From: Mike & Donna Deering (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Jun 12 2002 - 09:22:50 MDT
Lets take a minute and consider something which is not going to be very popular on this list, LIMITS. Not ultimate limits, but local limits. Plateaus of scientific technological knowledge that it is at least very difficult to go beyond. Limits that are within our grasp.
The end of theoretical physics. It appears with the impending discovery of the Higgs boson that we may be very close to a complete TOE. It seems quite ironic that our greatest attempt at simplification has resulted in the most complex theory even invented.
The speed of light.
The limit of the current trend in miniaturization will be nanotechnology, the complete control of the structure of matter at the atomic scale.
Genetic engineering, the complete knowledge of the functions and interrelations of genes, proteins, enzymes, the protein folding problem, cellular processes, biological processes.
Engineered intelligence. This is the most difficult one to pin down but here's a stab at what we should reasonably be able to produce without postulating unknown paradigms. An extrapolation of human style reasoning and intelligence multiplied many thousands of times limited only by hardware substrate. I suspect that some of you may be able to define the local limit of EI better than this. I look forward to your corrections.
Given these locally achievable limits what in the way of technological applications should we expect?
A large, though limited, amount of zero cost material goods.
The elimination of death, disease, disability, and infirmity.
The complete re-engineering of our bodies using nanotech capabilities and materials.
The ability to change our mental functioning and intelligence.
Re-engineering our solar system.
What have I left out?
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