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Old May 3 2012, 04:07 AM   #76
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

RAMA wrote: View Post
The greatest pall to hang over the world was the Cold War..
Not for the Russians it wasn't. It's important to note that as far as the Soviets were concerned, the United States posed a far less existential threat than Nazi Germany or even China, the former of which cost them $20 million lives and sacked several of their major cities.

The Americans went through the Cold War with this concept of "Mutually Assured Destruction," the assumption that the Russians could be convinced not to attack the United States because any attempt to do so would cause the total end of their civilization. The Russians never really got that concept; THEIR idea of nuclear war was "Nuke em till they stop shooting back." IOW, in their view getting nuked by the United States was hardly the end of the world; in some ways, it was no worse than what the Nazis did to them decades earlier, except that this time the Russian counterattack would immediately inflict identical damage to the United States and give them time to rebuild.
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Old May 4 2012, 05:11 PM   #77
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
RAMA wrote: View Post
The greatest pall to hang over the world was the Cold War..
Not for the Russians it wasn't. It's important to note that as far as the Soviets were concerned, the United States posed a far less existential threat than Nazi Germany or even China, the former of which cost them $20 million lives and sacked several of their major cities.

The Americans went through the Cold War with this concept of "Mutually Assured Destruction," the assumption that the Russians could be convinced not to attack the United States because any attempt to do so would cause the total end of their civilization. The Russians never really got that concept; THEIR idea of nuclear war was "Nuke em till they stop shooting back." IOW, in their view getting nuked by the United States was hardly the end of the world; in some ways, it was no worse than what the Nazis did to them decades earlier, except that this time the Russian counterattack would immediately inflict identical damage to the United States and give them time to rebuild.

Have you ever seen interviews of Russian scientists, politicians, generals on documentaries from long after the cold war's end? I have. You've never seen a more extreme group of paranoid delusional people in your life. They thought the US was just as much an evil empire as Reagan thought of them. They really thought the US was planning a first strike! Even down to the day and minute in some cases, when they went on high alert. However, their strategy was an overwhelming first strike. They thought they could win a nuclear war simply by minimizing damage from the US, not by fighting a full blown war. In reality, such a war would have been won by no one, and certainly the clear thinkers on either side realized this.
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Old May 4 2012, 05:25 PM   #78
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
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What history books are you reading? The United States has been at war pretty much continuously since its inception. Sixty five percent of our GDP is military spending, as is eighty percent of our national debt. We spent the first decade of the twenty first century involved in not one but TWO major land wars and are peripherally involved in four others.
The violence of our age is generally over-represented in the media.
Who said anything about the media? I'm talking about HISTORY. I live in a country that exists the way it does specifically because it fought a series of extremely violent wars against the native population of the Americas, punctuated by an extremely violent CIVIL war, followed by an equally violent war against Spain, followed by the occupation of the Philippines (which lasted until WW-II and was arguably more contentious than the occupation of Iraq), and that's just the first half of its history BEFORE involvement in two world wars and the subsequent Cold War (which includes Korea, Vietnam and a dozen different proxy wars).

The most you can say is that global military competition is no greater today than it was 200 years ago, but only insofar as there are fewer participants wielding far greater power.


Indeed: if our history books were written only slightly differently, the battle against Hitler and the Axis powers would have been labelled "World War VI".

It's significant, though, that these massive global wars tend to happen every hundred and fifty years or so and usually come in threes, with each one being significantly more violent than the last one. The same technology you're advertising as the savior of humanity has masked the fact that we are now unleashing more firepower in smaller conflicts and inflicting greater damage in a shorter amount of time than ever before in history; indeed, we are fast approaching a time when we will not even need nuclear weapons to lay waste to entire cities.


Here you're assuming that social evolution -- or ANY form of evolution -- is inherently progressive. That is a false assumption in the extreme.

Evolution takes any number of shapes, for better or for worse, whichever new form is best suited to its environment. A society where aggressive/dishonest/selfish people are more successful tends to proliferate in those characteristics. Introducing new technologies to that society won't change that balance unless it is intentionally distributed to individuals with different traits; in a free market scenario, it's more likely that the people who are already prospering under the existing order will adopt that technology first and they will drive the next phase of its development to their own advantage.

