[FoRK] Chart of the Day...
Stephen D. Williams
sdw at lig.net
Thu Jun 10 19:04:59 PDT 2010
On 6/10/10 2:38 PM, Jeff Bone wrote:
> On Jun 10, 2010, at 1:08 PM, Stephen Williams wrote:
>> "In the long term, we're all dead." Don't borrow problems you can't have. For some value of "forever", yes.
> I was mostly razzing you, but --- in all seriousness --- I tend to think that you tend to want to solve what you think are the extrapolations of today's problems with the extrapolations of today's potential solutions. I think the real problem is anticipating the novel problems and attempting to come up with
I want to count on self-replicating, self-powering nano goo with fully
sentient AI, but that makes the proposed solutions too simple and remote
to be interesting.
> their solutions. Or, if you want to be pragmatic, then at least solving today's problems with today's potential solutions. Neither of those approaches seems to be in vogue around here lately. We waffle from immediate pressing problems to assumptions of things which are not imminent, such as massive increases in per capita energy budgets, massive social changes for which there is no linear path from here, etc. It's rather silly, and my statement about "long-term" thinking was merely an attempt to illustrate the absurdity by example.
>> What resources are really finite, given unlimited time and energy?
> Well, you can't really make that argument given your previous admonishment, can you?
> So first, let's start with how to increase available time and energy beyond today's limits.
>> True, people will always create scarcity in their minds. However, it's pretty clear what a baseline should consist of on the low end and reasonably clear we should strive for (certain levels of education, comfort, medical care).
> Nope, doesn't work --- those are relatives, not absolutes. Who's to say what "comfort" means in a few decades? Our grandparents surely think we're all spoiled brats today...
Some are recognizable, some are not. Many things today would amaze
everyone who ever lived before the last 10, 20, 40, or 80 years. Still,
things like food, plumbing, entertainment, comfortable living quarters
have been pretty constant for the last couple hundred years. Add
magical medical care, the Internet, supercomputers in your pocket (the
HTC Evo is about the speed of a Cray 1 I believe), cable / satellite TV,
etc. and you have a baseline that will recognizable for a while.
>>> My point in this is straightforward: focus on equalizing outcomes is a losing proposition, and always will be. Any notion of "social justice" built on that assumption is pollyanna and flawed.
>> Who said anything about "equalizing outcomes" or "social justice"?? Not me.
> No, I did --- that was the point I was edging towards.
> All attempts at social engineering --- even the thought experiment kind that is apparently a favorite of yours and some others here on the list, mea culpa --- anticipate outcomes. IMHO, while amusing and perhaps enlightening, the results are rarely actionable. When actionable, they are rarely effective.
True. Of everyone else's ideas. ;-) Still, there are some interesting
existence proofs at the prototype level. Burning Man for instance can
hold onto the bubble for a week, plus weeks of set up and tear down by a
much smaller crew.
> BTW, have I mentioned how much your anti-downer utopia --- like all utopias --- in fact begs the worst kind of tyranny possible?
Sure, in any simplistic sense that's true. But we already have plenty
of current anti-downer pressure of various kinds. I'm just positing a
particular engineering of incentives and consequences.
> But we'll leave that for another time.
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