Future: Will Technology Be Held Up by Religion & Politics?


And also, I recently saw a really good documentary
called “Transcendent Man”. It’s all about Ray Kurzweil, and he’s one of these futurists
who has made a number of different predictions. He’s also possibly a little bit nuts. He’s
constantly taking all of these different supplements and medications which he claims are, what
is it, Natan? It’s he’s reprogramming his biochemistry or something? Natan: That’s right. David: And he… the movie’s incredible, I
highly, highly recommend it, but it brings up a lot of interesting questions, which is
as technology continues to accelerate at a faster and faster rate, eventually, and this
could happen in the next 10, 15, 20 years, technology will be accelerating at such a
rate that the human mind would not be able to learn to use that technology without some
kind of artificial learning assistance, in other words, implanting, for lack of a better
comparison, like in the Matrix when you are… you have a software installed that teaches
you how to do martial arts, for example. You get the idea, that the rate of acceleration
in technology, if it continues where it is, is going to get to a point where we will need
artificial learning, so to speak. Louis: Well, I mean, in a way, hasn’t that
already happened? I mean, if you’re just someone who doesn’t keep up to date with the technology,
OK, my grandmother and my laptop, OK, does not work. David: Sure. It’s indistinguishable from magic
to her. Louis: She would need… right. She would
need some type of assisted learning. David: An implant of some kind. Louis: To be able to use that. Just nothing
about it makes any sense to her. David: OK. Louis: She has no concept of it. David: But some of that is generational. I’m
talking even for somebody who is heavily involved, there will just be so much, so fast. Yeah. Natan: Yeah, no, I think the point here isn’t
that, you know, in the case of Louis’s grandmother, she didn’t grow up with it, it’s just hard,
it’s very hard for her to learn, this is that no normal person without any sort of, you
know, mechanical brain implant would be able to learn it. It’s just not something a normal
human could do. Louis: See, I don’t think that makes sense.
I think… I think that technology has to stay at the same level as the people who are
going to be using it. I mean ,it’s people who are creating it, it just doesn’t make
sense that it would surpass that. David: Well… Louis: And wouldn’t you have to create more
technology just to be able to use the technology that’s being… that’s been created? David: I don’t agree with that. I think the
growth… the acceleration rate can surpass. Think about, if we look at, flying is a perfect
example, and aviation. Look at how long humans have been aware that things can fly, and look
at how long humans have been around, and look at the tiny fraction of time during which
aviation has existed, and look at the acceleration of it, OK? Thousands of… tens of thousands, who knows
how long people have been seeing birds and thinking maybe a human could fly, and then
finally we get the Wright Brothers with this little rickety plane, and then 25 years later,
we have… we have commercial aviation, the jet engine, supersonic flight, and then soon,
you know, we’re having… Louis: We’re in space. David: The Boeing Dreamliner, which can fly
between any two points on Earth based on its range at increased comfort. Look at that,
if we put it on a big scale, how long there has been aviation. That’s a fast acceleration,
Louis. I know for us, being 20-something, it seems like it’s kind of a long time. Yeah. Natan: That’s a good point, but I don’t think
it’s the right analogy, because we can… a person can understand how flying works physically
and mechanically by studying it, not everyone knows exactly how it works. But the point
here is that we won’t be able to learn certain things unless we have some sort of assistance. David: My point was the idea… I’m illustrating
the idea that the acceleration can go at a rate which is unimaginable, at least which
Louis is not giving credit for. Natan: But Louis does have a point in the
sense that it can accelerate, but can it go beyond what humans are capable of? And I would
say that in a way, that’s already the case with, you know, high-level computers. Louis: Yeah, with certain things, you have
your certain, you know, niches that… and there are people trained to do that. Like
I don’t know how the particle accelerator in Sweden, or wherever it is, works. Swiss,
maybe. But there are lots of people who do, and so I think it’s like more a matter of
specialization than really overall… David: I think in 10 to 15 years it won’t
be that way. The other thing on this is are religious and political obstacles going to
get in the way of this accelerating technological development? I think there’s a very good chance
of that, at least in the U.S., so I think we need to be prepared for that, and hopefully
we have a pro-science president, no matter who it is that’s elected. As you know, Louis,
on the Republican side, you can be pro- or anti-science, the same way you could be pro-
or anti-air, I guess. I don’t know. Louis: Right. Transcript provided by Subscriptorium Multimedia
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Comments
  1. The rate of the acceleration of technology is fundamentally limited by the HUMAN capacity to innovate. We simply CAN'T invent something that's beyond our comprehension because we would lack the skill to pull it off.

  2. @FabulousLakeTahoe Not entirely true, take a look at the most sophisticated computers today. Is there one man on earth that could build one from scratch? They would need to know how to get the metals, make the electronics, how to assemble, how to program, etc. Technology that arises now is a result of combining knowledge among people. The technology is above each individual person, but not above the group as a whole.

