What are your top 5 technologies of the next 15 years?

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by RAMA, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. RAMA

    RAMA Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If you read carefully Im the one supplying arguments and evidence of its liklihood(mind you, you DO realize I know we don't have these technologies yet right?), its usually people like you who argue from linear based belief rather than sound extrapolation...as evidenced in these threads.

    This linear "better technology" idea is already demonstrably untrue if you base it on the proven exponential model. You''re already wrong there, so where else will you be hmm? ;) And yes, I already said I would likely not make it to a Singularity. I may have an outside chance at some transhuman benefits, but my ideas don't hinge on actually experiencing them. This is a case where Kurzweil and I diverge. I am extremely healthy though.

    RAMA
     
  2. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Correction: there is plenty to to show that the conditions and developments needed are well within the reach of humanity. To use a concrete example: you once cited an iPhone based electronic guitar pick as evidence for small startup companies being able to develop new mobile software without huge overhead. While I am not sure what you believed that proves, it wouldn't really demonstrate much for Singularity theory unless that particular company/invention had been developed by some ambitious peasants in Kenya using only their $40 tablets and a kickstarter account. As it stands, it was developed by IIRC a couple of grad students from California; SSDD.

    What you've pointed out, in other words, is ordinary technological progress. But the singularity isn't purely about technology, because it's supposed to be a realized EVENT, not a realized POTENTIAL. Put simply, we're not making equivalent SOCIAL progress to bring that about, especially in the developing world where hyper conservative dictatorships continue to hold sway and where centuries-old ethnic/religious/political rivalries continue to cause wars and upheavals.

    There's a concept I used in one of my books, something called the "global ghetto." Essentially the idea is that certain technologies reach a threshhold of power and affordability where they allow the peasants of the world to cheaply empower themselves and then compete directly with the elite capitalist class of the developed world. That's no small/incremental technology that would do that; something like an economical brain machine interface with full memetic integration (the ability to directly upload/download working knowledge) would be the IT equivalent of the atomic bomb: it would completely uproot the existing economic power structure and clear the path for a whole generation of upstart entrepreneurs to expand and thrive in a world that otherwise would have crushed them underfoot. And even this is in no way enough to bring about the Singularity.

    I've seen 2 or 3 fairly interesting squirrels in the past few days. That doesn't mean squirrels are getting smarter.
     
  3. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    I doubt automatic cars are safer than manual cars, becuase they are still controlled by a person.
     
  4. Talosian

    Talosian Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    It's intriguing to me how pessimistic about technological progress most people are on a forum devoted to Star Trek and related science fiction.

    Instead of responding to the fringe singularity movement by saying well actually we can expect progress in a, b, and c, but not necessarily d and e, we just have a broad lampooning of any sincere optimism in the future.

    This is in contrast to attitudes prevalent as recently as the 1960's. This confirms Peter Thiel's observation that people no longer believe not just in the future, but in much of anything anymore. He goes on to note that in such a period of "political atheism" and I would add technological atheism, to be a contrarian is to be the rare person with sincere belief.

    Edit: I would add that it's obvious that an age of unbelief of technology would not produce something like the original Star Trek today. Even its remake exemplifies the shift of the zeitgeist. I'm with Neal Stephenson on this one: we need more techno-optimism in science fiction and our popular culture in general. We may have been badly oversold on the future in the 20th century but our current pessimism is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of stagnation.
     
  5. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    Oh I believe technology will do wonderful things in the future and look forward to it. I just don't think that in 40 years we'll be living in the garden of eden with all of our problems solved.
     
  6. Deks

    Deks Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Except that, people continuously ignore ever increasing levels of automation and don't think its an actual threat and live under the false notion that 'somehow' new jobs are just going to materialize, even though the rate at which new economies grow is basically at an all times low.

    Mind you, automation technology is DECADES old, and now its becoming that much more cheap enough for implementation on an even large scale (a lot of the production industry is already automated) - the rate of which its becoming cheaper (from a monetary point of view of course) is also accelerating.
    In the next decade alone, molecular manufacturing along with extreme levels of automation are going to take over in large portions (even though we could implement it today).
    Majority of manual labor will be completely replaced by automation - and once that happens, the economy will eventually crash (this will probably occur in the next 20 years, at most, though a huge crisis is probably going to hit in the next decade or so) because the rate at which machines will be replacing humans (in ALL fields) is inevitably going to be faster compared to the rate at which Humans can retrain (this is already happening).
    Also, 'growth' of new jobs is not that likely in the face of technological automation. Why use humans if you can automate it in the first place? And don't kid yourself that we cannot do this. It will actually be easier to automate specific tasks that to spend time training Humans to do this (again, already happening).

