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but the accelerating rate of human enhancement technologies concerns me as much if not more than environmental, economic and social upheaval.

what will mean to be "human" in thirty to fifty years, and thereafter (if we are still around)?  what will the word "humanity" mean?

paranoia or giving undue weight to Bill Joy and Ray Kurzweil, maybe.  but reports of surprising new developments, overhyped and/or distorted though they may be to some extent, suggest that Joy and Kurzweil are not completely off the reservation.

La Chine dorme. Laisse la dormir. Quand la Chine s'Úveillera, le monde tremblera.

by marco on Thu Dec 31st, 2009 at 04:17:35 AM EST
The transhumanist scenarios may well be some of the most optimistic visions of the future out there, at least among those with a smidgen of reality to them.  Sure, it poses all kinds of philosophical dilemmas, but whatever.  A nice photosynthetic layer would both solve my problems with sunburn AND provide an alternative calorie stream, reducing my need for food intake and cancer risks at the same time!  Yay!
by Zwackus on Thu Dec 31st, 2009 at 04:47:55 AM EST
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Great point. Technology has already advanced to a point where there are inevitable changes coming in the next 10-15 years that will absolutely rock the modern experience.  This isn't hyperbole and it is easy to look back 15 years from today and see that we've just been through such a period.  The next one will be equally confusing to most people.

I see the main point of this discussion as one about the inability to 'get ahead.'  A young adult right now can see no clear path toward an improved standard of living.  If one tries to focus on their career, they may lose working years without making any significant gains.  Investing 5 years in education to gain skills that may go from valuable to practically worthless in a 5 year period is also a concern.

Saving cash that may inflate over 5 years and represent a lost opportunity cost is a concern.  Investing in commodities that show no sane pricing schemes runs a similar risk.

Ultimately we are left with the choice to accept, for the next 10-20 years, our current economic situation.  Once that decision is made the rational question is where to invest our resources, in a future that we can't really make a significant impact on or a present which may ultimately provide for a future when conditions change.  

The fight is against disillusionment.  It can be a difficult experience to invest a life in savings only to have those savings dissipate in the tsunami's of government policy and corporate theft.  If you had put your savings into Enron stock as an Enron employee in the late 1990's wouldn't you rather have now spent that money on something else, such as real estate?

I believe this problem is compounded by the lack of forward progress.  If I make investments that lose their value in 5 years but am actually seeing income and status gains over those 5 years I still come out ahead of where I am today.  If I can reasonably expect to be in essentially the same income/status range in 5 years and STILL lose my investments it appears that I may have actually lost those 5 years entirely.  

It does seem wise to ensure that your next 5 years are lived well.    

by paving on Thu Dec 31st, 2009 at 03:30:43 PM EST
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Yes, you've hit the nail on the head there.  That is exactly the thing.
by Zwackus on Thu Dec 31st, 2009 at 07:49:13 PM EST
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