[extropy-chat] what is probability?

Keith Henson hkhenson at rogers.com
Mon Jan 15 01:28:24 UTC 2007

At 10:36 PM 1/14/2007 +0000, Billk wrote:

>The future won't be planned or controlled. It will just happen.

You might be right, though I think it is a bit pessimistic.  After all 150 
years ago epidemic disease was considered to be beyond control.

>It will be shaped by forces beyond our control.
>Like the East / West jihad.

When push comes to shove, high tech is going to carry the day.  For example 
the Russians have the means to clear at least as third of the populations 
on their southern border.  I rather think that if the Islamic world 
developed indigenous high tech, the jihad business would fade out.

>Like the giant corporations deciding where the biggest profit lies.

True.  And they could decide that 5th generation fission or SPS power would 
make more money than oil.

>Like the non-rational public using their spending power to decide where
>tech development should go.

Technology is so interconnected that it hardly matters.

>Like natural resources running dry. e.g. water, oil, metals, etc.

That's just engineering.  Enough energy and you can solve these problems.

>Like floods, droughts, plagues.....

All problems that can be mitigated by science and engineering.

>Like Western birth rate falling, Third World birth rate increasing.
>Rationality has almost nothing to do with human development.

I really don't think you can make this case.  We have a very different life 
style than hunter gatherers.  How did we get it?

>Emotion is what drives humans.

That's true.  And sometimes it drives them to make useful discoveries and 
win the Nobel prize.


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