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The Shape of the Future 179

Posted by Zonk
from the just-a-little-bit-connected dept.
Last week, Sci-Fi writer Charlie Stross was invited to speak at a technology open day at engineering consultancy TNG Technology Consulting in Munich. He's posted a transcript of his discussion on his website, which features a fascinating analysis of where technology is going in the next 10-25 years. Instead of envisioning outlandish future developments, he looks at what the impact might be on society from very reasonable iterations of today's SOTA. "10Tb is an interesting number. That's a megabit for every second in a year -- there are roughly 10 million seconds per year. That's enough to store a live DivX video stream -- compressed a lot relative to a DVD, but the same overall resolution -- of everything I look at for a year, including time I spend sleeping, or in the bathroom. Realistically, with multiplexing, it puts three or four video channels and a sound channel and other telemetry -- a heart monitor, say, a running GPS/Galileo location signal, everything I type and every mouse event I send -- onto that chip, while I'm awake ... Add optical character recognition on the fly for any text you look at, speech-to-text for anything you say, and it's all indexed and searchable. 'What was the title of the book I looked at and wanted to remember last Thursday at 3pm?' Think of it as google for real life. "
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The Shape of the Future

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  • Memories! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Neeth (887729)
    "You're talking about memories."
    • Re:Memories! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by rvw (755107) on Monday May 14, 2007 @05:59AM (#19111669)

      "You're talking about memories."
      What I see, what I remember, what is happening in front of me, those are three different things, although they might have a resemblence in normal life. It would be quite interesting to see what you didn't see.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Xiph (723935)
      Do you mean that 800 Tb disk that's lying in the corner, containing everything you've ever done? Sorry, we're not allowed to return it to you, before it has been fully screened by a miniluv representative =)
    • Blade Runner.

      Very nice.
  • Interesting but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Silver Sloth (770927) on Monday May 14, 2007 @05:50AM (#19111611)
    From TFA

    As projections of a near future go, the one I've presented in this talk is pretty poor. In my defense, I'd like to say that the only thing I can be sure of is that I'm probably wrong, or at least missing something as big as the internet, or antibiotics.
    Indeed, in fifty years of reading future preditions the one thing they all have in common is that they're all wrong. The next big thing always comes out of left field and is poo-pooed by the 'experts'. It's good to see that Charlie Stross understands that.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by brunnock (18853)
      They're not all wrong. Alexis de Tocqueville predicted that America and Russia would become rival superpowers back in 1835.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Just wait long enough and he'll be wrong agian.
      • by joto (134244)

        Alexis de Tocqueville predicted that America and Russia would become rival superpowers back in 1835.

        He was wrong. I'm quite sure he didn't predict the Russian revolution in 1917, or the first and second world war, which led to the cold war. His prediction was mostly based on Russia being a big country, USA rising to become a big country, and therefore, eventually, rivals. In the mean time, just about anything could have happened. That events eventually played out to make this particular prediction true fo

    • If he understood it, we wouldn't be reading that transcript. He was like a drunk telling us that he knows he has a problem while ordering another round.
    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday May 14, 2007 @08:20AM (#19112811)
      I'm a huge fan of serious science fiction and have been a fan of Stross (and contemporary "posthuman" writer Greg Egan) for some time. But he is not alone in this realization. No serious science fiction writer in the last 30 years has, to my knowledge, been so arrogant as to think he can accurately predict the future. Only a damn fool thinks that he can predict even the *near* future.

      Good science fiction writers know that science fiction really isn't about the future at all. Serious science fiction is more a commentary on our present, and on the human condition.

      • Only a damn fool thinks that he can predict even the *near* future.

        The human mind is capable of seeing into the short-range future with reasonable accuracy.

        For example, imagine that you are standing on the edge of a cliff. There are a number of alternative futures: you could take a pace forward and plunge to your death; the cliff could crumble under your feet - with the same result; a gust of wind could carry you over; but the probability is that you would turn around and walk away again. That's a prediction based on the known facts. But a prediction is not immutable fac

        • I'd say it's rather obvious that his definition of "near future" involves a somewhat larger timespan than the next several seconds. Obviously at some point predicting the future may boil down to a simple understanding of basic cause-and-effect but trying to make that part of the argument is just pedantic.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sgt_doom (655561)
      The closest successful future predictions I've ever read - although disguised as S.F. stories - was the earliest works (short stories, especially) by Robert A. Heinlein. Examine the sociopolitical trends he predicted - now take a sloooow look around you.....
      • by HiThere (15173)
        I take it that you're referring to "If this goes on..." rather than to his early works, like "Sixth Column" (though you might be referring to the "Puppet Masters"). "Jerry was a man..." is rather prophetic, but we haven't come to the testing point for that one yet. "Gulf" doesn't seem like decent prediction to me. Etc.

