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Old 12-30-2017, 01:41 PM
k9bfriender is offline
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 11,564
If I may make a terrible analogy...

Nuclear power is easy, right? Just take some fissionable material, bring enough of it close enough together, and you have power.

You can do the math, and show that it will work. You can do the math, and you can show how much power you can get out of every kilogram of fissionable material.

That is the level at where I feel SamuelA's understanding of many of the things that he pontificate upon resides. Not that that puts him that far behind anyone else, as that is about the level of understanding that even our best researchers are at for some of the things like nanobots or copying brains digitally.

There is a little bit of engineering involved as well. There are potential roadblocks that may or may not be insurmountable. When nuclear power was first envisioned, they didn't think about xenon. Xenon almost ruined the whole thing, and while it was a surmountable issue, it remains a significant factor that needs to be monitored to keep your reactor operating correctly.

So, in any of these future technologies, there will be a "xenon". Something that was completely unexpected based on first principles, (though they did suspect that something may act like xenon as being a neutron poison that builds up as a result of nuclear activity, they did not know it would be xenon, nor how to deal with it until they actually were doing the experiments.) and something that cannot even be considered how to correct for until that flaw is found.

Our understanding of the brain and advanced cellular biology is around where our understanding of nuclear power was in the 20's. It seems as though there is something there to be exploited for our gain, but the exact road to realizing that, as well as the obstacles in that path are still completely unknown.

These conversations are like a 1920's nuclear advocate pushing for the creation of fast spectrum molten chloride salt breeder reactor, on the understanding that fission as a process works arguing against the engineers that are actually investigating fission and how to harness it. There may be some areas where he is right, but that is not because he is smarter or better educated than the people building reactors, as they are fully aware of the math that shows that bringing together fissionable materials releases energy. But, by only looking at the math, and ignoring the engineers that actually have practical experience with the subject upon which he pontificates, he comes to misleading conclusions at best about timelines and manners of technological progress, but often about the practicality or feasibility of a technology altogether.

Now, if you watch Isaac Arthur, I suggest you take some time off from his channel. While I find him entertaining and sometimes even educational, he does not really address the engineering or social roadblocks to his visions of the future, and just assumes that they are solved, somehow. Futurists who do not get into the nitty gritty of how exactly the machines that they envision work serve a purpose, but they should not be taken as oracles of our future. (Sorry Isaac, I think I've gotten a couple dozen watching your channel that were not previously, so losing this one lost sheep for a bit should be okay.)