In other words: in a world ruled by tigers, the invention of gunpowder probably won't benefit the zebras.


Because we all know Henry David Thoreau spent a night in jail to protest the Vietnam war.


True as that is, we're discussing technology, not social/healthcare/organizational progress. Technology is developing at a fairly rapid pass, and the developing world is accumulating large pockets of material wealth. They are NOT, however, making any headway with their social/health/organizational problems, and adding new technology isn't going to change that.


We're already beyond the singularity with respect to our pre-industrial ancestors. On some level we know this, which is why we tend to prefer to the period of the late 17th and 18th centuries as "the Enlightenment."

A new social order did indeed emerge from that transitional period, and compared to their forebearers they were extremely enlightened. They were SO enlightened that they subsequently reduced 4 million people to chattel slavery and ethnically cleansed an entire continent of its technologically inferior population before laying claim to the land themselves.

Let's not loose sight of the very real possibility that the "transhumanist movement" could be dominated by an elitist clique of technocrats that see the rest of the human race as a clan of backwards primitives who are better off being enslaved or at least tightly contained if only for their own good. In that sense, the dire predictions of science fiction (The Terminator/The Matrix et al) make a lot more sense when the Evil Machines are actually former human beings who have used technology to transcend their own humanity.

And who would we be to argue with them, anyway? They are the "enlightened" trans-humanists, which is really just another way of saying "Too smart to care what the primitives think."

Not alone it doesn't but more than ever it provides tools to do so. The people and gov't that don't change agendas will be left behind.
That's my point. Many of those oppressive governments will (and have) change their agendas in order to remain relevant, and they will grasp that very same technology in order to do it.

The use of these tools isn't supposition, it's already in evidence around the world.
Indeed. Here's one really good example.

Technology makes EVERYTHING easier, and it doesn't pick and choose who it benefits. When oppressive governments and militaries decide to invest in technology, their oppressive agenda becomes that much easier to implement. Those who oppose them have to grasp the same technologies in order to be relevant at all; those without access to those advanced technologies might as well be gun-toting apes that their enemies can bomb with impunity and even the media no longer notices or cares what happens to them.

Beyond any singularity event, ultimately "Enlightenment" means never having to say you're sorry for massacring savages.

Here I would argue that social evolution must follow intelligence, and since intelligence is linked to technology as well they are intertwined. The human brain builds upon itself, older parts still exist in it and some suggest this is responsible for some of our baser instincts. As we learn, we see our world differently, technology seen at a linear rate influences us very little, at exponential rate, it influences us in dramatic and very real ways, such as early adoption/market penetration in the modern world. Enlightenment in a transhuman world may mean differences between cultures rendered almost meaningless, many of the old evolutionary drives that tell us outsiders are bad will be rendered moot. Minus such biases, man can be free to see the world in a new light, perhaps as a unified whole. This is just one example of the myriad possibilities.

In terms of evolution, one thing people tend to forget about is that it's not "survival of the fittest" (as the simplistic Nazi style notion would have it, or what many people still believe it is) but survival of the best adapted, this also means cooperation and not just conflict. If the technologically inclined and upwardly mobile inhabitants of nations ride the wave created by this exponential technology access (don't forget 3 billion people will have internet who did not have it by 2020) then they can wind up better adpated to it than the ones making the laws, including dictators...as the statistics demonstrate from the links, after WWII 20% of countries were democracies, today it's 80%, I believe we are seeing evidence already in Africa and the Arab world their technological and political backwardness is ending. Stay tuned..
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Old May 4 2012, 06:52 PM   #79
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

RAMA wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
RAMA wrote: View Post
The greatest pall to hang over the world was the Cold War..
Not for the Russians it wasn't. It's important to note that as far as the Soviets were concerned, the United States posed a far less existential threat than Nazi Germany or even China, the former of which cost them $20 million lives and sacked several of their major cities.

