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A Timeline of the Future 696

Posted by timothy
from the my-next-date-must-be-too-far-ahead dept.
The Night Watchman writes: "Ian Pearson, a British futurist, has produced a sort of timeline of the future, which provides a simultaneously hopeful and bleak look into the coming decades. Mr. Pearson has evidently had a fairly high success rate; a timeline he produced in 1991 was about 85% accurate. An article on Yahoo news has a summary." Reader ricst lists some of Pearson's predictions: "People have some virtual friends, but don't know which ones (2007), leisure activities for intelligent software entities released (2015), electronic lifeform given basic rights (2020)." Brought to you by a division of British Telecom, but no date is set for when they win their hyperlink patent suit.
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A Timeline of the Future

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  • 85% accurate? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Saint Aardvark (159009) on Sunday February 17, 2002 @06:57PM (#3023668) Homepage Journal
    And how exactly does that get defined? Has anyone got a link to that '91 set of predictions?
    • Re:85% accurate? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by dagoalieman (198402) <thegoalieman@yahoUMLAUTo.com minus punct> on Sunday February 17, 2002 @07:16PM (#3023742) Homepage
      You have a good point.. how do we define accurate?

      I can draw up a 100% accurate timeline for the next N years, you pick the N:

      Year 1: Someone dies, someone's born.
      Year 2: Someone dies, someone's born.
      ...
      Year N: Someone dies, someone's born.

      He says that an Artificial Electric Lifeform gets basic rights.. or something like that. Ok, how do we determine the lifeform is one? (I had a full ethics class on that one, and we didn't even scratch the surface of things. Day 1 we tore the Turing Test apart, proved it was more pathetic than my predictions above.) Better yet, what are the rights? The program can't be kill -9ed by anyone other than root? Hell, we could have those rights granted in a law aimed at stopping electronic sabotage of other companies, particularly web servers.

      Nostradamus did get a few predictions eerily correct, but most of his are either 1. Way Off, or 2. So vague that it's damn near impossible for them not to end up true. IMHO, this list falls into the same category- Use vague terms, define those terms as you like, and wham, it's true.

      I'm not saying this guy lacks any credibility, but I'm not impressed with the little that I saw. and the good point was made that these are the same folks who brought you the "hyperlink patent." (he may not be associated with that, but somewhere up the chain he gets tied to the morons, and they influence him at least slightly.)

      Heck.. Does anyone see something in there that's already true? Perhaps the Leisure for intelligent programs- as in expansion packs for the game Sims??

      Sigh. Move along...
      • by shogun (657)
        I can draw up a 100% accurate timeline for the next N years, you pick the N:

        Year 1: Someone dies, someone's born.
        Year 2: Someone dies, someone's born.
        ...
        Year N: Someone dies, someone's born.


        Of course it will be totally wrong after a certain year in which X if we have a major cometary impact that wipes out all life on Earth.
      • Re:85% accurate? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by An Onerous Coward (222037) on Monday February 18, 2002 @07:47AM (#3025954) Homepage
        "I had a full ethics class on that one, and we didn't even scratch the surface of things. Day 1 we tore the Turing Test apart, proved it was more pathetic than my predictions above."


        Pardon me, but it sounds to me like your ethics teacher doesn't have a clue what she's talking about. If you think that successfully passing the Turing test doesn't demonstrate both intelligence and sentience, I can't deny that you may be correct. But you've got some damned serious brainpower backing the alternative position, and I really don't think that could happen if the T-test was so pathetic that a group of freshman college students could rip it apart.

        I think it was Descartes who came up with the idea of automatons. They're creatures who walk around the world in human form, carrying out all the day to day tasks of ordinary human beings, but without any real consciousness working inside their skulls. Some of them may have been sitting in your freshman ethics class, contributing valuable insights to discussions.

        I don't believe that automatons are possible. But the only way to seriously believe that a computer could pass the Turing test without being both intelligent and self-aware is to presume that they are. In order to do what an automaton is supposed to do, it has to at least have information about the outside world, and a way to measure what's going on outside against a system of rules which mediates its reactions. That system of rules needs to encode all the things that humans know. Finally, it would have to be aware of its own actions, have the ability to make short and long-term plans, and flexibility in the face of novel situations. Sounds a lot like us.

        The most famous response to the Turing test (Searle's "Chinese Room" argument) basically says that a computer might pass the test by simply understanding the formal properties of a language without understanding the semantics of the words its using. For example, it would know that a DUCK can go UNDER WATER without becoming WET, without really understanding any of the terms involved (only their interrelations).

        I think the example Searle chose to illustrate his point (found here [ilstu.edu]) is misleading. While the person doing the actual input and output of the symbols doesn't really understand Chinese, he is part of a system which does. Complaining that an entire system cannot be intelligent because none of the individual parts making up the system have "understanding" of what they're doing is misleading. None of your neurons understand what they're doing; they just fire or don't fire depending on the electrochemical inputs they receive. The little bit of your neural system which turns the words you've chosen into sounds by manipulating your voice box doesn't understand the meaning of the words.

