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Archive for August, 2010

Came across this and thought it added nicely to the conversation.

http://www.alternativeright.com/main/the-magazine/the-myth-of-technological-progress/

First problem with this article: “To predict a predictable future, you need to look at the past. What was technological life like 50 years ago? 50 years ago was 1959.” Gee wiz, all we need to do to figure out the future is look at the linear progress of the past and extrapolate forward. The pace of technological progress is quickening – you can pull any Kurzweil graph from the previous post to check this. Humans are notoriously bad at predicting exponential trends even when the graphs are staring them in the face. The rapid and wide adoption of new technologies is breathtaking and it’s only getting faster. There are indeed exponential trends within exponential trends.

Where do you even find articles like this? How about at an online magazine touting good ole conservative values. We don’t need a smart toaster, thank-you very much.

Has nothing really changed and is everything slowing down as the author argues? Could you make a free phone call anywhere in the world in 1959? How about a video call? Could you access all of human knowledge on a device that fits in your shirt pocket? Did computers fly and land aircraft in 1959? How big where computers anyway? The list of technological achievements goes on, but why bother listing them out? Anyone who was alive in 1959 is blown away by the changes. It’s as if the author says: “You haven’t achieve the Jetsonian vision of the 50s so none if this gobbledygook will ever happen.”

Dator talks about the lack of technological innovation concerning economics, politics, and transportation over the decades, but this piece questions the progress of communication tech, which seems untouchable (unless you have a touch screen).

You can’t think of any technological innovation in these areas?

I wonder if highly paid writers can’t predict the future in movies, what makes a bunch of academics think they can do any better? 🙂

This is the best I could find about the state of renewables today. Let’s all hope for a hail mary on this one!

http://awesome.good.is/transparency/web/1004/alternative-energy/flash.html

What do you mean by hail mary? This flash site doesn’t tell the exponential growth story of renewables. Here’s some : http://www.4ecotips.com/eco/article_show.php?aid=2014&id=286 See how that red line comes out of nowhere? That’s the power of exponential growth. Renewable energy installed capacity is doubling every two to three years and is only 7 doublings away from providing all of our energy needs. (Try counting from 2 to 7, then try doubling 2 seven times and you’ll see why people don’t get this). I think it’s time to start worrying about other problems in society. The growth trends at this point are unstoppable because of economies of scale. We would need a concerted effort to stop renewable energy from taking over the vast majority of our power production over the next 20 years. Wind power is already cheaper than coal in most cases. Case closed!

And finally, I offer some Zizek to really drive the point, assuming of course there is one, home.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20727751.100-slavoj-zizek-wake-up-and-smell-the-apocalypse.html

Great thinker and he raises important issues, but none that haven’t already been raised before by the same people that share my techno-optimistic viewpoint of the future(s).

In our current post-climate change world (yes, it’s already happening), we need to embrace the absurdity that for all that we’ve done over millennia as a species, we’re just as susceptible to our hubris…just ask the Greeks…and the Romans…and the…

Is hoping for us to pull through hubris? I don’t believe it is. I do believe that technology is the next stage of our evolution whether that is hubris or not.

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