    The question remains is... what then?
    Well, here's an idea.
    In order to make the transition as smooth as possible (and you know... avoid devastation of massive proportions born out of ignorance), educating the global population with relevant general education would be paramount.
    We already had the technology and resources for over 100 years to solve most of the problems we have on the planet - was never implemented due to notions of 'cost efficiency' and profits (and of course the preservation of the current socio-economic system which favors the minority in positions of power).

    Full scale automation is going to eventually take over and no one is 'irreplaceable' in this regard.

    Living in a 'garden of eden' might not be far fetched actually given that we had the ability to transform the entire planet with the technology at our disposal in 1974 to such a state in 10 years time (today, it can be done in less than a decade).

    Whether or not we do it sooner rather than later comes out to how well the global population is educated on these matters.
    Right now, things are changing because we live in the age of global communications where a decent level of the global population has access to relevant information.

    The more relevant general information people are being exposed to, the less so will they be prone to being manipulated and used by those currently in power, and will be able to govern themselves in turn (which will eventually completely negate the need for governments and people in positions of power - though the political system is already in the stage where decision making is being delegated to machines at varying levels - this will only increase).
    Once the crash happens, it will probably come down to the global population on where to take things next, or they will already live in such a highly automated world that they will basically have to do away with 'money' altogether because they will finally realize just how irrelevant it actually is.

    And since the notion of 'working for a living' will already be outdated in the face of our technological reality (which has already been here for some time, it just takes longer to be implemented due to money), there's a good possibility it will encourage a different setting.

    So... 40 years is a time-frame in which most of the global problems could be eliminated seeing the rate at which automation is being incorporated (although it could be done sooner - but educating the global population takes a bit of time) - and we certainly have the means to get rid of most of the worlds problems.
    But it wouldn't be a 'perfection' or 'utopia' - just a lot better than what we have now (although, comparing that to what we have now may seem like a 'utopia' to many people seeing how most aren't even aware of what we can actually do).
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
  7. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    This would be the same Neal Stephenson that predicted (if semi-satirically) the wholesale privatization of the United States? The same Neal Stephenson who -- much LESS satirically -- depicted the resurgence of the fanatical "Fists of Righteous Harmony" via the availability of cheap nanotech weapons?

    I think Neal Stephenson doth protest too much.

    Except scifi writers don't drive technological development, hence there's nothing self-fulfilling about that prophecy. If anything, the pessimists are simply less naive than the previous generation of science fiction fans and have a more realistic vision of the kinds of things progress could be expected to change.

    It's also worth pointing out that techno-optimism may be more cultural than anything else. It was easy to be optimistic during the Great Society and the Baby Boom, when America rode a tidal wave of economic growth in the aftermath of World War-II and it seemed like a whole new world was just around the corner. The younger generation has, by comparison, experienced little else but slow stagnation ever since, punctuated by welcome (if isolated) social and technological progress, juxtapositioned with widespread-yet- subtle regression. As an example, contrast American science fiction over the last sixty years with, say, European or Japanese fiction. You'll find the latter two have ALWAYS been guardedly pessimistic, which is partly why Japanese science fiction didn't really resonate with American audiences until the children of the 80s discovered cynicism.
     
  8. RAMA

    RAMA Vice Admiral Admiral

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    :lol:No one said that would happen, only that many problems can be solved to REACH a singularity, after that all bets are off.

    RAMA
     
  9. RAMA

    RAMA Vice Admiral Admiral

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    "Ordinary technological progress" apparently isn't really what most people including the technologically oriented thought it was.:techman: That frame of reference is changing.

    I believe I posted articles about social progress and the associated evolution of the brain that would mitigate your ideas on the subjects. I established economic (in fact, the changes you describe were already happening, not all at once, but since the 60s, where the UN statistics show a profound change amongst the poorest of humanity) , educational, political (the disappearing dictator) violence facts that can be argued for as great social change for humanity over the centuries and even more so in the last few decades. I established how the forward thrust of a singularity relies not on one thing but a multi-faceted set of advancements. I even posted an article that contradicts your idea that evolution has nothing to do with technology. I still feel these arguments are correct.

    I also argued before that a transhumanist future will take over for natural selection (and since then have had my position bolstered in several quarters, not least of which is Stephen Hawking), making the idea of a continued linear progress in culture, society also come into question. I feel these were rather obvious but it's nice to know I'm backed by "experts" on this. This change can either be positive or negative, though I feel on a personal level we might become "enlightened" to the point social problems may disappear. It could also lead to the Borg, I really am not sure...point is the chance is there and by acknowledging it, we might shape it.

    RAMA
     
  10. RAMA

    RAMA Vice Admiral Admiral

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    What has happened is that people, including if not especially sci-fi writers have become enamored with dystopias, and now when shown that it might not have to be that way, they become defensive. Techo-optimism may never be what it was in the 50s, but we've blown past that, to a point where we don't think it, we live and create it. When I see otherwise good movies like Looper that is basically a dystopia set in a traditional futuristic world, I don't see potential reality. I don't see good extrapolation.
     
