22 March 2014

Emerging Tech Promises from Kurzweil, Drexler and Venter Et Al.

Brilliant predictions for the biotech century are found in works from the leading geniuses of our time. Included among such great thinkers are Ray Kurzweil (AI), K. Eric Drexler (nanotech) and J. Craig Venter (synthetic biology). Understandably, their books can be time-consuming for the layman, on account of their mostly scientific audiences. This is where concise and informative book reviews summarizing the main claims of such works come in (with page references included, for those of you who want to mount effective arguments based on these authors without taking notes from their extensive books).

The impending choices society will be forced to make, as a result of world-altering technologies, will affect us all. They will render the collective choices arising with respect to the internet and state mass surveillance insignificant. Consequences of nanotech (atomically precise manufacturing or APM), synthetic biology and artificial intelligence shake the assumptions of modern politics and economics. For this, we are being compelled to prepare and build.

The most cost-effective way of getting to know the key controversies and arguments on emerging technology is to read condensed reviews and responses to the defining points in the most important books on the subject:
My freshly released eBook, Unlocked, is a condensed public domain Kindle release with reviews and materials responding to emerging technology promises. These reviews echoed across the internet from 2013-2014, and were especially useful because they addressed and criticized each major point in the books. With accurate page references included, everyone is encouraged to re-use this resource to produce their own arguments and essays.
From James Hughes' Citizen Cyborg (2004) to Ray Kurzweil's The Singularity is Near (2005), Unlocked reviews a total of 8 very extensive works by emerging technology geniuses.

Exciting technological choices awaiting civilization are understood through the vision of the pioneers who represent them. Through these visions, dreams and nightmares of things to come will advise us. However, it is unwise to focus entirely on scifi interpretations (as Ray Kurzweil's singularity could be described as). There are also refined, accurate estimates of the future. Drexler, for example, cautions against the scifi trope of microscopic nanorobots everywhere, healing our bodies and and repairing our machines. The real APM (atomically precise manufacturing) would take the form of garage-sized car factories and desktop-scale stores to download and assemble household appliances. Combined with synthetic biology's potential to make energy and resources, the possibilities of this revolution in information and the search to enhance life are limitless.

By Harry J. Bentham - More articles by Harry J. Bentham

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