Sunday, September 06, 2009

So discontinuous a discontinuity

A key aspect of thinking systemically about the future is being able to see how rapidly advancing technologies across many fields interrelate. Whatever next Internet-like discontinuity or singularity occurs will influence whatever comes thereafter. It is likely that some high percentage of what are now thought to be expected future advances will recede or be reshaped at minimum, for example:

  • If all chronic disease and aging becomes controllable and there is effective immortality, does uploading matter as much?
  • If artificial general intelligence is achieved, how does that change the exigency and requirements of molecular nanotechnology?
  • If affordable space launch and space-based solar power is achieved, what happens to ethanol, electrical and other terrestrial alternative vehicle and transportation infrastructure solutions?
  • If immersive virtual reality and post-material scarcity are achieved, does molecular nanotechnology matter and what happens to global political systems?
  • If whole human genome testing is available, do single SNP tests go away? If there are home health monitors and nanodiagnostics, do primary care physicians go away?

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