David Brin's latest novel, and a TED talk

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by RAMA, May 13, 2012.

  1. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Not, however, more truthful. Standing up for what's real is to be preferred to wishful thinking based on magic words and failure to learn and weigh the facts, which is what the evangelists for the coming of the Singularity have chosen. "Brave and bold" are hollow words when used to support such nonsense, and I am unimpressed by that rhetorical gibberish.
     
  2. { Emilia }

    { Emilia } { Beyond } Moderator

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    We are. ITER is probably going to be the first experimental fusion power plant able to produce more energy than is needed to keep the process going.

    Hydroelectricity isn't an option for every country. Geology and stuff, you know? ;) You need rivers and ideally mountain ranges.

    For most countries windfarms are more viable than hydroelectricity.

    Some states have started creating "wind maps" giving detailed information on average wind speeds for every square kilometre of the country. For most areas the percentage of unused land that's viable to use for wind power is around 1-3% of the total land area. That doesn't sound like a lot but it is enough to cover a huge percentage of power production.

    And there's still a lot of untapped potential in off-shore wind farms. Wind power will probably not be able to replace fossil fuels completely but it's going to be the backbone of any sustainable renewable energy structure.
     
  3. RAMA

    RAMA Vice Admiral Admiral

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  4. RAMA

    RAMA Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In fact, there are countries heading towards eliminating nuclear power for wind power altogether.

    http://japandailypress.com/japanese-banks-loan-over-20-billion-yen-to-buy-wind-power-company-212429

    Obviously, some teething problems:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/31/world/europe/german-plan-to-abandon-its-nuclear-energy-lags.html

    Fusion: Again, third time I've posted this: ITER and DEMO

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITER
     
  5. RAMA

    RAMA Vice Admiral Admiral

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    As demonstrated by my link footnotes, not even remotely wishful thinking :techman:
     
  6. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    ^Dude, do you think we aren't aware of that billions of dollars boondoggle ITER?

    I think the major misconception here is with the term "nanotechnology". The term implies the science fiction realization of the technology in being nanomachines. The reality is that most of the advances in nanotechnology has only been in materials, not machines. Nanomachine technology has not advanced that much at all. Like fusion, it's perpetually 20 years in the future. Until some real breakthroughs appear in the "machine" field the so called singularity is just a fantasy. Even in the materials field nanotechnology has had problems. How many years have researchers spent trying to mass produce carbon nanotube materials?
     
  7. Chemahkuu

    Chemahkuu Admiral Admiral

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    That's putting it mildly.
     
  8. RAMA

    RAMA Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Materials technology now, but considering the industry started from basically 0 to now a a $2 billion industry, its happened quite fast since Engines of Creation...not only that, carbon nanotubes are one of the greatest areas of recent breakthroughs. I could literally posts dozens of links on the subject so here's just a taste.

    http://www.kurzweilai.net/ibm-resea...e-carbon-nanotube-and-racetrack-breakthroughs

    http://news.stanford.edu/news/2011/november/sorting-out-nanotubes-111611.html

    http://www.kurzweilai.net/stanford-...notubes-for-highly-energy-efficient-computing

    http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nl0730965

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-05/tkai-pgt050712.php

    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15376490802544269

    At one time fusion was at a standstill, now after recent breakthroughs and the groundbreaking for the test reactor, its moving forward again.
     
  9. RAMA

    RAMA Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But still headed in that direction, and at least that was the stated goal, I find that in itself promising.:techman:
     
  10. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    To save myself time, I just bolded the part of my previous post that you apparently failed to comprehend.

    Also, did you read the articles you linked? Half of them concede the issue of mass production while most of them only deal with application, not production.

    You really, really need to stop just spamming links and start reading what they say and don't say.
     
  11. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Paying actual attention to what's going on with technology derails the whole Singularity thing, so the evangelists don't do it.
     
  12. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    I don't need to watch a 13-minute video to know that global population is going to top out around 9 billion and start to decline later this century, unless something has changed that I don't know about (which is possible.) This will be driven primarily by contraceptive practices in the West, a lopsided population pyramid in Japan, gender ratio inequity in China, and a post-industrial level of development pretty much everywhere else. (For what it's worth, post-industrial development seems to be the best birth control on Earth, due to the better education required to achieve it, and the contraceptive methods and female liberation that tend to go along with it.)

