The future includes me

July 15 2008 / by futuretalk / In association with Future
Category: Other   Year: General   Rating: 12 Hot

By Dick Pelletier

An ulterior motive drives much of the optimism and positive take that appears in ‘FutureTalk’ articles which describe how the future might unfold.

There is an audacious thought roaming through my brain that the “magical future” I describe so often actually includes me. With a little luck, I believe that I can stay alive and reap all the benefits this wonder time has to offer.

Though more than 50 million will die in 2008, I am convinced that I will not be among them. In researching articles each week, I discover facts that support the optimistic slant that each topic seems to take.

Chronologically my body has reached seventy-seven years; biologically it behaves as a mid-sixty-year-old, and emotionally it sometimes acts like a ‘30 something. By continuing to believe optimistically about the future, it’s easy for me to imagine myself ‘being there’. (cont.)

Achieving ‘centenarian’ status in 2030 and living in a perfectly healthy, ageless body powered by enhanced neurons seems like a very strong possibility to me. A big plus might be the enjoyment of a rewarding relationship with a fantastic level-four state-of-the-art female robot one day. Who knows?

I love talking about our “magical future” and anxiously look forward to enjoying all it has to offer. Your comments on my optimism are most welcome.

How positive are you about your own life extension?

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Comment Thread (10 Responses)

  1. I wouldn’t mind a ‘rewarding relationship’ with a female robot either. I’ll get me one of those Ghost in the Shell models…

    Posted by: John Heylin   July 16, 2008
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  2. Dick, I really enjoyed the directness of this piece and think it gets at a fundamental seam/theme in futures that will become a massive issue in the near-term as 1) more people become cognizant of acceleration, and 2) people begin to realize that they can affect the market for life extension related technologies, expertise and practices. ... I bet Ray’s upcoming movie will spur a new burst of social contemplation of these issues.

    While I personally subscribe to a systems-centric view over a humanist view of the future, which sometimes causes seeming friction with a more positive outlook, I fully appreciate and respect the human desire to live, be happy, control environment, etc and am in support of combating existential risk, individual sickness/death, the wildest human dreams, and find your pieces very valuable. Probably due to my age, I am 28, I love to think about how the notion of the human will change in the context of acceleration, especially because I view a human as part and parcel of the network in which it/we exist(s). I am eager to learn exactly what role humans play in the broader system and to see what occurs to our humanistic values as we more accurately define what we are. I think we’re due for an unexpected fusion of the humanist and objectivist views as acceleration helps us figure out what exactly is what. One potential macro scenario is that through this reconciliation we generate a Magical Future x 100. Of course, the converse is possible too, but I too hold out hope for the future, while working on the puzzle that currently fascinates me.

    Posted by: Alvis Brigis   July 16, 2008
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  3. It’s encouraging that someone in their seventies can recognise the acceleration effect and all that it implies. Usually only very young adults are still enthusiastic about advancing technology.

    There are of course many armchair naysayers who need a daily moan to get through each day. There is a particular breed of naysayer which really gets up my nose. They tend to be middle aged, and typically used to have enthusiasm, but now they cry, “where’s my flying car”, and they therefore conclude that technology never was accelerating after all.

    It’s obviously a nonesensical conclusion and a typical fallacy. It’s equivalent to someone discovering quantum mechanics in the 1920’s and then moaning 40 years later because “there are no nuclear powered bicycles!!”. It’s absurd, and these narrow minded people fail to anticipate many other powerful developments.

    So no, we don’t have flying cars (although we will one day), that prediction was wrong, and even more importantly, I don’t care! The people who do care either have no imagination, or they are bitter (where’s my flying car, moan moan), OR they simply don’t understand the exponential function, which is surprisingly common (in a previous post, a commenter thought that since we expect 20,000 years of progress in this century compared with the last, that we should have seen massively huge changes already). Add that to the list of unthinking people’s misconceptions.

    Posted by: CptSunbeam   July 16, 2008
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  4. It’s encouraging that someone in their seventies can recognise the acceleration effect and all that it implies. Usually only very young adults are still enthusiastic about advancing technology.

    On the other hand, younger people don’t have the same breadth of perspective – as exponential increases start to become more noticeable, it may become more quickly apparent to those who have lived through a long, long stretch of the “flat” part.

    Posted by: gremlinn   July 17, 2008
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  5. I, like the bearded, fur-clad man in the beginning of Barbarella, will continue to think the old way is best in some things and will forgo the pleasures of bot copulation.

    But I too am fascinated by how our values will change in the face of massive technological advancements. Perhaps after I have incorporated the entirety of human knowledge into my nanobot enhanced hyper-brain I won’t care about sex at all.

    Posted by: Mielle Sullivan   July 17, 2008
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  6. I’m in my 20’s, and I sincerely doubt that anything of transhuman significance will come in time for me, let alone Dick.

    Posted by: adbatstone80   July 17, 2008
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  7. I am a firm believer in how thoughts direct many human activities. A positive attitude has been proven to keep our bodies healthier and more empowered to fight off dangerous accidents and diseases.

    Therefore, as a positive futurist, it just makes sense to envision an optimistic view of the future and to place myself in this positive picture.

    Will the future unfold the way I believe that it will? At this stage, it may be a crap shot, but it’s one that I’m willing to support. Comments welcome.

    Posted by: futuretalk   July 17, 2008
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  8. Dick, I couldn’t agree with you more. From my perspective, there is very little doubt in the possibility (not certainty mind you but possibility) of radical technological advances within 30 years. Unfortunately, what is often in doubt is the human will necessary to make those possibilities a reality in the near term. I am constantly amazed at the dizzying prowess of the human intellect contrasted with the almost total lack of optimistic visions of the near future portrayed in the media. When exposed to the possibility of redefining conventional notions of society and humanity it seems many people instinctively react with a fearful, conservative mindset – sometimes with good cause as many potential advances come with their fair share of risks as well. What is desperately needed is an optimistic, humanizing perspective of what we as a people are capable of accomplishing in a future replete with wondrous possibilities. Your blog routinely fulfills this need and has been a true inspiration to me.

    Looking forward to thanking you in person 100 years from now in a “Magical Future”.

    Posted by: ChristopherMoody   July 17, 2008
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  9. Excellent comment; it’s in my Google Calendar; meet Christopher Moody July 17, 2108.

    Posted by: futuretalk   July 18, 2008
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  10. “they simply don’t understand the exponential function” – CptSunbeam

    I understand the exponential function very well. Technology’s power doubling every so-often, one innovation helping to create the next stage, etc.

    But there is no need to exaggerate the case by proclaiming humans will all be living in disease-free, youthful and powerful bodies by 2050.

    Kurzweil’s estimates are exactly that. Estimates. There are thousands of paths in front of humanity, Dick Pelletier’s “magical future” is just only one. And it’s not the one we’re heading towards.

    Posted by: adbatstone80   July 20, 2008
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