London Futurists Message Board Books/Media For Futurists › Awesome software/synthetic biology talk from the singularity university

Awesome software/synthetic biology talk from the singularity university

David W.
dw2cco
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 32
Hi Richie,

As always, you raise interesting points.

I think you're underestimating the amount of knowledge Aubrey has about biology. Although he supported himself financially for many years working as a software engineer, his research into aging goes back many years. As noted in the Wikipedia article about him,

In 2000 Cambridge awarded de Grey a Ph.D. on the basis of his book concerning the biology of one aspect of aging, The Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging (ISBN 1-58706-155-4), which he wrote in 1999. The book controversially claimed that obviating damage to mitochondrial DNA might by itself extend lifespan significantly, though it stated that it was more likely that cumulative damage to mitochondria is a significant cause of senescence, but not the single dominant cause. A February 8, 2007 search for "de Grey AD [au]" on PubMed revealed 61 publications in 25 peer-reviewed journals, of which 19 are in Rejuvenation Research (impact factor 4.728), the journal edited by de Grey.

If you dip into the later chapters of "Ending Aging", you'll find plenty of hard science there.

However I accept your wider point that some transhumanist advocates have made it easy for people to dismiss their ideas, on account of problems and issues with how they have been making their case. There has been too much exaggeration and loose analysis - so it's not surprising that critics can exploit things.

On the other hand, we can be equally critical of the statements by dignitaries like Mitch Kapor, when they are talking outside their own area of expertise. Contrary to his dismissive response, it is feasible that "everything is going to be just unimaginably different" as a result of a technological singularity. I'm not saying that it will definitely happen, but it is an outcome we need to consider and seek to direct, so the outcome is better rather than worse.

I'm familiar with what biologist P.Z. Myers has written about Ray Kurzweil's ideas. Again, it's frustrating that the criticism arises over unnecessarily strong claims made by Kurzweil (eg his focus on all these exponential curves), and therefore distracts from what are, in my view, actually the more important strands of argument.

It's all the more reason to try to write a more convincing (and not-so-easily dismissed) book on this topic - as I proposed here­.
Jonathan
Im-not-a-number
London, GB
Post #: 41
The theme that seems to keep recurring in this discussion is the computer industry's habit of consistently over-promising and under-delivering. Although, I can understand how easy it is to be caught in the enthusiasm, since every year I'm seduced into believing that I'll get more choice and lower prices by purchasing Christmas presents on the internet - then on Christmas eve, I wind up traipsing through sludge, in a mad dash to re-buy all the gifts that failed to arrive after weeks of waiting - and then waste another afternoon in the new year, returning all the goods that arrived late.

Just because some of Kurzweil's predictions have not happened in the way he expected
Like his attempts at mitigating 2009 prophecies, such as "[computers] are commonly embedded in clothing and jewelry[sic] such as wristwatches, rings, earrings, and other body ornaments." and "People typically have at least a dozen computers on and around their bodies, which are networked using 'body LANs'.", with 'dog ate my homework' excuses and back-peddling that people 'embed' Cellphones and Ipods in their pockets, and have various computer peripherals on their desks.

Here in the UK 'embed' means "to fix firmly into the surrounding mass", so I can say for certain that I've never embedded a cellphone etc. in my pocket. Not to mention that pocket-sized phones such as the Motorola StarTAC were released in 1996 and wristwatch calculators have been about since the 80s; so either Mr Kurzweil is making claims on the scale of my predicting that sliced bread will continue to be popular in 2010, or he really is as cracked as his detractors make him out to be.

Now, whilst nobody is disputing that technology has improved over the past few years, and continues to improve, devotion to computers seems like it is at least as blinding to common sense as organized religion is.

a.) Worldwide, there are more computer science graduates than ever before;
My understanding is that there's a shortage of good computer science graduates - and, as has previously been pointed out - technology is advancing, so this puts computer science in the unique position that the student who graduated during the dotcom bubble, in say Mathematics, History, Golf course management or Chemistry would now still have up-to-date knowledge, compared to the computer science graduate who must continually strive to update her knowledge, lest it becomes obsolete.

b.) Worldwide, more and more people have access to relatively cheap hardware that is nevertheless very powerful, and which will allow many people to experiment rapidly with new AI algorithms;
Throwing lots of resources at a problem rarely helps solve it sooner than using a small team of highly skilled individuals - we've all heard the horror stories about design by committee, or the aphorism of too many cooks spoiling the broth.

