Tag Archives | Future

Cybernetic Society and Its Reflections in Science Fiction

01-Cybernetics-Norbert-Wiener

Norbert Wiener, author of “Cybernetics,” a 1948 book in which he develops a theory of communication and control.

Jason Stackhouse writes on Engineerjobs:

Our own attempts to design centrally planned economies yielded only brittle, crushingly totalitarian states, Stalinist nightmares of fiat rule, corruption, and dehumanization. Yet the dream persists: a planned, smoothly-functioning world, responding rationally to evolving conditions, shepherding resources for the benefit of humanity.

Can engineers do better? As it turns out, we can – and almost did, 40 years ago.

The Foundation and the Culture

Many science fiction fans advance Star Trek as an example of such a planned, internally harmonious society. While Trek is many things, it’s not the best example of a cashless utopia – money, graft, and greed rear their heads the moment our crew leaves the ship.
Star Trek Utopia

Star Trek’s crew was not quite a Cybernetic Society.

Better representations can be found in the works of Isaac Asimov and Iain Banks.

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Five Corporation-Crushing Disruptive Technologies That Will Empower the Masses

disruptive tech headerEveryone knows we are at the mercy of huge corporations in multitude of ways.  Just look at Big Oil.  We are wildly dependent on them as not only individuals, but as a nation and a world.  Though Exxon stands atop the global economic podium, the technology sector isn’t far behind.  Apple made nearly as much in profits in 2012’s fourth quarter as Exxon (a ridiculous $8.2 billion).  Let’s bring that number down to Earth a bit.  Americans are spending an average of $444 per household per year on Apple products alone.  For further evidence, just look around your living room, or better yet, consider the origin of the screen you’re currently staring at.  Chances are, one swollen oligopoly or another made all the pieces of technology you’ve surveyed in the last few seconds.

However, chinks in the armor of these untouchable behemoths are beginning to take shape, leading some, like MIT’s Neil Gershenfeld to question the sustainability of today’s techno giants.… Read the rest

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Here is What’s Going On in Canada, Part 1: Two Telltale Speeches by Stephen Harper

via chycho

harper-images

    I. Introduction: How Far We Have Fallen

    II. Harper’s ‘Plagiarized’ Iraq War Speech

    III. Harper’s 1997 Speech to Council for National Policy

I. Introduction: How Far We Have Fallen

For those watching from afar, Canada must seem an enigma. For decades we have been hailed as peace keepers, but have lately been busy flexing our mussels at every opportunity we get (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). We are known for our pristine environment, but have been accelerating the development of the dirtiest project in the world (pics). Knowing full well the devastating consequences of America’s War on Drugs, the very same day that Washington State and Colorado legalized the recreational use of Cannabis we introduced “tough new mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana.” We are the third largest water rich resource country in the world, but have recently suspended numerous water monitoring and preservation projects:

“DFO’s [Department of Fisheries and Oceans] Habitat Management Program – which monitored the effects of harmful industrial, agricultural and land-development activities on wild fish – is gone.

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Last Survivors of the Apocalypse: Microbes

France in XXI Century. MicrobesForget the preppers, the only survivors of the final apocalypse are going to be microbes per this report from BBC News:

The last surviving creatures on Earth will be tiny organisms living deep underground, according to scientists.

Researchers used a computer model to assess our planet’s fate billions of years from now.

They found that as the Sun becomes hotter and brighter, only microbes would be able cope with the extreme conditions that the solar changes would bring.

The research is being presented at the National Astronomy Meeting.

Jack O’Malley James, from the University of St Andrews in Scotland, said: “There won’t be very much oxygen present, so they need to be able to survive in low or zero-oxygen environments, high pressures, and high salinities because of evaporating oceans.”

Mass extinction
The future of life on Earth is tied to that of the Sun, and over time, our star will become more and more luminous.

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Paradise or Oblivion: The Venus Project


via The Venus Project

The Future and Beyond

By Jacque Fresco

Beyond Utopia

With the advent of future developments in science and technology, we will assign more and more decision making to machines. At present this is evident in military systems in which electronic sensors maintain the ideal flight characteristics in advanced aircraft. The capacities of computers today exceed five hundred trillion bits of information per second. The complexity of today’s civilization is far too complex for human systems to manage without the assistance of electronic computers. Computers of today are relatively primitive compared to those that will evolve in the future. Eventually the management of social systems will call for require electronic sensors interconnected with all phases of the social sequences thus eliminating the need for politics.

