May 2008

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Comments

beta organ

This is what bird flu will do:

Wage will sky rocket due to labor shortage.

While inflation will collapse due to asset price collapsing (housing, oil, etc).

Bradley Gardner

I know I'm probably violently behind on commenting and no one will probably ever read this, but I just had to.

I'm actually really pissed off when I hear about new advancements in longevity. It seems pretty clear now that there is going to be a gigantic jump in longevity in the near future. Say, if the average lifespan is 75 now, in 100 years I would assume a technology would come along popping the average life span up to 150-200. While I'm sure I might get a bit of the returns - Say, I could live to 105 - it would really piss me off if right after I die we're going to be seeing 60 year olds who look like 20 year olds, and people trying to figure out where they are going to travel to on their 150th wedding anniversary.

To put it simply, either I get to live forever, or no one should.

My sister's boyfriend is a water engineer though, and he says global warming is going to kill us all fairly soon. So ::phew::

Don

Yes. We are in a golden age. It may not appear so because the things that have plagued humans since the beginning of civilization (War, Poverty, Disease, etc) are not gone. And they will not go away. For some obscure reason, they had a part in getting us to where we are today, and will play a part in getting us to where we are going.

Utopias do not exist, except in the heads of those who believe in such fantasies. The best we can do is to take as objective a look at where we were as opposed to where we are now. And strangely, I think our biological trend to pessimism is a major cause of this.

Pessimism has a biological reason for existing (maybe it has to do with us being pattern finders at heart- one of our strongest survival traits). It is easier to be pessimistic than optimistic. Is that by pure chance ? Or maybe it is a survival trait that allows us to look ahead and try to deal with the bad things that can happen and prepare for them.

Of course, in the process, we can lose our sense of "living in the moment" and do something knee-jerk-ish like stop bathing because we feel are wasting water or wasting energy to heat the water. You know, save the planet stuff. In the end, you wind up smelling pretty bad, getting skin sores and driving others away, and you end up dying and rotting alone from a bad blood infection from stumbling into the end-table when you had your power turned off because you didn't want to go the store to pick up some iodine because of evil pharma companies are raping the world and creating mind-numbed robot clones to do their bidding.

But I'm sure you get my point....

Golden Age ? No doubt. Will many miss the whole thing despite it being in front of their noses ? No doubt.....

Sam Gurgis

Yes I think we are entering (or have already entered)a golden age. Already we are seeing an exponential gain in information. Tens of thousands of years ago, the only information stored was in our DNA. Compare this to all the information that is stored in computers today. I think technology is bringing people together and breaking down bariers that cause ingnorance.

Sam Gurgis

Steven McDaniel

Paula "My post appeared with Jerry W.'s name on it, and my name appeared on the next guy's post. Where's the golden age of technology for this blog?"

Paula, the names corresponding to the posts appear underneath their contributions. Besides you mis-spelt 'anti-evolution' (you spelt it 'anti-science') in your previous post. Looks like we need reality checks as well as spell checks here.

Mark

I'm sure somebody three hundred years ago must have prophesied too: "Technology will allow to have flying vehicles to travel from one continent to the other in little time, to talk to each other from one side of the world to the other, to take advantage of the world's riches so that everybody can be rich and satisfied enough of what they have....".

I'm also quite sure that wars and poverty will never disappear if craving for power & money, individualism, racism still exist.

Technology can definitely be used for good but also for evil purposes. No riches can fulfil a greedy man's desire.

The chance of a Golden Age is within man, non without, and needs a radical change of man, not (only) of technology.

Carlbert

PEAK OIL / OVERPOPULATION / PEAK OIL / OVERPOPULATION / PEAK OIL / OVERPOPULATION / PEAK OIL / OVERPOPULATION / PEAK OIL / OVERPOPULATION / PEAK OIL / OVERPOPULATION / PEAK OIL / OVERPOPULATION / PEAK OIL / OVERPOPULATION / PEAK OIL / OVERPOPULATION / PEAK OIL / OVERPOPULATION / PEAK OIL / OVERPOPULATION / PEAK OIL / OVERPOPULATION / PEAK OIL / OVERPOPULATION / PEAK OIL / OVERPOPULATION

Adirian

I didn't even bother going through the rest of the comments. Scott, you have a lot of readers whose opinion basically amounts to, "Humans suck, and they'll ruin everything." They're generally very poorly read on history, and make grandoise statements about running out of natural resources (Please note people: This has been a global terror for how many thousands of years now? It's always something else we're going to run out of. Trees, whales, fossil fuels. Somehow, something else always comes along) and overpopulation (again note: This has been a global terror for how many hundreds of years now?) and the wretchedness of the poor.

Regarding the wretchedness of the poor - poverty has not got any worse in the past two millennia. The only difference is that some of us have actually embraced rationality and capitalism, and gotten out of it - the sustenance farmers of the world are still as dirt-poor as they always were, and no worse off - and, indeed, are significantly better off in most cases than they've ever been, just because the advancements elsewhere have made their tools and their clothes cheap enough to buy, cheap enough that they aren't forced to make them themselves anymore. They just seem worse off because we are so much better off.

