Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by RAMA, Apr 7, 2012.
You have one false assumption. Exponential technology.
What history books are you reading? The United States has been at war pretty much continuously since its inception. Sixty five percent of our GDP is military spending, as is eighty percent of our national debt. We spent the first decade of the twenty first century involved in not one but TWO major land wars and are peripherally involved in four others.
"Relatively" peaceful? If so, it's only because most of the major world powers are currently getting along with each other -- for the most part, anyway -- and so the only major conflicts involve either small countries or organizations butting heads in regional conflicts or very large countries bombing the piss out of smaller ones for no coherent reason.
Yes, which means the WiFi network is that much easier to take out, since only a handful of targets need to be struck to disable it entirely. This is a fairly different case from, say, cable communications with its many redundant lines or conventional radio which can only be blocked by jamming or precision targeting of all possible transmitters; you could produce a pretty effective WiFi blackout in a given area just by bombing a half dozen base stations whose locations are already well known.
And with that, the ability of immature people to wield power irresponsibly. This is the point of technology you're not getting: just because somebody invents a better device doesn't mean the USERS of that device will be better people. For every RAMA that finds personal enlightenment on the internet there are ten Jihadist wackos who use the internet purely for downloading porn, stolen credit card numbers and bomb-making manuals (usually in that order) plus three guys on 4chan posting animated gifs of David Hasselhoff farting on Kim Katrel's face.
The technology alone doesn't change the agendas of the people who currently hold all the social and political power in the world; it hasn't, and it won't. The same technology that allows some peasants in Rwanda to learn CNC machining can just as easily be used by the Rwandan government to selectively exclude them from the workforce and keep the existing social order in place.
It's not the growth that they would attempt to stop, though. In fact, they're probably not interested in curbing that growth anyway, they might even wish to accelerate it.
What they would and will seek to prevent is the use of that technology to benefit their social/political competitors, anyone who threatens the existing power structure.
To use a concrete example: they don't have to prevent the invention of online universities or educational software, and they probably wouldn't bother. They COULD, however, pass laws that devalue educational certifications obtained by online programs or strip the accreditation of institutions that depend on that newer educational software. Politicians can easily pretend there's a legitimate political reason for it, but in the end they would be motivated purely by the desire to protect the massive financial investments in traditional universities whose founders may or may not be bribing the fuck out of them.
Nobody's disputing that. The question is whether or not these new technologies will produce a radical change in the existing power structure in these countries. I'm telling you that it won't, because all of these programs depend on the cooperation of local governments and trans-national organizations. For many of these governments, there is a point where the people could become TOO empowered, and most of them are just insecure enough to undertake some kind of harsh draconian measures long before they ever get to that point.
A few of them already have.
That doesn't make the WORKERS more competitive, which is my point. The American worker cannot reasonably compete with the Chinese family unless they are willing to accept a slightly lower standard of living that their international competitors are used to. That's the origin of the phrase "race to the bottom", a very real and persistent economic problem.
Of course. They have a choice between lowering their standard of living to below those of a third-world worker, or retraining for a career with twice the technical requirements and twice the educational investment just to keep their PRESENT standard of living. The greater the technical requirements for an honest living, the fewer people are able to MAKE a living with the knowledge they have, and the people who DO have those greater skills find their knowledge is less and less valuable as time goes on.
It's enough to sat, the point at which your workers have to have a PhD in computer science just to run a cash register is the wrong time to wonder if the globalist economy isn't all it's cracked up to be.
That's like saying "Just because the Earth orbits the sun doesn't mean it always will." There isn't much reason to believe this will change any time soon.
Voice Recognition technology as primary input (instead of keyboard/mouse) by 2020
Artificial intelligence for children to interact with when no friends or siblings 2020
NFC/RFID Readers in mobile phones RFID chips in many retail products changing retail industry completely 2015-2020
Fiber-to-The-Home in the rural & suburban areas of the USA delivering Internet access as well as HD Video-on-demand services. Including state legislation that all commercial and residential new structures be prewired/cabled for fiber to every unit.
