Friday, October 8, 2010

PHB Back Pages #3

"Here's a groovin' video that plots technological progress into coming decades. On the surface, it would seem to have everything I like -- intelligent machines, a thoroughly dissolved barrier between living and nonliving systems, and Mars colonization.

But as infectious as it seems, this jaunt through the next hundred years leaves me cold. Not because I find the technologies it depicts dehumanizing or unattainable, but because the timeline is naively optimistic, plotted under the unspoken assumption that our planet will continue to behave itself and accommodate our ambitions.

I can't help but fear the real future will be decidedly less user-friendly. If futurology is to succeed, we must jettison our haughty certainly in the "Singularity" and face the abyss squarely. In all likelihood, we will continue to make strides in nanotechnology and computer processing power. But at the same time it's a fair bet that we'll be at the mercy of an unrelenting greenhouse-charged climate, flooded with displaced populations (and accompanying diseases) and forced to grapple with a world in which nearly everyone has The Bomb.

The future is not a PowerPoint graph. It doesn't abide by Moore's Law. The future is a thicket of variables, many with the capacity to change us in ways we choose not to think about for fear of shattering the edifice that transhumanism has become."

- Mac Tonnies. PHB post 2/20/2007

(Photo - Mac Tonnies, 2000)


On a semi-related note, the latest ecological disaster hails from Hungary... with what, essentially, is now The Red Danube.

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