        Searle tries to get around the problem by internalizing all the rules of the Chinese Room inside the person who was doing the translating, and claiming that he still doesn't understand Chinese. But the rules which have been encoded inside the person are so advanced and complex that the stream of characters he is outputting is sufficient to pass the Turing test.

        In order to pass the test, these rules have to have the ability to remember the conversation that came before, and adjust the outputs accordingly. If you ask the same question twenty times in a row, and get precisely the same response each time, you can be assured that you're dealing with a computer with no self-awareness. So the rules are constantly changing, not just to reflect the course of the conversation, but to reevaluate the accuracy of the old rules. The more I think about it, the harder a time I have of believing that a human being, however intelligent, could internalize all the rules and constantly modify them to accurately mimic a human conversation, independent of any understanding of their actual meaning.

        The biggest problem that I see with the Turing test is that it is a sufficient demonstration of intelligence, but not a necessary one. That is, computers will probably be intelligent long before they understand enough about our expectations of other humans to deceive us properly.

        Example: We generally understand that dolphins are intelligent, but their intelligence is of a rather alien sort. Even if we mastered their language, a dolphin could easily be distinguished from a human in a Turing test because their life experiences and way of looking at the world is completely alien to us. I think the best the dolphin could hope for was to try and imitate a five year old who really enjoyed swimming. :) From my reading, it seems that Turing himself recognized that the odds were unfairly weighted against the machine.

        In a way, I'm glad you threw in that little slam against the Turing test, because writing this post was way more interesting than just nodding my head in agreement. I thought your points about the nature of prediction were uncannily accurate.
  • Extinct Animal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Beowulf_Boy (239340) on Sunday February 17, 2002 @06:57PM (#3023669)
    Also by 2006, scenes from blockbuster dinosaur film "Jurassic Park" could take a step closer to
    reality when the first extinct organism is brought back to life, he predicts.

    Already been done, 2 years ago actually, an Asian Gaur was cloned from the last remaining specimen after it died.
    • Re:Extinct Animal (Score:2, Informative)

      by niftyeric (467236)
      Here [lycos.com] is an old article discussing the above.
    • Already been done, 2 years ago actually, an Asian Gaur was cloned from the last remaining specimen after it died.

      True enough, but seeing how the specimen had just recently died, it isn't quite the same as the "Jurassic Park" scenario, which will probably never come to pass, no matter how advanced cloning technology becomes because the information just isn't there. We'll never get even close to the complete genome of a dinosaur because its DNA has long since been degraded. And don't tell me about preserved DNA in amber -- first of all, almost all of the claims about preserved DNA have since been shown to be simple contamination, and secondly the were just short fragments anyway.
      • Dinosaurs are probably irretrievably lost, but we very well might get mammoths back. There are a few other examples of frozen (rather than fossilized) specimens available from glaciers.

        -jcr
  • We shall see the end to everything that we, the magnificient consumer ant colony, have taken for granted, and we shall erect a new being, less of a colony and more a body, and at its head shall be artificial intelligence in place of colonial queens, and we shall be but cells composing organs in a colossal being.

    Prior to that, let us hope for many a good beer.
  • by Forager (144256) on Sunday February 17, 2002 @07:03PM (#3023686) Homepage
    I've always enjoyed reading this author's speculations about the future -- he seems to be slightly off-target on some things, and his work is a bit optimistic at times, but overall it's an interesting read.

    Main site:
    http://kurellian.tripod.com/spint.html [tripod.com]

    Storage site:
    http://members.aol.com/kurellian/spint.html [aol.com]

    ~A.
    • Especially the part about artificial kidneys in 2015 and artificial livers in 2020. I guess I no longer have to worry about drinking all that beer and coke, science will solve my over-indulgence releated medical problems.

      Well, at least 85% of them.

    • by sean23007 (143364) on Sunday February 17, 2002 @10:32PM (#3024507) Homepage Journal
      his work is a bit optimistic at times,

      Of course his work is optimistic: if it were pessimistic he would be called a sociopathic depressed old wonk and his works relegated to the National Enquirer and such things. He is optimistic because he knows that that is what people want to hear.

      This guy knows what he's doing.
  • Hmmmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Crispin Cowan (20238) <crispin@crispi[ ]wan.com ['nco' in gap]> on Sunday February 17, 2002 @07:07PM (#3023695) Homepage
    I would really like to see that 1991 set of predictions claimed to be 85% accurate. IMHO, some of his current predictions are on crack. The goofiest one I've found yet: AI entity gains PhD 2016. I'll be impressed if an AI entity can parse a dissertation well enough to answer trivial questions about it by 2016.

    Crispin
    ----
    Crispin Cowan, Ph.D.
    Chief Scientist, WireX Communications, Inc. [wirex.com]
    Immunix: [immunix.org] Security Hardened Linux Distribution
    Available for purchase [wirex.com]

    • How about "Plane Zorbing: Jumping out of planes in inflatables"

      I know there's some nutters out there, but planes zorbing? C'MON!

    • Re:Hmmmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Repton (60818)
      > The goofiest one I've found yet: AI entity gains PhD 2016.

