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Old June 12 2012, 08:09 AM   #136
RAMA
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

sojourner wrote: View Post
Better hurry up with that there singularity.
All such predictions never take into account future developments, this includes food shortages, fuel shortages, power shortages, etc. I believe I've provided more than a share of potential ways out of such problems.

It's very human to think the negative outcomes are more likely than positive ones:

http://www.companyfounder.com/category/negativity/

panic response:

http://www.companyfounder.com/2011/0...ames-approach/

My Name Is Legion wrote: View Post
sojourner wrote: View Post
Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post


I'm not afraid of technology or the future, dude. I welcome them. I wish the Singularity was right around the corner--the idea of being a transhuman sounds badass.

Doesn't mean I'm willing to delude myself into believing it's about to happen, though.
QFT. Being a realist is not "fear".
Neither is knowing what one is talking about, of course. For the most part, the evangelists don't - their followers certainly don't.

Believers in this nonsense don't realize how blinkered accusing people of being "afraid of" the Singularity is - it's exactly the same as religionists accusing atheists of "being angry at God," completely missing any understanding of what the disagreement is about.
Well Im also an atheist, so it wont be coming from me.

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Last edited by RAMA; June 12 2012 at 08:28 AM.
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Old June 12 2012, 02:18 PM   #137
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

Still not caring.
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Old June 12 2012, 02:33 PM   #138
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

RAMA wrote: View Post
Well Im also an atheist, so it wont be coming from me.
Belief in the Singularity is no more or less than an expression of the religious impulse, dressed up in the trappings of technology - it can't be grounded in rational atheism.
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Old June 12 2012, 02:41 PM   #139
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

RAMA wrote: View Post
sojourner wrote: View Post
Better hurry up with that there singularity.
All such predictions never take into account future developments, this includes food shortages, fuel shortages, power shortages, etc. I believe I've provided more than a share of potential ways out of such problems.

It's very human to think the negative outcomes are more likely than positive ones:

http://www.companyfounder.com/category/negativity/

panic response:

http://www.companyfounder.com/2011/0...ames-approach/
Are you just not understanding that the explosive growth we've experienced over the past couple centuries is not sustainable? It depends entirely on the exploitation of finite fossil fuels. Even the most optimistic scenarios tell us that we will have to see dramatic population reductions, drastic cutbacks in consumption (both in energy and physical resources), and a general slowdown of growth. These are not things we will choose, they will simply happen as a consequence of a) running out of fossil fuels and b) getting off of them to halt the damage of climate change. If we don't do b), then a) will happen. It's really a question of whether we want to make a gradual transition to a more sustainable way of living, or hit a brick wall and have to pick up the pieces after a catastrophic collapse.

It is naive to think we will <tech> our way around this. The period of time spanning the Industrial Revolution up to now is unprecedented in human history. We don't know what will happen going forward, but it is inarguable that we are exhausting our planet's limited resources: we are destroying biodiversity, we are (perhaps irreversibly) altering the global climate, running out of fresh water sources, running out of oil, running out of phosphates, etc. etc. We do not have the resources to continue along this path, and the impression I get from Singularity advocates is that they think we will handwave these problems away by reaching the Singularity before our energy and resource problems come to a head.
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Old June 12 2012, 03:54 PM   #140
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

Nanomachines will fix all of that. Seriously, dude. Take a hit.
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Old June 13 2012, 06:10 AM   #141
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

So as I eagerly await the book in 6 days...I thought I'd take a look at some of his previous work brought to visual fruition in a video competition:

http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=144608

I'll have a review of the novel after I read it...hmm my first in depth book review on the board I believe.

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Old June 13 2012, 06:14 AM   #142
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

My Name Is Legion wrote: View Post
RAMA wrote: View Post
Well Im also an atheist, so it wont be coming from me.
Belief in the Singularity is no more or less than an expression of the religious impulse, dressed up in the trappings of technology - it can't be grounded in rational atheism.
Utter nonsense
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Old June 13 2012, 06:24 AM   #143
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
RAMA wrote: View Post
sojourner wrote: View Post
Better hurry up with that there singularity.
All such predictions never take into account future developments, this includes food shortages, fuel shortages, power shortages, etc. I believe I've provided more than a share of potential ways out of such problems.

