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ACK
04-04-2002, 08:43 AM
It is said, that every technology can either have a great positive effect or the opposite. With all the "new-fangled" things that are being invented and instituted on almost a daily basis, it becomes interesting to speculate on the future of our world and technology. I personally believe that the technologies we have created will eventually cause, or assist in causing the downfall of our species. I say this because there are technologies that are meant to regulate; such as unique identification, GPS, and microchip technologies, merged into a single form, so that any human can be identified, found, and any number of pieces of information on the individual can be pulled up instantly. This is just one example of technology that could be of great benefit, but it all depends on who has it. That is where I think the negative occurs. Feel free to share your ideas, as this subject will undoubtedly arise in the future.

Earthworm Jim
04-04-2002, 08:50 AM
I fail to see your point. The species will become extinct because we are too easily identifiable? Please elaborate.

Ultimately, the human species will become extinct, unless we move off the planet (and perhaps out of the solar system entirely). Whether or not we manage to off ourselves in the meantime, or get whacked by another species (bacteria, aliens, whatever), or get whacked by a wandering comet...I give the same odds for all three.

That is, in the long run I suppose there's a fairly good chance we'll manage to off ourselves, either by accident or design. But, there's a good chance something else will come along and kill us off anyway. However, I doubt will happen in my lifetime.

ACK
04-04-2002, 08:54 AM
Well, I guess what I mean is this: Our society is driven by information these days. It used to be land a long time ago, but now, the information is where its at. Those with the most information seem to be the most powerful. It is human tendency to thirst for power, for the most part. Most information, most power. What better, than knowing where everyone in the world is, what they are doing, what they have done, who they work for, etc. All instantaneous. The conflict arises when someone realizes this and says "I gotta have that, and nothing will stop me." That is where human nature overrides reason and the conflict begins.

Maybe at the most it would make an interesting movie.

Mangetout
04-04-2002, 08:54 AM
There are plenty of things that might go wrong in our relentless pursuit of technology (the worst one that I've heard of is the 'grey goo' scenario which some fear will result from the use of nanotechnology), but it's a bit unreasonable to think that the ability to track everybody's whereabouts will result in the destruction of the species; governments, despite all the reasons, valid and paranoid, that we might have to fear them, are unlikely to start arbitrarily destroying tax payers.

ACK
04-04-2002, 09:11 AM
Who said the government? Since information has had a 90 percent increase in the last 5 decades, there is certainly the possibility to find a loophole to gain control of something as important as a universal ID system.

If it were the government, this technology would give them a wider range of options in population regulation (i.e. china and "birth control") and you know what happens when regulation occurs way too much. I am not suggesting extreme McCarthyism or anything, but certainly this speculation can be made with validitiy.

Earthworm Jim
04-04-2002, 09:16 AM
Originally posted by ACK
Well, I guess what I mean is this: Our society is driven by information these days. It used to be land a long time ago, but now, the information is where its at. Those with the most information seem to be the most powerful.
...
The conflict arises when someone realizes this and says "I gotta have that, and nothing will stop me." That is where human nature overrides reason and the conflict begins.

Maybe at the most it would make an interesting movie.
Well, the same was true of land. The Romans had it, the British had it, Napolean and Hitler wanted it, etc. Doubtless, wars will be fought. However, I think the question of technology causing the extinction of man is invalid. Technology can only do what a person or group of people decide to do with it.

Will we be responsible for our own extinction? I think it's possible, but I also think it's highly unlikely. It would be tough for one group to wipe out the entire human race, even if they specifically set out to do so. I don't see any group setting out with this goal, and I think an accidental extinction even less likely.

So, no. I think there are bigger threats out there than ourselves.

ACK
04-04-2002, 09:23 AM
Well, I might have to stick with the movie idea. As for the improbablitily of the notion that we will destroy ourselves, there are several things. First of all, subtlety could be far more dangerous than outright issues involving technology. Maybe the extinction of the human race might not occur due to technology, but I think that there will eventually be some sort of conflict that will completely change our way of life. That said, this is pure speculation considering the future. Who knows?

ACK
04-04-2002, 09:25 AM
It might be notable to say that this thread was prompted by a book I recently read, Technopoly, by Neil Postman...

Its an interesting book that might be worth checking out.

RickJay
04-04-2002, 10:25 AM
Originally posted by ACK
Well, I guess what I mean is this: Our society is driven by information these days.

I'm going to be the resident Luddite and say that I think this is a load of bull. "Our society is driven by information" is the sort of mealy-mouthed silliness that in twenty years will draw the same sort of laughter as such gems as "We're at the end of history" and "Apply the Seven Habits to your proactive customer-focused business paradigms!"

When you say "society is driven by information," just what the heck does that mean, anyway? Driven how? How is information a driving force? How has anything really changed? People still eat food, drive cars, engage in home renovation projects, take vacations in Florida and screw around on their spouses. I could say "Society is driven by sex," "Society is driven by money," or "Society is driven by NASCAR" and I'd be just as right.

It used to be land a long time ago, but now, the information is where its at. Those with the most information seem to be the most powerful.

That is completely and absolutely false. You can't even accurately define "Having the most information," but even if I take it the way it appears, just when did librarians become powerful? They've got more information at their fingertips than anyone, but librarians don't rule the world. Neither do university professors. Where's the evidence that information makes you powerful?

In fact, power lies, as it has always lied, primarily with the people who possess the means to FORCE you to do what they like, which generally means guns and money; namely

1. Governments
2. Organizations with influence in government
3. People with a lot of money

This "information is power" horsepuckey is pure Internet culture cliche. Sure, information's an important thing, and you can use it to maximize your power. Information is an important aspect of free market economics. But don't think for an instant it gives the common man power. You can have all the information in the world, but if I have a gun and you have a library card, I'm calling the shots.