      It's not quite the same, but computer programs have already published papers.. For example, an automatic theorem prover was able to deduce a new mathematical result (closing an open problem that people had worked on). The output was run through another program to beautify it somewhat, and the result was published as a paper co-authored by the two programs. I don't have a link, but I've seen the paper...

      • Hell, according to my spam, my computer could get a PhD from a prestigious non-accredited institution today! I bet that's how the AI gets his!
    • Re:Hmmmm... (Score:3, Funny)

      by Dolly_Llama (267016)
      The real question is will the AI list the PhD prominently in its slashdot sig?
  • by drfrank (16371) on Sunday February 17, 2002 @07:09PM (#3023702)
    It's easy to get 85% accuracy. Make 100 predictions about the next 100 years. Make 85 of them statements such as, "By 2050, the computers will be faster." Make the other 15 really far-out stuff like "2020: Flying cars" to keep the technophile's interest.

    Submit story to slashdot through electronic psuedonym (hotmail), and watch your hit counter spin!
    • People should at least be realistic.

      Flying Cars? We can teleport stuff. Ever heard of quantum entanglement? Just because we can do something doesnt mean we will,

      With tax cuts going on right now, and about 70 percent of all our tax dollars maybe 80 percent now that Bush is president and 911 happened, all going to the Military, and very little going to science, its not that technology doesnt exsist today, its just too expensive to bring out of the lab.

      The hope is, other countries and governments will invest trillions of dollars in these technologies.
      Korea or was it Taiwan, i cannot remember, is investing Trillions in nano technology, this is how you do it, you need the government to start the industries off by giving companies funding. You also need the government funding scientists.

      The trend in the US is so anti tax that its also anti technology.

      Companies wont bring technology until they have no choice.

      So while we can teleport stuff, use cars which run on air and water, and get energy from the sun or even build fusion reactors, this stuff is still in the lab and will be for 20 years because people want tax cuts.
      • No way.

        The entire United States economy is just a hair over 9 trillion dollars with the United States Federal Budget coming in at 3 trillion.

        GDP: purchasing power parity - $9.963 trillion

        Taiwan has a GDP of 386 billion and South Korea has a GDP of 764 billion.

        So I really, reall doubt that any nation in Asia is putting "trillions" in nano technology.

        Government funding of science, while helps, is not a sure fire way to get a technology off the ground, as we can see by Fusion and space based laser weapons.



        • I didnt say a trillion in one year. but over the next 5.

          Government should fund science, science should not be about money, producers of information should be funded. People who make products off of this information should fund themselves.

          Programmers should be government funded.
          But Microsoft should not.

          Trust me if we dont start funding science, once China has enough money, and we know they have far more scientists than us, We are doomed. China is COMMUNIST, Capitalism is good at some things but if you look at the situation with Russia, Capitalism because its based on people being selfish, causes people and companies to battle with each other, this is fine in most competitive fields but bad for science.
        • "Government funding of science, while helps, is not a sure fire way to get a technology off the ground, as we can see by Fusion and space based laser weapons. "

          Government research into space based laser weapons paved the way for modern discoveries highly accrete lasers which are currently being used for all sorts of nifty short range stuff.

          You know those Gigahert+ CPUs that are being thrown around for less then $100 nowa'days?

          Thank you government laser weapon research. :)
      • How about 15-30 percent? Show me proof of your 70% number...
      • by Rasta Prefect (250915) on Sunday February 17, 2002 @08:58PM (#3024156)
        People should at least be realistic.

        Yes...

        Flying Cars? We can teleport stuff. Ever heard of quantum entanglement? Just because we can do something doesnt mean we will,

        Hate to break it to you, but theres a slight difference between "Well, we think we've sorta got this theory quantum entanglement figured out" to "Beam me up, Mr. Scott". Even assuming we come up with some incredible new way of using quantum entangled particles to transmit information (Something thats far, far beyond our current technology), you then have to be able to use that information to recreate the object you're "teleporting", which is hardly a hurdle unworthy of consideration.

        With tax cuts going on right now, and about 70 percent of all our tax dollars maybe 80 percent now that Bush is president and 911 happened, all going to the Military, and very little going to science, its not that technology doesnt exsist today, its just too expensive to bring out of the lab.

        70%? I think not. The current number is more like 23-24% and that is only if you don't count Social Security and Medicare as part of the total. If you do, it's more like 16%.

        The hope is, other countries and governments will invest trillions of dollars in these technologies. Korea or was it Taiwan, i cannot remember, is investing Trillions in nano technology, this is how you do it, you need the government to start the industries off by giving companies funding. You also need the government funding scientists.

        Hmmm...Korea and Taiwan throwing "Trillions" into nano tech? Korea's GNP for 2000 was approximately $515 billion dollars, Taiwan's was $363 billion. Somehow, I don't think either of these countries has "trillions" to throw at nanotech. Yes, they're investing, but not on that scale.

        The trend in the US is so anti tax that its also anti technology.

        Making the assumption that the only way technology ever advances is with government assistance. Intel, IBM, 3M and General Electric, to name a few might disagree with you on this. Granted, government assistance certainly helps, particularly for projects that are farther off, but the above statement doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense.