Sure, someone from a third-world country that has just received a new cheap computer might find a new angle in AI, but this would seem to be an outlier case, rather than something regularly pushing boundaries. By the same token, our newfound computer genius could equally use his skills and cheap powerful computer to hack into the Pentagon and bring about a nuclear apocalypse.

Take the internet as an example. Before it was popularized, many people felt that it would help achieve McLuhan's vision of a "Global village" - If everyone had access, people would be brought closer by technology, and since you couldn't see the person you were corresponding with, race, sex, religion, disability and all other prejudices would disappear - But now, if the headlines in the newspapers are anything to go by, the internet seems to have spawned a generation of paedophiles, hate groups, pirates, spammers, plagiarizers and terrorists.

c.) The way the Internet functions means that breakthroughs in one area, in one part of the world, can quickly be leveraged in different fields in other parts of the world.
This is crazy talk, the internet doesn't make people communicate - people do that naturally. Without the internet, we'd just pick up the phone and discuss the breakthrough, transmit faxes, use radios, write letters or even send smoke signals if we had to.
Jonathan
Im-not-a-number
London, GB
Post #: 42
I'll add:
d.) There is no Moore's law for software! All the advances in processor technology have historically been quickly swallowed up by bigger, more bloated operating systems and software applications.

e.) Even if it were true that an organic brain could be replicated in silicon, humans have evolved over millions of years to a stage where we are all pretty good at doing whatever it is that we do in our lives. Eskimos and Africans thrive in climates that are quite hostile to computers, so even with air conditioning, constant monitoring, moisture and static control; computers still "crash" or "die" (using human terms) far too quickly and too frequently.

Now, Microsoft Windows has been developed for about 30 years, and even after all that time, my servers only seem to "live" for about a month before they start doing queer things and the Engineers tell me they need to reboot them. On my PC, Internet Explorer packs up 2 or 3 times per day (is this the computer equivalent of an aneurysm?).

f.) On a very simple level, one could say that the research that Aubrey de Grey conducts is analogous in trying to stop our organic machinery "crashing" so quickly. But, he only has to put in a fraction of the amount of effort required to achieve his goal (which has been claimed as impossible), versus say Hugo de Garis, who has to bring a computer to the reliability of at least the level where humans are now, and then accomplish the many many more achievements needed to create the proposed AI system.

g.) If Intel could overcome the challenges of maintaining Moore's trend indefinitely, faster processing power does not equal a more intelligent AI. Again, if we personify this situation, Einstein was famously a very slow learner, whereas Autistics can often absorb information quickly. So, intelligence is more about how information is processed, rather than how fast it's processed. If we took an idiot and doubled the speed of his brain, would we have a genius or an idiot that gets things wrong twice as fast?

h.) Humans have been optimizing animals such as cattle and chickens, through selective breeding, for the past 10,000 years or so. Similarly, computer programmers can optimize their program code during compilation. However, in each case, a limit is reached where all the genetic variation is used up, and it's just not possible for the cow to produce any more meat, the chicken to lay any more eggs, the software to run at infinite speed or have an unfeasibly small compiled size. This non-astronomical singularity idea assumes that anything and everything can and will accelerate ad infinitum, ignoring any and all practical limits. And, I'll say again, this is the same logic as my proof that Gordon Brown is immortal.

i.) There is no precedent for existing AI systems to spontaneously develop consciousness. Therefore, until there are incidences recorded of this occurring, then when we switch on our super-powerful computer in 2045, all we have is the silicon equivalent of a big pile of liquidized organic brains.

Finally, there's also the Turing Police to keep everything in check; but more seriously, with so many arguments stacked up against it, you'll see why I'm giving this non-astronomical singularity idea about as much credence as the Mayan 2012 Eschaton.

You can take cheap potshots at Kurzweil all you like
If I wanted to poke fun at Mr Kurzweil, then notable magazines such as The Economist have done a much better job than I could, with parodies such as The razorblade singularity.

the next Extrobritannia meeting [...] is likely to cover this topic in a lot more depth.
Whilst the topic is of interest to me, sadly, I feel that the meeting will more likely be about advocating and worshiping Mr Kurzweil's bizarre notions than any sort of rational presentation.
Jonathan
Im-not-a-number
London, GB
Post #: 43
@Richie

I've just watched a guy on the idiot box say "Predicting the future is a mug's game", before pointing out that he's paid to do just that, and then giving us his opinion as to where the FTSE will go in 2010. So, I'm never quite sure how seriously to take this singularity idea.

