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Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

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Old May 6 2012, 03:05 AM   #91
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

Verteron wrote: View Post
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.
I just made the move myself to total streaming video...I eliminated cable tv completely, but increased my internet speed to 30Mbps to improve my download speeds.
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Old May 6 2012, 03:06 AM   #92
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

sojourner wrote: View Post
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.
Um no....that's not what I said at all...

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Old May 6 2012, 04:32 AM   #93
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

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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.

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.
*sigh* You could argue that the altering of the planet started during the industrial evolution began it's effect on human beings, and would eventually influence our evolution, however, this is not what I mean, it won't have a chance to...I am saying part of the very issue dealing with transhumanism and the Singularity is self-evolution, the altering of the very substance of humanity, the mechanisms are in play, but they won't really be apparent for a few decades. The Singularity itself, and our part to lay in the resulting AI would be a huge leap in our evolution. If humans succeed in supplanting machine AI, then we would finally have achieved a way to take evolution away from natural adpatation(some might say chance). Of course if the machines take over, then that is adaptation as well.

You need to look at the data again, it's there for the nations, but is also broken down into data for groups of people...both at the lower end of the wage scale and above. This clearly shows that people in the UN defined poverty scale are slowly disappearing and joining the middle income pack...while there are still those who exist in the largest 20% range of wealthy people and lower 20% of poor people. The numbers are staggering, 100s of million of individual people have been taken out of the poverty range in the last few decades.

Firstly I'm not a prophet, I'm the last person you would think would blindly follow anyone--there just happen to be some vocal technophiles who are publicizing what's already been happening on it's own. I believe in the scientific method, and I am convinced the numbers show which direction we are headed in, and although those numbers mean we just might wind up as inconsequential players in our "own" world, I've seen how we might just avoid that fate. I'm completely unimpressed with the many people in their own industries that can't see the forest for the trees. It's just as hard for humans to imagine this accelerated change as it is to understand the size of the universe, even for intelligent people. However many do, and I'm hoping the information spreads.

As I've pointed out before to others, there's a difference between exponential paradigms in technology (also called a "phase change")and a Singularity event...in no sense can technological advancement in the past be considered unfathomable. The very definition means that computing power + intelligence of AI is beyond our understanding.

As another addendum...the evolution of the brain by social communication has a third meaning I didn't bring up, a central theme for the Singularity is that the brain is understandable and quantifiable, and this understanding is useful in creating the next stage of AI. Learning how it aided our evolution is important.

So there is no confusion...this link about the concept of accelerating change is meant to clear up views about the periods of technological advancements in the past, as well as the relation of social development to technological progress.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerating_change

Here's a real in depth article by John Smart:

http://www.accelerationwatch.com/history_brief.html

Who is:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Smart_%28futurist%29

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Old May 6 2012, 09:05 PM   #94
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

RAMA wrote: View Post
sojourner wrote: View Post
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.
Um no....that's not what I said at all...

RAMA
Then you need to work on sentence structure, because that's what you wrote. I think I get what you meant now, which puts us right back at my "sample size of one".

As for the thread in general, you seem to be ignoring a lot of the problems our runaway growth is causing resource wise on the planet. We are over fishing the oceans, reaching the point of exhausting basic element supplies, teetering on the edge of financial collapse, and last but not least consuming oil at an ever increasing rate. some information technology "singularity" is not going to save us from that.
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Old May 7 2012, 06:29 PM   #95
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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
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.
Um no....that's not what I said at all...

RAMA
Then you need to work on sentence structure, because that's what you wrote. I think I get what you meant now, which puts us right back at my "sample size of one".

As for the thread in general, you seem to be ignoring a lot of the problems our runaway growth is causing resource wise on the planet. We are over fishing the oceans, reaching the point of exhausting basic element supplies, teetering on the edge of financial collapse, and last but not least consuming oil at an ever increasing rate. some information technology "singularity" is not going to save us from that.
Actually I'm not ignoring any those things, those problems are all solvable, though I'm not going to be able to cover everything without lots of link footnotes!!