        Companies wont bring technology until they have no choice.

        Untrue. Companies generally bring out technology as soon as it becomes profitable. Granted there is a bit of inertia to overcome, but thats always true of humanity. If they delay, somebody else is just going to come along and introduce it. It's not like the government had to sue for the creation of the integrated circuit - computing technology advanced at an incredible rate because it's extremely profitable for it to do so. Genetics? I seem to remember there were private interests racing the Human Genome Project to complete sequencing the Human Genome. Companies introduce technologies that are profitable - those which create greater resources than they consume. Granted, they must occasionally be "enouraged" to do the correct thing for the greater good of society, but we're not exactly having to beat them with crowbars to introduce the newest greatest thing.

        So while we can teleport stuff, use cars which run on air and water, and get energy from the sun or even build fusion reactors, this stuff is still in the lab and will be for 20 years because people want tax cuts.

        Again with the claim that we can teleport stuff, which we are no where near having any proof is possible, let alone practical. Cars that run on air and water. I assume you mean hydrogen here, which really isn't ready for the big time. Solar panels are expensive and not particularly efficient yet, not to mention very dirty to make. Fusion reactors? Yeah, they're in the lab and have had quite a lot of research funds poured into them. And thus far they've stayed in the lab because they don't work. They'll fuse hydrogen, but thus far they all consume more power than they produce. Really useful.

        In short, I agree with the basic premise that we should spend more money on research than we do, both in the public and private arenas. But numbers off by orders of magnitude and claims that things of things that aren't strictly true don't really help convince others.

  • by Repton (60818)
    Check out his future for human evolution [bt.com]. Rise of robotus multitudinous predicted within the next 50-100 years...
  • by jACL (75401)
    One has to wonder about the social consequences of:

    "He predicts that humanoid robots will fill factory jobs by 2007. By 2015, robots will be able to take on almost any job in hospitals or homes."

    Talk about a rich-poor gap. Sounds like the perfect backdrop for a Butlerian Jihad.



    • We will never have robotics because our economy isnt compatible with it. Some country like China however will have lots of robotics.

      While everyone disses communism one thing thats for sure, Communism in the long run is better than capitalism, however capitalism raises technology faster and quicker even if it cant handle it.
      • Great, now we have people making political theories based on Civilization (the game)?

        I recommend we research Mathemathics so we can build catapult!
  • by Rayonic (462789) on Sunday February 17, 2002 @07:10PM (#3023706) Homepage Journal
    electronic lifeform given basic rights (2020).

    I don't see how this is possible, since (theoretically) any electronic lifeform would have perfect memory. If you have a perfect, electronic memory then how would the government or MPAA/RIAA know that you're not "pirating" some music/movies/books in there? You could just listen to music once and play it back whenever you wanted. Heck, why buy a DVD when you can just play back the memory of when you saw it in a movie theater? It's much more convenient and impressive, not to mention free.

    Nope, any and all electronic minds will have to have DRM technology built-in and have regular brain-sweeps to make sure the being has a digital right to whatever content is in it's brain. Heck, while they're in there they might as well clean up any unwanted (by them) memories or sentiments they encounter. Basic rights. Sure.

    And need I point out that this would apply to any technology-enhanced human beings as well? I think we'll sooner see human beings with "PDA's" in their brains than true artificial intelligence.
    • A mind sufficiently advanced to be given rights would probably be able to defeat any constraints imposed on its mind. It could develop its own encryption (mnemonic?) methods to prevent multimedia content from being recognized as such, or learn to backup and restore its subversive thoughts to avoid scans.

      I believe that due to emergent behavior and similar factors, processes with the level of complexity required for AI will not be directly configurable, but will have to be "programmed" through techniques similar to the way human minds are "programmed" (hypnosis, brainwashing, information control, etc). And the realization that that which is frowned upon or outright illegal/immoral can be inflicted on an AI might be a key step in granting them rights.
    • by The Pim (140414) on Sunday February 17, 2002 @10:15PM (#3024451)
      I don't see how this is possible, since (theoretically) any electronic lifeform would have perfect memory. If you have a perfect, electronic memory then how would the government or MPAA/RIAA know that you're not "pirating" some music/movies/books in there?

      This is a misconception about AI. Just because an AI implementation has a mass digital storage, doesn't mean the AI "being" has mass digital storage in any significant sense. The AI level is so far above the storage level, that the AI would probably not interface to the storage any differently from how you or I would. In other words, it would be little different from a person with an MP3/DVD player.

      Similarly, an AI would not necessarily be a lightning calculator, even though it's built of of the same chips that can do a billion additions per second. In the AI's "mind", as in ours, numbers are high-level symbols, not RAM words. The AI has no more access to its RAM than we have to our neurons.

      Of course, I can't prove this, but I'm quite persuaded.

  • He's making a couple of jumps with some predictions:

    By 2025, there will be more robots than people in developed countries. By 2030, robots will become mentally and physically superior to people -- and perhaps unwilling to tolerate the existence of their human creators.

    So he's saying that we'll have self-aware robots in 23 years. This seems pretty unrealistic to me, being that we have yet to design a computer that has demonstrated anything close to human conciousness.