I'm going to make the assumption that DW2cco is David, since you seem to know him, but he hasn't signed any messages. Therefore, as the person introducing this idea, it falls upon David to provide the necessary evidence that this singularity idea has some merit worthy of consideration, rather than it being a slightly more advanced version of my Grandmother's claim that everything in the world has already become too fast, and computers (including the TV remote control) are much too complicated.

So, since were being asked to consider this singularity thingy as a whole new branch of knowledge (a brand new University has been created for it, remember), the only natural reaction to have is scepticism; else we're no better off than the various meetup groups that claim we can all become healthy, wealthy and happy - simply by asking the universe - in a manner similar to that of a small boy petitioning his father for extra pocket money.

Now, whilst Mr Kurzweil does seem to be have made some noteworthy achievements in the past, this does not mean we should assume that he is infallible. As an example, two-time Nobel laureate, Linus Pauling believed that daily mega doses of vitamin C prevented Colds and cured Cancer. However, his awards were for advances in X-ray crystallography and campaigning against nuclear testing, rather than nutrition, virology or oncology. And so, just a few years later, his vitamin C theories were shown to be wrongheaded. Then, ironically, later he ended up dieing of prostate cancer.

Further, to quote Carl Sagan:
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof."
So, the idea that there will come some super genius AI in 2045 is a pretty extraordinary claim by anyone's standards; therefore I'm expecting that we will be shown evidence more substantial than just an extrapolation of a past trend which its originator has already revised several times, and doubts will hold out much further into the future.

Regards,

Jonathan
David W.
dw2cco
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 34
Jonathan,

I don't have time to reply to all of your comments (most of which I consider to miss the point), but I'll pick out a few:

whilst nobody is disputing that technology has improved over the past few years, and continues to improve, devotion to computers seems like it is at least as blinding to common sense as organized religion is.

Who mentioned "devotion to computers"? You're attacking a position that no one (here) is advocating.

Sure, someone from a third-world country that has just received a new cheap computer might find a new angle in AI, but this would seem to be an outlier case

The point is that a "cheap" computer can do increasingly powerful things. The case I actually had in mind was that research students in universities (not necessarily in the third world) will be able to investigate all kinds of options and models on hardware that is now available to them, rather than (as in previous times) having to wait for a small share of the local monster research computer

This is crazy talk, the internet doesn't make people communicate - people do that naturally. Without the internet, we'd just pick up the phone and discuss the breakthrough, transmit faxes, use radios, write letters or even send smoke signals if we had to

????? Don't you value Wikipedia? Are you seriously denying that the Internet allows a much richer communication than previously?

There is no Moore's law for software!

That's true - and it's a point I've made on numerous occasions in my professional life. People talk about "Wirth's Law" or "Nathan's First Law of Software".

HOWEVER, neither Wirth's Law nor Nathan's First Law is an ironclad law. If the software is written better (or, occasionally, even if it just gets lucky), the combined performance of the hardware+software IS much faster than before.

Microsoft Windows has been developed for about 30 years, and even after all that time, my servers only seem to "live" for about a month before they start doing queer things and the Engineers tell me they need to reboot them. On my PC, Internet Explorer packs up 2 or 3 times per day (is this the computer equivalent of an aneurysm?)

There is better software than MS Windows and MS Internet Explorer.

Even Microsoft have their own "Singularity" research project (the use of the same name is a coincidence, I think) to develop a radically more robust operating system.

There is no precedent for existing AI systems to spontaneously develop consciousness

The arguments about both the dangers and the benefits of super-intelligent computers still work, even without any need to introduce the idea of consciousness.

with so many arguments stacked up against it, you'll see why I'm giving this non-astronomical singularity idea about as much credence as the Mayan 2012 Eschaton

You haven't produced a single good argument.
Adding lots of weak arguments on top of each other hardly changes the conclusion.

the next Extrobritannia meeting [...] is likely to cover this topic in a lot more depth.

Whilst the topic is of interest to me, sadly, I feel that the meeting will more likely be about advocating and worshiping Mr Kurzweil's bizarre notions than any sort of rational presentation.

Where did this concept of "worship" come from ?????

I'll leave it to others (eg Richie) who have attended previous UKH+ meetings to say whether or not there's been an atmosphere of open and critical discussion.

// David W.
A former member
Post #: 340
How can you guys think and type so fast - biggrin - NO JOKE - It takes me 1-2 hours to answer these posts - i think like 200 mph slower than you fellas....