    As for battery tech, I am aware of sodium-sulfur cells and their applications for mass energy storage. I also know that these types of batteries have fairly limited useful niches--they are no silver bullet.

    I'm curious as to what any of that has to do with the Singularity, though. The central issue is whether or not we will be able to create superhuman intelligence. I think it's possible, in that I can see technology reaching a point where it would be feasible, but the idea of it occurring within our lifetimes is extremely optimistic if not downright naive.

    The pro-Singularity arguments in this thread seem to go like this:

    "Technologies x, y, and z are being developed... therefore, Singularity soon!"

    It's like that Ancient Aliens guy. "The Pyramids were really hard to build... therefore, aliens!"
     
  13. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It's exactly like that.
     
  14. RAMA

    RAMA Vice Admiral Admiral

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    How did I miss anything? They are NOT being mass produced as most of their uses are applications of what's being researched, which I conceded before, these links demonstrate the rapid advances in the area, one which I get a lot of updates on in my technology news feeds both on my phone at home. It's an area which shows a lot of promise(according to the researchers..), some of the links even specify the milestones in it's development, like the 1Ghz threshold. Remember, this tech is one that's growing exponentially now, some applications will pay dividends in a 5-6 year time frame, other proclamations for nanotube's uses will take a longer road, 20-50 years.

    I'm well aware that many links specify problems as well as applications and solutions, working through these issues is part of what makes it so interesting. I wouldn't consider them worthwhile if they didn't cover all aspects of the technology pro and con.

    RAMA
     
  15. RAMA

    RAMA Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Von Doniken was a nut, and his claims are/were demonstrably false. He's been descredited for decades....now that early alien contact stuff can make for a fine what-if type story--kind of enjoyed that in Prometheus--but I'm quite confident in our mostly accidental, but directed rise(through natural selection), and eventual self-influenced evolution.

    RAMA
     
  16. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    "Promising research" doesn't mean "practical, economical application." Lots of stuff looks "promising" in the lab and on paper, until you try to gear it up for mass production and realize it's critically flawed. Such is life. Would you stake your life on "promising research" or something you know actually works?
     
  17. RAMA

    RAMA Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There was a long discussion on the sci-tech thread that humanity would not even make it to any kind of Singularity...due to the usual self-defeatist whiners who suggest pollution, over-population, economic and gov't interference will negate exponential technology (at least the smart ones who acknowledge exponential tech). At least half of that thread was a discussion on why such things could happen and why a potential Singularity could come to pass using the enabling mechanisms brought up. The population explosion is generally one of the biggest reasons listed for early Earth's demise, and it's why it is countered here.

    Linear thinking usually suggests that these technologies would take much longer to mature and proliferate, the fact that info tech's influence of many technologies is not linear opens up a lot of possibilities.

    There are a lot of intertwined threads people seem to miss that link all these issues to the Singularity.

    RAMA
     
  18. RAMA

    RAMA Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I no longer think research on these technologies progress as they have through human history, they are reaching a type of "critical mass" through sheer information growth and computational power that leaves our old notions of technological advancement behind..so bringing up old paradigms of historical technological development concern me far less than the flood of information coming in on it's current and recent progress.
     
  19. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    Any of the issues mentioned could quite easily put the kibosh on the exponential growth required to reach the technological Singularity. That's why I don't think even reaching it at all is a certainty. It is possible that we will reach it, under the right conditions and after a considerable period of time.

    Short-term (as in, the next few decades), population is a problem, not just because of the number of people, but because of the demands those people will place on the environment. I'll be blunt: there is no way 9 billion people can live as large as Americans do. It's just not possible, and technology is not going to solve that in a brief enough timeframe (<50 years) for it to matter. Hard telling which we'll run out of first: water, phosphates, oil, rare earth metals, or maybe we'll just plain disrupt the climate so much, vast amounts of arable land are reduced to desert.

    This notion that technology will keep plodding forward at an accelerating rate assumes facts not in evidence: that we can keep burning through the limited resources of our only planet at an ever-increasing rate and reach the Singularity before we hit a brick wall of serious resource shortage/exhaustion.

    I just can't get on board with this idea that none of these problems matter because the Singularity will happen soon and everything will be kumbaya. That is an astonishingly reckless gamble.
     
  20. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    ...and naive.