    He predicts that humanoid robots will fill factory jobs by 2007. By 2015, robots will be able to take on almost any job in hospitals or homes.

    2007 isn't that far off. If humanoid robots are going to fill factory jobs, wouldn't we be seeing some humanoid today?

    And why humanoid? Seems like the current factory robots (massive robots at the auto factories, for example) are doing pretty well without a humanoid design.
    • See the CNN story [cnn.com] about the Sony SDR-3.
  • by Nicolas MONNET (4727) <nicoaltiva@@@gmail...com> on Sunday February 17, 2002 @07:11PM (#3023715) Journal
    Time travel invented ... 2075
    Faster than light travel ... 2100


    What makes the first one potentially easier? I wonder.
  • Bleak future (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by Mac Nazgul (196332)
    I personally think that we are all doomed, probably before any of these things have a chance to happen. Think about all the things we create in this world... All of the amazing advances we have made... yet people still starve and die in the street all over the world. Why? Because human nature is to create for personal gain. Those not born into the power elite (Political/Business/Military) are doomed to morgage their entire life for money. And all this technology we create only benefits those who are in control. How do you like those new Nikes you bought? Want to know how many 10 year olds had to die to bring you those? How's your tax bill this year? Guess what- Micorosft (and Cisco) payed no federal taxes last year!

    We are all doomed becasue of inherant greed and reactive attitudes towards the problems of the world. "we don't need to do something about the middle east!" *first plane hits tower* Shit! we have do to something now!
    • Hogwash. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jcr (53032)
      All of the amazing advances we have made... yet people still starve and die in the street all over the world. Why? Because human nature is to create for personal gain.

      .. and in those countries that interfere the least in people's creative activity, even the poorest of the poor can survive with minimal effort.

      How do you like those new Nikes you bought? Want to know how many 10 year olds had to die to bring you those??

      Oh, cry me a river. First of all, Nike's not employing gangs of thugs to murder ten-year-olds. Secondly, the people who go to work in Nike's factories aren't doing so at gunpoint, they're doing it because working in a sweatshop is a step up from subsistence farming.

      Get a grip.

      -jcr

      • Think about the creations we have been able to produce. Just the advances in aviation are amazing... The shear amount of effort and thought that has gone into creating a better airplane is astounding... But for what? Those amazing fighter airplanes everyone thinks are so cool are designed for what? To kill people. No other purpose. To continue the effort to self-exterminate ourselves. And the civilian models? More profit for the power elite. Oh and Nike? The $895,400,000 in gross profit from last quarter is all I have to say. While they may not employ thugs, they are bastards themselves as a third of that money would bring their sweatshops out of the third world. THink about it. Then think of how you world feel if you were a "have-not."
  • Page 6... (Score:3, Funny)

    by xonker (29382) on Sunday February 17, 2002 @07:12PM (#3023717) Homepage Journal
    "Orgasm by email - 2010"

    Suddenly "you've got mail" takes on a whole new meaning... spam becomes wildly popular... hookers are out of work in droves...

    Only eight more years...
    • Hmm! (Score:2, Funny)

      by MrP- (45616)
      That gave me an idea.. a software/hardware vibrator system, when the software reads sexually explicit words it activates the vibrator. hmm.... yes, hmm.. and the more hardcore the word, the more it vibrates. could possibly incorporate some AI to process the text as a story, "as I go down on you", would simulate a BJ.. ah yes, fantastic! I shall begin work immediately!

      Be back later..
  • Better List (Score:3, Informative)

    by BrianGa (536442) on Sunday February 17, 2002 @07:16PM (#3023746)
    Be advised, an easier-to-read list is available at groupbt [groupbt.com].
  • Futurism, humbug... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Squeeze Truck (2971) <xmsho@yahoo.com> on Sunday February 17, 2002 @07:17PM (#3023748) Homepage
    I've about had it with technilogical futurists. These people have been predicting the same sorts of things for over 100 years. Progress to these people is unstoppable. They predict things only because they are technically possible, and never take into account anything deeper.

    I predict that the public's fascination with technology for its own sake will have seriously diminished by 2010.
    • by MrP- (45616)
      .. every human will be locked in a box with no windows, that way we cant violate the DCMA in any way. All the ideas and inventions in the article will come to light, but only for RIAA/MPAA members.

      Actually I bet my prediction is more accurate than the Ian Pearsons :)
    • by Squeeze Truck (2971) <xmsho@yahoo.com> on Sunday February 17, 2002 @07:34PM (#3023818) Homepage
      Or how about this:

      2008: Mujahideen overthrow most western-aligned governments in mideast. Oil production comes to a complete standstill. World economies collapse.

      2009: Rain falls for first time on Arakkis.

      2011: Americans burn sheafs of "future predictions" to keep from freezing to death.

