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Crystal Ball

Poll #1139082 How Will the Cookie Crumble?

How do you see things panning out?

Recession and recovery
14(41.2%)
Collapse and die-off
5(14.7%)
Amish with Internet
6(17.6%)
Technological singularity
6(17.6%)
Colonies on Mars
3(8.8%)
Human extinction
0(0.0%)

If you had your druthers?

Recession and recovery
4(12.1%)
Collapse and die-off
1(3.0%)
Amish with Internet
6(18.2%)
Technological singularity
12(36.4%)
Colonies on Mars
7(21.2%)
Human extinction
3(9.1%)

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Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
ankh_f_n_khonsu
Feb. 16th, 2008 03:26 am (UTC)
From a traditional perspective, at the changing of ages people undertook a great fast and made sacrifices - including people from outside the family.

In the procession of the next age we might expect similar. Instead of a fast, we might expect famine. Instead of sacrifices, we might expect war.

Or not.

There's a great deal of debate over the dating of the Age of Aquarius. Some say we're in it, while some say we're still in the sunset of Pices. Beyond that, the characteristics of the Aquarian Age leave a great deal of dispute.

I'm not sure I'd want to venture a guess as to how I think things will "pan out," but I'm pretty sure whatever happens it will entail change and create unpredictable challenges.

Namaste.
kmo
Feb. 17th, 2008 07:08 pm (UTC)
ages
I'm not sure I'd want to venture a guess as to how I think things will "pan out," but I'm pretty sure whatever happens it will entail change and create unpredictable challenges.

I pretty much agree with you there. I think it may be that if some god-like intelligence turns to examine the full record of the internet-facilitated memetic evolution, it may find some uncanny predictions in that ginormous jumble of fossilized chatter, but we may well have no way of picking the out the gems from all the decoys on offer.
nobody123
Feb. 16th, 2008 05:18 am (UTC)
i would personally be inclined to a more nuanced position than the ones you outline, but i've gone with singularity as long as we are not presupposing one of these demented transhumanist singularities like accelerando where we all turn into software living in coke bottles. i'm more than a bit convinced that, indeed, we are headed for an epic collapse, but i wouldn't quite bet on it just yet. the bigger issue in the context of some sort of singularitoid scenario is whether humanity can rid itself of ruling elites, or whether the coming changes will merely amplify and entrench the elites. and frankly i'd prefer collapse—although maybe not so much extinction—to the irrevocable establishment of such a ruling elite. especially if i'm not in on it.

anyway i don't see any contradiction between the sort of pleasant singularity i'd prefer (and somewhat expect) and colonies on mars. perhaps the broader concern here—which may be what you are asking about i guess—is whether or not meat-based humanity turns into an malignant infection spreading across the universe. colonies on mars, colonies on alpha centuri, colonies in andromeda, where does it end? when we fill up the universe with ourselves? (eventually with or without FTL travel i would add.) that's a pretty silly direction to go in. this is why, ideally, i'd like to see us open up new artificial pocket universes outside of conventional spacetime, and move into them as some sort of immortal energy beings. like the bajoran prophets of yore. that may or may not prove to be possible in this universe, but i think it would be the ideal solution. that or we should just stop breeding.

i've often thought that, in the event of some sort of viable spaceborne future for humanity, we ought to turn earth into some sort of if you will nature preserve. like, people who want to live on earth can, but only in accordance with strict ecological standards, with all heavy industry moved off-planet certainly. some sort of light-agricultural neo-tribalism. indeed, once the bulk of our civilization is established elsewhere in the system and perhaps the galaxy, it should be a relatively easy matter to clean up the planet and return it some sort of eden-like splendor. so, indeed, i see "amish with internet" (and i am assuming we use the term "amish" loosely here), technological singularity, and the mars thing as pretty much co-plausible.

recession with recovery sounds boring but i suppose that's always possible too. god that would be tedious.
kmo
Feb. 17th, 2008 07:48 pm (UTC)
nuanced choices
i would personally be inclined to a more nuanced position than the ones you outline...

Well, I took the answers for this poll verbatim from a poll that Albert K. Bates posted to his blog. He posed the question in a more straight-forward way:
What scenario do you consider most likely?


But I've duplicated the choices he had on offer exactly. I added the second iteration asking how the respondent would rather have things go.

i see "amish with internet" (and i am assuming we use the term "amish" loosely here), technological singularity, and the mars thing as pretty much co-plausible.

I created the poll with "choose one" radio buttons, but I can easily imagine a timeline in which every choice on offer comes to pass. We might go through a couple more cycles of recession and recovery before the whole thing finally collapses and initiates a die-back, leaving a lighter coverage of humanity in the Amish with Internet mode and a few formerly corporate R&D campus/strongholds who manage to bring about several varieties of singularity. While many of these may follow the invisible singularity model, others follow the diaspora model and result in canned apes on Mars (and elsewhere). Eventually the big one hits and results in complete human extinction.

You may have noticed that I have not yet cast my own votes in this poll. The first question is a real stumper for me because I interpret it to be asking, "Is this the final go-round for this bonanza of extraction and frivolous consumption of non-renewable resources and the global Ponzi scheme of an economy that this pattern supports? Or do we have to endure another couple of rounds of this tedious and increasingly vulgar routine before the whole things goes belly up?" I just don't know. The whole thing is already held together with spit, twine, and faith, but as far as I can tell, that combination has held the beast together for most of my adult life, and with the right spin-doctoring it might hold up for another decade or so. Or it may come unraveled tomorrow.

As to the second question, my answer depends on the kind of singularity involved. Right now, Amish with Internet seems like the most agreeable scenario to me, but kinder-and-gentler singularity would allow for that kind of life for those who don't care to rule their own pocket universes.

recession with recovery sounds boring but i suppose that's always possible too. god that would be tedious.

I notice that nearly half of the people who have voted thus far think that "recession and recovery" is the most likely course, but in terms of what they'd like to see, it's the third least popular choice after "collapse and die-off" and "human extinction."


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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