Sunday, September 28, 2008

Our beautiful future

As worldwide over-dependence on oil and the costly Iraq war has hastened the way for new energy regimes, the U.S. financial bailout will be hastening the use of economic models other than Darwinian capitalism as it has been known where the most able seize maximum resources for themselves. Nascent social movements for opting out of the traditional economic system will become stronger. Science fiction is rife with dystopian models of robotic controlled governments (Daniel Suarez’ Daemon is a recent example) but in many ways machine-like entities absent the agency problem could be a dramatic improvement over fallible people-administered governments. Technology is more often humanifying than dehumanifying.

As usual, the focus is on technological advances to remedy the current global energy, resource consumption and economic challenges. Given both history and the present status of initiatives, technology is likely to deliver. New eras may be ushered in even more quickly when demand is higher and complacency lower. A surveillance and sousveillance society is clearly emerging, simultaneously from top-down government and corporate programs and bottom-up individual broadcast of GPS location and other lifestreaming. The trend to freeing human time for productive and rewarding initiatives is continuing. What will be the first chicken in every pot, the robotic cleaner or self-cleaning nanosurfaces? How soon can all jobs be outsourced to AI? How soon will there be options on the nucleotide chassis?

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