The FUTURE: Possible Advances in Science & Technology

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This is now only maintained on my website at http://www.karangill.com/the-future.html.

These predictions were made as of 18/12/2009. Updates are noted with dates. This article is essentially speculation, the discoveries listed here may sound weird and strange, and for all I know could be decades or centuries into the future or even impossible. Nevertheless....

Oh and the images are random collages thrown together to break the monotony of text and provide further food for thought.




L to R: HAL from a 2001: A Space Odyssey, Cover from Frank Herbert's Dune, Cover from Isaac Asimov's Foundation, Cover from Foundation again, Helix Nebula

Genetically Modified Food Added 29th Dec '12.
Yes, this is already a reality, but it has not been accepted by people because of what it may do. I don't think this belief is founded in science. Anyhow, the reason this is listed is because, even though it is technologically a reality, in practice hurdles remain till the public accepts it fully. And there's no way of saying when that will happen if at all. But if it does, another Food Revolution could be underway.

A Shift to Nuclear Power
This is already happening, because nuclear energy appears to be the only pollution free source of energy that is reliable, has adequate capacity, has been deployed previously on a large scale (in other words is tested) and is price competitive with existing methods of generating energy.
UAE - http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/8431904.stm
China - http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/16/business/global/16chinanuke.html
US - http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hx5wB6YEaAyHIpeDxx6ML-...
16/05/2011 - The Japanese earthquake and resulting damage to the nuclear plants along the shore were a PR disaster for nuclear power, and have turned public opinion just when it seems nuclear power was on the brink of a renaissance. It remains to be seen if the noises governments are making about looking more carefully at safety are just that or if the anti-nuclear sentiment persists.
04/01/12 - Austria & Czech Republic http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-16359991

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Read the rest of this at http://www.karangill.com/the-future.html
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Understanding the brain is a fascinating field of inquiry. The problem with that understanding, as most scientists realize, is that there is a large division between function and form in this area. Although we can chart synapses, find specific areas in which certain emotions are quantified, etc. we cannot as yet understand what creates the function. Hence the problem of consciousness. Reading into the fields that study this subject a person can realize that although science gives certain functions of the brain names, they understand very little of their meaning or purpose.

What I get from your reply is that while we can figure out the basic physical processes, we cannot glean from them how the higher order mental processes arise. That's true, the brain is vexing

As far as I understand, one line of attack being pursued at the moment is using very powerful computers to simulate more and more complex neural systems and see how close these simulations come to the brain activity actually observed. Of course it is well nigh impossible to simulate the complexity of a human brain, but progress is being made.

Some articles of interest are -
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=e-zimmer-can-you-live-f...
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=single-worm-neurons

Yes that is the gist of my comment, although even the basics give scientists problems since every experience can stimulate different parts of the brain depending on the person. Great articles, thanks. The singularity has it's roots in science fiction literature, Orson Scott Card explored this idea in the Ender series and the metaphysics and quantum physics of the 90's were interested in computer consciousness and how that connects to the idea of a soul. An interesting point concerning these ideas is that early religious texts such as The Upanishads think of consciousness as a well from which we draw individuality. Completely off subject, science began as an aside to theology and philosophy and through church persecution separated into a distinct field of inquiry. The problem with that split is that early spiritual records afford some understanding to the building blocks of consciousness.

I know nothing about early spiritual texts. So while it might well be true that early spiritual texts connected the dots between ideas such as consciousness and individuality, my interest would be piqued only if there was some clue as to how consciousness arises from the activity of individual neurons. I guess the (rather obvious) line of attack is to understand the simplest neural networks and build up from there. It depends on what your model of a brain is, but I have the deterministic view of the brain, that it's simply a hugely complicated network that processes information through neural circuits and gives outputs.