[ExI] the next big thing: was RE: proposed moratorium...
emlynoregan at gmail.com
Tue Apr 21 02:44:18 UTC 2009
2009/4/18 spike <spike66 at att.net>:
>> > Spike, another suggestion would be to raise the discussion
>> to the EP meta level... Keith
>> Good idea Keith. Let us go meta, and think about the big
>> picture here... spike
> For instance, here's an idea. Think of the most recent *big things* which I
> will define as a scientific discovery or technological development which
> changed everything, such that if that were to be taken away now, society as
> we know it would not operate correctly. Here are the ones I thought of:
> running water, reliable electric power and internal combustion engines. We
> would likely all agree here that if any of these three were to suddenly
> break down, society as we have known it would suffer greatly. There are
> subcategories which might be treated separately, such as electronics being a
> subcategory of electric power. Our society would sort of operate without
> all our electronics, but it would certainly gum up the works, ja?
> Now think about this. As recently as 1900, most had no indoor plumbing and
> almost no one had electric power or used internal combustion engines. Now
> we have a hard time imagining life without these things.
> I did not include modern medicine on this list, for altho some would be in
> immediate trouble without it, the majority would scarcely notice it missing,
> at least until the next time we were sick. If the internet suddenly went
> down, many of us would suffer greatly, but life would go on.
> So my question is this. What is the next big thing that is analogous to
> these, where almost no one uses it now, but after it makes market
> penetration, to do without it would cause widespread panic or even large
> numbers to perish? What is the next big thing? Is there another big thing
The internet + mobile phones ( + a whole future of sundry devices) is
the next big thing. We can't see the incredible social effects easily
because we are too close to it. I agree with Keith, that implants will
come surprisingly soon, but I think they are a continuation of
something that has already started.
Mike's suggestion of in-home fabbers can actually be seen as a tendril
of the 'net; it's just an extension of the printer, after all. The
unstated assumption behind that idea is a global social information
network driving explosive production of designs of and for the
The printing press took a hundred years, more or less, to play out. We
are in early, early days. Early!
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