Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ray Kurzweil: The Paleo-Futurist of Tomorrow


I guess, by the logic of that headline, Ray Kurzweil would be the futurist of today. Just thought I'd share a fascinating interview with him from December 23, 2005.

8 comments:

a magical trumpet called bill said...

I'm still getting my head around paleo-futurism, but would he have to be wrong in his predictions about the future to become a paleofuturist in the years hence? In the same sense of "it's 2007 - where are our flying cars?" evokes a sense of paleofuturism - but the predictions about the weather changes we're experiencing does not? I'd be interested to hear whether your definition implies that those particular futurists of yesteryear were wrong?

Matt said...

No one is omniscient. That's the fun of looking back at what people thought the future would look like. The most important futurists of today seem to be those, like Ray Kurzweil, that are actively shaping the technology of tomorrow. Even so, he can't say with certainty what will happen. We'll look back and think that it was cool he was right about some things, and we'll chuckle about the things he got wrong.

That's my take on the meaning of the concept but I welcome other interpretations.

-Matt

Nick Teeple said...

I have started one of his books and his mind is truly fascinating. I gained a tremendous amount of perspective just from the small amount I have read.

zorgon the malevolent said...

Ray Kurzweil is an obvious crackpot. He's nothing but a much better-educated version of your typical ufologist.

The claims he makes about current technology are provably false, so we shouldn't be surprised that the claims Kurzweil makes about future technology qualify as delusional.

There exist so many clear-cut examples of Kurzweil's claims being obviously and flagrant false that it's hard to choose just a few, but one good example is Kurzweil's flagrantly false assertion that "We understand the human ear and we have reverse engineered it," referring to cochlear implants. This is not just wrong, it's widely known to be wrong.
Roughly 1/3 of cochlear implants work well enough for the recipients to understand speech in cases where there isn't overlapping conversations or ambient noise. However, even in those best-case scenarios, the cochlear implant never works 100% of the time, and basically functions as an aid to lip-reading. So even in the most successful cases, people with high-functioning cochlear implants need to lip-read some of the time to understand human speech. In another 1/3 of the cases cochlear implants work at a low-functioning level and it's possible to understand some speech, but music and other sounds don't come through well. (in the best high-functioning cases, cochlear implants not only allow the recipient to hear music, but to enjoy it.) And in 1/3 of the cases cochear implants don't work at all.
www.johnhorgan.org/work16.htm

It should be emphasized that scientists do not understand why cochlear implants work well in some recipients and don't work at all in others. It's not the technology since the implants are identical.
It should also be pointed out that whenever anyone gets a cochlear implant, they initially go through a long period of several months in which they perceive nothing but noise coming from the implant. The brain gradually adjusts to the signals and eventually deciphers them (in cases where the implant works) and over a long period of time, in the best cases, recipients can hear not only pitch but also timbral differences. However, cochlear implant recipients who lost their hearing as children or as adults report that even in the best case, cochlear implants produce input that sounds nothing like ordinary hearing.

So Kurweil's claim that scientists have mapped the brain and understand how much of it functions are provably false. Scientists have not mapped the brain even partially. We still don't know all the functions of (for example) the left temporal lobe. Scientists do NOT understand how even the simplest parts of the brain, like the auditory cortex, function -- at least, not well enough to reverse-engineer them.
As for nanotechnology and hard AI, those fields have run into brick walls so complete that there's no more point in discussing those delusions than in debating the claims of scientologists or alchemists.
http://www.skeptic.com/the_magazine/featured_articles/v12n02_AI_gone_awry.html

Science is making progress and technology has produced many advances. But the kinds of advances Kurzweil is talking about are not just futuristic, they belong to the realm of hallucinogenic self-delusion like GM's nuclear powered Nucleon concept car, a robot with human-level intelligence and manual dexterity in every home, a personal helicopter for everyone, personal jet packs, flying cars, and other seemingly drug-induced fantasies out of the TV kiddies' cartoon The Jetsons.

