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#35428 - 07/14/10 10:20 AM what is holding technlogy back?
haveagas
Unregistered


isn't it weird that you know, thirty/forty years ago everybody thought that by this time robots would have taken over and aliens would come to earth on vacation and uh, we would have invented the "orgasmatron"? (actually i guess we did do okay on that last point but the others?) it seems the best we do is one moon landing and touch-screen technology. that's it.

i guess it's either businsses not having the right motivations or the public being weary of progress and pushing back.

this guy alan patrick has an interesting idea that it's because people won't work together - that " the internet runs on love" - but i suppose the internet is no more immune to crappy humanity than anything else?

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#35430 - 07/14/10 02:04 PM Re: what is holding technlogy back? [Re: ]
ImagingGeek Offline
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Registered: 05/19/10
Posts: 410
Loc: Canada
I don't think anything is being held back. It all comes down to the simple fact that it is very hard to predict the future, particularity when trying to extend new technologies forward (i.e. robots in the 1960's). I don't think that many people appreciated just how much computing power a robot would need back in the day.

Another thing not to loose track of is what scientists predict for the future often varies greatly from how entertainment industry portrays the future. Take space travel - we've known (scientifically) since day one that there are many very difficult technical barriers to space travel - notably, the amount of energy it takes to get off the earth, but also the extreme distances even "close" objects like the moon are at. Even in the 1950's and 1960's, many scientists were predicting that humans may never leave the orbit of our planet - and so far they have been right. In contrast, popular media at the time portrayed space travel as something that most of us would do, circa 2001...despite the fact that the experts in the field were saying it was unlikely.

The pace of (current) technological advancement is stunning. One example from my own field (biology) - DNA sequencing. A decade ago we were able to sequence sections of DNA a few hundred base pairs long, and were just gaining the ability to assemble those pieces together en mass to make genomes. Seven years ago we completed the human genome - a project that took 13 years and cost 2.7 billion dollars. Fast forward seven years, to today. We can now sequence a humans genome in a week, for a cost of ~$30,000. New technologies being released as we speak may reduce that to a day, at a cost of $5000 or so.

SEVEN YEARS.

Bryan
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#35434 - 07/14/10 07:47 PM Re: what is holding technlogy back? [Re: ImagingGeek]
kallog Offline
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Registered: 03/17/10
Posts: 1100
I reckon, we do tend to believe movies more than scientists :P Even further back they(fiction no doubt) predicted we'd all be flying around in zeppelins, even using them for wars. Somehow it didn't happen, which is kind of a pity.

We were supposed to all have video phones, but I think people just don't want or need that. Sure it sounded exciting, but now we have that technology freely available, hardly anyone uses it.

However there are some technologies that depend on public money to develop. And they can be held back by politics or economics. One example is controlled nuclear fusion. Many countries are pouring public money into that, particularly ITER. But somehow it's not enough to get it finished in a timely manner. It's surely hard to sell to voters because people run in fear as soon as they hear the word 'nuclear'.

I have the feeling that people today generally dislike new technology. There doesn't seem to be the excitement that there seemed to be 60 years ago. Rather, public interest seems to be more puritan. Hybrid cars are actually pretty cool from a technical point of view, but people are only interested in them because they're supposed to save the planet. Same goes for wind turbines.

Nearly 20 years ago, before global warming or peak oil, a power company built a wind turbine in my city. It was a big public attraction, it was an amazing cool high-tech thing. There was a little visitor information center, there were tour buses ferrying people up to it. It became a bit of an icon for the city. It was just exciting because it was impressive technology. They built a posh residential subdivision around it.

But now wind turbines mean only two things: Good for the environment and bad for property values.

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#35435 - 07/14/10 07:59 PM Re: what is holding technlogy back? [Re: kallog]
ImagingGeek Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/19/10
Posts: 410
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: kallog
I reckon, we do tend to believe movies more than scientists :P Even further back they(fiction no doubt) predicted we'd all be flying around in zeppelins, even using them for wars. Somehow it didn't happen, which is kind of a pity.


Actually, zeppelins were used extensively in WWI. The Germans used them to bomb England; a perverse preview of the V1 and V2 bombings that would follow in WWII.

They may be making a comeback - several companies are re-developing rigid-air ships, for possible future use.

Originally Posted By: kallog

We were supposed to all have video phones, but I think people just don't want or need that. Sure it sounded exciting, but now we have that technology freely available, hardly anyone uses it.