1. I've already covered the financial issues, and mentioned why the stock market is undervalued and how it will change. I've covered where the new economy and employment will come from in multiple posts. I've linked to how the economies of underdeveloped countries have exploded in the years since 1960, whole new markets in the East are now coming online. Africa may well skip a whole technological generation through exponential info technologies already pervading the country, GDP increasing and poverty eliminating smartphones will have 70% penetration in Africa by 2020.

2. I've covered renewable technologies and future technologies that are already being worked on right now (ITER, DEMO, IVth generation fission). Solar energy is now less expensive than natural gas worldwide, its growth can be measured exponentially. Wind power is replacing nuclear in several countries. Fuel cells or hybrids may replace oil in the next few decades...

3. I mentioned vertical farming and cultured meat as future food technologies that are safe and can replace current techniques, they can create another dematerialization effect in the food industry. Genetically modified foods are going to be the future.

4. I pasted a pdf link about nanotechnology used for environmental cleanup including fisheries.

For more on any of these you can watch:

Abundance

Or read:

http://www.amazon.com/Abundance-Futu.../dp/1451614217

sojourner wrote: View Post
Then you need to work on sentence structure, because that's what you wrote. I think I get what you meant now, which puts us right back at my "sample size of one".
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.
This clearly means the evidence from the linked site negates your claim. I mention it's an independent site rather than a site dedicated to exponential technologies, so you couldn't claim bias.

There is also a graph that includes examination of technological advancements from different sources used for the accelerated returns of technology claim linked in one of my posts.

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Old May 7 2012, 09:39 PM   #96
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

We'll be lucky if half the technologies you mention come to fruition in time, never mind reaching a "singularity". There are going to be some lean years ahead and I have serious skepticism about a sudden utopia erupting in the next 20.
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Old May 8 2012, 04:20 AM   #97
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

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I am saying part of the very issue dealing with transhumanism and the Singularity is self-evolution, the altering of the very substance of humanity, the mechanisms are in play, but they won't really be apparent for a few decades.
Unless you're talking about eugenics and/or genetic engineering to improve the biological basis of humans in general -- I.E. the DNA of the entire human race -- then it's just high-tech gimmicks; remove that technology and we're still just hairless apes with highly developed language skills.

When humans gain the ability to modify their own genomes to adapt to radically new environments -- say, a permanent Lunar or Martian colony -- then we might have something. Otherwise, it's SSDD: same humans, new technology.

The Singularity itself, and our part to lay in the resulting AI would be a huge leap in our evolution.
You're again conflating evolution with progress. They are NOT the same thing and happen over vastly different timescales. Barring some sort of widespread genetic modification program designed to fundamentally change the entire species, that single event isn't going to affect our evolution substantially UNLESS it coincides with some sort of mass extinction incident.

If humans succeed in supplanting machine AI, then we would finally have achieved a way to take evolution away from natural adpatation(some might say chance). Of course if the machines take over, then that is adaptation as well.
For the machines, sure. It doesn't mean squat for OUR evolution.

You need to look at the data again, it's there for the nations, but is also broken down into data for groups of people...both at the lower end of the wage scale and above.
I have, several times in the past few days. The reduction of income inequality appears to be occurring only in a handful of areas, while the gap is widening everywhere else. It also doesn't help much that the U.N. definition of poverty has been whittled down dramatically since the last round of Bush appointees to the IMF.

Firstly I'm not a prophet, I'm the last person you would think would blindly follow anyone--there just happen to be some vocal technophiles who are publicizing what's already been happening on it's own.
Technophiles have been making these kinds of predictions for a hundred years, forecasting that humanity was only two decades away from being uplifted into some transcendent godlike condition by breakthroughs in technology. The usual suspects -- A.I., genetic engineering, flying cars, cheap/clean/renewable energy, cities on the moon, etc -- are always said to be just around the corner, but either never materialize or never make it past the concept stage. I don't see that anything you're saying right now is any different from those past forecasts, especially since you're quoting most of the same kinds of sources to back it up.

