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The Coming Bright Future June 6, 2008

Posted by truthspew in future.
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This is interesting. Apparently the we’re on the verge of some very great innovations.

In it noted futurist Ray Kurzweil prognosticates on the time frame for the disruptive events to come.

Here it is in a nutshell.

· Within 5 years the exponential progress in nanoengineering will make Solar power cost-competitive with fossil fuels

· Within 10 years we will have a pill that allows us all to eat whatever we feel like and never gain any unwanted weight

· In 15 years, life expectancies will start rising faster than we age

· In about 20 years 100% of our energy will come from clean and renewable sources, and a computer will pass the Turing Test by carrying on a conversation that is indistinguishable from a human’s.

The only issues I see in regard to solar energy is that we really haven’t gone too far with storing the energy they generate. But there is hope, I’ve seen that solar cells are getting more and more efficient with yields over 40% or more. They don’t need direct sunlight, just grey light will do the trick.

Then of course there are some advances in battery technology. A new nano-engineered lithium-ion battery has much greater capacity and power density. Those are two key elements. Capacity is just how much time you can get, whereas density is the current available.

His estimate that within 10 years there’ll be a pill we can take which allows us to eat anything with no ill effect is already coming true with the studies on resveratrol.

Life expectancies are going up, just incrementally right now but we’re looking at some exponential lengthening of human life. If you’ve ever watched Back to the Future II, there’s a line where the Doc explains that he had his colon replaced.

This isn’t so far off. The more we understand the bio-chemical processes of the human body, the more likely we are to do major overhauls. Go in get a new heart, lungs, liver, large and small intestine, kidneys, etc. See you in 60 years. Next thing you know you’re 256 years old.

It all falls into a line from Angels in America, once you KNOW your enemy you can vanquish him. We’re increasingly knowing more and more.

As to his prediction of total renewable energy, that’s when we move to a Kardashev Type 1 society. The transition will be difficult but we’ll do it.

And a computer passing the Turing test, I believe it’s going to happen sooner than he does. There’s already an artificial intelligence on Second Life, it’s attained the intelligence of a 4 year old thus far, but it will get better as it learns and grows.

I’d say that we’ll see true intelligence in a computer within five years. I say that because there are many groups pursuing the goal right now.

The future will be interesting to say the least. But it brings up a good point, we work because we have to do so. What happens when the machines are better at it than we are? How do we derive income then?


Mike Judge's Idiocracy February 10, 2007

Posted by truthspew in America, future, Idiocracy, Mike Judge.
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This is scary stuff. It’s scary because I’m witnessing the specter of the laughable No Child Left Behind act, the increasing cost of higher education, etc.

And while I don’t actively watch and read entertainment things I’m painfully aware of their impact on society. That people know more about celebrities than their politicians strikes me as being the ultimate in ridiculous.

So Mike Judge made a movie that extrapolates what the future will be like, in this case the year 2505. Apparently Judge shopped the movie to Fox who declined to distribute the film to theaters. The DVD is coming soon and I can’t wait – just search follow this search on YouTube to watch clips from the movie.