        Perhaps you could be more specific?

        Science Fiction is usually about predicting social reactions to a changed circumstance. There are "gadget stories", but those are hard to make interestin
  • "What was the title of the book I looked at and..."

    Hate to break it to someone, but some of us can do that already - it is a burden sometimes, to be sure, but we can do it, without so much as a grunt and thank you mama...
    • by Woldry (928749)
      Just wait till you're older, young whippersnapper. They say the memory is the first thing to ... um ...
    • by dave420 (699308)
      And some of us are resitant to HIV and AIDS. Does that mean we should stop researching cures for those less fortunate?
    • Fine...then would you please tell me where I left my damned car keys?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The Final Cut [imdb.com], staring Robin Williams. Sort of unexpectedly badass.
    • Except hopefully it wouldn't turn out so frickin' creepy.
    • Damn you! You stole my possibly +1 Informative =) I agree that its a good movie. But I wonder, other than some nuts like those that spend half their day video-blogging, who would want to record every single waking —and sleeping!— moment? Well, yes, all that indexing and searching possibilities are cool and all, but you would still have to spend some time looking it up, and quite frankly memories get embellished by our minds. Just go back and read your high school angst-ridden writings and if you
      • by joto (134244) on Monday May 14, 2007 @07:11AM (#19112143)

        who would want to record every single waking --and sleeping!-- moment?

        People who have amnesia. People who would like to record every waking moment but not have to deal with turning the recording on and off. People in law-enforcement. People who need to document fraud and/or abuse by other people, but can't necessarily predict when the interesting bits happen. Students who like to review one of their classes. Perverts who like to sell their sex-experiences on the Internet. Journalists who don't like taking notes. Anyone who have trouble remembering names, or directions, or whatever. In short, just about anyone, I guess.

        Well, yes, all that indexing and searching possibilities are cool and all, but you would still have to spend some time looking it up

        Sure. The idea is that if it's no hassle to record stuff, why not just record it all. The device could be embedded in your wrist-watch and/or cellphone, which most people carry around anyway. Or it could be an implant. If you don't need to access it, you won't waste any time accessing it, and the additional weight you have to carry is less than the extra weight you already carry because you forgot to cut your toenails.

        memories get embellished by our minds. Just go back and read your high school angst-ridden writings and if you're matured just a bit

        I know I feel that way, but I'm not sure everyone feels that way. But even if you do feel that way (like I do), that doesn't remove the usefulness of such a device. Nobody is forcing you to review your angst-ridden teenage depression all the time. But if you need to remember something, you could.

        And there's the waste in recording again what you already saw (because you would be recording yourself watching those records... bleh).

        Why is that wasteful? Storage is cheap. Micro-managing it is wasteful, because it costs more money and time than not managing it at all. Besides, you may end up some day wanting to see how much time you waste inspecting older memories. In short, you could just as well argue that everyone should use letters of maximum 2mm height, and no paragraph breaks or whitespace, when handwriting, since otherwise you would waste ink and paper. The world just doesn't work that way.

      • by Eivind (15695) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Monday May 14, 2007 @07:30AM (#19112339) Homepage
        Your entire life as such, is worthless if for no other reason than that it'd take literally a lifetime to watch it.

        There's some bits of it though, that would be nice to keep. And here's the thing, you don't know beforehand which bits that is. Sometimes you discover it later, on occasion *MUCH* later.

        That girl sitting next to you on the bus today ? It don't matter, unless she ends up eventually becoming your wife, in which case you migth very well find it amusing to have a recorded video of your very first meeting. (or not, but -some- people would, which is the entire point)

        The only way of being able to get at the interesting bits though, is recording a lot of stuff, on the hunch that *some* of it will be interesting and/or useful. For the same reason, basically, that many people keep *all* receipts for expensive stuff they buy -- because inevitably -some- of the stuff will break down, and then you may need the receipt in order to get a guarantee-repair or a refund.