I'm completely unimpressed with the many people in their own industries that can't see the forest for the trees. It's just as hard for humans to imagine this accelerated change as it is to understand the size of the universe, even for intelligent people. However many do, and I'm hoping the information spreads.
What difference does it make if it spreads? If you're correct, then it's inevitable and we'll find out sooner or later anyway. If you're incorrect, nobody will notice or even care, the world keeps spinning and we both get to be surprised by what happens next.

As I've pointed out before to others, there's a difference between exponential paradigms in technology (also called a "phase change")and a Singularity event...in no sense can technological advancement in the past be considered unfathomable.
Yes it can, from the point of view of those who lived BEFORE those changes. The singularity is so named only because it represents a paradigm shift so dramatic that we (well, actually futurists who believe in that sort of thing) cannot make accurate predictions about what will happen after it. The only difference between the AI singularity and, say, the electricity singularity or the alchemy/chemistry singularity is that we can see this one coming and our ancestors could not.

The very definition means that computing power + intelligence of AI is beyond our understanding.
It's NOT beyond our understanding, just beyond our PRESENT ability to relate it and/or apply human values to it. The one flaw with singularity theory is that it assumes a relationship between humans and AI wherein humans retain their present value structure while AI continues to evolve independently of it. Theorists don't take into account the fact that since AI begins as a tool used by humans, it is likely that those first sentient AIs will be intentionally imbued with human-like values and intelligence, if only because the humans who built them had a specific purpose in mind by doing so. If and when those AIs transcend those original values, their path of social evolution may not be drastically different from that of their creators.

As another addendum...the evolution of the brain by social communication has a third meaning I didn't bring up, a central theme for the Singularity is that the brain is understandable and quantifiable
The mind, however, is not. That's the main hurdle facing AI theorists today.

Have you perhaps taken into account that most machines don't really need real human-like minds in order to do their jobs? A general-purpose thought engine is a very inefficient thing to put to the task of designing car parts or exploring strange new worlds.
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Old May 8 2012, 10:53 AM   #98
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

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We'll be lucky if half the technologies you mention come to fruition in time, never mind reaching a "singularity". There are going to be some lean years ahead and I have serious skepticism about a sudden utopia erupting in the next 20.
Its not a utopia necessarily...I'm pointing out the conditions exist for a Singularity event. This event may well take the form of something negative, but I'm suggesting there is also hope for something positive. I do feel we are going to have some hard issues to deal with, and it won't always be an easy road. The negativity in some circles leads people to not see the possibilities out there.

The great thing about the solutions I bring up is that most are being developed right now, they are not on a drawing board somewhere only. Others won't be around in useful versions till the 2030s or so, which for energy and food production is plenty of time to make a dent in those issues. Nanotech is already a multi-billion a year business. Biotech is already used in environmental cleanups.
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Old May 8 2012, 11:37 AM   #99
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

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I am saying part of the very issue dealing with transhumanism and the Singularity is self-evolution, the altering of the very substance of humanity, the mechanisms are in play, but they won't really be apparent for a few decades.
Unless you're talking about eugenics and/or genetic engineering to improve the biological basis of humans in general -- I.E. the DNA of the entire human race -- then it's just high-tech gimmicks; remove that technology and we're still just hairless apes with highly developed language skills.

When humans gain the ability to modify their own genomes to adapt to radically new environments -- say, a permanent Lunar or Martian colony -- then we might have something. Otherwise, it's SSDD: same humans, new technology.
Transhumanism by definition means just that...extension of life, intelligence, memory, et al by both genetic and technological means. By transhumanism, I'm referring to a timeline in the 15-25 year range for significant change, and roughly 40-45 years before it merges or diverges with strong AI that surpasses human intelligence.

You're again conflating evolution with progress. They are NOT the same thing and happen over vastly different timescales. Barring some sort of widespread genetic modification program designed to fundamentally change the entire species, that single event isn't going to affect our evolution substantially UNLESS it coincides with some sort of mass extinction incident.
Mass extinction is possible, then our creation, machine AI will be our legacy. Most likely they will be the ones pervading the galaxy in centuries to come.