Self-driving cars around 2025
The violence of our age is generally over-represented in the media. We have a tendency to turn the past into a golden age, but it's not really so:
Social evolution tends to lag behind, but I would argue that it still moves at least parallel with technological development. Aside from the above Steve Pinker links, we can see the world reaction to wars and events since the 60s, protests and so on. Such points of view were not to be found in earlier wars to any great degree. Same thinkg with nuclear proliferation. According to Hans Rosling, social/health/organizational changes help increase influence more before wealth does. Developing countries that gain wealth and influence solve social problems first to a great degree.
As far as the singularity goes, this is a totally different animal. I've already shared some thoughts on it, I feel we will perceive the world totally different after that point, and a transhuman transition period beforehand will make us more enlightened.
Not alone it doesn't but more than ever it provides tools to do so. The people and gov't that don't change agendas will be left behind. The use of these tools isn't supposition, it's already in evidence around the world.
Such AI already exists! SIRI for example.
Voice recognition can be used everyday by the avg person. I have it on my phone but rarely use it. I was in a cell phone store yesterday and the software translated everything spoken in the demo perfectly.
I'm wondering just how much fiber optics are going to be used as wi-fi penetrates our life further.
Plenty of evidence to the contrary:
"Accelerating returns" then...which goes beyond the original "Moore's Law" (as the extract and graph shows, Moore's law was the fifth paradigm of exponential growth in computing...the next generation is almost here already...http://www.kurzweilai.net/images/chart03.jpg). The greatest criticism to exponential growth is that it comes to an end, in fact it does, but only for the next paradigm to follow.
A quote from my own post on another thread about the subject:
Yes! The artistic, engineering and tech strides of modern times is actually underestimated...in past centuries, there were often only a handful of humans involved with expanding the frontiers of human creativity and knowledge, sometimes their rarity (Like Da Vinci, Galileo, etc) makes their artistry and science even more noteworthy and valuable, but as you suggest, today there are not only more people involved with these endeavors, the ratio is much higher. Another reason: not just sheer numbers, but when one culture builds upon the developments of another, there is where the increased pace(exponential) ignites.
Ah ah ah. Don't move the goal posts. The point was about war, not violence.
fiber-optic cable has a large potential capacity.
There is one more technology in the next 25 years that will take off but not be mainstream:
I will never underestimate the the influence of sex in technology. Although the definition of sex, or even what it will be after a potential singularity would be anyone's guess...but before that, sure, it'll be as pervasive as it ever was, or even moreso.
Which is one of the first things talked about in the video...
The video is also conflating violence with war. still moving the goal posts. Not everything T.E.D. is great or correct.
That's true, but in this case Pinker is one of the most respected men in his field. His qualifications are impeccable. But this is nothing new, because of our limited lifespans, we always think our age is the most violent, the most damaging, the end of times. The facts show the reverse, but no amount of yelling is going to change the mind of the doomsayers and pessimists. Pinker isn't the only one with the statistics, simply do a search and Google and the results will agree that war deaths per conflict have dramatically reduced. Industrialized nations no longer routinely fight each other as in the centuries before WWII, leaving the conflicts to smaller scale civil wars and the like. The greatest pall to hang over the world was the Cold War, and that for all intents and purposes is over. Instant world destruction is less likely.
Who said anything about the media? I'm talking about HISTORY. I live in a country that exists the way it does specifically because it fought a series of extremely violent wars against the native population of the Americas, punctuated by an extremely violent CIVIL war, followed by an equally violent war against Spain, followed by the occupation of the Philippines (which lasted until WW-II and was arguably more contentious than the occupation of Iraq), and that's just the first half of its history BEFORE involvement in two world wars and the subsequent Cold War (which includes Korea, Vietnam and a dozen different proxy wars).
