[NTLK] OT: iPad vs. MS Courier: Sound Off

Ryan newtontalk at me.com
Thu Apr 8 17:13:06 EDT 2010


I have started to like predictions about the future.

What I find interesting is that it's really, really hard to make any definitive statements about the future.  Absolute statements like "It won't happen" and the like...

We have really no idea what will happen for certain.  But in some cases there are indicators that suggest that certain things will happen.

When people make statements about things not happening in the future, like augmented cognition, they are making those statements with a historical conceptual framework.  We think in 2010 terms, and we are mapping that onto the future.  That's a mistake.

Along with the passage of time, our perception of science, of art, of the world... it changes.  We may not be too worried about things like Cancer and AIDS in that future; we may not be concerned with what others think of us, etc. in that future... we may have solved world hunger so we aren't going to work to just feed ourselves... We might be very stoic and ordered, more logical.  It might be a future of more self-actualized people.

Whatever that future is, based on everything that has happened to us up until this point, there's a good chance our social norms, science, our way of thinking... will have changed significantly.  

So I think the only way to predict the future is to be open to it.  To be as objective as possible.  We need to be mindful of the past but we have to realize the immense totality of variables that are at play.

The way I see things going, augmented cognition is imminent.  That's because, fully realized, it will make us smarter, better, faster, healthier, more efficient.  These are all things that we are driven innately to seek out: it's part of the evolutionary process.  And there won't be a choice.  Either you go live in the mountains, or take the blue pill like everyone else to keep up.

And when we look back at ourselves burning "witches" at the stake, ruthless monarchies, etc., we can see just how far we have come.  Imagine sitting down for a beer with a person from the Dark Ages... and imagine asking them what they thought the future would be like.  As much as they tried, they would be more stuck than you because they lack so much knowledge about the world in comparison to you.  Not only that, they are constrained by religion, whereas many of us today are not.  We have much more knowledge as a foundation, and can be much more free in our thoughts.  Even at this modern state, we still struggle to drop what we have learned and completely rethink things.  But if we are to make predictions about the future, we have to go into our analysis naked.

Thank you,


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