At the risk of sounding like Clifford Stoll (from whom I think I stole the librarian bit) I think it's important that people for whom the Internet is a big part of life - and I include myself in that group - step back and understand that in the grand scheme of things the Internet and the information explosion is a very, VERY small part of human life in general. It's new and sexy and well-advertised, but if you honestly consider its impact on civilization, it's not even remotely comparable to things like aotomobiles, flight, sewer systems or the agricultural revolution. Most people don't have computers, and most people who do have them aren't really living their lives THAT differently from the way they lived them before.

People are living their lives basically the same way they always have; working at their jobs, trying to get their families nicer houses and food and clothing, and spending time with their friends. Human beings will still spend their energies on personal security, family life, and the acquisition of material goods. You can't eat information, sit on it, put your clothes into it, wear it, or watch it play Little League.

dalovindj
04-04-2002, 10:51 AM
We can only hope that cooler heads will prevail, that we keep our tech in check (that sounds like a political slogan for the future!), and that we make big enough, bad enough, weapons to blast any aliens who may want to eat us or destroy our planet for an interstellar highway.

What really interests me is all the good technology is going to allow. Here are some of the things I am relly looking forward to:

Easy Space Access

I want to be able to get into space. I want to watch the earth rise from the moon, and I want to stand on the top of Olympis Mons on Mars. Some extreme sports could really get going as a result. Flying games on the moon. How about sky-diving from orbit? Solar sail races? Asteroid summer homes?

Augmented Reality

Already there are wearble computer products on the markets. In the very near future, everything (or at least alot of) the tings we touch will be tagged with tiny chips that contain information about the item. Using glasses which project an image (whos transparency level can be controlled) directly onto the users eye, I can look at a restauraunt sign, and all of the sudden the menu is floating in front of me. I can look at a street sign and a map of the city is floating in front of me with my location superimposed. One will be able to have all of the music recordings one could ever listen to on a tiny device. Walking around, you will have a fully wearable entertainment system on you at all times (should you choose to).

At first they will be controled by remote controls and buttons. Soon, however, we will be able to control computers with our thoughts. Already, people can move cursors just by thinking about it (with the right tech). It is used for parapalegics right now, but watch how that one blossoms.

The next generation of all these devices will not be worn, but implanted. A video screen grafted right onto your eyes (contacts at first), and speakers grafted onto your ears. The quality will be amazing and of course, you will be able to turn them off with your mind if you like. One will be able to type and send messages to another using just thought, establishing a form of true telepathy.

Brain & Nerve Implants & Communicators

Soon, we will be able to implant devices that can record and play back electrical impulses moving through our nervous system. Already Kevin Warwick (http://www.kevinwarwick.org/) has implanted himself with a device designed to do just this. He envisions being able to record what I touch and project it to another so that they in effect feel what I feel! Imagine as this tech becomes perfected what will be possible! Recorded and shared experiences! Play back what that great night in the sack felt like! Have sex and feel what the other person is feeling! This stuff is going to be amazing if it works! Full emersion in video games!!

Medical Advances

We will cure AIDS, we will end cancer. We will build replacement organs and limbs as needed. We will slow down (and maybe even reverse!) aging. We will expand our lifespans by hundreds of years at least. Genetic and proteome knowledge and research will allow us to finally crack the code of life and then improve upon it. The population will grow as fewer and fewer die. We will have to find a place to put everybody.

We may even be able to make people smarter, stronger, and make them able to look like whomever they should choose - which should do well to put down racism. You are what color you choose to be not what you were born. Its a non issue like earings all of the sudden. Just a personal choice.

Materials Development

Nanotech may potentially allow things like space elevators. We will get greater and greater control of reality at smaller and smaller levels. This will allow advances in the electronics and medical fields which will change the world.

What is everything?

We learn more about reality every day by probing it. We are building bigger and better instruments to learn about gravity and what the history of the universe has been. There is a grand puzzle here, and we are putting it together - piece by piece.

I'm looking forward to the future.

DaLovin' Dj

Castaldi of the Mazzharat
04-04-2002, 10:56 AM
I think the monkey chip thing a few weeks ago is notable in this. They recorded the brainwaves of monkeys using joysticks to move a cursor around on a screen, then implanted a fingernail size chip in a monkey's brain. The monkey was then able to move the cursor and click on things with its mind.

While yes, the implications of what could be done with this sort of technology are scary, that's how it always is.

Think of it...at the age of 20 a boy gets hit by a car and is immediately rendered paralyzed...can't move his arms, legs, anything. Think that at some point, they could give him artificial limbs which can be controlled with his mind...the paralyzed could walk once more! Personally, I think this is a step in the RIGHT direction.

dal_timgar
04-04-2002, 12:20 PM
i've been having conversations lately saying there are 3 kinds of people. smart people, dumb people and brainy people. the brainy people come up with technology, the smart people hide information about the technology, and the dumb people buy badly implemented technology and do dumb things with it. the smart people make a lot of money and pay the brainy people "decent" salaries.

we need a revolt of the brainy people. LOL!

land is still a factor. do you pay rent or a mortgage. computer experts must live somewhere too.

that information hiding. all computers are von Neumann machines. John von Neumann was one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century, he worked on the ENIAC project. i never heard of him during the 4 years i worked at IBM. look thru computer books and see how often find "von Neumann machines."

Dal Timgar

Bryan Ekers
04-04-2002, 01:06 PM
Originally posted by dal_timgar
we need a revolt of the brainy people. LOL!
Read Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. Careful you don't drop it on your foot, though.

Bryan Ekers
04-04-2002, 01:13 PM
Originally posted by dal_timgar
we need a revolt of the brainy people. LOL!
Read Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. Careful you don't drop it on your foot, though.