The most you can say is that global military competition is no greater today than it was 200 years ago, but only insofar as there are fewer participants wielding far greater power.
Indeed: if our history books were written only slightly differently, the battle against Hitler and the Axis powers would have been labelled "World War VI".
It's significant, though, that these massive global wars tend to happen every hundred and fifty years or so and usually come in threes, with each one being significantly more violent than the last one. The same technology you're advertising as the savior of humanity has masked the fact that we are now unleashing more firepower in smaller conflicts and inflicting greater damage in a shorter amount of time than ever before in history; indeed, we are fast approaching a time when we will not even need nuclear weapons to lay waste to entire cities.
Here you're assuming that social evolution -- or ANY form of evolution -- is inherently progressive. That is a false assumption in the extreme.
Evolution takes any number of shapes, for better or for worse, whichever new form is best suited to its environment. A society where aggressive/dishonest/selfish people are more successful tends to proliferate in those characteristics. Introducing new technologies to that society won't change that balance unless it is intentionally distributed to individuals with different traits; in a free market scenario, it's more likely that the people who are already prospering under the existing order will adopt that technology first and they will drive the next phase of its development to their own advantage.
In other words: in a world ruled by tigers, the invention of gunpowder probably won't benefit the zebras.
Because we all know Henry David Thoreau spent a night in jail to protest the Vietnam war.
True as that is, we're discussing technology, not social/healthcare/organizational progress. Technology is developing at a fairly rapid pass, and the developing world is accumulating large pockets of material wealth. They are NOT, however, making any headway with their social/health/organizational problems, and adding new technology isn't going to change that.
We're already beyond the singularity with respect to our pre-industrial ancestors. On some level we know this, which is why we tend to prefer to the period of the late 17th and 18th centuries as "the Enlightenment."
A new social order did indeed emerge from that transitional period, and compared to their forebearers they were extremely enlightened. They were SO enlightened that they subsequently reduced 4 million people to chattel slavery and ethnically cleansed an entire continent of its technologically inferior population before laying claim to the land themselves.
Let's not loose sight of the very real possibility that the "transhumanist movement" could be dominated by an elitist clique of technocrats that see the rest of the human race as a clan of backwards primitives who are better off being enslaved or at least tightly contained if only for their own good. In that sense, the dire predictions of science fiction (The Terminator/The Matrix et al) make a lot more sense when the Evil Machines are actually former human beings who have used technology to transcend their own humanity.
And who would we be to argue with them, anyway? They are the "enlightened" trans-humanists, which is really just another way of saying "Too smart to care what the primitives think."
That's my point. Many of those oppressive governments will (and have) change their agendas in order to remain relevant, and they will grasp that very same technology in order to do it.
Indeed. Here's one really good example.
Technology makes EVERYTHING easier, and it doesn't pick and choose who it benefits. When oppressive governments and militaries decide to invest in technology, their oppressive agenda becomes that much easier to implement. Those who oppose them have to grasp the same technologies in order to be relevant at all; those without access to those advanced technologies might as well be gun-toting apes that their enemies can bomb with impunity and even the media no longer notices or cares what happens to them.
Beyond any singularity event, ultimately "Enlightenment" means never having to say you're sorry for massacring savages.
Not for the Russians it wasn't. It's important to note that as far as the Soviets were concerned, the United States posed a far less existential threat than Nazi Germany or even China, the former of which cost them $20 million lives and sacked several of their major cities.
The Americans went through the Cold War with this concept of "Mutually Assured Destruction," the assumption that the Russians could be convinced not to attack the United States because any attempt to do so would cause the total end of their civilization. The Russians never really got that concept; THEIR idea of nuclear war was "Nuke em till they stop shooting back." IOW, in their view getting nuked by the United States was hardly the end of the world; in some ways, it was no worse than what the Nazis did to them decades earlier, except that this time the Russian counterattack would immediately inflict identical damage to the United States and give them time to rebuild.