For the machines, sure. It doesn't mean squat for OUR evolution.
Exactly...I look at it one of two ways: Either we evolve artificially before they do, and keep going as AI, which will then be "humanity", OR our "children" will inherit the Earth. This used to bother me, but I've come to terms with it, doubtless 98% of humanity doesn't agree with me on this.


I have, several times in the past few days. The reduction of income inequality appears to be occurring only in a handful of areas, while the gap is widening everywhere else. It also doesn't help much that the U.N. definition of poverty has been whittled down dramatically since the last round of Bush appointees to the IMF.
Seems to me it has been raised. The blanket range for the UN is $1 to $10 per day. In the USA though, the poverty level has risen for many years. As pointed out in many sources, even the poorest people in America generally have "luxuries" undreampt of 100 years ago.

Technophiles have been making these kinds of predictions for a hundred years, forecasting that humanity was only two decades away from being uplifted into some transcendent godlike condition by breakthroughs in technology. The usual suspects -- A.I., genetic engineering, flying cars, cheap/clean/renewable energy, cities on the moon, etc -- are always said to be just around the corner, but either never materialize or never make it past the concept stage. I don't see that anything you're saying right now is any different from those past forecasts, especially since you're quoting most of the same kinds of sources to back it up.
There have been a few who have predicted that our information processing and tech advancement would one day reach proportions beyond our understanding. Some of them are pointed out in the link I posted the other day http://www.accelerationwatch.com/history_brief.html Interestingly, some of the predictions range around the same time as the Singularity prediction of recent years!! What happens more often in the past is that many scientists and intelligent men predict that we have reached finite knowledge and intelligence! Obviously silly! The claims since the early 80s for a Singularity are different than earlier claims mainly in the forecasting, both in historical evidence, and wider agreement within technological circles. There's a gigantic difference between videos made my GM in the 50s explaining the world of tomorrow and an actual Singularity event.

It's NOT beyond our understanding, just beyond our PRESENT ability to relate it and/or apply human values to it. The one flaw with singularity theory is that it assumes a relationship between humans and AI wherein humans retain their present value structure while AI continues to evolve independently of it. Theorists don't take into account the fact that since AI begins as a tool used by humans, it is likely that those first sentient AIs will be intentionally imbued with human-like values and intelligence, if only because the humans who built them had a specific purpose in mind by doing so. If and when those AIs transcend those original values, their path of social evolution may not be drastically different from that of their creators.
True enough, anyone part of the AI/Singularity curve won't think there's much difference happening, it'll seem normal, anyone outside the bubble will notice.

I don't think anyone claims that AIs will retain present value structure, they suggest we won't know! I claimed transhumans may well have a different outlook on things once they can upload/uplink their minds with other humans and machines.

Personally, if I speculate on machine AI I can't really believe they would share similarities with us for too long after a Singularity. It would be a different scale of thinking altogether.

As another addendum...the evolution of the brain by social communication has a third meaning I didn't bring up, a central theme for the Singularity is that the brain is understandable and quantifiableThe mind, however, is not. That's the main hurdle facing AI theorists today.
One way I noticed the exponential nature of technology over the last 5-6 years is how differently I perceived my personal devices, there has been radical change. The same goes with tech news: in the 90s reports used to be monthly or yearly about significant events, today I see them every single day! The very day I brought up a topic here on the BBS about the 6th generation of processor technology, a breakthrough was announced that will bring it to commercial markets within a year or two. I see the same development with brain research...a field barely scratched in a 100 years of the 20th century, it is now exploding. Many researchers now think we will understand how the mind works.

Have you perhaps taken into account that most machines don't really need real human-like minds in order to do their jobs? A general-purpose thought engine is a very inefficient thing to put to the task of designing car parts or exploring strange new worlds.
I know this to be true, AI doesn't need to be human-like to do what the Singularity popularizers claim, which really makes it more likely rather than the reverse to me. However, the math is there, it should be possible especially if it's human derived AI.