And the people who believe in "The Singularity" - people, even nuclear fission, the most visible and infamous positive feedback cycle, has an extremely low upper limit - fuel. Positing positive feedback cycles without upper limits is beyond ridiculous, and beyond intellectually irresponsible. Hell, positing positive feedback cycles at ALL is mildly irresponsible, given their extreme rarity.

Scott, regarding your Golden Age - we've been in it for a thousand years. Things just keep getting better. Sometimes faster than others, but the trend towards improvement is incessant. Some unpleasant things happen, every now and then, but we're talking about a Golden Age, not a utopia.

Brant Boucher

Sorry. Mis-post. My previous post was intended for the "Do I owe John Mccain $1,000" thread as reading it will immediately show.

Er, Golden Age. Will there still be comic books? I don't believe in Utopias. I did my oral exam on dystopias. Both Utopias and dystopias are commentaries on society as it is, was or might be. But they are not things which can really exist for the same reason a country can not be a satire or a fantasy.

Brant Boucher

You don't owe McCain nuthin.

The Surge is not working. The proof is that areas with no additional troops have experienced the same drop in violence. Even if this were not so, sending in more troops doesn't win a war against insurgents or terrorists, any more than sending in more cops wins a war against drugs and prostitution. You just move it around.

I notice when the police do a sweep in the neighbourhood 20 minutes walk from here. The prostitutes show up here temporarily and then disappear again.

I suspect that Al Qaeda and friends are concentrating on other countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Algeria. They may have figured out that the Iraqis aren't interested in a Wahhabi (Sunni) state because they were one of the most secular Islamic societies (under the Sunni-dominated Ba'ath Party), are mostly Shiites, and have a good idea of what Iran is like, having fought with an eight year war with it.

Even fanatical Catholics in Spain didn't want France to get too strong during the Wars of Religion. Same deal with Persia. They want a different Empire from the Al Qaeda Caliphate.

Anybody who says the Surge is working has no more historical sense than George Walker Bush.

Steven McDaniel

Jason Levine: "..1 - Religion versus Science/Progress/Freedom. This has been brewing for some time now. You can see it in the Evolution vs Intelligent Design debates,..."

Well, Jason, did you know you are equating 'science/progress/freedom' with stifling a debate. How interesting! Sounds like some Orwellian doublespeak to me! I guess us 'ID' type people are the new heretics, eh? Doesn't bother me - I'm not in a Communist country where ID'ers would experience more than censorious sounding entries on a blog, for sure....

Steven McDaniel

Scott: "..A friend of mine has a replacement hip. Another friend has a new heart. A third is going in soon for a new knee. Even internal replacement organs are being grown in labs that will have no risk of rejection because they are made from your own cells..."

Scott, this may apply to those in your neighborhood and socio-economic group, but elsewhere, people are dying of starvation, and being tortured and hacked to death (take the Sudan, for instance)

"..Wars appear to be shrinking too. World Wars I and II will probably be the final wars between major powers. The biggest powers of today are more interested in being trading partners than foes. As nations become more connected, via economics and the Internet, the risk of war decreases. All war requires a certain degree of lying to the citizens, and the Internet will continue to make that harder..."

I guess when the internet becomes widespread enough, terrorists, who are waging the new World War, will be stopped dead in their tracks by the presence of such abundant worldwide honesty. Meanwhile, I have a Nigerian Bank account I'd like you to send all your money to. Honest!

Let's face it buddy - the world is falling apart like a 2 dollar watch. The increase in technology is only a foil to the world's otherwise perfect lunacy. I love your website, by the way - keep the transmissions coming from your planet, and thanx for letting me post mine!

Jeanna

I though to get to some kind of "Golden Age" we'd have to first go through some kind of ... revolution. i.e. the Rennaisance? I mean doesn't there have to be some kind of reform of our government and society BEFORE we can get to the Golden Age? Something has to give before we can just leap to that point. Technology and better energy sources can't do it on their own. There's going to be a lot more to it than just, "Holy crap, I can buy this computer for 10 bucks and it has a 10Thz (tera-hertz) processor in it!" Its not just highly unlikely because of how far we are from producing a CPU that processes at 10thz, but there isn't enough information available to the consumer and enough multitasking that a personal computer can do that would make that kind of PC viable. I apologize to the computer-unsavvy for my computer analogy, but its universal across the bored. From other fields of technology, to energy sources, to the inner workings of any government. Globally, there needs to be reform (not tyranny, but just reform) before the world, not just North America, or Europe, can head into a Golden Age.

Jason Levine

I think we're in for an Age Change, but it's not going to be a smooth one. Here are two obstacles:

1 - Religion versus Science/Progress/Freedom. This has been brewing for some time now. You can see it in the Evolution vs Intelligent Design debates, Scientology going after anyone who dares to publish their "sacred texts", and the Islamic fundamentalists going after the Muhammad Cartoonists.

