Michael Sun Feb 20 16:34:05 2005|
Re: by the way...
> i think i'd call it both.
Oh most definitely both, yes.
The way I see it, currently you can be a couple of decades behind the curve without feeling ill effects, unless you work in a technical field, in which case you'd better be within a few years of up to date.
Some projections of the Singularity are as early as 2012 (well, *December* of 2012) and more believable ones are in the 2040's. Either way, we're going to see a few dozen revolutions on the order of the discovery of agriculture, the Industrial Revolution, the printing press, and the Internet. Probable ones are nanotech, true artificial intelligence with better-than-human capabilities, direct brain interfaces, effective immortality (in body or in mind or both, but of course since the Singularity is coming, it's anyone's guess what immortality will bring you), and the ability to rebuild your body cell by cell to suit your momentary whim.
And this is in the next couple of decades. After that, it gets weird and really starts accelerating. Towards the end, you'll want to stay within a few days of up to date, or you'll be hopelessly obsolete -- basic new technologies will be invented weekly. Then daily. Then hourly. Fortunately, you'll have better support for keeping up to date; reading, for instance, will be ridiculously antiquated. You'll download your knowledge directly.
But of course when you download knowledge, you run serious, serious security risks. Especially since artificially intelligent viruses will be a commonplace. The average virus will doubtlessly be smarter than any human alive today. And those will be the throwaway programs. The *real* software will be gods.
The concept of individuality is likely to go obsolete. Death will cease to exist -- even if your body dies, it will be trivial to duplicate it to molecular accuracy (i.e. restore from backup). Merging duplicates will also be possible, so that people will make a quick duplicate for daily tasks, then merge after they're done.
But other than that, life will go on. And the Amish will still be there anyway, so even though the notion of "species" will be rather obsolete, there will always be H.sapiens around.