I think the newest version of the iphone has that capability. IMO, video phones were dead before they started. I like the fact I can answer the phone unshaven, hair unkept (less of an issue these days), while wearing my undies (or nothing at all). Plus, do you *really* want the telemarketers to know what you look like?

Originally Posted By: kallog
However there are some technologies that depend on public money to develop. And they can be held back by politics or economics. One example is controlled nuclear fusion. Many countries are pouring public money into that, particularly ITER. But somehow it's not enough to get it finished in a timely manner. It's surely hard to sell to voters because people run in fear as soon as they hear the word 'nuclear'.


On the other hand, billions have been dumped into those programs, and billions are being promised as well. I think the major issue there is the technological difficulty of what they are trying to do. Replicating the interior conditions of the sun, in a controlled manner, isn't exactly a simple task.

Originally Posted By: kallog
I have the feeling that people today generally dislike new technology. There doesn't seem to be the excitement that there seemed to be 60 years ago. Rather, public interest seems to be more puritan. Hybrid cars are actually pretty cool from a technical point of view, but people are only interested in them because they're supposed to save the planet. Same goes for wind turbines.


Yep. There is a large section of people who dislike science and scientific progress these days.

Originally Posted By: kallog

But now wind turbines mean only two things: Good for the environment and bad for property values.


And bad for the birds...

Bryan
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#35437 - 07/14/10 10:59 PM Re: what is holding technlogy back? [Re: ImagingGeek]
kallog Offline
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Registered: 03/17/10
Posts: 1100
Originally Posted By: ImagingGeek

They may be making a comeback - several companies are re-developing rigid-air ships, for possible future use.


Cool. But they might have a public relations problem to overcome. People think they're dangerous, which makes sense since there were a huge number of crashes. But planes had plenty of crashes in their early days too.

They say on TV that the hindenburg was the most comfortable way to cross the Atlantic ever. Seems we've taken a bit of a step backwards.


Quote:

And bad for the birds...

Heh, can't win!

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#35438 - 07/15/10 02:37 AM Re: what is holding technlogy back? [Re: ]
redewenur Offline
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Registered: 02/14/07
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If the 1960s popular vision of future technology failed to materialise it's because that vision arose largely from film-studio fiction. 2001: A Space Odyssey is a prime example; it seems to have been out of step less with science and more with economics - but Hollywood and Co. are not obliged to make gloomily realistic predictions about economics. Progress is accelerating at a tremendous rate, but given a sky's-the-limit 'sci-fi' budget there would be much more to show for the sum total of scientific knowledge.
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#35452 - 07/15/10 12:39 PM Re: what is holding technlogy back? [Re: kallog]
ImagingGeek Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/19/10
Posts: 410
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: kallog
Originally Posted By: ImagingGeek

They may be making a comeback - several companies are re-developing rigid-air ships, for possible future use.


Cool. But they might have a public relations problem to overcome. People think they're dangerous, which makes sense since there were a huge number of crashes. But planes had plenty of crashes in their early days too.


Most of the ones I'm aware of are supposed to be autonomous - i.e. no people. For example, here in Canada we're developing some that are planned as robotic patrols of our northern waters.

I've seen some other plans for heavy-lift vehicles, crop dusters, etc, as well.

Bryan
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#35453 - 07/15/10 12:40 PM Re: what is holding technlogy back? [Re: redewenur]
ImagingGeek Offline
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Registered: 05/19/10
Posts: 410
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: redewenur
If the 1960s popular vision of future technology failed to materialise it's because that vision arose largely from film-studio fiction. 2001: A Space Odyssey is a prime example; it seems to have been out of step less with science and more with economics



But it was (and still is) a great movie. 10 years from now, no one will remember Avatar. We'll still be watching 2001.

Bryan
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#35456 - 07/15/10 03:57 PM Re: what is holding technlogy back? [Re: ImagingGeek]
redewenur Offline
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Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
Yes, a real classic that I've enjoyed several times. Hard to fault. Having said that, I find its portrayal of year 2001 society slightly odd - too logical and emotionally muted; conversations always conducted in the most moderate and reasonable tones; both the conversations and sets devoid of the usual human clutter; white is used extensively. Perhaps all of that is intended to imply that turn of century culture had acquired a new clinical orderliness and cleanliness. Still, that, I suppose, is artistic licence, and it contributes effectively to setting the mood.