The Americans went through the Cold War with this concept of "Mutually Assured Destruction," the assumption that the Russians could be convinced not to attack the United States because any attempt to do so would cause the total end of their civilization. The Russians never really got that concept; THEIR idea of nuclear war was "Nuke em till they stop shooting back." IOW, in their view getting nuked by the United States was hardly the end of the world; in some ways, it was no worse than what the Nazis did to them decades earlier, except that this time the Russian counterattack would immediately inflict identical damage to the United States and give them time to rebuild.

Have you ever seen interviews of Russian scientists, politicians, generals on documentaries from long after the cold war's end? I have. You've never seen a more extreme group of paranoid delusional people in your life. They thought the US was just as much an evil empire as Reagan thought of them. They really thought the US was planning a first strike! Even down to the day and minute in some cases, when they went on high alert. However, their strategy was an overwhelming first strike. They thought they could win a nuclear war simply by minimizing damage from the US, not by fighting a full blown war. In reality, such a war would have been won by no one, and certainly the clear thinkers on either side realized this.
I'm not so sure. From the interviews I've seen, the Russians believed that the key to victory was to inflict the maximum amount of damage on the U.S. in the shortest possible time, minimizing as much as possible their counterattack and their ability to continue in combat. Taking massive damage in the opening volley was basically a foregone conclusion, but as I said, in their minds it was hardly the end of the world.

In the end, IMO the Russian idea was probably more accurate as far as military realism. After all, it wasn't as if U.S. nuclear arsenal was specifically targeted against the Russian population or even the Russian industrial base; both sides were maximally concentrated on each other's military facilities, with the idea being not so much to annihilate the other's population, but to remove their ability to make war. U.S. thinkers never really understood this and let themselves get dazzled by the horrific implications of nuclear warfare in general. Truth is, a nuclear war is perfectly winnable, so long as you have a very strict definition of victory.
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Old May 4 2012, 07:11 PM   #80
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

RAMA wrote: View Post
Here I would argue that social evolution must follow intelligence
It doesn't, though. Social evolution follows the complexities of human interaction on a small and large scale and is influenced by many things, most significantly religious, economic and environmental circumstances. It has nothing much to do with intelligence, except insofar as intelligent people tend to do better economically and their social status reflects this. On the other hand, intelligent people are not the ONLY ones who do better economically; naked ambition and selfishness can also contribute, especially for people who are pre-positioned to take full advantage of those traits.

The human brain builds upon itself, older parts still exist in it and some suggest this is responsible for some of our baser instincts. As we learn, we see our world differently...
Some of us, yes. But not everyone is interested in learning OR seeing the world differently, nor is everyone even capable of doing so. Unfortunately for your theory, many of the willfully ignorant/hyper-ambitious nutjobs running around today are in positions of high political influence.

In terms of evolution, one thing people tend to forget about is that it's not "survival of the fittest" (as the simplistic Nazi style notion would have it, or what many people still believe it is) but survival of the best adapted, this also means cooperation and not just conflict.
Assuming that cooperation IS the best adaptation for all situations. On the small scale, this is not always the case.

If the technologically inclined and upwardly mobile inhabitants of nations ride the wave created by this exponential technology access (don't forget 3 billion people will have internet who did not have it by 2020) then they can wind up better adpated to it than the ones making the laws, including dictators...
That's exactly what I mean. The exponential technology access works BOTH ways; don't forget, the dictators want to survive too, and they too have an opportunity to adapt. The difference between the dictators and the "upwardly mobile inhabitants of nations" is that the dictators can more easily marshal the resources needed to protect their position and can ultimately deploy that very same technology against their own populations to eliminate potential competitors.

3 billion more people will have internet access by 2020; the dictators who rule them will be getting access to UCAVs and satellite surveillance around the same time.

as the statistics demonstrate from the links, after WWII 20% of countries were democracies, today it's 80%, I believe we are seeing evidence already in Africa and the Arab world their technological and political backwardness is ending. Stay tuned..
When the list of democracies includes such nations as Maldives and Liberia, I don't think it matters all that much. Technically, even Somolia is still a democracy.
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Old May 4 2012, 10:32 PM   #81
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

On the topic of jobs from earlier in the thread, found this interesting article: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/...orkers/255618/

Also, as I mentioned, as older non-information jobs are lost new ones are created, 14 million of them from the cloud!

