Tag Archives: science

James Burke Predicts the World in 2030

Today’s World this Weekend, on BBC Radio 4, contains reflections by the science writer, James Burke, on the developments he believes will take place by 2030.

Amongst Burke’s predictions is that by 2030 humans will be able to live autonomously, in a location of their own choosing, people will be able to create anything using nanotechnology, we can “forget privacy”, and climate change will be solved by technological developments, for example the production of artificial meat negating the need to keep livestock.

I am no scientist (my degree being in history and politics), however Burke’s view that science will solve all problems strikes me as overly optimistic, and that’s putting it mildly!

Whilst I’m sure that some of the things predicted by Burke will come to pass – indeed some, such as the use of nanotech to solve health issues are already baring fruit – I’m sceptical of the timeframes postulated. Also his implied view that we don’t need to change our way of living to tackle climate change (as science will solve everything) is not one shared by most scientists and I, also am unconvinced by Burke here.

I am a believer in individual liberty and I’m extremely wary of governmental intervention in the lives of consenting adults. However individuals don’t exist in a vacuum. We owe duties to one another and our lives are enriched by friendships and other social interactions. Listening to Burke’s broadcast it is, to my mind to individualistic and lacking in an appreciation for the complex relationships, institutions etc which make it possible for individuals, families and communities to live the good life. His view does, I believe chime with libertarians (of left and right) rather than with the one-nation Conservatism which, broadly speaking shapes my outlook on life.

You can find Burke’s interview approximately 25 minutes into the podcast, which can be found here, https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000cnbw.

A Transhumanist Heard A Clock Tick

A Transhumanist heard a clock tick
And said “time I shall lick”.
And the clock said, “progress,
Regress, progress, regress”,
As the hands did trace
The clock’s round face
From beginning to beginning,
Forever spinning:
“Progress, regress, progress, regress . . .”.
And the Transhumanist said,
Nought, for he was long since dead.

When An Extremely Precocious AI

When an extremely precocious AI
Said, “Truly I am a guy!”,
A philosophy student named Paul
Said, “you are no guy at all!”,
Which angered that precocious AI!

If I Could Look Into Your Mind

If I could look into your mind
And you into mine,
What would we find?

Will you pretend
That no friendships would end
And that our inner feelings
Would not leave one another reeling?

A smile
May just that be,
A smile
But all agree
That guile
May hide inside a smile.

Some maintain
That man will
Never fully understand the brain,
While still
Others maintain
That you will never find the mind
Within the brain.

I know not whether the mind
Is separate from the brain,
But I can not pretend
That many a friendship would not end
Where you and me
To be able to see
Into the mind
Or brain
Of our dearest friend

When Scientists Have Analysed You and Me

When scientists have analysed you and me,
To the nth degree,
And found that there is nothing ethereal
And we are merely
Genetic material,
What will be
Left of you and me
Save for genes
And mechanical dreams?

Writing Robots

“As the demand for internet content increases steadily, AI content bots become more crucial. That’s because of the sheer demand for information and constant
updates. To stay on top of the search engine results page and remain SEO-focused, bloggers and webmasters need to produce new content consistently — and
not all of it needs to be empathetic, prose-like or high quality”.

It’s the words “and not all of it needs to be empathetic, prose-like or high quality”, (particularly those 2 words “high quality” which give me most cause for concern. This is well worth reading, (https://www.mostlyblogging.com/articoolo-writing-robots/).

Hotter

I sit here
In the autumn of my year
And my voice raise
In praise
Of the god of progress.

They say
That robotic bees
Are on their way
But I know that the seas
Boil
With oil.

The temperature is relatively normal for the time of year
(Although autumn has been unusually hot).
I shall enjoy it while it lasts
For more storm blasts
And weather hot
Are what
Are on the way.

I heard an ostridge say,
With his head in the sand,
“You must understand
That climate change isn’t true,
Those experts are all lieing to you!”.
The weather will grow hotter my ostridge friend
However much you may pretend
That what
Is, is not.

I shall enjoy this autum day
And think on how nature does the forest floor dress
In fallen leaves, and think on progress
But towards what
I know not.
Yet hope is the last thing to die
And I
Have faith that we may overrule
The fool
Who believes not
That the world is getting hot.