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Old November 14 2012, 05:51 PM   #155
Crazy Eddie
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

RAMA wrote: View Post
It is true I post pop-sci information, mainly because these keep pace with developments faster than most other forms of reporting
But they don't, though. They keep well ahead of developments, projecting the most extreme and most successful applications of that technology to predict how it might manifest if everything comes out alright. They do this specifically to keep their readers interested -- readers like you, who turn on their every word and never look back at old pop-sci magazines to see if the projections actually came true.

Look back, if you will, at the PopSci archives for a blast from the past. A 1995 issue of Popular Science features wirelss phone jacks, portable refrigerated beer coolers, a self-driving truck with an inertial guidance system, an experiment to produce acetylinic carbon as a possible clean-burning (and stealthy) aviation fuel, a two-in-one washer/dryer (WTF?! I want one!) and a VERY BRIEF article about the development of the P6 microarchitecture.

Pay close attention to two things in this magazine. First: of all the technologies and devices showcased in the articles, the only one that actually took off and saw widespread use was the P6 (it eventually evolved into the Pentium Pro and the Pentium III), and second, that this magazine is about 40% ads. More importantly, some of the actual articles aren't articles, but more ads disguised as articles by startup companies hoping to hype their products in a pop-sci magazine (the P6 article, ironically, is one of them).
Didn't address the issue at all, you neatly skirted it by saying "It'll just paradigm shift and go back to being exponential."

IIRC, the followup questions were a half dozen variations of "Based on what?" to which you answered by quoting more pop-sci articles.

Christopher points out that your prediction of a steady exponential growth is over simplistic.

Your response: "But we have so much to learn and I have so much optimism!" followed by more popsci articles.

Christopher explains that you cannot project a short-term trend indefinitely.

Your response is that even Kurzweil acknowledges this... but what about paradigm shifts?!
Christopher points out that people who actually work with AI on a practical level don't take much stock in singularity theory (which is true).

Your response: "That's true, but they're just being pessimistic!"

Basically, all of your responses hinge on many subtle variations of "Cool technology is cool! Here's a hyperlink! I'm sure it'll keep getting cooler if you just give it a chance!"

I refer you back to the pop-sci magazine from the archives and the fact that the majority of the technologies showcased there either failed or vanished into obscurity. Why did this happen, RAMA? It happened because TECHNOLOGY isn't the only thing we need to be looking at when we make those kinds of predictions. Technology isn't developed in a vacuum, there is also politics, finances, wars, disasters, personal disputes, legal disputes, random chance and a fickle consumer market that doesn't always reward innovation with success (seriously, where the HELL can I get one of those two-in-one washer/dryers?!?!?! I shouldn't have to move my laundry from one door to the other between cycles... what is this, Soviet Russia?!).

You're trying to project the singularity by JUST looking at the technology. It's not merely that this is an oversimplification of the way technology works, it's not merely that the logistic curve is implied in the cyclical development model that YOU YOURSELF suggested (and there's no reason to assume paradigm shift you keep mentioning would be in any way useful to computer technology). It is the fact that not everything that is POSSIBLE is actually practical, and not everything that is practical is widely done or used. Projecting the singularity would require one to recognize not only that a certain technology is achievable, but to determine to what extent that achievement will be distributed among society and whether or not it will be adopted by consumers or governments at all. If it DOES happen, it's not something you'll be reading about in pop-sci magazines; the first that most of us will know about it is when sentient androids and/or helpful AIs start showing up at Best Buy, asking us to buy them.
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