Re: What's going on this decade?

From: Tennessee Leeuwenburg (
Date: Wed Aug 09 2006 - 18:33:43 MDT

Charles D Hixson wrote:
> Mary Tobias wrote:
>> Ben Goertzel wrote:
>>> About the supposed lameness of the present decade...
>>> Hmmm...
>>> Well, the early 2000's is when I first created a truly viable design
>>> for an Artificial General Intelligence ;-)
>>> Also, among many other things...
>>> Estimation of Distribution Algorithms, fusing probability theory and
>>> evolutionary programming, became prominent and practical [spurred by
>>> Pelikan's PhD thesis]
>>> Viable automated NL translation via statistical methods became
>>> possible (due to Google...)
>>> Real quantum computers have been constructed -- we're up to 12
>>> qubits now
>>> Evolutionary quantum computers have been designed and simulated (see
>>> some nice papers by Hugo de Garis; and a book by Lee Spector; and I
>>> gave a talk on this at a MITRE workshop earlier this year)
>>> The use of machine learning methods to discover biomarkers became
>>> viable, and very common (based on SNP data, microarray data, etc.)
>>> BitTorrent !!!
>>> I could go on and on but I won't.... There has been plenty of nice
>>> stuff in the 2000's.... Yes, much of it had its roots in the 90's;
>>> but much of the stuff you attribute to the 90's had its roots in the
>>> 80's too...
>>> -- Ben
>> I think we're looking at something completely different... the 90s
>> were given by tremendous intellectual
>> vitality, and tremendous amounts of money and energy being invested
>> in moving the race dramatically
>> forward.
>> The millenium has been marked by tremendous backlash; the explosive
>> growth of fundamentalist religion
>> especially in the first world nations, a virtual collapse of support
>> for science and engineering as the best
>> and perhaps only answer to human sustainability, and an overwhelming
>> struggle for those in power and
>> wealth to hold on to that power and wealth at any cost (up to and
>> including killing the very goose that lays
>> the golden eggs.) We seem to be caught up in the lethargy caused by
>> profound cynicism and resignation.
>> Worse, a lot of really brilliant people are living in/on
>> hope/denial... and we really need to get back to the
>> business of growing the future.
>> I think it's imperative that we begin at the societal level, and
>> begin teaching our children that they are the
>> future, and that blazing the way to a bright and powerful tomorrow is
>> way cooler that playing "Gangsta",
>> or commiting acts of virtual mayhem on portable game stations (not
>> that the two a necessarily mutually
>> exclusive.) Done properly we might begin stemming the tidal wave of
>> highschool drop outs and college
>> failures marking the latest generation of Americans.
>> A failure to do such, bodes poorly for the vision we all so
>> passionately embrace, and has us looking
>> squarely in the face of a slow and hot spiral into oblivion for
>> humanity, and the vast majority of higher
>> life forms currently enjoying the planet.
>> Mary Tobias
> If you want to see where this happened before, and more seriously,
> look at the period around 1000 AD.
> OTOH, another thing that's happening is the the US "defeated" all it's
> rivals and became the unchallenged top dog in it's class. After which
> there's no place to go but down. (And all great thanks to the USSR
> for allowing us to live through that process.) As a result the entire
> US appears to be facing a "failure of vision". See some of Charles
> Stross commentary on that. Or look at the lists of Hugo winners.
> This is going to mean that a lot of the development is moving to other
> countries. Other reasons are always given as to why, but I suspect
> those reasons of being derivative rather than primary. So what's
> happening now is that the current top dog is trying to freeze the
> future into a mirror of the present...and destroying the present in
> the process. May we live through this.
Oh sigh. It's very U.S.-centric to consider it the top dog in its class.
I don't know what standards you want to use, but I wouldn't consider the
U.S. the "best" country in any sense. I don't know that I ever have.
Ditto the so-called growth of so-called fundamentalist religion. What do
you use to justify this claim, and against what other periods of history
are you comparing, and why are your samples reasonable?

> I don't know how I feel about the possibility of living in a universe
> where I die as well as live whenever I cross the street...but then I'm
> not sure how I feel about living in a simulation either, or being a
> tool for the Escaton.
Huh -- you probably live in one already.


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