OK i want to keep this real simple and at my level - I used to be very interested in UFOlogy - still am in fact - but I do not regulary take part in discussions any more as UFOlogy has a real big problem with it which i will explain.

There are two types of UFOlogy - one is the interest in trying to work out what UFO's may be by using rational explanations. The other is a "belief" that UFO's are extraterrestial through personal experiences or just simply liking them it seems. ;)

Various fruads and hoaxers have damaged UFOlogy so much in my opinion that the two are now almost inseparable and anyone who says they have a interest is instantly marked with the old crazy brush. Thing is there ARE very interesting unexplained things found in our skys but most rational conversations are wrecked by people who KNOW that the lights are energy beings from Plaideas who have anally implanted them!

You know why - its simply because most people are pretty dumb really and its easier to form belief systems than try and work out the facts. Working out the facts takes lots of arguing the toss, questioning your own beliefs and rubbing people up the wrong way sometimes. To a lot of people its easier to follow the stonger/more intelligent than go through the hassle of trying to prove them wrong. Its how a lot of the major religions started in my opinion and for that matter Communism, The 3rd Reich and Al Queda!

I see the singularity/transhumanism as something which is going through the same thing - Some people seem to be looking at it as a interesting philosphical subject and are interested in looking at all the different angles. Others seem to be very enthustiastic and are forming belief systems around it and in my humble opinion are forming a sort of "cargo-cult".

The problem is (and it has been said by people a lot more intelligent than myself) is that the whole subject is now so mixed up with good and bad ideas it is getting harder to seperate it. The people that have come up with these ideas are very very clever and for most it is so fantastic they have to believe it instead of understand it.
I just read Goldbach's conjecture - did i understand it? Did I Fxxk! Was Goldbach a genius or was he having a very clever joke with us (surely there is nothing more intelligent than human wit) - who knows but its wasted many a mans time and prehaps one day we will crack it.
I am not qualified to say (and neither is anyone I know!), if Kurzweil and co are 100% crazy or if there really is something worthwhile in the whole subject. I don't think that we will really know until their predictions fail miserably and they dissapear from the limelight. IF they are right we can all pat ourselves on the back and say as one of the best Futurists said - I knew it was a good idea all along!

Until then - yeah we gotta be very cynical and skeptical - just as we were with Einstien and all the other great thinkers. Disbelive them, critisise them, attack them personally, question their understanding and starve them almost to death - if it all holds up after you have done all that you have something there maybe a scientific theory, until then its just hot air.


@ Jonathon - was the guy on the TV - http://www.btinternet...­ - if so he is one of my favourite Futurists! In fact he calls himself a Futurologist on purpose as he see himslef as more as a mystig meg than futurist like kurzweil. He is very honest/humble about what he does, and how he does it and has done some fantastic work over the years - check him out!
Also - Extrabritannia meetings are normally populated with a healthy proportions skeptical people - one of the things I have admired is that the organisers make time for pretty much all opinions and questions even my crazier ones! Please come along and see for yourself, don't mistake their enthusiasm with hero worship it goes on sure - but only after at the Pub afterwards!

@ David - It's interesting what you siad about the Internet allowing much richer communication - I would refute that on these grounds. waht about this would you rather take Personal Physical Call from Family Member or Facebook Update - no contest. Also what about the communication that we make by touching - I shake your hand - what do you feel?. A woman walks past you smell her scent, she gives you a flirtatous smile (if you are lucky), I look at you in the face and ask you a question but you know its a joke as my eyes are laughing, I hug a freind who has lost a family member they feel my comforting prehaps my sigh of shared emotion. There are many other forms of communication we (humans) make with things like hormones and pheromones.
People are communicating much less richly because of the internet, relying on robots and computers to virtualise human communication which cannot be replicated - what do you think?

David W.
dw2cco
Group Organizer
London, GB
Post #: 36
How can you guys think and type so fast - biggrin - NO JOKE - It takes me 1-2 hours to answer these posts - i think like 200 mph slower than you fellas....

You're pretty fast yourself!

OK i want to keep this real simple and at my level - I used to be very interested in UFOlogy - still am in fact - but I do not regulary take part in discussions any more as UFOlogy has a real big problem with it which i will explain...

Great example. I completely agree.

The problem is (and it has been said by people a lot more intelligent than myself) is that the whole [Singularity/Transhumanist] subject is now so mixed up with good and bad ideas it is getting harder to seperate it.

Agree again!

So we've got work to do :-)

we gotta be very cynical and skeptical - just as we were with Einstien and all the other great thinkers. Disbelive them, critisise them, attack them personally, question their understanding and starve them almost to death - if it all holds up after you have done all that you have something there maybe a scientific theory, until then its just hot air.