  11. Chemahkuu

    Chemahkuu Admiral Admiral

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    Don't lecture us about technology when you can't even hit the fucking multi-quote button right in front of you.
     
  12. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    Well, we still have people talking about returning to the Garden of Eden, which was a dystopian nightmare where humanity's total population was only two, who had no clothes or shelter and just one piece of fruit between them, snakes underfoot, and whose expectations were so low that they thought it was paradise. Many Russian academics thought this proved the Garden of Eden was located somewhere in the Soviet Union.
     
  13. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    See. Here's the exact problem. You take the written word too literally.:rolleyes:
     
  14. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That depends on who you ask, doesn't it? Impressed though you may be by the cutting edge of what is now technologically possible, most people alive today don't have access to the state of the art, and even if they're aware of it, are unlikely to ever see it in person.

    I believe your articles about "evolution of the brain" were only peripherally -- if at all -- related to social progress in any way shape or form. Suffice to say that economic prosperity has a positive effect on social conditions, whether that prosperity results from better technology or growth-inducing policies. Technology ITSELF isn't really a factor in this, and it sure as hell isn't a factor in the evolution of the human brain (it's actually the other way around).

    The thing is, you never bother to "establish" as part of a coherent causal pattern. You go about it like an End Times speculator reading headlines about natural disasters and political intrigue and then try to argue that "all signs point to impending global catastrophe of some kind." IOW, these things are SUGGESTIVE of a singularity-ish future, not because of what they actually represent, but because of how they make you FEEL.

    Hence your last line is especially cogent: you surely FEEL that those arguments are correct, but at the end of the day your FEELINGS aren't a very convincing argument.

    To which I replied that you had not given the matter enough serious thought if you really believed that transhumanist technology would be ubiquitously available to everyone, everywhere, free of cost. It's entirely likely that a select group of individuals who first adopt the technology find ways to artificially prevent everyone else from getting it and become a new, closed-circle power structure dictating policy and priority for the rest of humanity. The point, if you recall, is that those who achieve power tend to jealously guard the exclusivity of that power as much as they can, since it makes it easier to exercise that power uncontested.

    Your reply, IIRC, was to point out the philanthropy of the Coca Cola company experimenting with a device that would produce clean water for African villagers.

    Again, there's a huge difference between seriously considering the possibilities and hoping/praying/imaging for the best. You spend a lot of time doing the latter.
     
  15. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Actually, what happens is that YOUNG sci-fi writers -- especially those born in the 70s and 80s -- approach their art with a bitter cynicism of which the dystopian future is as much a cautionary tale as it is a harsh critique of the present. Strange Days, for example, can be seen as a preemptive indictment of the sort of escapism and petty voyerism inherent in the Youtube generation, while at the same time taking direct pot shots at the moral bankruptcy of the Law and Order paradigm.

    Stephenson himself did the same thing in Snow Crash, where the wholesale privatization of just about everything IS the dystopia; there are actually huge tracts of realestate that are perfectly nice to live in, they're just guarded by killer robots and electric fences and anyone who can't get into them winds up living in a self-storage unit. The Diamond Age followed most of the same themes, except it amplified them fifty fold by depicting self-assembling nanomachines that enabled the rich and powerful to custom build entire continents on a whim.

    Connect with my above post: where the inheritors of transhumanist technology jealously guard their advantage? In The Diamond Age, the world's most powerful educational tool winds up in the hands of a poor girl only after her big brother clobbers its lead programmer with a nunchaku. That underscores a growing trend in modern fiction in general: it's a lot less about the technology than it is about the PEOPLE.
     
  16. Brent

    Brent Admiral Admiral

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    I'm looking forward to the proliferation of OLED displays bringing paper thin flexible display technology to the mass market in an affordable way. I imagine displays plastered everywhere, like you see in SCIFI movies, and things like arm band computers that you wear around your arm with a touch display, paper thin.

    Displays like this, that fold out and retract - http://www.flashfilmworks.com/MovieGuide/RedPlanet/red06.jpg

    And you always see in scifi movies people wearing really thin displays/computers on their arms, to control functions. I see this being a future generation music player, able to store and play your music, take pictures, basically everything a cell phone can do now but the thickness of paper. OLEDs can lead to this.

    Now I know we have OLED technology now, but it is so very expensive, and you don't really see any TV's using it yet, but it's a technology that in the next 15 years can evolve and the price will come down, meaning mass production, people buying them, and lots of interesting things coming out of OLED development.

    I also look forward to real (not fake) projected 3D holograms. I'm longing for the day this happens. I won't accept faking it, i.e. using shutter glasses, or displays that fake your eyes into seeing 3D. I want real projected free floating 3D holograms. I can see this happening in the next 15 years.
     
  17. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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