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Visions of the Future

March 11, 2009

Last weekend, I finished watching an excellent 3-part documentary , produced by BBC4, on the future of science and technology and it’s effect on how we live and interact with our world. 

If cutting edge science thrills you, if futuristic technologies makes you feel giddy and you find yourself giggling like a teenager, I assure you this documentary is going to be a fascinating watch (even though some of the technologies are common knowledge). On one hand, while this documentary is heavy on the science part, it also does a good job in raising very important and pertinent questions about scientific ethics, the effects of pushing technology too far to suit our needs and the possibility of human extinction through technology.

I understand that watching a 3 hour documentary maybe daunting for a lot of us (I typically watch my documentaries in parts and that too while I’m working out) but I assure you that if you are curious about cutting edge science, you won’t be disappointed after watching this documentary (provided, of course, you are not a scientist who is working on such technologies yourself or keeps abreast of cutting edge science!!) .

Here is the brief introduction about each part from the BBC webpage (viewing time of each part is about ~1hr)

1. THE INTELLIGENCE REVOLUTION

In the opening instalment, Kaku explains how artificial intelligence will revolutionise homes, workplaces and lifestyles, and how virtual worlds will become so realistic that they will rival the physical world. Robots with human-level intelligence may finally become a reality, and in the ultimate stage of mastery, we’ll even be able to merge our minds with machine intelligence.

For the first time on television, see how a severely depressed patient can be turned into a happy person at the push of a button – all thanks to the cross-pollination of neuroscience and artificial intelligence.

 

2. THE BIOTECH REVOLUTION
Genetics and biotechnology promise a future of unprecedented health and longevity: DNA screening could prevent many diseases, gene therapy could cure them and, thanks to lab-grown organs, the human body could be repaired as easily as a car, with spare parts readily available. Ultimately, the ageing process itself could be slowed down or even halted.
But what impact will this have on who we are and how we will live? And, with our mastery of the genome, will the human race end up in a world divided by genetic apartheid?
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. THE QUANTUM REVOLUTION

 The quantum revolution could turn many ideas of science fiction into science fact – from metamaterials with mind-boggling properties like invisibility through limitless quantum energy and room temperature superconductors to Arthur C Clarke’s space elevator. Some scientists even forecast that in the latter half of the century everybody will have a personal fabricator that re-arranges molecules to produce everything from almost anything.

Yet how will we ultimately use our mastery of matter? Like Samson, will we use our strength to bring down the temple? Or, like Solomon, will we have the wisdom to match our technology?

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 11, 2009 8:30 pm

    wow.. sounds really interesting.
    I should bookmark the page for future reference 🙂

  2. nitwitnastik permalink*
    March 11, 2009 10:29 pm

    good to see you back aniket…It’s a great documentary..highly recommended..

  3. Incognito permalink
    March 15, 2009 7:42 am

    >>”…and in the ultimate stage of mastery, we’ll even be able to merge our minds with machine intelligence….”

    Sounds more like slavery…

    • nitwitnastik permalink*
      March 15, 2009 9:32 am

      @Incognito

      I agree..I am afraid of that too..or even the extinction of the human race…the documentary does raise these questions and I think we need to think about them..

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