Its funny you bring up strange new worlds...I think our first and best hope for early space exploration are Von Neuman machines, its a better way to explore lots of space instead of using starships (ok so there's no Kirk for us and it's less exciting). They tend to be speculated as much like insects, and will probably only have rudimentary decision-making capability...{devoid of indigenous life--raw materials and energy available--land and reproduce--move on} .
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Old May 8 2012, 12:52 PM   #100
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

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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.
And what does it tell you about Reagan and his cohorts?
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Old May 8 2012, 08:35 PM   #101
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

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Transhumanism by definition means just that...extension of life, intelligence, memory, et al by both genetic and technological means.
Technologically, we're nowhere NEAR that particular standard, let alone 15 to 25 years. Closer to a century, at least, before technologies like brain-machine interfaces performance enhancing prosthesis becomes available to anyone, and even those are EXTREMELY likely to be accessible only to the very rich at first.

Genetic modification, on the other hand, is even farther off; the technology is more mature, but the motivation for actually tinkering with human genes just doesn't exist. Genetic engineering is considered too hit and miss and the ethical considerations are staggering, even for transhumanists. Those are hurdles that aren't going to be overcome in the next 25 years.

Mass extinction is possible, then our creation, machine AI will be our legacy. Most likely they will be the ones pervading the galaxy in centuries to come.
At least, until they too are wiped out in a mass extinction event.

Exactly...I look at it one of two ways: Either we evolve artificially before they do, and keep going as AI, which will then be "humanity", OR our "children" will inherit the Earth.
That's the transhumanist position. The far more likely scenario is that a new power structure (probably including portions of the old one) will use those technologies to cement their own advantage and then lord it over the rest of humanity as a collection of empires and/or corporate fiefdoms. This is basically the scenario predicted by the Eugenics Wars: the modified supermen simply carved up the world between them in a series of dictatorships that devastated the rest of the human race.

There's likely to be a stark factionalization when this happens. The transhumanists will find their natural enemy in humanists who have an almost religious obsession with "natural evolution" and denigrate attempts to defy nature. Caught in the middle will be populist movements, excluded from the upper class, who try to use those new technologies for their own benefit. Some of these will be progressive/socially conscious movements like UNICEF or One Laptop Per Child, others will be less enlightened groups like Al Qaida or the Kurdistan Workers Party. And of course there's the legitimate freedom fighter who will use that technology to overthrow his oppressors...

The point is, humanity is too large a thing for that technology to be distributed evenly, and humans in general are too small-minded to ensure otherwise. It's sort of a catch-22 that we have to achieve enlightenment before we are mature enough to pursue it in the first place.

Seems to me it has been raised. The blanket range for the UN is $1 to $10 per day. In the USA though, the poverty level has risen for many years. As pointed out in many sources, even the poorest people in America generally have "luxuries" undreampt of 100 years ago.
When indoor plumbing and electricity are counted as "luxuries" in the 21st century, you know there's something wrong with your measuring standards.

There's a gigantic difference between videos made my GM in the 50s explaining the world of tomorrow and an actual Singularity event.
There is a difference, but it's hardly gigantic. Both depend on the same basic (flawed) assumptions about the nature of technology and the markets it serves, the same mistakes futurists are ALWAYS making, which is why their predictions are often so wildly inaccurate.

Personally, if I speculate on machine AI I can't really believe they would share similarities with us for too long after a Singularity. It would be a different scale of thinking altogether.
Not necessarily. Considering there's no practical reason to imbue a machine with artificial personality EXCEPT to have that machine act as a surrogate for real people. This can only be accomplished if those machines are designed from the outset to be as similar to human beings as possible, with most of the same limitations and scope of intelligence. It is NOT a foregone conclusion that those AIs would eventually choose to transcend their built-in limitations; even if it were possible, they may not find it desirable.

I'm loathe to use a Disney reference, but consider the AI that drives a garbage robot like Wall-E. Evidently this is a machine intelligence bordering on sentience, with the capacity for introspection, genuine curiosity and the ability to form friendships and loyalties. He can even set his own goals in life, to a certain limited extent. Yet, at the end of the day, Wall-E is still, basically, a self-propelled garbage truck, and that basic function pretty much drives every other facet of his personality. Why would he choose to transcend his garbage collection duties in favor of becoming, say, an omniscient cosmologist with knowledge spanning the farthest limits of the universe? From his point of view, collecting the leftover knicknacks and trinkets from the Old World is probably a lot more fun.