http://www.forbes.com/sites/joemcken...-a-good-start/

The expansion of jobs in formerly lower income countries.

http://indiacurrentaffairs.org/elect...ging-director/
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Old May 4 2012, 11:13 PM   #82
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

sojourner wrote: View Post
You have one false assumption. Exponential technology.
http://www.technologyreview.com/business/40016/?p1=BI

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
RAMA wrote: View Post
Here I would argue that social evolution must follow intelligence
It doesn't, though. Social evolution follows the complexities of human interaction on a small and large scale and is influenced by many things, most significantly religious, economic and environmental circumstances. It has nothing much to do with intelligence, except insofar as intelligent people tend to do better economically and their social status reflects this. On the other hand, intelligent people are not the ONLY ones who do better economically; naked ambition and selfishness can also contribute, especially for people who are pre-positioned to take full advantage of those traits.

The human brain builds upon itself, older parts still exist in it and some suggest this is responsible for some of our baser instincts. As we learn, we see our world differently...
Some of us, yes. But not everyone is interested in learning OR seeing the world differently, nor is everyone even capable of doing so. Unfortunately for your theory, many of the willfully ignorant/hyper-ambitious nutjobs running around today are in positions of high political influence.

Assuming that cooperation IS the best adaptation for all situations. On the small scale, this is not always the case.

If the technologically inclined and upwardly mobile inhabitants of nations ride the wave created by this exponential technology access (don't forget 3 billion people will have internet who did not have it by 2020) then they can wind up better adpated to it than the ones making the laws, including dictators...
That's exactly what I mean. The exponential technology access works BOTH ways; don't forget, the dictators want to survive too, and they too have an opportunity to adapt. The difference between the dictators and the "upwardly mobile inhabitants of nations" is that the dictators can more easily marshal the resources needed to protect their position and can ultimately deploy that very same technology against their own populations to eliminate potential competitors.

3 billion more people will have internet access by 2020; the dictators who rule them will be getting access to UCAVs and satellite surveillance around the same time.

as the statistics demonstrate from the links, after WWII 20% of countries were democracies, today it's 80%, I believe we are seeing evidence already in Africa and the Arab world their technological and political backwardness is ending. Stay tuned..
When the list of democracies includes such nations as Maldives and Liberia, I don't think it matters all that much. Technically, even Somolia is still a democracy.

My point is, without development of the human brain through evolution and it's corresponding size and intelligence (plus the fact that "new" information" increases synapse connections ad cognitive function) you don't get technological innovation either. Of course other things are involved, such as social interaction, environment, etc, but they really work hand in hand...biological evolution also works exponentially but over longer periods of time. We are now at a point where we can surpass it totally within a few decades.

Speaking of evolution, brain and also cooperation vs conflict, this article sprang up recently:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...id=SA_facebook

It is the transition to a cooperative group that can lead to maximum selection for intelligence," said study researcher Luke McNally, a doctoral candidate at Trinity College Dublin. Greater intelligence, in turn, leads to more sophisticated cooperation, McNally told LiveScience.
I'm not trying to say that in this world of exponential change, that there are not those who aren't malicious, devious, power hungry, only that this period in time is the best opportunity we've had--technologically based--to distance ourselves from such thinking. I feel the balance is heading more towards real social evolution as well, but please don't mistake the idea that I think all is well and good in the world, its not, but we do and will have more tools to eliminate what we don't like about it. Right now, the positives are outweighing the negatives, and in some areas for the first time in history. Dictators may get UCAVs (or maybe not--maybe the rebels will have them instead) but there are fewer of them, weilding less power, in ever smaller spheres of influence..in in part because of technology and it's ability to spread social communication.

http://www.moneyweb.co.za/mw/view/mw...sn=2009+Detail

http://www.talkafrique.com/issues/af...pular-uprising

http://www.nyasatimes.com/malawi/201...gered-species/

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...XmEEUbrXQx5Oiw

Fortunately, military dictator- ships are becoming extinct in Latin America and during the last decade this has brought a period of relative economic and political ...
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Old May 4 2012, 11:14 PM   #83
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

Another fantastic technology of the 21st century, sort of our poor man's replicator..3D printing: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/...own-mit-robot/
..and then you can build more robots with it!