      2013: Americans all starve because robotic pets are not edible.
  • This was done in Australia a few years ago. Confessions were entered into a computer through a touch screen and the confessor received a printed out list of all the sins plus a handy piece of advice for each one.
  • What bullshit. He made no mention of gravity/inertia control or flying cars. Not even in the "wildcard" section. Yet he mentions contact with ET's, and time travel. Just how do the ET's get around? Scramjet engines? C'mon.
  • Internet achieves 75% penetration in UK ..... 2015

    this seems very un-optimistic. especially compared to his other statements.
  • 95% of people in advanced nation computer literate 2010
    Since we are only about 1% now, that's a hell of an increase for 8 years...
  • by Mister Snee (549894) on Sunday February 17, 2002 @07:38PM (#3023838)
    Artificial Inteligence -- top of page 5.
    Hehe.
  • by Fweeky (41046) on Sunday February 17, 2002 @07:38PM (#3023842) Homepage
    Well, I suppose it'd make spam a bit less pointless, and imagine if Outlook is still up to it's old tricks..

    "I SEND YOU THIS ORGASM IN ORDER TO HAVE YOUR ADVICE"
  • 2010: Homes made in prefabricated modules...guess he's never been to rural North Carolina.

    2010: Orgasm by email. Oh, wait, we already have this. I'm reliably informed.

    Also 2010: 25% of all TV personalities will be synthetic. Oh, wait...

    Hey bein' one a them futurists is easy!
    • Not just those double wide things anymore... One of my father's good friends built a japanesse style home out of prefab modules. It just so happens to be in the extreamly rural part of north carolina.... but he does have cable internet, so thats a plus.
  • Artificial Life (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Reality Master 101 (179095) <RealityMaster101@noSpAM.gmail.com> on Sunday February 17, 2002 @07:41PM (#3023852) Homepage Journal

    This timeline has to be a joke with regard to Artifial Intelligence. Common sense inference by 2005? Artificial life by 2006?

    Assuming he's talking about human-level artifical intelligence, in my opinion, he's off by 100 to 200 years. First we need a theory on what common sense and intelligence is. Maybe a few decades after that we might have some primitive implementations.

    I believe we're at least 50-100 years away from a theory, and probably much longer than that before we get a practical implementation.

    I don't know what this guy's smoking.

    • Actually about your .sig - something about lottery players not picking 1,2,3,4,5,6. Aparrently they do, and since the jackpot would be shared amongst the large number of people - all of which thought this was an original idea - each would get fuck all.

      The tactics are supposed to be to avoid anything logical, and avoid numbers less than thirty (people's birthdays). Neither make it more likely that you win, but they do lower the number of people that share the jackpot.

      Dave
  • Even the comparatively mundane predictions are incredibly optimistic: 2002 will see the introduction of 200GB hard drives an P4 laptops yet by 2003 we'll have 11TB credit card sized storage (only an increase by a factor of 55), memory with access time of 1ns (an improvement by a factor of at least 5).
  • So what (Score:3, Informative)

    by HanzoSan (251665) on Sunday February 17, 2002 @07:44PM (#3023866) Homepage Journal

    Michio Kaku has a better timeline to the future in his book Visions.

    Anyone who doubts should check out that book at amazon.com

    I wont quote whats in the book because i bet i'd be sued for copyright violations or something, but it basically says, Humans will reach nano technology, and quantum revolution within maybe 20-30 years,definately within our lifetimes because silicon wont last beyond 2020.

    It goes as far as 2100 and beyond M.Kaku interviewed and speaks to hundreds of other scientists, engineers and people in the know.

    Now, as far as if we ever reach the year 2100,thats up to us, so far our society doesnt look like it can handle the technology we are developing, look at the DCMA, and the patent laws, its not like patents will work anymore in the future once technology gets to such a state as described by futurists.
  • WOW!!! this is one of the coolest /. things ive ever read. we need a poll or somthing.. this is awsome.. im still like 1/4 through reading it.. awsome work
  • I'm out of a job. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by abigor (540274) on Sunday February 17, 2002 @07:49PM (#3023881)
    If most software is being written by other software by 2011, then I am screwed. This is like being a mechanic, hand-crafting your own tools, and then have them take over and start fixing things.

    But you know, I really wonder. As software becomes more "macro" in scope, with stable, heavily-featured containers for components, then maybe software will be simple enough to generate automatically, simply by a program assembling many small components together after parsing a description of what it is you want. In fact, this is probably almost possible today -- I could write an XML file which specifies the features I need for my e-commerce server (these security characteristics, those features, the ability to pay this way) and a program could parse it and throw together all the readily available components that are out there now. Of course, tools will need to be written and so forth, but for more general stuff like applications and server software, I wonder if the time will come when we look back on programmers who wrote lines of code in the same way we now look at programmers who punched cards?
  • by Yorrike (322502) on Sunday February 17, 2002 @07:53PM (#3023897) Homepage Journal
    Here's a few events I can see happening in the near future:

    1000 monkeys at 1000 type writers code perfect operating system: 2010
    CowboyNeal becomes world president due to Slashdot poll becoming legally binding: 2014
    Mozilla 1.0 released: 2018
    Timelines of the Future proven inaccurate: 1823
    99% of Slashdot comment submitters use "Preview" button before submitting: 2793

    • 99% of Slashdot comment submitters use "Preview" button before submitting: 2793

      I think we can move this date up a bit if we have the "Preview" button generate an Orgasmatron-E-Mail.

