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Section 4 / Pages 124 -125

A Personal View

I have been interested in nanotechnology for over 20 years and have spent a lot of that time, mentally wrestling with the implications that this technology will have on society. The incredibly ignorant and arrogant assumptions made by people who donít truly understand this technology, I personally find very stupid. I first read about nanotechnology in Omni magazine and I suddenly realised that everything between then and the time it actually arrived would just be a case of advanced button pressing. Other people, still seem to be going blindly into the future without any real insight as to where it is all heading.

I see people still surprised by such simple devices as DVD players and MP3 systems, so what! if you know where technology is going, then none of these things should actually surprise you. Eventually we will have quantum computers capable of computing in multiple dimensions and the ability to have nano-assemblers building anything that can be imagined and at almost zero cost. I also believe a new type of A.I. arms race will soon be unleashed, with each country and company competing to build the smartest system, this coming A.I. war could be very dangerous to humans. I war is already here and it stands to reason that advanced A.I. systems will have to be employed to beat an enemy or competing company.

People may think this is just nonsense, but my assumptions are based largely on world history and I came to the conclusion a long time ago, that if the US government gets this technology then the Soviet government will also want it. This also goes for big companies, if Panasonic get it, then Sony will want it, this will create a scenario in which no company or government could afford to be without it and in that sense they will also have to use it, I hope this will be seen for what it is, in other words a warning.

Just imagine if one company turned around to its competition and said hey look we have this new technology we have been developing in house, that will probably put you out of business, we just thought we would warn you, so you can compete? Capitalism can lead to progress but it's usually at someone else's expense? The introduction of some new technologies, may end up costing us all, unless we can change the ideology to match this technologies potential impact?

If people are not ready for the transition between a society based around money and a society that becomes increasingly dependent upon intelligent robots and machines that do most, if not all of the work for us and at almost zero cost, then severe civil unrest could be the result. Most people still have no idea whatís about to hit, the speed of progress will just keep increasing simply because computers give everybody the ability to get their ideas into the public domain and as JP says, Moores Law does not apply to software, virtually speaking, there are no limits on software's potential evolution.

We now have a situation of technology feeding on technology and the technology outpacing our own ability to understand it. The diversity of technologies now available is just the tip of the iceberg. Commercial pressures are now making decisions about the introduction of certain technologies, over and above common sense. Personally I think the human race has about 8-9 years before we hit a crisis point, between the people who have money and the people who cannot afford to survive under the conditions that are going to arise through the lack of work, or the work available being seen as increasingly menial. Plans have to be made  to help people understand whatís going to happen and also there has to be some type of plan set in place to help transform the economy and help the people most in danger, which in the end, will be ALL of us.

If we try to keep current ideologies going, under the type of future that I have predicted, then a situation will develop where you will have the rich paying for robots and intelligent machines to do all of the work and the rest of the human race being thrust into abject poverty. This situation will become unavoidable and unsustainable if plans are not made to stop it from happening. If the powers that be allow this to develop unchecked then you will see a situation develop where you have more people unemployed, than you actually have working. This will obviously cause a situation where the economy will break down anyway. The chaos this could cause to the people still trying to cling to the notion of how the economy works today, will find themselves in a minority, because the majority will be the people who are out of work or doing crap jobs or on government work schemes. Most of the population will not understand whatís going on and as ignorance breeds fear, then this can only lead to a very bad situation developing for everyone.

The masses in my experience have no clue and the leadership of most of the masses also seem to have no clue, at least when it comes to technology, so if this technological nightmare hits, with current day thinking still in place, then I fear for the sanity of most people. I have been involved in I.T. in one way or another for over 20 years and find that most of the people who use and operate Windows & Office, seem  to think, that this makes them I.T. literate. Compared to what is really going on in the I.T. field, most people may as well be living in the dark ages, 800 years where religion ruled and science was heresy.

To make a point, give the average games console owner a copy of Splinter Cell and just watch how long it takes them to master it, but ask them how it works... wait a while and then you will probably see an expression appear upon their face, akin to being asked, to explain quantum theory. People with a reasonable knowledge of science, often just don't realise that the logic theorist and the electric rat are still light years ahead of most of the general publics understanding. The catch up involved in getting the population up to speed globally, is huge, remember one third of the worlds population, has still to use a phone, according to statisticians at least?

Most A.I. scientists have approached A.I.  in a slightly different way to me, as in they are not trying to give their A.I. systems a true internal visual model of how every environment and object looks. Most approaches to A.I. seem to be trying to emulate the processing behaviour and power of the human brain within a singular computer system and as far as I can see, there is no way we have the technology to do that yet. Although some systems may have the computing power soon, they will still be relatively dumb and blind as far as I can tell?

The first E-bubble burst and it caused major problems for the stock market and it was estimated to have wiped out anywhere between 3 to 4 trillion pounds of investors money and the rumblings are actually set to get worse not better. See AOL post $54.2 billion dollar loss. Is this a systemic problem, as in, boom bust capitalism, often comes from unregulated markets and the net is certainly unregulated? I think history is about to repeat itself, as once again, there is about to be another explosion in Internet business in the form of virtual reality, content delivery and online services, but that may not last long before the problems, predicted within this eBook come about. This time I predict the markets will be devastated by their own short sightedness, as a rush for profits will lead to unchecked investment and capitalist greed, basically turning technology into a short term gold mine, with no long term vision of how this potential technological nightmare may turn out.

I quote Steve Wozniak "there is always going to be a group of bright kids who are a little bit technical, who start looking beyond and asking themselves, what if this, what if that". I like to think that I am one of those kids and I have looked beyond and this eBook is my way of showing everybody, what I have seen. But like I said, make your own mind up.

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