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. They really thought the US was planning a first strike! Even down to the day and minute in some cases, when they went on high alert. However, their strategy was an overwhelming first strike. They thought they could win a nuclear war simply by minimizing damage from the US, not by fighting a full blown war. In reality, such a war would have been won by no one, and certainly the clear thinkers on either side realized this.
Here I would argue that social evolution must follow intelligence, and since intelligence is linked to technology as well they are intertwined. The human brain builds upon itself, older parts still exist in it and some suggest this is responsible for some of our baser instincts. As we learn, we see our world differently, technology seen at a linear rate influences us very little, at exponential rate, it influences us in dramatic and very real ways, such as early adoption/market penetration in the modern world. Enlightenment in a transhuman world may mean differences between cultures rendered almost meaningless, many of the old evolutionary drives that tell us outsiders are bad will be rendered moot. Minus such biases, man can be free to see the world in a new light, perhaps as a unified whole. This is just one example of the myriad possibilities.
In terms of evolution, one thing people tend to forget about is that it's not "survival of the fittest" (as the simplistic Nazi style notion would have it, or what many people still believe it is) but survival of the best adapted, this also means cooperation and not just conflict. If the technologically inclined and upwardly mobile inhabitants of nations ride the wave created by this exponential technology access (don't forget 3 billion people will have internet who did not have it by 2020) then they can wind up better adpated to it than the ones making the laws, including dictators...as the statistics demonstrate from the links, after WWII 20% of countries were democracies, today it's 80%, I believe we are seeing evidence already in Africa and the Arab world their technological and political backwardness is ending. Stay tuned..
I'm not so sure. From the interviews I've seen, the Russians believed that the key to victory was to inflict the maximum amount of damage on the U.S. in the shortest possible time, minimizing as much as possible their counterattack and their ability to continue in combat. Taking massive damage in the opening volley was basically a foregone conclusion, but as I said, in their minds it was hardly the end of the world.
In the end, IMO the Russian idea was probably more accurate as far as military realism. After all, it wasn't as if U.S. nuclear arsenal was specifically targeted against the Russian population or even the Russian industrial base; both sides were maximally concentrated on each other's military facilities, with the idea being not so much to annihilate the other's population, but to remove their ability to make war. U.S. thinkers never really understood this and let themselves get dazzled by the horrific implications of nuclear warfare in general. Truth is, a nuclear war is perfectly winnable, so long as you have a very strict definition of victory.
It doesn't, though. Social evolution follows the complexities of human interaction on a small and large scale and is influenced by many things, most significantly religious, economic and environmental circumstances. It has nothing much to do with intelligence, except insofar as intelligent people tend to do better economically and their social status reflects this. On the other hand, intelligent people are not the ONLY ones who do better economically; naked ambition and selfishness can also contribute, especially for people who are pre-positioned to take full advantage of those traits.
Some of us, yes. But not everyone is interested in learning OR seeing the world differently, nor is everyone even capable of doing so. Unfortunately for your theory, many of the willfully ignorant/hyper-ambitious nutjobs running around today are in positions of high political influence.
Assuming that cooperation IS the best adaptation for all situations. On the small scale, this is not always the case.
That's exactly what I mean. The exponential technology access works BOTH ways; don't forget, the dictators want to survive too, and they too have an opportunity to adapt. The difference between the dictators and the "upwardly mobile inhabitants of nations" is that the dictators can more easily marshal the resources needed to protect their position and can ultimately deploy that very same technology against their own populations to eliminate potential competitors.
3 billion more people will have internet access by 2020; the dictators who rule them will be getting access to UCAVs and satellite surveillance around the same time.
When the list of democracies includes such nations as Maldives and Liberia, I don't think it matters all that much. Technically, even Somolia is still a democracy.
Separate names with a comma.