  • Life Recorders (Score:5, Insightful)

    by inviolet (797804) <slashdot AT ideasmatter DOT org> on Monday May 14, 2007 @05:53AM (#19111641) Journal

    With the proper ironclad legal protections, Life Recorders will be a massive boon. Accused of a crime? No problem, just open up the datafile, fastforward to the time of the event, and see that we were actually sitting in the basement surfing alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.midgets.

    And for those times when we want to actually bring a midget home, we might want to stop recording. After all, the purpose of privacy is to protect ourselves from the erratic rationality of our fellow humans' moral judgment (as well as the wholesale absence of rationality behind some of our laws). We've still got evolutionary wiring left over that causes us to feel physical pain when others disapprove, and so privacy is a rational demand.

    But of course turning off our Life Recorder will be considered a forfeiture of our right to be Presumed Innocent.

    • by amck (34780) on Monday May 14, 2007 @06:49AM (#19111997) Homepage
      This puts the burden of proof onto the defendant: they have to explain why they turned off the life recorder.

      Read up as to why we have "Innocent until proven Guilty": there are a lot of circumstances that are not illegal, but frowned on
      by society. (e.g. being Gay and in the US Military, etc.) : especially where you have politically-motivated prosecutors
      such as in the US (less so in Britain and Ireland where there is a higher degree of independence for the Director of Public Prosecutions)
      the law can become a tool of persection. You can be in deep trouble when doing something perfectly legal but frowned on
      my a majority (or vocal/powerful minority) of your community.

      Other issues of the panopticon society: imagine setting up a business (in your spare time,or whatever). Your employer / competitor
      could bring a frivolous lawsuit just to see what you were doing on day X.
      • I think the issues you raise could be addressed if life recordings were considered testimony and therefore eligible for fifth amendment protection. You wouldn't need to turn your recorder off, ever, but you also could not be compelled by any court to show any part of your life recording if you thought that part might incriminate you. Of course, just like a refusal to testify, a jury might wonder what it is that you're hiding but they'd be instructed not to allow that to influence their decision.

      • Whoosh!
    • Accused of a crime? No problem, just open up the datafile, fastforward to the time of the event, and see that we were actually sitting in the basement surfing alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.midgets.

      Yes but it is in the future - you are accused for sitting in the basement surfing alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.midgets.
    • by renoX (11677)
      >were actually sitting in the basement surfing alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.midgets.

      Well in some countries, it could be a crime: if memory serves in some country it is illegal to have porn pictures with what look like a children, even if these are really adults or even if these pictures are drawings or generated by computer..

      Does a midget look like a child enough that porn with them is illegal?
      I don't know, when laws reach this level of stupidity, it's hard to rely on common sense to distinguish what i
      • Does a midget look like a child enough that porn with them is illegal?
        Adult midgets* don't.

        * or whatever the politically correct term is.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by john83 (923470)

      With the proper ironclad legal protections, Life Recorders will be a massive boon. Accused of a crime? No problem, just open up the datafile, fastforward to the time of the event, and see that we were actually sitting in the basement surfing alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.midgets.

      All of which would be great if it wasn't for the fact that if we can read it, sooner or later, someone will figure out how to write to it.
    • But of course turning off our Life Recorder will be considered a forfeiture of our right to be Presumed Innocent.

      As will, perhaps, refusing to turn over your life recorder. Sure, the 5th amendment should protect against that, but it probably won't, at least not well enough.

      Also, I'm just not sure the idea is useful enough. Are you going to want to carry all the recording hardware around all the time? Are you going to have methods of searching audio and images sufficient that you'll be able to find wha

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        As will, perhaps, refusing to turn over your life recorder. Sure, the 5th amendment should protect against that, but it probably won't, at least not well enough.

        Actually, I think you're in a bit of a gray area. How is refusing to turn over your recorder (if it's known you have one) any different than refusing to turn over documents and emails?

        What could possibly be protected is having your recorder encrypted and refusing to turn over the password. From what I've been reading, the fifth will probably prote

        • by sjames (1099)

          How is refusing to turn over your recorder (if it's known you have one) any different than refusing to turn over documents and emails?

