From: M T (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon May 01 2006 - 17:55:38 MDT
Some people answered to your questions Bob, but let me
give it to you in my own simple way. And afterwards
maybe you can respond to my doubts, on my previous
mail, about your assumptions on the average person's
view of technology.
On the matter of inevitability: I don't even want to
imagine that you imply that AGI and nanotech are
impossible. To do so would mean that you are totally
ignorant on basic physics and chemistry and that you
probably believe in the divine uniqeness of the human
species, the eternal soul or something equally
delusional. They are possible and so will eventually
happen. Unless we crowl back to our caves, or the End
comes, of course (and don't even go there, it's
On the matter of proximity: you need only be informed
and follow current technologies. Talk to the experts,
listen to what they have to say. To the experts in
each field, not to futurists. It's an informed guess,
I guess. Ask some people here if they think they will
make an AGI in their lifetime. Sure, as an average
Joe, I heard it first from futurists such as yourself,
albeit more optimistic ones, but without
crossreferencing a few dozen times and applying hard
logic you shouldn't believe what anybody says
(including your own self :) ).
Finally: AGI and nanotechnology are not products, Bob.
They are not the PC that is giving you a hard time.
They are part of progress. You know, from kite, to
baloon, to plane, to spaceship. From large scale, to
small scale, to even smaller scale. From abacus, to
computer, to really really really smart computer.
Do you think that progress will stop just for this
--- Bob Seidensticker <email@example.com> wrote:
> Michael: it sounds like you think technologies like
> nanotech and AGI are not
> only inevitable but close. Why do you say that,
> given the poor record of
> the futurist community in predicting the future?
> You know the long list of
> failed predictions as well as I do -- moon bases,
> videophones, and so on.
> Perhaps you don't look to the futurist community but
> are making these
> predictions yourself, but still the difficulty of
> seeing the future
> correctly must apply -- no?
> IMO, most predictions are wrong (the bolder, the
> wronger!). And any
> entrepreneur will tell you that it's a brutal road
> from invention to
> product, with most new products failing somewhere
> along the way. Why are
> you certain that these will succeed?
> -----Original Message-----
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
> On Behalf Of M T
> --- Bob Seidensticker <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> > Thomas: you talk about the folly (or excessive
> > expense) of moon bases, 3D
> > TV, flying cars, and so on. I agree. And maybe
> you're able to see
> > through the hype of whatever today's equivalent is
> (I dunno
> > -- manned mission to
> > Mars? hydrogen cars?).
> > What concerns me is the majority of the population
> that greets these
> > new predictions with, "Wow -- that *does* sound
> pretty cool. What an
> > amazing time we live in!" Their mental bin
> labeled "Today's
> > Technology" contains the PC, GPS, and Internet as
> well as
> > nanotechnology, biotech, and most of our energy
> coming from renewable
> > sources since the press talks about all of these.
> As a result, they
> > see the progress today as being much greater than
> that in the past --
> > but only because "Today's Technology" has an
> unfair advantage.
> > Bob
> The majority of the population sees nanotechnology,
> renewable energy, AGI
> even AI and biotech as sci-fi.
> If only the general populace understood how close we
> were and the potential
> of these technologies. If only Bob. And you can
> define "close" as anything
> you like.
> Even a couple of centuries is close, though I see it
> as a couple of decades
> until the full bloom of the aforementioned
> technologies. My point is that if
> "the majority of the population" understood, they
> would make it a top
> priority and strive to make these technologies bloom
> as fast as possible.
> PC, internet, cellular phones. That's about it for
> the average Joe.
> The "things to come" haven't had an impact on every
> day life yet and so are
> in the realm of fantasy (like the PC, internet and
> cellular phones, when
> they were in their first stages of development).
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