Re: What's going on this decade?

From: Mary Tobias (
Date: Thu Aug 10 2006 - 18:52:04 MDT

H C wrote:

>> From: Mary Tobias <>
>> Reply-To:
>> To:
>> Subject: Re: What's going on this decade?
>> Date: Wed, 09 Aug 2006 15:34:54 -0700
>> 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
> A virtual collapse of support for science and engineering?
> That's a little overboard. Just as one example:
> Technology is still accelerating, despite the delusions caused by your
> liberal mental disorder ;).
> -hank

Thanks for the sound-byte Hank :-)

But I'm neither liberal (I do have a lebertarian leaning in case your
observation was simply a typo) and having
a different point of view than yours doesn't make me delusional. Fact
is, in a multidimentional manifold, the odds
of any two sentient beings having the same physical perspective is
pretty slim... that's going to make you aweful
lonely if you go around calling everyone with a different viewpoint
delusion just because they can't see through
your eyes (the physical or the ideological.)

I'm clear that technnology is still accelerating, and it's going to as
long as sentient beings exist... my concern is
that with the tremendous amount of churning going on in human society,
that the future will simply happen, and
not be designed, and in that case, a future for human beings will be a
crap shoot. That, and superstitious, and
misguidied people locked in survival mode, may well do tremendous harm,
through the ever growing capacity
that technology provides the individual along the way. A C-5 charge is
bad enough, a nano-device or some kind
exotic bio weapon is altogether something else. I can do real genetic
experimentation in my garage. What happens
to the security of the world when much of the technology is available to
highschool kids for science fair projects?

All I'm saying is the we have to be awake, congniscent of the path we
walk, and prepared to have our children
prepared to assume responsibility for whats coming, prepared to cope
with it, and warned of the critical issues
they'll need to deal with. Anything less is irresponsible on our part
for future generations.

Mary Tobias

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