[extropy-chat] Is the future under control?

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Mon Jan 15 09:14:20 UTC 2007

On 1/15/07, Keith Henson wrote:
> 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.

The Swedish are the happiest people in the world because they are the
most pessimistic. If anything nice happens they are really, really
pleased.  :)

> >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.

The West will never nuke their borders to make a dead zone between the
first and third worlds. There are far too many relatives of third
world people already in the first world and starting to command voting

> >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.

True, they might. Talking about the future is about trying to assess
Anything *might* happen. Some paths are more likely than others.

More troops are going to Iraq (or nearby).
New Orleans is still a disaster zone.
The nuclear doomsday clock is being advanced.

> >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 our future is a different colour of iPod??  :)

> >Like natural resources running dry. e.g. water, oil, metals, etc.
> That's just engineering.  Enough energy and you can solve these problems.

Everything is just engineering. If, as a whole, the first world has
the will to do it.
That's the problem. Set up a committee to discuss it.

> >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.

Oh we have some clever individuals in our species, no doubt about it.
But scientists and teachers are presently among the lowest rewarded in
our society. That's why our youth want to be sportsmen or pop singers.

Nanotech discoveries will probably be used to make money and to make
weapons. It is already happening.

Humans don't choose a specific future. Millions of people make small
choices. Whatever path is seen as necessary (like war) will be chosen.
If it means (as it does) that other paths are closed off in our
future, then by default, that's what will happen.


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