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Old June 7 2012, 04:57 AM   #125
Crazy Eddie
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

RAMA wrote: View Post
Sorry, how is that a non-sequitur...I have given you 3 separate ways such things can be funded and developed, 2 of them are relatively new and innovative.
Air guitar picks for smartphones? You REALLY don't see how this has nothing whatsoever to do with what we're talking about?

Really, you strike me as the kind of person who is easily impressed by technology -- or even just articles about technology -- and hold up ANY example of technological progress to be evidence of something wonderful right over the horizon. Let's not fail to take Murphy's Law into account, or Ted Sturgeons famous and relatively accurate prophecy that 99% of everything is shit.

It's not just the existence of the technology I'm talking about, it is the new way it is proliferating...
The leap from iPod guitar picks to transhumanist/singularity technology is a pretty huge one; they're not in the same ballpark. Not in the same league. Hell, they're not even the same sport.

The conditions in Africa in many cases are not ideal, yet the market penetration of smartphones for example has found a way to develop...and make money for the companies as well as improve GDP, and bring people out of poverty.
Let me be perfectly clear on this lest you continue to erroneously make this point: Smartphones do not bring people out of poverty.

Technology has always proliferated across culture lines, as various groups and societies pick and choose products from their neighbors they find desirable. The social/political/economic progress DOES NOT proliferate the same way, and it does not follow technological distribution; rather, technological advances tend to concentrate in areas where more and more progress is being made.

Real world historical example: American Plains Indians no longer live in tents, no longer hunt game using bows and arrows and no longer construct their clothing exclusively out of furs and hides. They adopted horses, then firearms, then western-style architecture, and now a hundred years later they have houses, cars, electricity, satellite radio, and yes, even smartphones. Yet they have been, and are today, a highly impoverished society in almost every way that a society can be impoverished: they are extremely weak politically, economically, sociologically and militarily. An even more extreme example is the Choctaw Nation (my grandmother's ancestors) who adopted European technology and styles as early as the late 18th century and attempted a crash course of modernization. They fared a hell of a lot better than the plains Indians, not because the technology did them a huge benefit (it didn't, by the way) but because of the political and social transformation that preceded it: they made a social investment in adopting new ways and attempting (unsuccessfully) to become part of a new world order.

The Dakotas remained in poverty because they were unable or unwilling to fully modernize and make meaningful social progress. The Choctaw remained in poverty because they were prohibited from making progress by their rivals (to wit, the United States), but despite this resistance were still able to make some progress. In neither case was the technology all that helpful.

Smartphones are convenient and useful, but you cannot voice dial your way out of poverty for the same reasons you can't shoot your way out of it with assault rifles and rockets. Poverty is caused by a lack of resources, tangible and intangible; technology is not a resource in and of itself, THE ABILITY TO PRODUCE technology is. IOW: When startup companies in the Congo start producing their own smartphones and computers and software applications without outside help, THEN we've got something to talk about.

I see no reason to expect the needed water purification system to not succeed in this way
Succeed WHAT way? It won't be owned or developed by the people who need it most, and they won't benefit from it beyond immediate material needs. In the end, it would be no different if Coca Cola SOLD them all the water they needed.
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