  3. I think what ya'll are trying to say is that the Learning Curve will be much larger as we go. That's probably true.
    Will it get so large that it becomes a handicap? Who knows.
    And yes. Religion has stifled problem solving and general knowledge repeatedly for centuries and will continue to do it in the future unless we start using some Science based thinking and apply it to our problems universally.

  4. @Deciblaster hahahahahsa you think we would be so advance in our technology by now if it wasnt for christians. LOL im a christian and i thought your comment was funny LOL good point

  5. I think he's nuts.
    If you look closely.
    2001 and 2011 isn't that different.
    It all looks new.
    But it's the same thing at the end of the day.
    But compared to 1990 we did make real progress.
    The leap forward from 1990 to 2011 was big but not huge.
    But I really doubt that 2031 will have as big.
    And don't forget that aviation and rocket science was taking such a big leap because of two world wars. If we don't have any we will start to stagnate

  6. @Deciblaster well im not religious but I do have a relatioship with God to make it clear im a gay christian so yeah alot of fundmental christians do see technology as the way of the devil i mean, think about if it wasnt for those christians back then, our technology today would be WAAAYYYYY better. it just shows who ignorant SOME christians may be. If God made man to have a brain, then shure in hell we going use it LOL

  7. Since religion & politics already hold up technology (stem cell science & genetic engineering), it stands to reason this will continue. Look at the naysayers of Climate Change who hamper green technology development. TYT just did a story on a 4th grade Christan Science text book for homeschooling that declares electricity is a giant mystery. :-/ People aren't just holding up progress, they are actively seeking to roll it back by adopting ignorance as spiritual bliss.

  8. One who writes a macro writes a program, but they might not know machine language or even C++. And many things even experienced programers want computers to do are done by reaching into a grab-bag of software written by other programers, whose work may be incomprehensible to the ultimate beneficiary. This is just the second dying of the Renaissance man.

  9. @eswyatt Louis rightly distinguishes the qualitative point from the quantitative. Even so, programs that use Darwinian principles to "write themselves" may yield programs the workings of which no human can understand.

  10. How could we build something without knowing how to use it? I see people here talking about self-writing programs, but once that happens on a large scale, they'll probably just kill us before we could understand it. You know, like the Matrix, or Terminator… ;D

  11. Let me put it to you this way. If this country can be held up on progress to stop a climate change crisis, created in part by us, because they believe its a "scam"; even when scientists have thoroughly studied, modeled and tested these claims and have proven them true. A crisis that has been reported to already cost us all of the coral reefs by this centuries end and a quarter of aquatic being gone.
    Then hell the fuck yes its holding us up.

  12. You want an example of technology unusable without additional 'assisting technology'? You've got it already in aerospace with the Eurofighter Typhoon. A fighter jet made so aerodynamically unstable that it can only be flown with computer assistance, without the computers it would never fly because no human pilot could possibly make enough adjustments fast enough to keep it in the air.

  13. @SentimentOfGuilt At the point of a technological singularity, technology will be able to create a superior piece of technology.

  14. @Snarkathon I do not know, its a moral argument that still exists here in the UK atleast, whenever genetic experiments are mentioned most people start saying "playing god" its so annoying.

  15. @flake452 Its nonsensical ! You add 'genetic' to any subject & paranoia sets in. We have genetically modified every domestic animal, (eg. 400+ species of dog) & every crop since the 'dawn of man'.

    Someone else mentioned stem cell research & while religion will claim god makes us all, he makes us with faults, faults we arent allowed to fix or eliminate. Dont fuck it up in the first place god!! 😉

  16. I think the age of the "Polymath", or one who knows the sum of human knowledge, is over. Maybe the material for reading and the time to read it will surpass human life span, or reasonable limits. Maybe then? But to operate a device, assisted learning would be convenient, not necessary.

  17. I'm with Louis on this issue. Technology is made to assist us. It may have the potential to surpass our ability to comprehend it in and of itself, but that will never happen, as we are who make that technology, and is limited to what we can comprehend before its creation.

    Now, perhaps part of this technology is comprised of brain implants, in which case the technology could increase based upon this further enhancement, but that's the only exception I see.

  18. I would say that the analogy used around flying better illustrates the point about technology can only go as far as we can: Yes, in a very very short period of time, humans went from dreaming about flight to landing on the moon, but THEN WE STAGNATED. There aren't any colonies on mars, if you havent noticed.

  19. I agree with all three. The technologies for human augmentation will continue to accelerate alongside all the other technologies. They will all grow together eventually filling all the niches that were discussed. The foundations for all these things exists already, and technologies do not go away they have an exponential growth. The only mechanics that retire old technologies are innovation, and, extinction.

  20. "Will Technology Be Held Up by Religion & Politics?"
    Some technologies most definitely will. Other technologies could be accelerated as resources are not allocated to some fields. And in exceptional times some technologies might accelerate because of political pressure. Apollo being a prime example.
    One of the most interesting issues about technology on a philosophical level is transhumanism.

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