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See What's NEXT for Humanity

Posted by Mat Kaplan

2012/08/16 01:23 CDT

Topics: explaining science, explaining technology, podcasts and videos, interview, future technology

Our friends at Southern California Public Radio, home of KPCC, begin something new this evening, Thursday, August 16.  NEXT: People | Science | Tomorrow is a live event series that I am very honored to host.  We will ask how the accelerating pace of scientific discovery and technological innovation are changing society, civilization, and human nature.  Each monthly conversation in SCPR’s Crawford Family Forum will consider an aspect of what’s to come for our species.  A lot of very smart people are issuing forecasts of an abundant, tech-enabled future, one in which such age-old curses as poverty, famine, war and even mortality become no more than painful memories. 

But what new challenges will arise?  Will intelligent machines surpass or replace their makers? Or might we merge with our creations in a cyber singularity that spreads throughout the galaxy?  We’ll leap into this topic with scientist, futurist and award-winning science fiction author David Brin, and Professor Paul Rosenbloom of USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies, where they are building virtual humans.

You can join us at 7pm in Pasadena.  There are a few seats left.  Admission is free, but you must RSVP at http://www.scpr.org/events/2012/08/16/next-our-inevitable-future/ .  That’s also where you can go to watch our live webcast.  Androids are welcome, but make sure your emotion chips are installed.  We’re going to have fun.

 

Or read more blog entries about: explaining science, explaining technology, podcasts and videos, interview, future technology

Comments:

Mikael: 08/16/2012 05:07 CDT

I disagree with the pre-assumption for this radio show: we are NOT living in a time of accelerating technological innovation, nor are we approaching some singularity event due to this. Roughly one hundred years ago things went MUCH faster: powered flight, electrification of common homes, refrigeration technology, industrial production, automobiles - all these are examples of huge advances that came long ago. Jet engines, space flight, computers - these are also many decades old. Yes, we are currently refining this old technology - but the overall pace is slower now than it has been. Our great-grandmothers and grandmothers lived through much more profound changes than we will. I suggest that the radio show should address this point of view. regards, Mikael

Scott: 08/16/2012 03:05 CDT

The pace of technological change is most definitely not as dramatic as it once was. How many of us have seen changes in our lives as stark as transitioning from horses and trains to cars and planes or from fire light to electrical light, paper messages to telegrams and telephones to radio and television, painting and drawing to photography, motion pictures, and sound recordings. In my lifetime, TV transitioned from black and white to color to high definition digital and widescreen. Radio broadcasting transitioned from AM to FM stereo and analog to digital. Sound recording transitioned from vinal records and open reel tape to eight track cartridge to cassette to CD and other forms of digital formats. And computers transitioned from rooms full of monsterous components to pocket-sized and networked devices. Most innovations today are in the form of refining and recombining already established technologies; they are not fundamentally new. They seldom make the previously impossible, possible. Rather, they make the previouly possible, better--usually. The grand predictions of technology transforming society into a utopia without poverty and death are just laughable. No one develops technologies for the benefit of society; they do so to make money and to make much more of it than other people have. And the patent system ensures that they will continue to do so for a long time to come.

Chris C.: 08/16/2012 08:56 CDT

Well, *I* am looking forward to the show :) Can you ask SCPR to offer an RSS feed of it, so I can subscribe to the show and know when new episodes are in the can? They already do this for other shows. http://www.scpr.org/rss/ Thanks and good luck! - Chris P.S. Logging in to make a comment STILL doesn't work right. Had to work around it.

Chris C.: 08/16/2012 08:58 CDT

P.P.S. and aaaargh linefeeds aren't respected in these comments.

P.P.P.S. and it doesn't remember my name / address in the comments fields.

So much whining! :)

Emily: 08/17/2012 08:47 CDT

We're sorry about the inconvenience of login -- just stick with logging in at upper right. We're aware of the problem but our tiny Web team has bigger fish to fry at the moment :) since login does work, just not as conveniently as one would like it to. We will get to it eventually though! Regarding linefeeds, I don't know if we can change that.

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