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Old May 5 2012, 12:45 AM   #84
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

You know, 15 years isn't a long time really. Hell, I've been posting on this BBS for 11 years. In this relatively modern timeframe I think we might see:

1. Augmented reality becoming more useful/ubiquitous. Possibly in the form of Google Glasses type devices. The theoretical ability to record everything you 'see', and the associated rise of the citizen journalist (a trend started already) but not sufficient technology to categorize it or make sense of it all yet. Limited Agent-type artificial intelligence will assist you with this and with common tasks such as ordering groceries or doing deep semantic searches of the Internet.

2. Continued moves away from traditional PC formats to cloud-connected ubiquitous devices centred on the mobile phone and/or tablet. Many home users will stop buying traditional PCs, and instead interacting with the Internet via connected televisions, tablets, and other household devices. Touch and Voice user interfaces will become more important relative to the Keyboard and Mouse, especially in the home, where people will use Touch or Siri-like software to do everything from order groceries to set the timer on the washing machine to changing the TV channel. People typically own many devices, in many innovative form factors (including paper thin OLED tablet and wallpaper television type devices) all of which synchronise with eachother automatically (provided you stick to the same ecosystem, e.g. Google or Apple).

3. The death or near-death of broadcast television except for live events (sports and news). People will use connected streaming TVs which are much more interactive and allow people to pick and choose what they want to watch for various price plans. TV channels/networks will cease to be important, instead people will buy directly from the big content producers, and indie labels, much as has happened for Music.

4. Hybrid and electric cars will become more commonplace, and better/more efficient, largely driven by higher petrol prices rather than concerns about global warming. This will in turn drive battery technologies forward for other devices. Quick charing for battery-powered cars will become more common, although Hydrogen fuel cells will still be some way off.

5. New drugs from treating common cancers and certain other critical diseases passing their clinical trials and becoming more readily available. Some alternatives to immuno-supressants for transplant patients, and some developments with rejection-tree transplants via tissue engineering, but no cloning or 'growing' of organs yet. Continued improvements in the artificial heart and other artificial organ designs to the point they become relatively commonplace as a bridge to eventual transplant or for those who are too old or too sick for transplants to be viable.
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Old May 5 2012, 07:56 AM   #85
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

RAMA wrote: View Post
sojourner wrote: View Post
You have one false assumption. Exponential technology.
http://www.technologyreview.com/business/40016/?p1=BI
And? The article referenced refers to one aspect of one technology. That's too small a sample set to conclude that technology in general is advancing exponentially.

Optimism is nice, but you should temper it with realism. Something Mr. Kurzweil seems to have lost.
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Old May 5 2012, 06:00 PM   #86
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

RAMA wrote: View Post
My point is, without development of the human brain through evolution and it's corresponding size and intelligence (plus the fact that "new" information" increases synapse connections ad cognitive function) you don't get technological innovation either.
Technological innovation is yet another adaptation to our environment, and an extremely useful one at that. It still isn't a progressive step except insofar as technology has sharply reduced the mortality rate for human beings and allowed us to proliferate to ridiculous numbers. But, again, technological innovation doesn't drive evolution, neither does intelligence, as both are merely byproducts of that process.

I'm reminded of the Krogan backstory from "Mass Effect." Prior to the invention of gunpowder, the leading cause of death was "eaten by predators." After the invention of gunpowder, the leading cause of death was "killed by firearms."

Of course other things are involved, such as social interaction, environment, etc, but they really work hand in hand...
No, they really don't. Intelligence is a byproduct of evolution, not a causal factor. Conditions can (and in some places DO) exist where intelligence has no survival benefit whatsoever and evolution selects a different set of traits to proliferate.

Speaking of evolution, brain and also cooperation vs conflict, this article sprang up recently
You're quoting an awful lot of articles lately and I'm beginning to notice that an alarming number of them are complete nonsequitors.

