What exactly is the it
that is going to happen? That's the real question. Are we mucking around with things we are trying to understand that are very interesting - yes. Will we over-hype them before we really have a clue or can deliver, in order to fund them and/or leverage new companies to make a quick profit - yes. (Companies the have used the 'nano' prefix have seen their stock go up merely by using the prefix - that's good hype and good business
I knew that's get your blood pumping.
What is going to happen? Major Paradigm shift, of course!
Not the "Edgar Cayce" Woo-Woo New Age nation Paradigm, but one with Societal Altering results none the less.
As in, what would happen if you suddenly were faced with the power of creation? Or, we could find out what the secret of life is, or isn't. That sort of thing.
Look at how we view the world and ourselves at this time in history vs 20, 50, 100 years ago.
So the answer is Yes, No, and maybe. To all of those questions.
We are good at imagining and that's cool, but we may not be bright enough to either understand what is really going on or to implement it in useful and nonharmful ways. For example, with all our great ability and knowledge we can't even make a decent Cox -2 inhibitor (Vioxx). It is clear that we really don't know Jack about making drugs and their side effects. We stumble along doing some definite and significant good, but mainly making a fortune for drug companies.
Meta: See, I don't buy that "are we bright enough to handle the technology?" argument because clearly we are, otherwise we could not have discovered these things.
Now, society at large, is another thing. Realistically, if you can show that technology will enhance people's lives, consumerism will generally make the decision on which way it will progress. However, behind that is education. Proper education, not mythos and F.U.D (Fear, uncertainty and doubt) I see the major opponents of technology in the coming years to be right wing religious groups who's motives are based on ignorance, fear, and feelings of self righteousness stemming from an irrational mythos which has no basis in scientific reality.
For example, I want our nation to pursue cloning technology, not because we are "violating the laws of nature" (Besides, my philosophy is since all that there is nature, then nothing exists which is Un-natural) but mainly I am interested in the process of cloning which can produce spare body parts for the ill.
The real frontier and barrier that needs to be overcome is that we have a really, really, really, .... (omega times) poor understanding of what exactly a human being (organism) is and how it functions on the molecular level. Yes, we have mapped the human genome and that's wonderful. We know about how many and where the proteins are, but we still have very little understanding of the function and interaction of each of the individual proteins. So, in order to successfully apply any new technology to the human body, we must e.g. first make significant progress in proteomics, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Meta: It's only a matter of (exponential) time before these issues become clear. That's all.
Isn't unbridled belief in the human race's purported ability to figure everything out about the universe just another flavor of (pseudo-scientific) anthropocentrism? Doesn't it fly in the face of real scientific inquiry? It's fun to speculate, but it is what it is, namely unscientific speculation.
Meta: To quote Shakespeare:
"What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculties! in form and moving, how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god!"
It's interesting that in the Western world, we are "programmed" so to speak, to always think we are, by creation, somewhat inferior. Inferior to what, I say? To "God?" Some "Higher Power?" On what basis would we say something is "Higher" to what regard? In value? In rights? In wisdom?
I would argue that that thought process of thinking that the human species does not have limitless potential at least in the body being strapped or hindered by mere existence, to achieve whatever it is we put our minds to, is grossly underestimating the special circumstances that the human condition creates by merely being one.
What some might call anthropocentrism I call current realism.
I cannot experience life as anything BUT human, therefore I have nothing else to relate it to. Until we find another civilization among the stars , or prove that deities do exist, there is nothing else we can do BUT be anthropocentric.
What else would you have us do?
I say, to hell with the "future generations" I live in the NOW.
I say, to hell with "morality" "ethics" and other self constructed and misguided memes of "Human meaning."
The fact that we as humans need a "reason for being" and thus create entities that provide false hope is more of a definition of anthropocentrism than any I can think of.
You, and I, humans, are bags of meat.
It's not romantic, it's not pretty,
In fact, it can be fairly dark,
and depressing, but that's it.
You don't get any more life after you die.
You are worm food. No reincarnation, No second chance, that's it. Game over. Forever.
Not ONE single human being, in the billions of human beings
who have died has ever come back from the dead and said,
"Hey, there's something else out there."
Not one. That in itself should be a fairly big impetus.
Technology, and the struggle to prolong death and one day eliminate it, should be the prime concern among the human race right now. We need to take care of US. We humans.
Let the Dolphins get their own toys.
I think the right (objective scientific) attitude is the one expressed by Richard Feynman (Nobel prize winning physicist). He often said that he didn't prejudge what science is or what it should be, but rather "he just wanted to find out about the world," and that if it came out all nice and neatly arranged, that was fine, or if it turned out to be an onion with an unbounded number of layers that we always must keep peeling off forever than that was fine too. He "just wanted to find out about the world," how ever he could and in what way it might reveal itself to us (humans).
I'm not saying that we will find out everything there is to know in the next 50 years. I'm simply saying that there is an
"Event" which we are rushing towards within the concept of technology, one wherein Medicine, Traditional Technology, and Quantum physics will unify.
I hate to say I'm right, but while I am indeed "guessing", I am making reasonable assertions based upon current trends, research, and technology levels.
I would also add, that I have been making such predictions about technological advancement for the last 25 years.
I have not been wrong yet.
Each time, everyone has the same arguments, and things like,
"No, Meta: U.S. companies would never send their tech and customer service depts. overseas. The public wouldn't stand for it!"
"No, Meta: You're mad. Computers will never reach the 4 GHz limit." They'll simply MELT!
"No, Meta, You're a Loon. This "Information Super Highway" You keep babbling about will never take off because computers will always be to difficult, and too expensive, for the average Joe to use."
"No, Meta, You're bonkers. No one will "Pay for T.V." and certainly no one will ever want more than 13 channels, and if they did, they certainly wouldn't pay for commercials."
"No Meta, You've Flipped. Humans aren't smart enough to clone an animal."
"No Meta, You are insane: "Paying a website to download music and movies will never work."
And on, and on, and on..
But as I said, I beg you not to take my word for it at all.
Read up on it.
"The future's so bright, we gotta wear shades.."