It's very human to think the negative outcomes are more likely than positive ones:

http://www.companyfounder.com/category/negativity/

panic response:

http://www.companyfounder.com/2011/0...ames-approach/
Are you just not understanding that the explosive growth we've experienced over the past couple centuries is not sustainable? It depends entirely on the exploitation of finite fossil fuels. Even the most optimistic scenarios tell us that we will have to see dramatic population reductions, drastic cutbacks in consumption (both in energy and physical resources), and a general slowdown of growth. These are not things we will choose, they will simply happen as a consequence of a) running out of fossil fuels and b) getting off of them to halt the damage of climate change. If we don't do b), then a) will happen. It's really a question of whether we want to make a gradual transition to a more sustainable way of living, or hit a brick wall and have to pick up the pieces after a catastrophic collapse.

It is naive to think we will <tech> our way around this. The period of time spanning the Industrial Revolution up to now is unprecedented in human history. We don't know what will happen going forward, but it is inarguable that we are exhausting our planet's limited resources: we are destroying biodiversity, we are (perhaps irreversibly) altering the global climate, running out of fresh water sources, running out of oil, running out of phosphates, etc. etc. We do not have the resources to continue along this path, and the impression I get from Singularity advocates is that they think we will handwave these problems away by reaching the Singularity before our energy and resource problems come to a head.
There are ways around these issues mentioned here in this thread, at length...

http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=170590

Also mentioned in my new signature...added before I read your post! The full quote:

None of the global warming discussions mention the word “nanotechnology.” Yet nanotechnology will eliminate the need for fossil fuels within 20 years. If we captured 1% of 1% of the sunlight (1 part in 10,000) we could meet 100% of our energy needs without ANY fossil fuels. We can’t do that today because the solar panels are too heavy, expensive, and inefficient. But there are new nanoengineered designs that are much more effective. Within five to six years, this technology will make a significant contribution. Within 20 years, it can provide all of our energy needs. The discussions talk about current trends continuing for the next century as if nothing is going to change. I think global warming is real but it has been modest thus far - 1 degree f. in 100 years. It would be concern if that continued or accelerated for a long period of time, but that’s not going to happen. And it’s not just environmental concern that will drive this, the $2 trillion we spend on energy is providing plenty of economic incentive. I don’t see any disasters occuring in the next 10 years from this. However, I AM concerned about other environment issues. There are other reasons to want to move quickly away from fossil fuels including environmental pollution at every step and the geopolitical instability it causes.
Again, like many of my examples, not pie-in-the-sky, but very real...there are two examples in this article:

http://cleantechnica.com/2010/03/06/...-to-the-table/

Also, as in my example about solar power's competitiveness with traditional fossil fuels I mentioned in the top 5 technologies thread I just linked to, the price went down 80%!:

http://themoderatevoice.com/141959/t...gas-its-solar/
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Old June 13 2012, 01:56 PM   #144
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

You're still talking about nascent technologies that may not pan out.

We used to think nanotech would do all sorts of things for us. We've had to check our expectations numerous times in that area.

As for solar power: how do you store it? Don't say "batteries." Existing battery technology doesn't scale. I guess you could say "fuel cells," but those may not go mainstream either.

The bottom line is, you can't predict the trajectory technology will take. Technologies that look promising today may be dead in 5 years, or they may get stuck in R&D hell for decades, like fusion power. So many technological breakthroughs have been "right around the corner" for decades, and they still aren't here. Why do you think any of the stuff you post about will be any different? You don't know; I don't know. There are too many variables. You are certain we'll find a solution in time, based on extrapolations of current trends--and such extrapolations are so simplistic as to be meaningless. I recognize that nobody can know that for sure--either we will, or we won't.
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Old June 13 2012, 02:11 PM   #145
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

Robert Maxwell wrote: View Post
As for solar power: how do you store it? Don't say "batteries." Existing battery technology doesn't scale. I guess you could say "fuel cells," but those may not go mainstream either.
That's the problem Germany is trying to solve as part of its "Energiewende" policy. Phasing out nuclear energy switching to renewable energies.

Due to the power fluctuation inherent to wind power the maximum capacity of power production needs to be about double as high as it is today. That way you can store the excess energy produced during peak times.

How to store it?

Short-term: Batteries. Only good to counter-balance short power fluctuations. Also expensive.

Medium-term: Pumped-storage hydroelectricity. These are in use already. You basically pump water to higher elevations during power production peak times of wind and solar power plants. When their electricity production decreases (less wind/less sun) you use that water to produce electricity.