I'm not trying to say that in this world of exponential change, that there are not those who aren't malicious, devious, power hungry, only that this period in time is the best opportunity we've had--technologically based--to distance ourselves from such thinking.
It's not the THINKING that's the problem, Rama. The same technology that allows us to pursue more constructive aims just as easily empowers malicious deviants in their destructive intent. And the really sad thing is, we are STILL spending a lot more of our resources on military technology than its civilian counterparts, which is why the civilian market is some 20 years behind the military in almost every respect. You yourself mentioned that 3 billion more people will have internet access by 2020; that puts them, what, 30 years behind the Bosnian militia?

we do and will have more tools to eliminate what we don't like about it.
And my point is, other people less well intentioned have even MORE tools to fill the world with everything we don't like about it.
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Old May 5 2012, 06:14 PM   #87
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
RAMA wrote: View Post
My point is, without development of the human brain through evolution and it's corresponding size and intelligence (plus the fact that "new" information" increases synapse connections ad cognitive function) you don't get technological innovation either.
Technological innovation is yet another adaptation to our environment, and an extremely useful one at that. It still isn't a progressive step except insofar as technology has sharply reduced the mortality rate for human beings and allowed us to proliferate to ridiculous numbers. But, again, technological innovation doesn't drive evolution, neither does intelligence, as both are merely byproducts of that process.

I'm reminded of the Krogan backstory from "Mass Effect." Prior to the invention of gunpowder, the leading cause of death was "eaten by predators." After the invention of gunpowder, the leading cause of death was "killed by firearms."

Of course other things are involved, such as social interaction, environment, etc, but they really work hand in hand...
No, they really don't. Intelligence is a byproduct of evolution, not a causal factor. Conditions can (and in some places DO) exist where intelligence has no survival benefit whatsoever and evolution selects a different set of traits to proliferate.


You're quoting an awful lot of articles lately and I'm beginning to notice that an alarming number of them are complete nonsequitors.

I'm not trying to say that in this world of exponential change, that there are not those who aren't malicious, devious, power hungry, only that this period in time is the best opportunity we've had--technologically based--to distance ourselves from such thinking.
It's not the THINKING that's the problem, Rama. The same technology that allows us to pursue more constructive aims just as easily empowers malicious deviants in their destructive intent. And the really sad thing is, we are STILL spending a lot more of our resources on military technology than its civilian counterparts, which is why the civilian market is some 20 years behind the military in almost every respect. You yourself mentioned that 3 billion more people will have internet access by 2020; that puts them, what, 30 years behind the Bosnian militia?

we do and will have more tools to eliminate what we don't like about it.
And my point is, other people less well intentioned have even MORE tools to fill the world with everything we don't like about it.
Yeah, there's so much information and generally if I speak about this subject people need to know I'm not speaking from a vacuum, so I generally like to "footnote" my claims with links. Some of the links have to do with recent convos, for example, the latest link about how social communication helped our brain evolve had a dual meaning...it also contains info on how cooperation was more important in evolution than "survival of the fittest".

Ah but technology is starting to affect evolution, and will eventually become evolution. I think that's a major point in the discussion...

Well, what I am seeing here is you simply think things are going to stay the same, that humans will not progress socially, and often concurrent with technological advancement (which we have), that dictators and force will trump the means being created to create change (in the face of evidence), that wealth is not being spread amongst the world's citizens which is demonstrably untrue according to the UN data...and again by this I don't mean there aren't dictators or the world's perfect...It even may be possible that as you say, there may be flareups of gov'ts that manage to get the upper hand in the info "war", but you are far too enamored with conflict in my opinion to see that for the first time in history things are actually changing.
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Old May 5 2012, 06:16 PM   #88
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

sojourner wrote: View Post
RAMA wrote: View Post
sojourner wrote: View Post
You have one false assumption. Exponential technology.
http://www.technologyreview.com/business/40016/?p1=BI
And? The article referenced refers to one aspect of one technology. That's too small a sample set to conclude that technology in general is advancing exponentially.

