Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Future is Coming Sooner Than You Think - But is it all Good?

Some news just coming out on various 'future' scenarios, here in the UK and in the US.

In the UK:'Revolution, flashmobs, and brain chips. A grim vision of the future' is a piece from the Guardian that discusses a new 90 page MoD report that tries to picture the next 30 years and the "future strategic context" likely to face Britain's armed forces. It includes an "analysis of the key risks and shocks" by Rear Admiral Chris Parry, head of the MoD's Development, Concepts & Doctrine Centre. For example it predicts the following:

Information chips implanted in the brain. Electromagnetic pulse weapons. The middle classes becoming revolutionary, taking on the role of Marx's proletariat. The population of countries in the Middle East increasing by 132%, while Europe's drops as fertility falls. "Flashmobs" - groups rapidly mobilised by criminal gangs or terrorists groups...

...By 2035, an implantable "information chip" could be wired directly to the brain. A growing pervasiveness of information communications technology will enable states, terrorists or criminals, to mobilise "flashmobs", challenging security forces to match this potential agility coupled with an ability to concentrate forces quickly in a small area.

Now, something from the US. Nanotechnology: The Future is Coming Sooner Than You Think" is the title of a report [PDF] published this month by Representative Jim Saxton (R-NJ), Ranking Member of the Joint Economic Committee, United States Congress. What is surprising is that perhaps for the first time high-ranking political figures are discussing the implications of the 'Singularity', once dismissed as science-fiction. Some extracts state:

Dramatic breakthroughs will occur in diverse areas such as medicine, communications, computing, energy, and robotics. These changes will generate large amounts of wealth and force wrenching changes in existing markets and institutions...

...If technology continues to advance at exponential rates, what happens after 2020? Technology is likely to continue, but at this stage some observers forecast a period at which scientific advances aggressively assume their own momentum and accelerate at unprecedented levels, enabling products that today seem like science fiction. Beyond the Singularity, human society is incomparably different from what it is today. Several assumptions seem to drive predictions of a Singularity. The first is that continued material demands and competitive pressures will continue to drive technology forward. Second, at some point artificial intelligence advances to a point where computers enhance and accelerate scientific discovery and technological change. In other words, intelligent machines start to produce discoveries that are too complex for humans. Finally, there is an assumption that solutions to most of today’s problems including material scarcity, human health, and environmental degradation can be solved by technology, if not by us, then by the computers we eventually develop.

The pdf of the military report can be downloaded here

Some information here to digest... as ever, the focus I stress is upon a future we wish for ourselves and that means we maintain, sustain, and expand positive spiritual mindfulness. Let's remember that technology can be an aide to human evolution, yet the main catalyst is the consciousness that manifests through the individual...through our thoughts and deeds...

I shall be away for the next 12 days...wandering like a troubadour, or hobbling like a hobo... Blessings

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