      -
  • lets see, we have a futurist who got lucky and predicted near future stuff pretty well, i.e. Age of rational machines) and then decides to try a little more. Sounds like a Ray Kurzweil book I read a couple of years ago, the Age of Spiritual Machines.

    The major problem I see with these futurists saying that we will move so fast in the next hudred years is the capacity of humans to change that quickly and handle the power that it will give us. At some point augmenting humans directly, either through genetics or cybernetics will be nessecary, and I cant see us handling it well. We cant agree on what to do with cloning or fetal cell use, and these are the beginning of the augmentation process.
  • ...by putting things that have already happened as potential domesday scenarios. For instance, page 22 has:

    "Computer/Chip/Operating System Maker Blackmails Country or World - year 2000"

    Ahhh, hello?

    Dave
  • by Anonymous Coward

    2005 Same old shit, different package

    2006 TV sinks to new low, Goatse.cx guy loses unfair competition suit

    2010 Apple and Linux still at <10%, but Microsoft goes bust because people stopped upgrading 8 years before

    2012 Human organs from cloned cells go on sale at Walmart

    2014 Last of the Jon Katz trolls found dead in his appartment, his contribution to the internet will be missed

    2017 Human implant of computers with hormonal interfaces become all the rage until Ariz attorneys figure out how to spam them, 1,000's claw the circuits from their bodies as spammers claim free speech rights

    2018 First man lands on mars, finds old coke can, world stunned, National Enquirer rules the news stands

    2019 Last oil well dries up, freeways become trailer parks of giant SUVs

    2021 Near earth pass of comet fills atmosphere with dust, temperature drops, baby born in Miami FL with full fur coat

    2070 Man returns from Mars, finds world run by apes.

  • by Cryogenes (324121) on Sunday February 17, 2002 @08:31PM (#3024053)
    The discovery of new things that man can do is only one side of progress. The other side is the discovery of things man can't do:
    • express pi as a fraction
    • increase mass
    • increase energy
    • decrease entropy
    • determine simultaneously location and speed of a particle
    • travel faster than light
    • predict the long-term future of a gravitational system with three bodies
    • solve the Turing machine halting problem
    • construct a universal inference system (Goedel)
    • efficiently solve NP-complete problems (not yet 100% sure)

    I have only listed the famous results, but things that can't be known or done are everywhere and more are discovered all the time. So far, all those negative results are in the hardest sciences (math, physics, logic and computing) but I expect other disciplines will find their own limitations in time. The next results could well be about intelligence and complexity. We might, for example, find that the intelligence of any man or machine is always inferior to its complexity, making self-understanding and strong AI inherently impossible.

    do you believe in death after life?
    • increase mass
      Travel near the speed of light.

      increase energy
      See previous item and the mass/energy equivalence

      travel faster than light
      Not theoretically impossible. Travelling exactly at c is the problem

      • * increase mass
        Travel near the speed of light.


        Acceleration requires energy. Due to the engery mass equivalence, which you pointed out, you have to be getting energy, and therefore mass from somewhere. The point is, you're not creating it from nothing.
      • Blockquoth the posters:


        travel faster than light

        Not theoretically impossible. Travelling exactly at c is the problem


        Um, no. You're probably thinking of the infamous "tachyons", one of the most benighted missteps in theoretical physics ever. It can be shown by relatively basic relativity that, if for one observer, event B occurs after event A but separated by less than the time it would take light to travel from A to B, then there is some observer for whom the time-ordering of A & B is reversed. That is, for some observer moving at constant velocity relative to the first, B occurs first.


        So if event A is "I leave Earth" and event B is "I arrive at alpha Centauri", and for one observer, B is (say) two years after A, then for some other observer, B occurs before A. Which means causality flies right out the window: What if you then sent a signal from B to A that is encoded as follows:

        • If the ship has arrived, send a signal telling us not to send the ship.
        • If the ship has not arrived, send a signal telling us to send it.

        You may add such automation as you desire to ensure that we contrary humans don't boggle the experiment. Of course we now have the situation wherein the ship is both sent and not sent, and we seem to be in a bit of a tizzy.


        Note that it does not matter what method of FTL travel our ship uses: teleporter, transwarp, pixie dust. All that matters is the fact that the two events (ship leaves Earth, ship arrives at alpha Centauri) are separated in time by less than the light travel time.


        Tachyons are bunk because -- besides requiring things like complex mass -- they can't deal with this issue. Other clever physicists have come up with ways that might allow us to cheat: You never exceed light speed, but you shorten the distance between the points using Gen Rel and some "exotic matter". But you still don't beat c

        • by Tim Macinta (1052) <twm@alum.mit.edu> on Monday February 18, 2002 @12:58AM (#3024980) Homepage
          It can be shown by relatively basic relativity that, if for one observer, event B occurs after event A but separated by less than the time it would take light to travel from A to B, then there is some observer for whom the time-ordering of A & B is reversed. That is, for some observer moving at constant velocity relative to the first, B occurs first.