Not even all humans subscribe to transcendentalism; it's fallacious to assume all of the machines would.

One way I noticed the exponential nature of technology over the last 5-6 years is how differently I perceived my personal devices, there has been radical change. The same goes with tech news: in the 90s reports used to be monthly or yearly about significant events, today I see them every single day!
And you don't think the fact that you're LOOKING for them every single day has anything to do with that?

I know this to be true, AI doesn't need to be human-like to do what the Singularity popularizers claim
Oh, but it does. They key word in artificial intelligence is Artificial. That is to say it's something that humans created for a very specific purpose. We would have no reason to develop an artificial personality that DOESN'T closely resemble our own, even if we knew how.

Its funny you bring up strange new worlds...I think our first and best hope for early space exploration are Von Neuman machines
I disagree. I think our first and best hope for space exploration are are crazy SOBs with under-developed self-preservation instincts. It didn't take Von Neuman machines to spread humanity through every corner of the globe. What it really took was BALLS, and once space exploration is no longer the purview of governments, we will again start seeing those rugged half-crazy pioneer types put their balls on the line.
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Old May 13 2012, 07:54 PM   #102
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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
Transhumanism by definition means just that...extension of life, intelligence, memory, et al by both genetic and technological means.
Technologically, we're nowhere NEAR that particular standard, let alone 15 to 25 years. Closer to a century, at least, before technologies like brain-machine interfaces performance enhancing prosthesis becomes available to anyone, and even those are EXTREMELY likely to be accessible only to the very rich at first.

Genetic modification, on the other hand, is even farther off; the technology is more mature, but the motivation for actually tinkering with human genes just doesn't exist. Genetic engineering is considered too hit and miss and the ethical considerations are staggering, even for transhumanists. Those are hurdles that aren't going to be overcome in the next 25 years.

Mass extinction is possible, then our creation, machine AI will be our legacy. Most likely they will be the ones pervading the galaxy in centuries to come.
At least, until they too are wiped out in a mass extinction event.


That's the transhumanist position. The far more likely scenario is that a new power structure (probably including portions of the old one) will use those technologies to cement their own advantage and then lord it over the rest of humanity as a collection of empires and/or corporate fiefdoms. This is basically the scenario predicted by the Eugenics Wars: the modified supermen simply carved up the world between them in a series of dictatorships that devastated the rest of the human race.

There's likely to be a stark factionalization when this happens. The transhumanists will find their natural enemy in humanists who have an almost religious obsession with "natural evolution" and denigrate attempts to defy nature. Caught in the middle will be populist movements, excluded from the upper class, who try to use those new technologies for their own benefit. Some of these will be progressive/socially conscious movements like UNICEF or One Laptop Per Child, others will be less enlightened groups like Al Qaida or the Kurdistan Workers Party. And of course there's the legitimate freedom fighter who will use that technology to overthrow his oppressors...

The point is, humanity is too large a thing for that technology to be distributed evenly, and humans in general are too small-minded to ensure otherwise. It's sort of a catch-22 that we have to achieve enlightenment before we are mature enough to pursue it in the first place.


When indoor plumbing and electricity are counted as "luxuries" in the 21st century, you know there's something wrong with your measuring standards.


There is a difference, but it's hardly gigantic. Both depend on the same basic (flawed) assumptions about the nature of technology and the markets it serves, the same mistakes futurists are ALWAYS making, which is why their predictions are often so wildly inaccurate.


Not necessarily. Considering there's no practical reason to imbue a machine with artificial personality EXCEPT to have that machine act as a surrogate for real people. This can only be accomplished if those machines are designed from the outset to be as similar to human beings as possible, with most of the same limitations and scope of intelligence. It is NOT a foregone conclusion that those AIs would eventually choose to transcend their built-in limitations; even if it were possible, they may not find it desirable.

