Monday, June 12, 2017

Astro video for the day/ Arthur C Clarke's predicting the future(1964)

Video Credit & License: NASA, Juno, SwRI, MSSS
Image Processing: Gerald Eichstadt
Video Processing: Sean Doran

Arthur C. Clarke is famous for saying that the technological future will be so fantastic that the word 'magic' comes to mind. He's almost certainly right about that part; but, in this video, I find some other interesting thinking.

I stumbled on Eric Drexler's "Engines of Creation" around 1988.  I was living in Poway, San Diego. I'd got to a bookstore that is no longer extant. There's a shopping center between twin peaks and Ted Williams roads.  That's the shopping center that I'd hike to from a few miles away. When I first picked it up, I put it down.  At the time, I thought of advanced technological future as being space stations and spaceships.  I can't help noticing in this Arthur C. Clarke video above that futuristic technology means some kind of advanced city.  One sees the same thing in H.G. Well's "Things to Come"(at the end of the movie, after a dark ages due to world war).

I of course, hadn't read the book, or thumbed through it enough; because, in it, he shows how, in the future, one can make a space rocket out of daimondoid materials(and other materials ideal for different parts of the rocket), and this rocket would be grown almost overnight.  It would be made almost as inexpensively as growing plants.  Well, anyways, I came back to it a year or so later, and bought it!

I bring up the story because it's one example of thinking about the future.  Of being conditioned to think in certain ways. And, how these unquestioned assumptions sometimes makes one disregard new ideas.

Seems to me that people's ideas of ethics are of this "advanced cities is advanced technology". And, well, several futuristic technologies appears to be right around the corner - nanomanufacturing, quantum computers, A.I(artificial intelligence), that people often say "hey, what about the ethics?" only for nothing to be said, because nobody can define ethics, and the science and technological world is running on automatic now. Religion can't stop science anymore. Not just those who consider themselves religious and not the scientists, but the scientists themselves often try to waive the ethics banner, only for everybody to go back to their busy lives.   Just like when Arthur C. Clarke talked about the future, and everybody went back to their busy lives, the ethics thing is like some meme, more than something that comes from some scientific understanding.

- One big problem with people trying to argue against science and technology is that the guns enthusiasts are right.  Guns don't kill people - people do. It's not that the technology will turn on us; but, someone will abuse it.  Eric Drexler got that part right in his "Engines of Creation." Brian Wang of "Next Big Future" constantly goes on about "the coming of the Terminators".  No matter how many times one points out Eric Drexler's above insight, he just keeps saying "oh no, the coming Terminators!"

1 comment:

  1. A bit of a future forecast mistake by Arthur C. Clarke is the prediction of making animals our servants. He does this in his 3001. And, it just killed it for me!