Are we off topic? Oops. Anyway, I guess 2001's subtle enhancements to human behaviour aren't relevant to the thread. What is relevant is it's depiction of space exploration infrastructure that could not have come into being amid the political and economic conditions of the real world.
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#35466 - 07/15/10 11:45 PM Re: what is holding technlogy back? [Re: redewenur]
ImagingGeek Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/19/10
Posts: 410
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: redewenur
Yes, a real classic that I've enjoyed several times. Hard to fault. Having said that, I find its portrayal of year 2001 society slightly odd - too logical and emotionally muted; conversations always conducted in the most moderate and reasonable tones;


I though it was the 12 minutes of dialog in a 2hr movie that was odd...

2001 is a visual movie - I think if he could have gotten away with it, kubric would not have had any conversation at all...

Bryan
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#35474 - 07/16/10 03:04 AM Re: what is holding technlogy back? [Re: ImagingGeek]
redewenur Offline
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Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
Originally Posted By: ImagingGeek
2001 is a visual movie - I think if he could have gotten away with it, kubric would not have had any conversation at all...

If so, then it's fortunate that he couldn't get away with it. I think the early dialogue, especially, was crucial, setting the tone for the rest of the movie.
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#35477 - 07/16/10 10:33 PM Re: what is holding technlogy back? [Re: redewenur]
kallog Offline
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Registered: 03/17/10
Posts: 1100
Originally Posted By: redewenur
[quote=ImagingGeek]I think the early dialogue, especially, was crucial, setting the tone for the rest of the movie.


Which is a pity since the rest of the movie descends into random meaninglessness. I guess it's a bit like a comedy show where they put the guitar-playing ventriloquists at the end when people are too bored to care about the higher quality stuff.

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#35483 - 07/18/10 08:25 AM Re: what is holding technlogy back? [Re: kallog]
redewenur Offline
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Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
Which, again, is a pity, because 'the guitar playing ventriloquists' are what the show is all about. I've sometimes wondered how anyone could claim to understand that without having first read the book. Kubrik, it seems, took it for granted that they had. I would agree that for the benefit of those - most likely the majority - who hadn't, he ought to have stated the meaning clearly and unambiguously.
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#35485 - 07/18/10 11:55 PM Re: what is holding technlogy back? [Re: redewenur]
kallog Offline
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Registered: 03/17/10
Posts: 1100
Originally Posted By: redewenur
of those - most likely the majority - who hadn't, he ought to have stated the meaning clearly and unambiguously.


There was a meaning? Didn't the guy end up meeting god or something?

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#36621 - 11/07/10 08:33 PM Re: what is holding technlogy back? [Re: kallog]
magiimice Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/07/10
Posts: 13
If science were beeing hold back, it woud be the humans natural fear of the unkown. Technology is much more advanced than you think, in 30 years some scientist belive that our children can live maybe over 200 years with gene manipulation.
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#36628 - 11/10/10 05:13 AM Re: what is holding technlogy back? [Re: magiimice]
Ellis Offline
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Registered: 01/08/07
Posts: 1490
Loc: Australia
magiimice wrote
"in 30 years some scientist belive that our children can live maybe over 200 years with gene manipulation."

This is precisely the position queried by 'havagas'. Scientists have been making predictions over the years and few have come to fruition. The reasons are many, there is a vested interest for many people that things do not change (as we can see at the moment in my country where we have enough dirty brown coal to keep us in cheap electricity for a thousand years so research into our possible use of solar energy is slow, expensive and not encouraged in any real way).

I was 18 and living in the UK when the Soviets launched their Sputnik, and believe me we were exhilarated but also horrified by the implications. There was a feeling of dread at where this would take us- but also it was obvious that the future ahead would be different and full of possibility. I remember the excitement of the Moon landing and the way we all assumed that Space Travel was in all our futures. Does anyone think this now? The Shuttle is on its last mission and future trips will be by,-- who knows? Sir Richard's Virgin Space plane!!!!

People living for 200 years sounds great, but the planet is already overcrowded, and don't forget quality of life is an important as quantity. I doubt it will happen soon. Perhaps a better goal would be to ensure that everyone the world over should be able to reach the life expectancy of the best country (which I think is Norway, though mine (Australia) is 83 for a girl born today!) No, it's not 200 years but if I lived in Zimbabwe I would be happy to trade a life expectancy of 45 for it!