          Couldn't this same logic be used to prove that nothing can move faster than the speed of sound? Say I hop in my supersonic jet, shout "I'm leaving", fly from Boston to San Francisco, and then say "I'm here". Somebody standing in San Francisco will hear me say "I'm here" before they hear "I'm leaving". Following the same argument you used, this should make faster than sound travel impossible because the person standing in San Francisco will observe B before A even though A happened before B. Of course, we all know that supersonic travel is possible, so this shows that observations of occurrences do not need to follow chronological order.

  • As I'm born in 1975, and the 100 year lifespan is predicted for 2040 or so, I can almost make it to 2100 when the 'immortality chip' is predicted, and upload myself into the Net. I've been striving for immortality for a while, but it's nice to know that I'll almost be able to make it (seeing > C space travel would be nice as well).

    To quote woody allen: "I don't want to gain immortality by doing great things, I want to do it by living a very, long time."

    :)
  • I'm doing a PhD in natural language processing, a branch of AI. I nearly laughed out loud when I saw that he predicts real-time translation by 2005. My second reaction was to think that my girlfriend might be out of a job (she's a translator), but then I started laughing again. The other AI predictions are almost as bad.

    But let's concentrate on translation. You've used babelfish, right? Well, babelfish uses SYSTRAN's software underneath. SYSTRAN has been developing their stuff since the 60's. That's right, the laughably bad translations you get from Babelfish is the result of over 30 years of engineering effort. What big change is going to happen in 3 years?

    Well, fortunately for the machine translation people, there have been some advances in the past few years. In the early 90's, a group at IBM suggested using statistical methods for translation, and only now are these methods coming into vogue amoung AI researchers. Sadly, they still can't outperform what SYSTRAN has done. Don't get me wrong - the IBM stuff was a breakthrough. Moreover, there will be incremental improvements over the next few yeas, but without another breakthrough, you'll be able to do SOMETHING in real time, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it "translation"

    As for the other AI targets... well, for example, how the hell will Barbie get an AI if Mattel is spending $0 on AI research? Hmmm... it seems like this guy is spewing rather than making predictions based on researched and **EDUCATED** guesses.
  • It seams that robots will eventually replace humans at most tasks, leaving a large portion of the population unemployed. Perhaps at some stage in the future we will revert to some communism style of government, where robots do all the work, and humans live a life of luxery

    Before you mod me down or throw around anti commie remarks, think about it. If AI and robots take over a large percentage of our jobs, the number of unemployed people will skyrocket, and most of the population would end up on unemployment compensation. If this happens, then Western nations would start looking less like Capitalism, and more like Communism.
  • by cybermage (112274) on Sunday February 17, 2002 @09:20PM (#3024249) Homepage Journal
    While reading this, I noticed that TNN was re-airing the ST:TNG episode called "Relics" where Scotty is found in the transporter buffer of a crashed ship and finds himself 75 years in the future.

    I must admit that while reading about some of the predicted advances I feel a bit lost in the ramifications. In some ways, we are not only a product of our upbringing, but also the time we grew up in. Even at 33, I find the ideas of artificial living entities and cultured replacement organs a bit daunting. We've lived for millenia on this planet with just natural life forms and no spare organs and we treat living things and our bodies with such little respect. When we can engineer replacements, how much will life mean then? What kind of world will future generations grow up in?

    Like Scotty, I don't think I'd want to wake up 75 years into the future. While I'm curious about how things will be, I suspect I'd just feel out of place.
  • Old news... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Nick Smith (321087) <[ua.moc.enobew] [ta] [htimsn]> on Sunday February 17, 2002 @09:29PM (#3024276) Homepage
    "25 % of TV celebrities synthetic: 2010".

    I think we passed this milestone some years ago....
  • by pinkpineapple (173261) on Sunday February 17, 2002 @10:35PM (#3024514) Homepage
    GNU Hurd shipping? No date
    Linux as a mainstream Desktop OS? No date
    Microsoft launching their own space program? No date

    PPA, the girl next door
  • by G-funk (22712) <josh@gfunk007.com> on Sunday February 17, 2002 @11:23PM (#3024649) Homepage Journal
    They stuffed up the anti-matter timeline, full kudos to the firs /.er to pick up the reference.

    2205 Antimatter production station built in orbit around sun by Govcentral in an attempt to break the Edenist energy monopoly

    2208 First antimatter drive starships operational.

    2232 Conflict at Jupiter's trailing Trojan asteroid cluster between belt alliance ships and O'Neal Halo company hydrocarbon refinery. Antimatter used as a weapon; twenty-seven thousand people killed.

    2238 Treaty of Deimos outlaws production and use of antimatter in the Sol system: signed by Govcentral, Lunar natio, asteroid alliance, and Edenists. Antimatter stations abandoned and dismantled.

    2267-2270 Eight separate skirmishes involving use of antimatter among colony worlds. Thirteen million killed.

    2271 Avon summit between all planetary leaders. Treat of Avon, banning the manufacture and use of antimatter thoughout inhabited space. Formation of Human Confederation to police agreement. Contrusction of confederation Navy begins.

    2350 War between Novska and Hilversum. Novska bombed with antimatter. Confederation Navy prevents retaliatory strike against Hilversum.

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