Kurzweil's claims about enhancing intelligence through genetic engineering in particular show his desperate ignorance of basic molecular biology and population statistics and cognitive psychology. No one knows what intelligence is or how to measure it -- and the evidence for that failure is overwhelming:

For most of the 20th century, intelligence was viewed as an all-purpose, monolithic power, christened g by psychologist Charles Spearman. Creativity was believed to be a side effect of a high level of general intelligence - a mark of big g. The father of the standardised-testing industry, Lewis Terman, created the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale to quantify this power. He launched the longest scientific study in history, Genetic Studies of Genius, to track the accomplishments of highly gifted grade-school children through the course of their lives. His hope that an impressive IQ score would augur groundbreaking accomplishments in science and art, however, didn't pan out. His young Termites, as he affectionately called them, did end up earning slots at better universities and getting hired for executive positions, often with help from Terman. They gave the world two memorable inventions: the K ration and I Love Lucy. (Both Ancel Keys, who perfected single-meal pouches for the US Army, and Jess Oppenheimer, the creator of the popular TV show, were Termites.)

For the most part, however, real genius slipped through Terman's net. None of his prodigies won major scientific prizes or became important artists, while two students excluded from the study for having insufficient test scores, William Shockley and Luis Alvarez, went on to earn Nobels.

http://www.flatrock.org.nz/topics/education/a_rage_to_master.htm

A test that allegedly measures "intelligence" but sieves out two future Nobel prize winners in the sciences constitutes such an obviously grotesque failure that hardly anything else need be said on the subject of testing for intelligence.
Clearly, we can't reliably test intelligence. We don't have a ghost of a clue what intelligence is, and we have no idea how to about figuring out how to determine what intgelligence is.
What we do know about measured IQ is that it is not correlated with achievement or general problem-solving ability. Marilyn vos Savant, the person with the highest recorded IQ, used to author a puzzle column for a newspaper, and now works as an accountant for her husband's business. Hardly a stellar record of achievement. You might expect the highest IQ segment of the population to correlate with the admissions to the top 50 colleges or the list of Nobel Prize winners -- you'd be wrong. Dead wrong. Completely 100% wrong. Turns out a Bulgarian woman with one ofhte highest recorded IQs can't even get a job, much less admission into a top-50 U.S. university.

Nobel Prize winners tend to come from small colleges, not out of the top 50 most prestigious colleges. Nobel Prize winners tend not to come from the top half percent of the IQ test scorers -- Richard Feynman had measured IQ of 120, much much lower than Marilyn Vos Savant or most of hte pople in MENSA. The delusion that we know what intelligence is, and therefore we can build smarter computers, and that those computers will therefore be able to build even smtarter computers, is a chain of errors as foolish and as crazy as the chain of errors involved in claiming that lightning bugs are produced when lightning strikes a bug.

We don't know what intelligence is. Even if we did know, there's no evidence we can enhance it or replicate it. (We know perfectly well what imgaination is -- can we enhance ir or replicate it?) Even if we could enhance or replicate intelligence in silicon, there's no evidence at all that a smarter-than-human computer would be able to build a computer smarter than itself (and there's a huge mountain of evidence showing that it couldn't...just look how impossible it has been for the smartest humans to produce computers smarter than themselves). And even if superhumanly smart computers could produce computers smarter than themselves, what's the evidence that they wouldn't just sit around contemplaing beautiful paintings instead of interacting with humans? Do really smart human spend their time explaining themselves to ants? Why would superhumanly smart computers even bother to interact with us, assuming they were possible -- whiich is unliikley to the point of practical impossibility?
Nobel prize winners, asked about what produced their breakthroughs, do not cite intelligence -- instead, they refer to qualities like "imagination" and "persistence." Neither Ray Kurzweil nor any molecular geneticist has suggested or shown any method of genetically eningeering reliable enhancements to human creativity or persistence. No one even has any idea how to measure these qualities quantitatively, much less genetically enhance them, or even if they can be genetically enhanced.

The usual kooks and cranks and flakes will of course erupt with red-faced flatulent fury to shriek "that article from Skeptic magazine you linked to doesn't prove anything!"