          There's a bit of a gray area there now as well, it just hasn't come up in court. Some people have a condition where practically no new memories are formed. They must use a notebook as a sort of prostetic memory.

          As you point out, if all of your papers (or life recorder) are encrypted with the key held only in your memory, the 5th may be applicable. If so, the line betwe

    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      At the risk of inviting a flood of hot grits jokes, I would point out that at least one narcissist [nytimes.com] has already proposed as much.
    • Life Recorders will be a massive boon. Accused of a crime? No problem...

      But using a life recorder IS a crime already according to the MPAA/RIAA. At the movie theater, listening to the radio, watching a baseball game, reading a book, at a live concert (except for the Grateful Dead), etc. etc.

      • by HTH NE1 (675604)
        And of course in government buildings. Indeed, for certain government positions, there's clearly a prerequisite of not having lasting memory recall. They certainly wouldn't want any record being made of things they may be called to answer for in front of Congress.

        Don't even think about having one in the military or intelligence services, at least not unless ordered by a superior (and never in operation in a superior's presence).
  • Uh oh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by clickclickdrone (964164) on Monday May 14, 2007 @05:53AM (#19111643)
    If we all get to used to a machine recalling stuff for us, we'll soon get too lazy to do it ourselves. I've already found my handwriting sucks because I type 99% of the time and my memory for certain things is worse because I never really have to use it - stuff I want to know is either on my hard drive or a Google searech away.
    • Re:Uh oh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dave420 (699308) on Monday May 14, 2007 @08:09AM (#19112711)
      Just as most of us can't survive without AC and a supermarket round the corner. Don't labour under the misconception that we're somehow self-sufficient at the moment and have lost none of our previous skills - it's called progress. We, as a species, will always be losing some skills and gaining new ones. Imagine the skills we can learn when we don't have to rely on flaky memories. Dropping standards in handwriting is a good example - it drops because we simply don't need it any more. It's a good thing :)
      • by moeinvt (851793)
        "Dropping standards in handwriting is a good example - it drops because we simply don't need it any more. It's a good thing :)"

        Until the electricity gets turned off.

        " . . .most of us can't survive without AC and a supermarket round the corner."

        Speak for yourself, and if it's true about you, rectify the situation. If you can't "survive" without AC, you're screwed, but for $100 you could easily make yourself "supermarket independent" for a month. Or, you can be like the short-sighted fools camping out in th
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dave420 (699308)
          I was using AC as an example, as whole swathes of the south-western US wouldn't be able to survive without their AC, and indeed water supply. I was referring to us no longer being hunter-gatherers, that we've lost most (all?) of those skills, and replaced them with other skills more useful, as they work with the technology we've got. If we didn't, we'd just be like chimps with PCs. Still doing our ages-old thing, but with new technology. It's only when the technology matches the skills of the user that
    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      My spelling has suffered, thanks to spell check. But we will adapt.

      Maybe if the machines fail, we could go back to pre-19th-century approach of being more relaxed with word spellings. Hell, just because Shakespeare couldn't even spell HIS OWN NAME with any consistency doesn't mean his writing suffered for it.

    • by Petrushka (815171)

      and my memory for certain things is worse because I never really have to use it - stuff I want to know is either on my hard drive or a Google searech away.

      Plato said the same thing about the technology of writing. He was right, and so are you. But I'd still rather have writing.

  • Ok, so maybe he didn't quite define "singularity" like Kurzweil, but close enough, what's a decade or two?
    • This is what drives me nuts about all this "singularity" talk. Charlie brings it out in his talk, but doesn't seem to understand the implications. From the fine article:

      Vinge asked, "what if there exist new technologies where the curve never flattens, but looks exponential?"

      Yes, Moore's law is an exponential growth function - the transistor count doubles every 18 months or so. So where's the "singularity"? Exponential functions are defined everywhere along the curve. They NEVER go to infinity for any de

  • Very roughly! (Score:5, Informative)

    by mutende (13564) <klaus@seistrup.dk> on Monday May 14, 2007 @06:02AM (#19111703) Homepage Journal

    there are roughly 10 million seconds per year
    Hm..., a mean tropical year has 365.24219878 days of each 86400 seconds, or 31,556,926 seconds. Ten billion seconds is slightly less than 317 years.
  • Finally... (Score:3, Funny)

    by tttonyyy (726776) on Monday May 14, 2007 @06:07AM (#19111731) Homepage Journal
    ..when we get to 4. PROFIT!!! we can rewind a step and see what the hell 3. ???? was that people keep banging on about.
  • Thought (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Intrinsic (74189) on Monday May 14, 2007 @06:14AM (#19111773) Homepage