Long-term: Power-to-gas technology. You use excess power to produce hydrogen by electrolyzing water. The hydrogen gas is then co-mingled with natural gas in the existing natural gas infrastructure, namely the gas pipeline network and its associated underground storage facilities. The German Fraunhofer Society (a big group of research institutes) has been conducting research here for quite a while. The basic technology is ready for use but the power equivalent of a barrel of oil still costs about $150-200. Fraunhofer info on power-to-gas. I suppose the costs will decrease once the technology gets more mature, while the oil price is probably going to keep rising.
Advantage: You can use the existing gas infrastructure and it only takes about 20 minutes to power up a gas turbine in a gas plant. Pretty flexible tech.



Sidenote: RAMA's ramblings about nanotech are obviously science fiction but I figured I'd bring him up-to-date to actual technology and solutions we're currently working on.

Oh, and this isn't an easy transition process. It's going to be very expensive but if we're lucky the effects of peak oil will take a couple of decades to manifest completely.
But even then: I suppose a country like Germany can make the switch and they're the first to actually work on this. The transition costs will decrease once these first steps are done so it'll be even cheaper for other countries (while Germany could make a profit from selling technology and expertise).

But I'm also sure that some countries will fail at implementing the changes fast enough. These things are long-term but even then there's the possibility of a major crash in economy either in unlucky countries or (more unlikely) world-wide. The technology is there (at least in part) but you need the political will and society needs to be willing to take on the costs. Good luck with that, America.
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Old June 13 2012, 02:23 PM   #146
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

I'm dubious about all predictions based on extrapolations from current trends; we're not much better at forecasting anything important than Greek augurers were. Apolcalyptic predictions of society's collapse are in the same category as the Singularity - one can find the logic persuasive or not, but they're fiction.
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Old June 13 2012, 02:26 PM   #147
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

My Name Is Legion wrote: View Post
I'm dubious about all predictions based on extrapolations from current trends; we're not much better at forecasting anything important than Greek augurers were. Apolcalyptic predictions of society's collapse are in the same category as the Singularity - one can find the logic persuasive or not, but they're fiction.
Yeah, that's why I completely ignored RAMA's ramblings and focused on actual technology and solutions.

He's got a vivid imagination but that's not going to solve the issues we're facing. He's just wasting his time hoping for a magical scifi solution when he should be focusing on actual solutions possible with current technology.

The advantage his view offers is that we don't have to worry about all these problems and don't have to change our behaviour.
The downside to his view is that it's got nothing to do with reality.
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Old June 13 2012, 02:31 PM   #148
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

{ Emilia } wrote: View Post
My Name Is Legion wrote: View Post
I'm dubious about all predictions based on extrapolations from current trends; we're not much better at forecasting anything important than Greek augurers were. Apolcalyptic predictions of society's collapse are in the same category as the Singularity - one can find the logic persuasive or not, but they're fiction.
Yeah, that's why I completely ignored RAMA's ramblings and focused on actual technology and solutions.

He's got a vivid imagination but that's not going to solve the issues we're facing. He's just wasting his time hoping for a magical scifi solution when he should be focusing on actual solutions possible with current technology.

The advantage his view offers is that we don't have to worry about all these problems and don't have to change our behaviour.
The downside to his view is that it's got nothing to do with reality.
Yeah, I don't claim to know what will happen--I don't think anyone can claim that. But it's not hard to look at current trends and see that we are facing a lot of problems. Maybe we'll solve them before they become catastrophic, maybe we won't. What I think is dangerous about the Singularity proponents is that they expect the Singularity to just handwave all our problems away--as you said, we don't have to change our behavior, because the Singularity will fix it for us soon enough. It allows people to be complacent and not really care about the future. They assume the future is something that just "happens," not that there is a ton of hard work that goes into it and a lot of things simply never pan out as expected.
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Old June 13 2012, 02:36 PM   #149
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

There always have to be contingency plans, especially when so many people's basic needs are dependent on it.

Expecting nothing less than a magic gift of unlimited super technology or power to emerge on it's own and do it all for us is about the dumbest thing I've seen proposed so far.

I remember all the hype about 3-4 years ago about hydrogen fuel cells and biofuels solving our transportation and smaller scale power production problems (individual buildings heating and lighting) in about 10-15 years, not seeing any great strides there.
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Old June 13 2012, 08:16 PM   #150
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Re: David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

You could become a rich man if you came up with a cheap/efficient way to crack water into hydrogen and oxygen.
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