Some cases are more violent than others, but the end result is the same. An attempt to "roll back" improvements in science/freedom and return to the "good old days" when religion ruled.

As science/The Internet/Freedom/etc progress, expect to see the religious "turn back the clock" folks get more and more desperate. Some might become violent, but the scarier prospect to me is that some might get into power in a high office and try to legislate the change. To a degree, this has already happened with President Bush. (See his Stem Cell arguments and his belief that ID should be taught alongside Evolution.)

(As a side note, I do distinguish between being religious and being a "turn back the clock"-sort of religious person. I myself am religious, but don't think that God would give us intellect and then tell us not to use it.)

2 - Entrenched Industries. You point to research into vast improvements in health care, energy generation, etc. What will happen to the insurance companies if suddenly your most expensive operation costs only $50? Don't think that they wouldn't lobby to either somehow restrict access to the new technology (for some half-valid sounding reason) or tax it heavily. Don't think that oil companies wouldn't fight tooth and nail if some upstart promised oil-free, cheap energy.

As an example, witness how the recording industry reacted to online music. First they sued. They sued Diamond over their MP3 player, trying to claim that ripping a CD to MP3 was illegal. (Luckily, they lost.) Then they sued Napster instead of realizing an opportunity and working with Napster to make it legal and useful. Then they sued a bunch of P2P companies. Then they sued individuals for thousands of dollars, waging a campaign of fear.

They tried applying many different types of DRM onto CDs, only to see all of them fail. (Sometimes the person who showed how it would fail would be threatened by a lawsuit.) One label (Sony) even included a rootkit.

At one point, they conceeded to selling music online, but only if it was wrapped in DRM. This DRM wound up to be easy for "hackers" to strip, but made using the files harder for Joe Legitimate User. They've recently been tiptoeing their way into selling non-DRM-ed MP3s, but mainly as a reaction to the power that Apple has gotten due to iTunes. But lest you think that they've changed, they recently claimed that ripping a CD to MP3 was illegal.

In all cases, the entrenched industry fought tooth and nail using whatever resources were available against the new technology.

Roho

There was a time, a couple of years ago, when I thought that the world was getting a little better. That finally, people started to learn to live together. That they started to understand that that is the only option to have a good life, without being killed or killing.
That was a time that I was optimistic and maybe not realistic. Then some planes flew into some buildings ...

Yes, I am willing to believe your idea about the coming of another Golden Age. But I have grown a bit to pessimistic, sarcastic in the last couple of years.

I want to believe, but it doesn't work, for now. Maybe later.

admiral krunch

a peace enforced by the nuclear bomb, it's only so long before someone find's a way around that.

admiral krunch

Why do you think wars between great powers are over? The last one (the Korean War) was less than sixty years ago. There have been plenty of gaps much bigger than that between major wars. (the pax romana for one)

Shivam

I dont think world wars I n II wud be the last wars... As man becomes bored of all the progress he's made with the Golden Age.. there will be a time when out of his nature... he will start destroying everthing... that will be the next world war...

Its not just because I am saying it... it's because of the human nature... you give a child a toy... he will play with it for as long as he doesn't get bored... after which he destroys the toy so that he gets a new one...

Its the same with Adults... who are just grown up children :))

What Would Deep Throat Do?

Most people simply don't understand that unless we quit producing more babies, all the technology in the world won't save us.

There will be no so-called "golden age" until this sinks in with the majority.

The time will come when we will long for the golden years of fighting over mere idealism and religion.

Jack

I laugh at your puny idea of a "Golden Age". Read some stuff by the Transhumanists/Singularity believers. They think that eventually technology will reach a point where we will be able to modify our bodies, solve all our problems with a self-improving AI, create biological modifications that will make us a new, superior species, use nanotechnology to create an unimaginable surplus of wealth, and (my favorite) upload our consciousness in a virtual format onto some kind of expanding mainframe with limitless capacity. You know, just like a science fiction story. Now THAT'S a Golden Age.

Steve

There's 6 or 7 billion people on the world, all competing for natural resources at a time they're starting to become more scarce... pretty much every government on earth is oppressive, and salivating over implant technology that allows your every move to be tracked... most of the major currencies of the world are flawed and, by their nature, are destined to collapse...

Golden Age? No, this is the dark age we were warned about, and while we'll make technological progress, society is going to get a lot worse. I just didn't expect it until the 2020's -- we're just well ahead of schedule thanks to the global interconnectedness.

Listo Cómics

Let's hope you are right because we are already quite overpopulated and running out of natural resources.

Dan

"JTEC could potentially harvest waste heat...perhaps even the human body."

Well, there's one more thing the robots from The Matrix needed that we've provided them now...

Anarchy In Your Head

The potential is definitely there. I think these things can all come to pass if the government doesn't over use its reverse Midas touch, turning everything it touches to shit.

Chris

My two pennies--

Never underestimate the power of hope

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