Today modern industrial plants have built in automatic inventory systems, which order materials such as bearings and other mechanical replacements well in advance.

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What Will Humanity Look Like In 100,000 Years?

look like in 10,000 years

Obviously, this rendering is largely speculation, but I agree that humanity will likely spend the foreseeable future trying to turn ourselves into anime characters. Via the New York Daily News:

In 100,000 years, people might have larger heads and sideways-blinking oversized Disney eyes that glow green with cat-like night vision. At least, that is what two researchers say could happen in “one possible timeline.”

Artist Nickolay Lamm teamed up with computational geneticist Alan Kwan to envision a future where zygotic genome engineering technology develops to the point where humans will be able to control their own evolution.

This ability, the team says, could result in more facial features that humans find intrinsically attractive: strong lines, straight nose, intense eyes and perfect symmetry. Kwan thinks that the human head might expand to accommodate a larger brain.

But perhaps their most remarkable conjecture is that future humans could start to blink sideways like owls to “protect from cosmic ray effects,” they added.

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Iranian Government Scientist Claims To Have Invented Machine That Reveals The Future

speculationsHow does it work? Algorithms, duh. Via the Telegraph:

Ali Razeghi, a Tehran scientist has registered “The Aryayek Time Traveling Machine” with the state-run Centre for Strategic Inventions. The device can predict the future in a print out after taking readings from the touch of a user, he told the Fars state newsagency.

Razaeghi, 27, said the device worked by a set of complex algorithms to “predict five to eight years of the future life of any individual, with 98 percent accuracy”. As the managing director of Iran’s Centre for Strategic Inventions, Razeghi is a serial inventor with 179 other inventions listed under his own name.

“My invention easily fits into the size of a personal computer case and can predict details of the next 5-8 years of the life of its users,” he said. “The reason that we are not launching our prototype at this stage is that the Chinese will steal the idea and produce it in millions overnight.”

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Excerpts from three articles on education: Dorothy Sayers, Richard P. Feynman, John Taylor Gatto

via chycho

To say that our education system is broken and in need of a gargantuan overhaul is an understatement, but it will happen since it is an inevitable side effect of the liberation of data that comes with an open internet.

What form these new systems of education will take are yet to be determined: only time will tell if they will be optimized replicas of the present models, or if they will be based on a new way of teaching and thought. Either way, the overhaul is long overdue and I for one am excited to see the transformation.

Below you will find excerpts from three excellent articles on education that address some of the problems with our current systems. They are well worth the read:

1)The Lost Tools of Learning” by Dorothy Sayers: “Let us amuse ourselves by imagining that such progressive retrogression is possible.… Read the rest

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A History Of Speculation

Can the future truly be changed, or are we on a predetermined path? Chris Woebken and Sascha Pohflepp on grasping at the fabric of reality:
Hermann Minkowski's light cones gave us a visual idea of how the possible may be situated within relations of causality. Then, in the mid-20th century, those ideas were carried into the realm of geopolitics by the threat of nuclear war. With a flight time of 30 minutes between the Soviet Union and the United States, rocket technology shrank the future to a point where speculation became a key asset in the arsenals of the superpowers. Big think tanks like the Californian RAND Corporation, scientists, and engineers were systematically mapping out possibility spaces.
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Institute Pinpoints Which Cities May Be Consumed By Rising Sea Levels

If you’re planning on being cryogenically frozen and then revived in the 22nd century, consider selling your apartment in Tokyo now. New Scientist writes:

Sydney, Tokyo and Buenos Aires watch out. These cities will experience some of the greatest sea level rises by 2100, according to one of the most comprehensive predictions to date.

Sea levels have been rising for over 100 years – not evenly, though. Several processes are at work, says Mahé Perrette of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. Some land is sinking, some is rising. The gravitational pull of disappearing ice sheets lead to a fall in sea levels in their surrounding areas.

Perrette has modeled all of these effects and calculated local sea level rises in 2100 for the entire planet. The global average rise is predicted to be between 30 and 106 centimeters. Coasts around the Indian Ocean will be hard hit, as will Japan, south-east Australia and Argentina.

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