Science, in principle, is distinguished from pseudo-science by its methods of making falsifiable predictions in advance, which are then subject to independently verifiable tests. Einstein's general theory of relativity received a big boost shortly after WW1 when his prediction of the amount of light bending (for light from distant stars passing next to the sun, at the time of a solar eclipse) was verified experimentally. (Historians of science know that it's a bit more complex than that in reality, but the principle still holds.)

The ideas of the Singularity aren't so mathematical as that. I don't make any specific predictions about the exact timings or natures of future technological breakthrough. I simply say:
1.) computers ARE getting better (on the whole),
2.) there's lots of work being put into improving AI (both new approaches and old approaches),
3.) more people with better tools are getting involved in that work,
4.) there's at least a POSSIBILITY of breakthroughs and rapid progress,
5.) that progress might have bad unintended consequences (as well as good ones) so we should think about them in advance.

You can say: "show me some exact proof, otherwise I won't pay any attention".

In response, I'll make some analogies of my own:

a.) People predicted the risk of the recent large breakdown in the economy before it happened - and continue to predict the risk of further breakdowns

b.) There's a risk of runaway climate change scenarios, when climate changes pass over a so-called "tipping point"

c.) There's a risk of the Yellowstone Park super-volcano experiencing a massive eruption some time in the next 50 years.

In each case, do you want to wait for an exact proof, before you start investigating ways to alleviate the risks?

That would end up being too late. FAR too late.

Extrabritannia meetings are normally populated with a healthy proportions skeptical people - one of the things I have admired is that the organisers make time for pretty much all opinions and questions even my crazier ones! Please come along and see for yourself, don't mistake their enthusiasm with hero worship it goes on sure - but only after at the Pub afterwards!

Thanks for the confirmation!

@ David - It's interesting what you siad about the Internet allowing much richer communication - I would refute that on these grounds. waht about this would you rather take Personal Physical Call from Family Member or Facebook Update - no contest. Also what about the communication that we make by touching - I shake your hand - what do you feel?. A woman walks past you smell her scent, she gives you a flirtatous smile (if you are lucky), I look at you in the face and ask you a question but you know its a joke as my eyes are laughing, I hug a freind who has lost a family member they feel my comforting prehaps my sigh of shared emotion. There are many other forms of communication we (humans) make with things like hormones and pheromones.
People are communicating much less richly because of the internet, relying on robots and computers to virtualise human communication which cannot be replicated - what do you think?

I agree: for an individual discussion, face-to-face is far better.

However, when publication is possible, many more people can get involved in the discussion. The individual interactions are poorer, but the overall effect is much more dramatic.

That's why the invention of the printing press heralded so much societal change in the middle ages.

Likewise, in our own days, that's why the mechanisms of the Internet are enabling the creation of better encyclopaedias than ever before, spreading knowledge and ideas faster than ever, and allowing researchers to build on top of each other's work much more rapidly.

// David W.
Jonathan
Im-not-a-number
London, GB
Post #: 45
@David,

You're only evidence so far seems to be an overextended extrapolation of Moore's trend, which Moore himself has revised several times, and doubts will continue much further into the future.

Further, I've argued that Moore's trend doesn't apply to AI development, and besides adding additional processor power does not mean that an AI will suddenly develop consciousness, and spiral out of our control into some sort of apocalyptic or miraculous future. So, it's all faith and devotion on your part.

Then, since you have not deemed to answer my points, I can only conclude that you are now merely relying on faith, hope and worship, to back up your belief in this non-astronomical singularity.

Someone needs to work out the programming for this theorized AI system, and then if it works at all, at an incredibly slow speed on a supercomputer, we're more likely to believe that throwing more CPU power at it will make it work properly.

As to cheap computers, here in the first world, pretty much anyone that wants a computer can already have one. It's not like when I was back at school, and was forbidden to study computer science because only the nerdiest elite of the top maths set were trusted with the computer, or getting into trouble at College for borrowing someone else's account, to teach myself how to program.

And, you're definitely kidding about Wikipaedia? If I had £1 for every time someone quoted me some completely incorrect crap from there, I'd have quite a pocket full of change... It's all really very simple it's an encyclopaedia that any one can edit! which means that: sure, a dunce can set up the beginnings of an interesting entry, and then someone brighter can come along and spruce it up. But equally, an expert can generate an extremely accurate and detailed entry, only for an average person (or even the dunce) to downgrade it... Knowledge is neither democracy, nor removed or retained just because some small self-appointed clique says so.