    Of course, aside from making it possible to write very interesting science fiction stories, the Singularity is a very controversial idea. For one thing, there's the whole question of whether a machine can think -- although as the late, eminent professor Edsger Djikstra said, "the question of whether machines can think is no more interesting than the question of whether submarines can swim". A secondary pathway to the Singularity is the idea of augmented intelligence, as opposed to artificial intelligence: we may not need machines that think, if we can come up with tools that help us think faster and more efficiently. The world wide web seems to be one example. The memory prostheses I've been muttering about are another.


    I think he is coming at this from the wrong angle, as we develop more awareness into what makes us human and as we understand consciousness we are not going to need to use thought as much. Present moment awareness, understanding how our body reactions to emergency situations, the expansion of consciousness will allow us to bypass thought, and will allow us use other senses in our bodies to take action or create a reaction to situations in an instant with out much thought process.

    The solution isn't more processing power in our brains, its being able to turn it off thought so other more powerful forces within us can take over and do the calculations needed to live our lives.

    Here's some books if you want to get in the know about whats possible once we have reached a point where our minds distortion of the present moment has ceased to be an issue. Once that happens thought plays a very small part in the equation of creativity, and functioning in the world.

    "The power of now"
    Eckhart Tolle

    The Biology Of Belief: Unleashing The Power Of Consciousness, Matter And Miracles
    Bruce Lipton, Phd.

    "The Divine Matrix"
    Gregg Braden
    • by Intrinsic (74189)

      And then there's a school of thought that holds that, even if AI is possible, the Singularity idea is hogwash -- it just looks like an insuperable barrier or a permanent step change because we're too far away from it to see the fine-grained detail. Canadian SF writer Karl Schroeder has explored a different hypothesis: that there may be an end to progress. We may reach a point where the scientific enterprise is done -- where all the outstanding questions have been answered and the unanswered ones are physica

      • To gain an insight... to speed this 'assentian' just like the ancients.
      • by joto (134244)

        I think we need to start thinking about the possibility that there are other forces in the universe that the mind cannot comprehend or hold on it for very long.

        You mean like God? If so, I hope I'm not surprising you by mentioning that this idea is something most humans have thought about for many millennia, at least as long as we have written records, and probably as long as there have been humans.

        Our position in history right now (or since the scientific revolution) is unique, exactly because it allows

        • by Intrinsic (74189)

          Our position in history right now (or since the scientific revolution) is unique, exactly because it allows us to ignore superstition, and focus on things that exist, instead of having to rely upon wishful thinking.

          I hear what you are saying, but I don't think it superstition, its just not something you are ready to accept in your life right now, this isn't about god, or at least, the idea of god that you have in your head. The word god, is now concired a closed concept over generations of mis-use, just ut

    • What software do you use? I'm sure our marketing department would love it, but I can't seem to find [google.com] it anywhere [google.com].
  • In the cinema? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Timo_UK (762705)
    I don't think they will let you in with a camera mounted on your head.
  • Instead of envisioning outlandish future developments, he looks at what the impact might be on society from very reasonable iterations of today's SOTA. [....] What was the title of the book I looked at and wanted to remember last Thursday at 3pm?' Think of it as google for real life.

    Record your life to remember a book's title, will you? Not outlandish at all.

    For those who can't take a simple note on a paper or computer, the future bright is not.
    • by doti (966971)
      Besides, storage is easy. The hard part of the problem is to manage the information. How to translate that kind of question into a data search?
  • Ambient Findability (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lord Satri (609291) <alexandreleroux&gmail,com> on Monday May 14, 2007 @06:33AM (#19111873) Homepage Journal
    I'm not related to the author at all, but this book [findability.org] about ambient findability [wikipedia.org] well suits the discussion. From wikipedia: "Findability refers to the quality of being locatable or navigable. At the item level, we can evaluate to what degree a particular object is easy to discover or locate. At the system level, we can analyze how well a physical or digital environment supports navigation and retrieval."
  • There is a current experiment by a guy from Microsoft Labs. He wears a camera around his neck which automatically takes pictures every minute so that he can label and save them later in a database I saw that in Spectrum (IEEE magazine) but here is a link from a quick google search : http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/story/0,3605,167 4359,00.html [guardian.co.uk]
  • Other Crazy Ideas (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Intrinsic (74189)