Optimism is nice, but you should temper it with realism. Something Mr. Kurzweil seems to have lost.
This was a case of posting an addendum to the last response I gave you where I believe I posted 4 links on the subject, this was one from an "independent" technology site that in itself negates your comment that exponential technology does not exist. The other links do quite well in support of that.
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Old May 5 2012, 07:08 PM   #89
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

So your saying the existence of the website is proof of exponential technology, not the article linked??? As for the other 4 links you mentioned, you're going to have to re-link them as I have become lost in the sea of links.
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Old May 5 2012, 10:43 PM   #90
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

RAMA wrote: View Post
the latest link about how social communication helped our brain evolve had a dual meaning...it also contains info on how cooperation was more important in evolution than "survival of the fittest".
Which is a non-sequitor, since the ability to work cooperatively IS a fitness trait. You're putting yourself in the awkward position of arguing that technology will free us from the forces of evolution while at the same time insisting that our evolution into a more altruistic species is inevitable. In fact, it doesn't work that way; technology or not, we will evolve into whatever is best suited for the environment, whether that means evolving into a race of cyber-enhanced liberal arts philosophers or into a gang of gun-toting bible-thumping neoconservatives with a direct-brain interface to FOX news.

Ah but technology is starting to affect evolution
No it isn't. Evolution happens on too long a timescale for technology to be a factor, except insofar as the extinction rate of species who don't react well to industrial pollution (extinction, unlike evolution, happens VERY quickly).

Social evolution is another matter, but its cycle still moves too slowly for technology to be a prime factor.

and will eventually become evolution
No it won't.

Well, what I am seeing here is you simply think things are going to stay the same, that humans will not progress socially, and often concurrent with technological advancement (which we have), that dictators and force will trump the means being created to create change (in the face of evidence), that wealth is not being spread amongst the world's citizens which is demonstrably untrue according to the UN data...
First of all, I'm not arguing that humans will not progress socially. I'm saying that IF we do, it will have next to nothing to do with technology. In point of fact there are a number of places where progressive social development is more likely to occur among populations who LACK access to wealth or technology and therefore lack an incentive to keep things the way they are. That's my point about technology not driving evolution: depending on the environment, progressive development might actually have a negative effect on the existing power structure and they would instead employ that technology to stifle such development.

Second of all, dictators and force DO trump the means you're talking about. The reason there are fewer military dictators in the world today is because so many of them have been forcibly overthrown, either by a well-armed rebellion seizing a moment of weakness, or were toppled from outside by a superior foreign power. In very few cases were these dictators removed without a fight, and in NO cases were they removed purely by college kids networking on facebook. Local grassroots movements cannot topple the remaining dictators until and unless they are able to marshal superior firepower than their masters; all the smartphones and tablet computers in the world aren't going to change that (hell, the Palestinians have been using smartphones as their primary means of communication since mid 2003; how's that working for them?)

Third, we talked about the statistics. The wealth isn't being distributed more evenly among the people, it's being distributed among the nations. In a depressingly large number of cases it is in fact still controlled by the same people as before, they just happened to have moved their operations into the third world for tax purposes.

you are far too enamored with conflict in my opinion to see that for the first time in history things are actually changing.
Things are ALWAYS changing, Rama, and they always will be. We've already passed SEVERAL singularity events with respect to our ancestors, and yet history continues to repeat itself along similar lines in each new iteration of the cycle.

It's not that I'm enamored with conflict, it's just that I am severely unimpressed by the lofty promises to Singularity Prophets who assume that new technology necessarily means a newer and better paradigm for everyone. I'm sure that somebody said the same thing about electricity during the Enlightenment, or for that matter about chemistry during the Renaissance. And though it is indeed true that chemistry has allowed us to manufacture new medicines and helpful new substances, just as electricity has brought heat and light to our homes and powered vital life-benefiting technologies the world over, those benefits find a perfect balance with the negative aspects of their use. When you a wire electricity to every home in your country, you're suddenly in the position of fighting wars to protect your fuel supply; when you develop new medicines and new material substances using chemistry, you also have to deal with a biblical flood of highly addictive substances manufactured in basements and sold on the streets.

It is not a theory or even a guess, it is a FACT that not everyone who adopts the new technologies will use them for things that are beneficial to anyone. The best we can do is take the good with the bad and hope the good outweighs the bad. Most of the time it does... but only just, even in times of exponential growth.
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