Knowledge is about taking personal responsibility and learning what the big words mean, rather that rolling over declaring that it's all to hard and hoping that someone else will spoon-feed you. It's about experimenting, and asking difficult questions to experts (especially self-appointed ones). Asking yourself how does this new fact fit with what I know about the subject already? Do I need to revise my thinking to take light of the new information, or is the new information claptrap? Do I need to go out and learn more? If so, about this? About related information? How can I use what I already know to add to the information available? Where does this take me? What are the consequences of this new information? etc. etc.

"If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about the answers."

Finally, if anything, there would be more need to concern ourselves about UFOs than a rampaging computer, since there seems to some evidence (however slight) for their existence, and popular media indicates that aliens are more likely to invade en masse, rather than co-operate with us.

@Ritchie,

I would refer you to Alan Sokal & Jean Bricmont's excellent book "Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science" which clearly shows that many well known intellectuals are often using long words and obscure terms to try to look clever and make a name for themselves. Sokal even managed to get a paper of gibberish published in one of the academic journals that had regularly included serious papers on similar supposedly intellectual topics.

In the cases of Communism, the 3rd Reich and Al-Qaeda, I think it's fairly safe to say that in each instance they started off with high ideals, but were later corrupted by a few people's self-interest and greed.

It's a fantastic idea (in theory) that everyone is equal and everyone gets paid the same - however not everyone has equal talents - so if you have a difficult job running a nuclear power station or mining oil in Siberia, yet you're still getting paid the same as the guy that sweeps the streets back in Moscow, where is your incentive?

You can either suck it up and live out your life in a shit hole or beat all your quotas, go hell-for-leather, forget about little inconveniences like heath and safety, and try to get promoted to a nice cushy desk job over at the Kremlin, where people will offer you bribes, and make your life even nicer still.

Germany was stuck after the 1929 depression and the hyperinflation of the Weimar Republic, people were poor, unemployment was high and unpopular emergency measures were being forced through the Reichstag, which made a lot of people turn to Communism, which in turn scared the rich, so they financed Hitler's political campaigns.

Hitler offered a change, claiming that he would restore Germany to its former glories and overturn the Treaty of Versailles. Then, since the slowly collapsing German Government found that more and more people were turning to the Nazi party, and more moderate political parties wouldn't co-operate, Hindenburg and others in a desperate attempt to retain power offered to make Hitler Chancellor (thinking that they could control him), whereupon he went about making himself absolute ruler of Germany.

Islam was one of the most open and scientific religions, and many early discoveries in Science, Medicine, Alchemy, Agriculture, Mathematics and Logic can be traced back to Arab scholars. Then, the Pope spends two centuries organizing crusades to overthrow it all, and so for hundreds of years after that, Islam shuts its self off from the rest of the world, whilst organized religion, superstition and dogma become their predominant belief system - none of which are rational - and none of which permit the faithful to question the hierarchy.

In that sort of environment, where your only choice is for your children to live out their lives in abject grinding poverty or go to a school (and possibly make a better life) run by rabid clerics, who will teach them that all Westerners are only out to oppress them, but don't worry, the all powerful Allah says he has a place by his side for those who will wage war on his behalf... which are you going to choose?

Anyway, I digress; if this group is about the future, then all aspects should be considered. David's, as well as any one else that might have an input. Otherwise you might as well rename the group London transhumanism.

As things stand, IF Kurzweil turns out to be right, I'll be one of the first in line to say I was wrong, but judging by the amount of slippage in his 2009 predictions, it seems more likely that he will be long dead by 2045, although having made a tidy sum from book sales and highly dubious training courses.


Jonathan

Ps. The guy on TV was just a talking head from one of the big investment banks; all part of the usual New Year cheerleading for the Stock market, and the on going campaign of trying to get the public to keep idiot Bankers in the lifestyle that they have become accustomed too.
A former member
Post #: 346
OK Fellas,

EVENT planned here: http://www.meetup.com...­

I would be honoured if you would both attend and help me stop this meeting descending into a shambles!

Be really cool if we could get some kind of open discussion at my Pub on about what we have been talking about. I intend to make a list of failed/successfull predictions from the last 50 years to show how reliable predicting the future is by example. Anything you guys bring along to bolster your arguments will be most excellent and educational I fancy! Lets have a fun lively debate about all this and who knows if nothing else it may help David with his upcoming book and fry my brain!

biggrin
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