Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by RAMA, Dec 11, 2012.
You get paid to post all these link threads, don't you?
Because an author using his own website to pitch a book that he wrote himself is totally relevant to science and technology.
Spam post is spam.
Rama, nevermind the trolls.
TrekBBS seems to attract, paradoxically enough, a gang of anti-technological misanthropes.
It's sad, but the West has been overtaken by pessimism. This is not merely an effect, but a major cause of the economic slowdown of Europe and North America recent years, even prior to the great recession.
Well, I wouldn't say anti-tech. But I agree the pessimistic attitude is paradoxical for a ST board.
There are those who view RAMA's POV as a flight of fancy. You know what? Maybe. But I happen to like RAMA's POV and his willingness to dream big as opposed to the conceit held by some that conservative pessimist is the only appropriate position.
If there is a thread I don't wish to partake in, I don't post in it. Pretty f-ing simple.
Oh I love technology and avidly read about future developments. I just happen to recognize the difference between technological advancement and the self delusion that the world is going to change to the point of being totally unrecognizable in the next 50 years, giving rise to computer AI that if asked "is there a god?", would merely reply "present".
Added to the fact that Rama spends a bit too much time believing every thing he sees and then running here to post "because -exponential! Singularity! Kurziweil says it will come true!" every time he finds some lame site like the one in the OP, yes. it gets tiring to hear it all the time.
One more thing, got any proof that A)"the west has been overtaken by pessimism" and B) it is the "major cause" of the current economic downturn?
And that, too. (Don't call people trolls. You will get an infraction for it next time.)
RAMA's problem is not that he "dreams big." There is nothing wrong with that. Speculating about the future is interesting, engaging, and fun. Where I take issue with it is when certain potential future advancements are touted as being "inevitable" or "just around the corner," or when current technological discoveries are played up into being more than they are.
For my money, I'm tired of hearing we're "on the verge" of one thing or another. We're always "on the verge" of a lot of things, apparently, very few of which actually pan out.
I like keeping an eye on nascent technologies, but I also try to view them realistically, knowing that most of what looks promising right now is going to turn out to be impractical, ineffective, or even a total fraud. There's nothing wrong with skepticism. In fact, people who appreciate science as a discipline are obligated to be skeptical. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.
Besides, all it means is being on the verge of downloading all the available porn on the Internet into your mind. That idea alone should frighten people without even considering all the useless blogs that can start live streaming through your dreams. Besides, it's not like many of us don't already spend enough time here, imagine having Robert Maxwell critiquing your day?
^ In the middle of an argument with your really annoying co-worker, you suddenly get a message in your brain from your supervisor saying "Infraction for trolling. Comments to PM. Now get your asses back to work!"
This is a science and technology forum... flying cars, bullet trains, 50s retro scifi are boring, these posts are genuinely mind expanding, with real and potential technologies/discoveries that should fire your imagination, instead, you're probably interested in Doctor Who, cosplay, and Space Patrol. That's not the future, so deal with it.
I find it ironic and amusing that sites like this has such a regression and anti-thinking-out-of-the-box predilection. I didn't think it would be possible 20 years ago, but while disappointing I suppose it doesn't surprise me anymore, like most people sci fi fans tend to like what's comfortable, which is why nostalgia is so powerful. Nothing wrong with nostalgia of course, only that it keeps people thinking backwards instead of forwards if delved in too deeply (like TOS "purists).
Here we are on the eve of incredible advancements, ones that can even help absolve us of our technological mistakes and human misery, and we are fighting it tooth and nail.
Most telling..I read an article a few days ago that suggests those who work in these technologies: AI, software, robotics, biotech are often the most pessimistic, and it's because their work has to be approached on this basis..hence their often negative reaction in media to the claims made for future AI, Singularity, etc. and sometimes there are roadblocks, but overall, the curve still turns upwards. You won't hear them tout those successes unless they are visionaries! In their eyes, there is the inexorable, never-ending task of development, deadlines, and progress. It's hard to be really satisfied when progress is never-ending.
No one's fighting anything, you're just upset that people aren't lapping up the Kurzweil Kool-Aid.
I'm a huge fan of technology and what it can and will do for us in the future. I just don't presume to think that any one person knows what the future will look like. That is what I consider "boxed-in": the belief that the future will look any certain way that we can predict right now. The fact is, we are notoriously bad at predicting the future, because technology isn't driven by any one factor. It's not driven just by what a bunch of eggheads imagine, nor what a megacorp's bean counters think will sell. It's a confluence of many factors that are difficult to track, measure, and predict.
I prefer to keep my options open.
I'm not upset at all. I'm trying to tell you the paradigm has changed, while no one is a prophet, we have systems available to predict the future with greater accuracy than ever before. Therefore we have the ability to affect more than ever...it's reinforcing...see how that works?