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#36629 - 11/13/10 05:04 AM Re: what is holding technlogy back? [Re: Ellis]
kallog Offline
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Registered: 03/17/10
Posts: 1100
Originally Posted By: Ellis

People living for 200 years sounds great, but the planet is already overcrowded, and don't forget quality of life is an important as quantity.


It isn't just quality of life, it's also ability to work. Retired people are expensive to maintain, but people working till they're 150 would be pretty OK!

I don't think the planet is overcrowded. We already have the resources to support everyone. There's no shortage of land whatsoever. The fundamental problems are energy and management of resources. With enough energy we can easily feed a much larger population. And a larger population would be great because it's people that do all the best things in the world. We need more of us to achieve faster development!

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#36630 - 11/13/10 02:20 PM Re: what is holding technlogy back? [Re: Ellis]
magiimice Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/07/10
Posts: 13
Originally Posted By: Ellis


People living for 200 years sounds great, but the planet is already overcrowded, and don't forget quality of life is an important as quantity. I doubt it will happen soon. Perhaps a better goal would be to ensure that everyone the world over should be able to reach the life expectancy of the best country (which I think is Norway, though mine (Australia) is 83 for a girl born today!) No, it's not 200 years but if I lived in Zimbabwe I would be happy to trade a life expectancy of 45 for it!


Its important to know that then retirement woud maybe be when we were 150 years old, maybe later too! Also this maybe ideal for new planet colonicer. If they were in statis, and have a life of 200, they may surive in statis for 2000 years and still be capable to colonice the planet and learn the artifikular created children so they coud be rased with love. Robots coud stand for the colonisation and building, but humans woud have to raise the future generations to be healty people.
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#36633 - 11/14/10 12:06 AM Re: what is holding technlogy back? [Re: kallog]
Ellis Offline
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Registered: 01/08/07
Posts: 1490
Loc: Australia
Kallog- I am very interested in the "all the best things" that you refer to as originating with humans. SOME of the best things maybe, but ALL of them! I don't think so!

I guess that the overpopulation thing is a matter of perception. All the people on the planet could live within the area of Tasmania if they were prepared to live at the density of Manhattan. And I suppose it would at least be existence, but it sounds horrific.

The problem you are contemplating is not just 'life' or 'existence' it is the extension of life. This is a fairly pointless achievement is we save an eighty-five year old with antibiotics only to have then linger in a state of increasing dementia for the next 30 years. We need to be focussing less on individual disease cures and more on maintaining general health and that is much more difficult then it sounds. It probably has to involve genetic intervention and considerable modification of behaviour, as well as social structure, (try getting a job now when you are over 50! Impossible hardly describes it).

Then there is the fact that death is not optional. It will happen and our bodies are programmed to die. Treating the diseases we suffer from probably does not help with slowing our inevitable actual ageing. The old smoker, the old drinker and the old athlete all suffer (for eg) from the lifestyle choices they made. Maybe the projected 200 years are just going to feel that long- as we drag ourselves through more than a hundred years of deteriorating eye-sight, crumbling bones and increasing dementia which are remediated by ever increasing medical intervention!



Edited by Ellis (11/14/10 12:08 AM)
Edit Reason: clarity

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#36634 - 11/14/10 01:27 AM Re: what is holding technlogy back? [Re: Ellis]
kallog Offline
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Registered: 03/17/10
Posts: 1100
Originally Posted By: Ellis
SOME of the best things maybe, but ALL of them! I don't think so!

Haha yea ok MOST of the best things!


Quote:

density of Manhattan. And I suppose it would at least be existence, but it sounds horrific.

That's an extreme increase in population, and it doesn't sound horrific for all those people who choose to live in Manhatten. Look at the endless wastelands that exist in every big country. It'd be nice to have some neighbors around. That's just considering land area of course.

Quote:

The problem you are contemplating is not just 'life' or 'existence' it is the extension of life. This is a fairly pointless achievement is we save an eighty-five year old with antibiotics only to have then linger in a state of increasing dementia for the next 30 years. We need to be


Exactly. If you can work then you've probably got a reasonable quality of life (apart from having to work!), and you're not consuming extra money.

We're not going to get far with lifestyle changes tho. Sure it might deal with smoking diseases, etc. but most people, even most smokers don't suffer from those. A lot of it's just genetic. Maybe that's what the original idea was about, getting rid of those 'aging' genes.

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