    Our concept of privacy relies on the fact that it's hard to discover information about other people. Today, you've all got private lives that are not open to me. Even those of you with blogs, or even lifelogs. But we're already seeing some interesting tendencies in the area of attitudes to privacy on the internet among young people, under about 25; if they've grown up with the internet they have no expectation of being able to conceal information about themselves. They seem to work on the assumption that an

    • I predict that you'll never learn to use paragraphs.
    • by moeinvt (851793)
      Shut up! I can't read /. while you're thinking about the Brady Bunch theme song.
  • I thought it was a good talk. I'll just say that 20 years ago I was watching characters appear on my TV via a 300 baud modem that plugged into my Commodore. Even with software curve flattening, the next 20 years should be cool.
  • http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0364343/ [imdb.com]

    Actually a fairly enjoyable little movie. I really don't think anyone wants this kind of "google search for life" stuff if this is where it would (and it would..) go. While it would be useful DURING your life (albeit with the conscious knowledge that everything you do is recorded), what do you think people would do with it after your death?
  • My old astronomy prof told us that a year was approximately pi * 10^7.. It's really 3.16* 10^7.

    This would make for 316kbps video. I would guarantee you this is nowhere near DVD quality.

    The original 10 million seconds is more like 4 months, and yes, this would be close to DVD quality.

    Why am I posting this? Because I built myself a 0.9TB array just last year for my MythTV backend. And after 6 months it isn't enough space, even with aggressive deleting and transcoding.

    1TB will feel like a very small number
  • ...DivX in 50 years, I quit.
  • This might be a nightmare or a boon for arguments. With a certain person, half our arguments at some point wind up being "Them: You said 'blah blah blah'. Me: No, that's not what I said. Them:Well, that's what I remember."

    I'm not sure if it would be good or bad to be able to do an instant replay.
  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Monday May 14, 2007 @12:59PM (#19117585) Journal
    ...which in reality are shrinking. Per capita energy use peaked in the early 1980s. Building self-driving cars and the infrastructure to support such, building lifelogs and the infrastructure to support it, etc. and so on, is going to require HUGE amounts of energy, for EVERYBODY, and frankly, it just isn't there.

    People can have their own opinions about this, but not their own facts. all of the ramping up of capacity, speed, and ability of the past 100 years is directly attributable to high density transportable energy, in the form of petroleum. The remaining energy in that petroleum reserve would bet be served developing the technologies to prevent the starvation and privation of the 9 some odd billion people we're expecting to share the planet with in 50 years. Self driving cars? Perhaps, but not interesting, especially when people (mostly the poor, hungry, and dispossessed) are tearing up suburban McMansions for timber to keep warm during the ever milder winters, and the cities are gradually abandoned from the rising oceans.

    And all of THAT will require enormous amounts of energy. The kind of cybernetic totalism that TFA exhibits is one that is(sadly) all too pervasive in forums such as slashdot, ars technica, etc. And this is a tragedy, as we need the best and brightest to solve the problems of the future before they get here, not jerry-rig some bandaid solution on a disaster when it happens.

    To have even the VAGUEST glimmer of hope for an industrial civilisation, we need to get electricity in massive amounts, and figure out how to NOT use it in massive amounts. Suburbia will be abandoned - self driving cars won't save it. We will need to remove the burbs so we can reclaim it as farm land....

    I'm not being alarmist - I'm not a "doomer" by any stretch, but I am extremely skeptical of any predictions that do not directly address energy and resource consumption as central to any technology.

    RS

  • How about a hum-to-music search for songs with similar melodies. I'm often wishing I could search for a catchy tune by the music I can remember, rather than they lyrics I can't.
  • One very important issue in TFA that hasn't been discussed here is legal reforms. Even without a life recorder, we are closing in on those issues.

    A great many actions are not prohibited (especially government actions) simply because there WAS no way to actually do those things. Another class of actions is not explicitly permitted (to citizens) or conversely government is not forbidden to prohibit them simply because until recently, there ws no practical way to prohibit them.

    The most glaring example is p

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.

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