What I meant by fighting tooth and nail is the fact that humans are short-sighted...we pine for the past, eras which were supposed golden ages, when the very best we ever were is right now...even with all our imperfections. People want to bury their heads in the sand, they want to ignore technological change(how often have you heard people who use smartphone say they hate technology, or even see people choosing old phones over new ones)..it appears natural human instinct to do so as the information age expands, nostalgia flourishes(in the USA slightly less than in most countries, which to me is the only REAL world reason America is a superpower and so cool to be in)....here is where it gets good...we don't have to be that way...trans-humanism can mean expanding our human "RAM" and storage, as smartphoes, laptops, google etc are already doing to a degree. Sharing ideas, knowledge in real-time from our minds to a network can change human perception, change our provincialism as a species, mitigate tribal or political bias. It can change our perception of time to something more akin with reality. If you consider this boxed in, I feel sorry for you.
That is all.
Sorry, but having a smartphone in your pocket is absolutely nowhere near being a cyborg. That's the kind of talk that makes you lose people, when you jump from current technology straight to fantasy. You also fail to acknowledge that just because something is possible, it doesn't mean everyone's going to want to do it.
Do you really think most people will be okay with cybernetically modifying their bodies, having all sorts of implants, enhancements, etc.? What about the legal ramifications? What impact will this have on education, sports, and human health in general? Instead, the talk is all about how cool it would be if we could do all this, and that we'll soon have the ability. Maybe we will, maybe we won't, but it's foolish to believe that once it is possible and practical, everyone will do it "just because."
Wow...the fact that portable computing devices increase the depth of knowledge and in effect enhances human faculties is by far NOT the most contentious issue I raise. Far from making me lose people, it's already an established fact...portable computers are a transformative technology, with both extenuating and direct impact on economics, knowledge, and information gathering. This has been discussed for decades.
I would read this entire pdf:
The idea that these enhancements can be tied directly into the brain and used networked in real time is more controversial. Smartphones don't make us cyborgs, but they can lead to a technology that will.
Well I have explained WHY we'd want to be cyborgs and more before haven't I? Not least if which is this:
Where did I say anything disparaging about portable computing devices, or call them "contentious"? Where did you even get that??
I know this wasn't directed at me, but I spent such a long time researching this subject I can't help but comment:
Certain people ALREADY use implants regularly for cosmetic purposes, as well as certain medical implants (glasses, pacemakers, contact lenses, etc) which have discrete utilities. It's not hard to imagine that new functionality built into existing non-functional implants (earrings, for example) could enable a sort of bottom-up cybernetic revolution; bluetooth-enabled earrings become more common, "smart glasses" with HUD and GUI displays, etc. There's also likely to be a subculture among adopters of this technology that is really "in to" that sort of thing way more than everyone else.
As with a lot of things, it won't exactly transform the fundamental nature of human existence (except on a purely philosophical level) but for those who adopt this technology -- especially more advanced forms of it like brain-computer interfaces -- it WILL begin to blur the lines between man and machine.
All that stuff is a pretty far cry from (as you mentioned) brain implants that increase mental capacity/power/storage. I think there would be substantial societal, regulatory, and ethical hurdles to get over before something like that even approaches being a routine occurrence.
I think most of the development will be where it is now: in repairing/replacing existing physiological functions that are defective in some way. Think giving blind people new cybernetic eyes that work roughly as well as natural ones.
I think it moves into totally different territory once you talk about actually enhancing people's natural capabilities with implanted technological devices. It upends a lot of what we take for granted. For instance, say we start implanting people with flash drives of a large capacity. What do you then do about taking exams or other tests of knowledge? Does having the requisite information in a solid-state brain implant still count as "knowledge" or "expertise"? I find those implications a lot more interesting (and ultimately problematic) than what will be technically possible.
And yet, it's a pretty enormous leap from "smartphone in your pocket" to "microprocessor in your brain," especially since not everyone in the western world even USES smartphones.
More importantly, smartphones can be as much a benefit as they are a distraction; along with turn-by-turn navigation and 4G internet, you also get twitter and facebook updates. You gain the ability to teleconference with your coworkers via facetime or skype, but you also run the risk of being run over by someone who starts reading a text message in the middle of a u-turn. You can store all your contact information and all of your appointments and reminders, and you can also store a gigabyte of porn to pass the time between them.
You're too focused on the technology, Rama. You never seem to take PEOPLE into account.
Correction: they lead to a technology that COULD.
You've explained why SOMEONE might want to be a cyborg, sure. But that's an assumption that is entirely divorced from the way real people make value judgements, especially on things relating to body modification and medical procedures.
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