't teach them knew things, much like you can't add new information to a computer unless you know how to change all the coding. As I'm saying these things I realize I'm flying by the seat of my pants, and I'm wondering if everything I'm saying is even remotely true. I don't know what causes autism or anything, that's just a guess. I think it's all worth saying, though. If not for any other reason than to hope it'll spark some creative process in somebody's mind that will lead to some conclusive information.

I found this interesting quote while researching it a bit:


CT and MRI scans of the brains of autistic savants suggest that the right hemisphere is compensating for damage in the left hemisphere. It seems that the right hemisphere of an autistic savant focuses its attention on one of the five senses - for example, if it concentrates on hearing, then the autistic savant may have a special skill in music.


I also read about a study done by Dr Bruce Miller, where he was able to "induce" Savant-like skills in people who previously did not have these extraordinary skills. The study suggests that EVERYone has the potential to be a Savant, (not Autistic), and that the skills may just be lying dormant in our brains.

From my studying it sounds as if Savants is caused by one of the five senses being oversensitive, as you read in the above quote. I'm not entirely sure how that plays in. They say that if hearing is oversensitive, the Savant will be superior in the musical area. I don't know how memorization plays into that, sight maybe? Studies also suggest that the right hemisphere of their brains seems to be overactive in an attempt to compensate for the underactiveness of the left hemisphere. All in all, these scientist seem to think of the human brain as nothing more than a super-duper-biological-computer.

[edit on 28-11-2004 by an3rkist]

[edit on 28-11-2004 by an3rkist]



posted on Nov, 29 2004 @ 01:33 PM
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As its been pointed out, in terms of evolution, WE adapt to nature, nature doesnt adapt to us. Nature isnt conscience. I dont think austistic savant(ism?) is advantageous in anyway. We arent evolving much these days anyways, isolated populations dont really exist anymore and we are technologically advanced enough to ensure our survival from our natural environments.



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