I'm loathe to use a Disney reference, but consider the AI that drives a garbage robot like Wall-E. Evidently this is a machine intelligence bordering on sentience, with the capacity for introspection, genuine curiosity and the ability to form friendships and loyalties. He can even set his own goals in life, to a certain limited extent. Yet, at the end of the day, Wall-E is still, basically, a self-propelled garbage truck, and that basic function pretty much drives every other facet of his personality. Why would he choose to transcend his garbage collection duties in favor of becoming, say, an omniscient cosmologist with knowledge spanning the farthest limits of the universe? From his point of view, collecting the leftover knicknacks and trinkets from the Old World is probably a lot more fun.

Not even all humans subscribe to transcendentalism; it's fallacious to assume all of the machines would.


And you don't think the fact that you're LOOKING for them every single day has anything to do with that?

I know this to be true, AI doesn't need to be human-like to do what the Singularity popularizers claim
Oh, but it does. They key word in artificial intelligence is Artificial. That is to say it's something that humans created for a very specific purpose. We would have no reason to develop an artificial personality that DOESN'T closely resemble our own, even if we knew how.

Its funny you bring up strange new worlds...I think our first and best hope for early space exploration are Von Neuman machines
I disagree. I think our first and best hope for space exploration are are crazy SOBs with under-developed self-preservation instincts. It didn't take Von Neuman machines to spread humanity through every corner of the globe. What it really took was BALLS, and once space exploration is no longer the purview of governments, we will again start seeing those rugged half-crazy pioneer types put their balls on the line.

Again this is linear thinking: "yes, that may be possible but we are nowhere near it now." Only because you're not taking into account accelerating change. The biggest roadblock to explaining this to people is their own short term and very human biased way of looking at the world, and not realizing that this simply won't apply any more.

I don't know how evenly the technology will spread, only that eventually only the highest level tech will exist after a time. What I do know in the nearer term is that the enabling technologies are spreading fast, 66% penetration of the internet...3 billion more people online, and the aforementioned penetration of cell phones into Africa by 2020. Real world events...facts. This makes it far more likely that the influence of information will spread rather than the reverse.

Mass exinction events: Any disaster can occur in the universe, sure everyone and everything could die in a large scale extinction at any time, but of course, spreading ourselves away from Earth will maximize survival. It might be us, or it may be the machines that decide this is the logical way to go, and start seeding space Von Neuman machines and with smart matter.

Well at least in once case, Ray Kurzweil's predictions are wildly accurate, even against claims to the contrary:

http://www.acceleratingfuture.com/mi...9-predictions/

http://www.kurzweilai.net/kurzweil-r...he-singularity

Space travel...again, one dimensional thinking from you, ie: there really is only one way to do things or they got done...

AI: Again, I don't think AI HAS to have human personality, in fact, while some of it's action may seem to be so in 2035 it won't have to be. I think it more likely that the human "personality" would come through a transhumanist origin ...however I don't think it's impossible for a machine to evolve emotions or "human'like" features, just as we have as biological machines. In fact, human beings can probably develop these things in AI much faster than natural selection did.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTPAQ...eature=related

In terms of actually seeding our influence in space yes, I think most scientists agree Von Neuman type machines are the best bet, they are small, cheap, and reproduce, we can literally flood the galaxy with them. Then it can be taken to the next level.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_VBOB76oiQ
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Old May 13 2012, 09:55 PM   #103
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

So, Rama, why hasn't running water, a what, 3 thousand year old technology, made it to every human on the planet by now?
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Old May 14 2012, 01:53 AM   #104
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

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Again this is linear thinking: "yes, that may be possible but we are nowhere near it now." Only because you're not taking into account accelerating change.
Only TECHNOLOGY is developing exponentially. Human beings and human societies are not, and the growth of technology cannot benefit that development unless it is a byproduct of that development (which, in most places, it is not).

I don't know how evenly the technology will spread, only that eventually only the highest level tech will exist after a time.
This is another error you make, in assuming that even with exponential growth there is a point beyond which technology will cease to develop. That is unlikely to be true even post-singularity, and those human communities left behind by the singularity will have to make due with less than "cutting edge" for a considerable amount of time.

What I do know in the nearer term is that the enabling technologies are spreading fast, 66% penetration of the internet...
You haven't done much to back up the idea that the internet is an enabling technology, let alone the idea that internet access in and of itself is sufficient to offset the global income gap when more advanced technologies are less likely to proliferate at the same time.

