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Transhumanism: How do we know?
(12-11-2014, 01:20 PM)Steel Accord Wrote: Hold on there good sir. My point wasn't that our world isn't a wonder to live in, I certainly believe it is and thank God everyday that I live now rather than the Dark Ages.

My point wasn't that the iphone wasn't amazing (I'm only listening to one right now) it's that no one could have predicted it.

Weellll, maybe. While it's true that most SF authors and futurists never predicted anything like the iphone, there are some who came close. Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle describe a 'hand computer' in their book The Mote in God's Eye that is essentially a pocket size solid state device. While it wasn't designed to work with something like an internet, it did allow people to rapidly pull up and display data right from their hand and (IIRC) with some degree of networking to nearby computers. Been a while since I read the story.

Then there is Star Trek - TOS gave us the Communicator - which apparently inspired various engineers and programmers to go forward and develop the cell phone. TNG gave us handheld tablet computers, which were essentially made real about 20yrs (or less) later.

The iphone predates the tablets of course, and I don't think anyone actually predicted anything exactly like it. But there were some other fictional devices that came close enough that it might be more a matter of chance than anything else that kept something like an iphone from being predicted in some story somewhere.

(12-11-2014, 01:20 PM)Steel Accord Wrote: My question was meant to ask how do we know our predictions for transhuman aimed technologies isn't going to be looked back on as childish as we now do when we see Robby the robot or even the Terminator.

The short answer is that we don't. The development of the future involves a vast number of variables of science, technology, culture, history, climate, economics, and who knows what else. So over any significant length of time its impossible to make firm predictions about what will happen. We can do other things however:

a) We can base our predictions on modern physics and science and the best understanding our civilization now has about the real world. While some part of that may turn out to be wrong, for the most part modern science is approached in such a way that new discoveries tend to add a greater level of understanding or open up a bigger world that we didn't know about before rather than showing that we are flat out wrong in our conception of the universe. As such, the tech we describe, based on that science, is more likely to turn out to be possible in some form, even if not the exact form.

b) We can look at our depiction of things in OA as less of a 'this is how things will happen' and more as a 'what might a world in which all these things come to fruition look like?' Science fiction is based on asking 'what if' in one form or another, not 'this is what will happen'.

c) We can remember that history hasn't ended and the story isn't over yet. Meaning that we shouldn't assume that just because something hasn't been achieved yet doesn't mean it never will be. People speak in terms of not having flying cars or cities on Mars yet, and then ask 'why were the people who predicted those things so wrong?'. But are we sure they were wrong? Or just ahead of their time or off with their dates a bit?

Leonardo da Vinci made drawings and models of flying machines that he was never able to successfully make work. Should we therefore conclude that heavier than air flight is impossible? What's that you say? I can't hear you over noise from that 747 flying over my houseWink

Obviously, the predictions that we would have moonbases or the like by now didn't pan out. But that may just mean that it's going to take a bit longer to get to that point than originally conceived, not that we will never have these things or that they are impossible.


Messages In This Thread
Transhumanism: How do we know? - by Steel Accord - 12-07-2014, 05:05 PM
RE: Transhumanism: How do we know? - by Rynn - 12-07-2014, 09:17 PM
RE: Transhumanism: How do we know? - by Drashner1 - 12-08-2014, 01:46 AM
RE: Transhumanism: How do we know? - by Drashner1 - 12-12-2014, 01:23 PM
RE: Transhumanism: How do we know? - by rom65536 - 12-09-2014, 06:43 PM
RE: Transhumanism: How do we know? - by Drashner1 - 12-10-2014, 01:05 PM
RE: Transhumanism: How do we know? - by Drashner1 - 12-12-2014, 10:10 PM
RE: Transhumanism: How do we know? - by Dalex - 12-12-2014, 10:36 PM
RE: Transhumanism: How do we know? - by Drashner1 - 12-14-2014, 12:38 AM
RE: Transhumanism: How do we know? - by Drashner1 - 12-15-2014, 01:26 AM
RE: Transhumanism: How do we know? - by xsampa - 01-02-2015, 02:35 AM

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