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Great Transformations

lyceum_arabica has a little thread of anticipated advances for people to list and bet on. That inspired me to say something about how I see the future. Less about specific technologies and more about the types of things which can be done, whether through AI or biotech or nanotech, emphasizing things which change the human condition to a large degree. So flying cars are not on the list ("superfast transportation" might be, except I don't see it happening much more than it has) but being free from old-age or being able to design your children in detail is.

* AI (new minds, immortal, transsapience, mind copying, challenge to law and democracy, labor-replacing slavebots, spouse-replacing lovebots)

* transsapience (understanding and control of the mind; easy for AI, but MRI and drugs or implants for humans; make yourself smarter, make yourself happy, make yourself motivated, make someone else motivated, real lie detection)

* immortality/immorbidity (free for AI; humans: body part replacement cloning or mechanical prosthetics, nerve regrowth)

* self-replicators (industrialize Mars fast! nano-microscale vs. macroscale "clanking" replicators doesn't really matter, the big thing is exponential growth on a timescale much shorter than a human generation, unhindered (unlike agriculture) by pests or parasites)

* designer offspring (AI or genetics)

* programmable matter/environment (ever greater control over and responsiveness of our surroundings to our will; smart matter, arcologies, utility fog, permeating/ubiquitous stuff, cyborged animals, climate control)

--> Resulting meme conflicts: transsapience vs. natural minds; VR vs. reality (on the one hand, cheap flexibility, on the other, modifications and robots mean being ever *more* attentive to reality, more senses, making realistic worlds even harder); human-human vs. human-bot relationships; rapid development of solar system vs. cautious exploration; whether/how to control Earth's climate; work society vs. idle human 'slaveowners'; immortalist vs. generationist (have long life or have children?); designer vs. natural offspring; animal uplift vs. not.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 8th, 2007 10:56 pm (UTC)
I want immortality bad, but I want transsapience badder. I have an IQ of 175, but it hasn't done much because I also have ADD, chronic depression and social anxiety disorder.
Aug. 9th, 2007 01:53 am (UTC)
I don't understand the National ID card thingy in the original thread.

However, in general I'd say anticipated advances should be related to time - that is, what we can anticipate within say, fifty years. And then I'd have to start believing in some S-curves and go anti-transhumanist and say things like invasive insurancing, reliable geriatric profiling, city and building planning not primarily using new materials but changing the use of old for a less energy-intense status, new generations in land and sea transportation and minisats.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


Damien Sullivan

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