Space travel...again, one dimensional thinking from you, ie: there really is only one way to do things or they got done...
There are a million ways to do things, certainly. There is, however, only one BEST way to do things, with "best" being defined as that which is most likely to succeed so far as the goals we set. Experience tells me that any endeavor that depends entirely on a new revolutionary untried technology is doomed to either failure or such limited success as to never fully realize its goals. So the Von Neuman Machines -- or any other fanciful high tech approach, up to and including space elevators, launch loops, space tethers, laser-based propulsion, airship/stratolaunch or SSTO spaceplanes -- suffers from an inherent catch-22: the only way to make them effective is to use them ALOT, and the only way to use them a lot is to send an assload of people into space to develop them in the first place.

Which means that ultimately NONE of those technologies will make space exploration possible in and of themselves. Those technologies will make space exploration EASIER, and considerably cheaper, and possibly even safer. The catch is that none of those technologies will develop until they are widely tested and used, which means that mankind does not have the luxury of waiting until space exploration gets easier, cheaper or safer. If we're going to do it, we'll still have to send people into space by the hundreds up there to establish a frontier where those technologies can be used and mature, and we're also going to have to learn to be comfortable with the idea that ALOT of the people we send into space are going to die up there. Until we take those first developmental (and psychological) steps, everything else is just fantasy.

AI: Again, I don't think AI HAS to have human personality, in fact, while some of it's action may seem to be so in 2035 it won't have to be.
I never said it HAD to be. I'm saying it is extremely unlikely to develop along any other lines, since the only practical reason to develop a sentient AI is the desire for an artificial system that emulates a human personality. There is an extremely limited number of applications where such a system would be desirable; for almost everything else humans need machines to do, machine sentience is neither practical nor desirable (and in many cases would actually be rather inconvenient).

I don't think it's impossible for a machine to evolve emotions or "human'like" features, just as we have as biological machines.
If they're going to "evolve" that on their own it'll take a timescale similar -- though probably much longer -- to natural evolution, since those machines do not procreate and the variation between one generation and the next is vanishingly small (besides the fact that the evolutionary pressure towards emotions or "humanlike features" is virtually zero).

It's not something that will quickly form by accident. Sentient AIs will be developed intentionally by humans for a specific human task; once you understand what sort of tasks would require machine sentience, it becomes a lot easier to predict what those machines will do when they become self aware.

In terms of actually seeding our influence in space yes, I think most scientists agree Von Neuman type machines are the best bet, they are small, cheap, and reproduce, we can literally flood the galaxy with them. Then it can be taken to the next level.
Sure it can. But not until or unless we start sending humans in space to make practical use of them. Otherwise it is still just another in a long list of powerpoint proposals that has never and will never get anywhere.

Put that another way: Christopher Columbus would have had a much easier time discovering a faster route to India if he had convinced the Queen of Spain to fund Leonardo DaVinci's experiments and developed the world's first powered flying machine. They could have convinced Isabella -- and indeed, all of Europe -- that a trans-continental flying machine was the best and most efficient way of exploring the world and that sailing the oceans in rickety little boats was too expensive and unacceptably dangerous. Air transport is the way to go, the argument would be... and three hundred years later, they would still be waiting for the advent of the internal combustion engine before practical powered flight would even be REMOTELY possible.

As it stands, Columbus managed to discover the new world using three leaky boats and a crew of morons; three hundred years later, the secret of powered flight would be discovered, NOT by a scientific mind as brilliant as DaVinci, but by a couple of bicycle mechanics in Kitty Hawk North Carolina.

Von Neuman machines opening up the stars to humans? I won't say it's impossible. I WILL venture a guess that the first person who invents a practical version of such a device probably won't be born on Earth.
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Old May 20 2012, 07:11 PM   #105
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Re: What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

I found a very good page that attempts to capture the rapid pace of technological advance related to the Singularity:

http://www.scoop.it/t/singularity-scoops

The expansion of the internet:

http://infographicsite.com/133/the-i...net-of-things/
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