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« Stopping Climate Change (or not) | Main | The Limits of Vision »

October 06, 2007


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John B

A random list of stuff and things more or less relevant to the discussion:

A further definition of public versus private, to include communication, probably cognition as brain imaging increases in capability, etc.

Privacy of location - Do you need to know where I am? Do I agree? And who's got the authoritative reponse on that need to know?

Physical or Production Rights Management, to "compliment" Digital Rights Management when fabs become available

Identity/Reputation Markets/Repositories - Who ARE you? Who trusts you? Do I trust or distrust those who trust you?

Given DMCA, how long until someone claims ROT13 or equivalent is encryption that, if decrypted, breaks the law?

Solid Drive - a term for bulk storage without moving parts. Compare with 'hard drive'

Right to Recycle - Who decides what's garbage and hence recyclable? Assuming high degrees of recycling of nanofactured products, this could have fascinating ramifications - you walk someplace, grant someone else recycling rights, and curse as your treasured antique fill-in-the-blank gets turned to nanoblocks. (See also "PRM", above, for more on the same lines)

Etc. Nuff for now.

-John B

Tom Craver

Some possibilities (note: not "predictions" - some of these are mutually exclusive alternatives)

Depletion (oil, gas, aquifers)

Fusion boom - cheap fusion power saves the global economy from a peak oil crisis, expanding it to the point that even the poorest parts of Africa get a taste of success. The US continues to live a charmed life, staying "on top", and diminished money flowing to the middle-east ends Islamic terror as the US and others pull out and let them go their own way. Israel leads the way into a new high-energy-future with fusion powered lasers guarding its airspace and borders.

Wealth surge - globalization spreads the wealth, internet and cheap PCs bring in informal and often accidental education (e.g. learning to read in order to play online games), and a new generation of entrepreneurs grows up in unexpected places - causing worriers in wealthy countries to be concerned that this trend will be bad for some reason, somehow. Peak Oil turns out to be an ever-receding issue, as conservation and alternative energy sources keep ahead of it AND stimulate the economy.

Global warming rush (for far-north resources made more accessible by GW)

Climatic Chaos - replacing "global warming" as it becomes obvious that the changes are not uni-directional or uniform or even uniformly bad. Climate is complex.

Bio-diversity - attempts to scare people into stopping global warming (threats of flooding, super-storms, drought, famine) fail as humans adapt too easily (moving out of harms way, patching over problems, and ignoring deaths in distant impoverished places) - leaving biodiversity losses as the main focus of concern.

Alifeforms - Artificial life doesn't get suppressed, and turns out to be usefully "engineerable".

Self-organization and Random Assembly and nano-printing.

Making - hobbyists making cool stuff as a way to re-connect with reality after working with information all day.

Suddentech - enablers like internet and fabbing allow new "open" technologies to proliferate extremely rapidly, sometimes over-laying on existing infrastructure (e.g. broadband internet), sometimes by-passing the need for centrally organized infrastructure. E.g. a peer-to-peer-wireless network for free texting, based on a tiny add-on for cellphones and home networks takes over may suburban areas and forces cell phone companies to integrate and support it.

Teleporting - a step beyond tele-commuting, merging a variety of technologies and trends - video VR conferencing, strip mall rent-a-ffices and desk condos, etc. (3D VR conferencing needs lightweight 3D glasses that don't cause motion sickness, zero lag, and avatar animation via live motion capture. Until then, a flat screen TV on your office wall, dedicated to behaving like a window that others can pop into for a quick chat, will be far superior.)

RoboSpace - recognition that we can best slash costs of colonizing MoonandMars by sending robots to pre-colonize. NASA gets re-tasked away from human space programs to creating technologies and some in-space infrastructure to get robots working on the Moon.

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