Tag Archives: Futurology

More Predictions Coming True?

OK, I know this is blowing my own trumpet a bit but, frankly, this is getting desperate so maybe it’s time to take the gloves off and look at some of the emerging tech. ethics predictions I’ve made over the years and how they’re turning out …

Personal privacy:

AI/Robot Sex:

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Technology Changing the World? It’s time for the regular reminder …

There’s a UK general election on Thursday 12th December.  Perhaps a once-in-a-generation chance to steer the country away from fascism?  The stakes are high and the issues numerous (yes, really, more than just Brexit) but here, we’ll try to keep to the technology.  However, ‘keeping to the technology’ is as much to do with understanding what it can’t and won’t do, just as much as what it can and will …

Some of this isn’t new in this blog but it seems to be a timely reminder.  Let’s start with a simple (rhetorical) straw poll:

  1. Can we all agree that the next few years are going to bring some interesting technological developments?  Yes?
  2. Can we generally agree that those ‘developments’ can be loosely described as ‘advances’?  Hmm?  Not quite so certain?  Depends on your point of view?  Maybe?  Possibly?  Most of the time?  Probably?
  3. Are we generally confident that emerging/future technology will benefit people?  Ah!

Which people?

This is at the heart of it.  Yes, technology changes lives.  Yes, it has the potential to make lives better.  But will it?  and for whom?

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Swarm Thickness

Most people following this blog will be familiar with the notion of ‘swarm intelligence’. So here’s a question … Could ‘swarm thickness’ be a thing? (Seriously!)

Swarm Intelligence (SI) shows itself all over the place in nature and discussion goes back at least as far as Darwin. Through SI, birds and fish maintain apparently impossibly coordinated formations, ants find the best path to food and bees and termites build complex structures to name just a few examples.

The essence of SI is a wonderfully simple one. Individuals do the most basic of operations, follow the crudest of directives or instincts but the cumulative effect for the flock, shoal, colony or hive is something magnificently clever.  They’re guided, by something they don’t understand, to play a small part in something good.

You can probably see where we’re going here … Could humans be doing this the other way around?  Could we, guided by something we don’t understand, be playing a small part in something awful?

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What Will it Take for Humanity to Survive? (And Why is Trump Such a Complete Bellend?)

The first question is one we’ve considered from various angles over the years on this blog.  The second is, of course, timely – although the important emphasis here is on the ‘complete’.  As we’ll see, they’re very, very connected!

Trying to pursue a socialist argument in a world largely sold on capitalism is always a struggle.  You have to deal with every issue and answer every question in line with the rules of Monopoly, but you don’t want to play Monopoly: it’s a stupid game – there are far better ones – but no-one understands you – or wants to understand you – unless you do.

  • Q:  So, Jeremy, how will your policies ensure that the UK GDP continues to grow after Brexit?
  • A:  I don’t particularly care if it does. It’s a physical law that nothing can increase exponentially for ever: something goes ‘bang’ in the end. We need to look beyond economics for the real answers.

But, of course, if Jeremy says that, he gets carted off to a rest home.  So, instead, he has to pretend that he’s interested in GDP, and that taxing Starbucks will help it.  Well, it might or it might not – that’s close to irrelevant – but, already, we’re having to have the debate on their terms.

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