That's a lie.

Moreover, it's simple and easy to prove that it's a lie.

The article proves that none of the myriad claims made by AI researchers have ever panned out, it proves that every single one of the most prestigious current AI researchers with tenured positions as head of the best cutting-edge AI resarch labs in the finest universities in the world all believe "AI is brain-dead" and "AI has hit a brick wall."
The article from the Skeptic magazine cited above proves that there are not just one, but many incredibly hard problems facing AI research -- problems so unsolvable, so refractory, so shockingly intransigent, that no one has even been able to suggest even a hypothetical way to get around them, much less make progress in AI and genetic engineering of human intelligence or build Drexlerian nanotech assemblers, by solving them. These problems include the frame problem and the combinatorial explosion search problem for expert systems and the self-reference problem for AI, the problem of junk DNA and the RNA world paradigm and the really really tough problem of reverse-engineering emergent systems for genetic engineering, and the problem of molecular stiction and Brownian bombardment and the destruction by Brownian forces and Van Der Waals forces and molecular folding of the paper-tape-type ecnoded instructions required for a rod-logic atomic level computer to work and be programmable in a general Von Neuman sense.

Before the kooks and cranks and flakes who deny that Kurzweil is spouting gibberish continue with their rants, they need to do the following:

[1] Show us a working AI computer program which solves the frame problem. Not just a diagram, not just pseudo-code, not just a research paper on how to write such a program -- a working AI program that solves the frame problem. Show us such an example, or shut up because you're an ignorant liar.

[2] Show us a working automated translation program that reliably takes in natural language and reliably spits back out idiomatic English without grammatical or semantic errors. Not just a program that works on 50% of the words in sentences, not something that needs huge amounts of human intervention to work, not pseudo-code, not a white paper on how to write such a program, but an actual working AI program. Show us that, or shut up because you're an ignorant liar.

[3] An AI program that reads a novel and summarizes the book in a book report that's accurate and succinct. Not just pseudo-code, not just a research proposal, but an actual working program. Show us that, or shut up, because you're an ignorant liar.

[4] A computer program that can listen to a piece of music and tell us whether it's any good. In other words, a computer program that can realiably tell the difference between randomly-generated junk and a pop tune. Any human can tell the difference in 3 seconds, but no computer can. Once again, don't just provide pseudo-ccde, not just a research proposal, but an actual working program. Show us that, or shut up because you're an ignorant liar.

[5] An AI program which can negotiate a labor agreement. Not just pseudo-code, not a proposal, but an actual working program. Show us that, or shut up because you're an ignorant liar.

Every single time the kooks and cranks and flakes who deny that Kurzweil is a crackpot get asked to show any of these actual working computer programs, they always give evasions and excuses. They backpedal and fum-fuh and spin long-winded elaborate incoherent stories to explain why they can't give us any evidence.
In short, Kurzweil and his supporters -- when asked for evidence -- give the same kind of response you get from ufologists or Bigfoot enthusiasts or hollow earth proponents when you ask 'em for hard evidence of their claims. They give you nothing -- nothing but smoke and mirrors, lies and bullshit, incoherent excuses and vague assertions like "it may take many years to produce results" or "we're just starting to reesarch these areas." The exact same kinds of vague hand-waving you get when you confront ufologists and ask them for proof of their wild claims.

As for the kooks and cranks and flakes who will claim "it's easy enough to debunk all these claims that AI and genetic engineering to enahnce human intelligence and nanotechnology don't work and aren't working and never will work, but I don't have the time" -- you're lying and I can prove it.

If you can debunk the assertion that these technologies don't work and haven't worked and can't work, great...do it. Do it now. Do it right now. Give us the hard evidence that hard AI works. Give us the hard evidence that nanotechnology works and produced operating Drexlerian assembler. Give us the hard evidence that genetic engineering can reliably enhance human intelligence. Give us that hard evidence that claims about people "uploading their minds into computers" are anything more than a foolishly ignorant delusion based on the fantasy that Descartes' mind-body divide is actually real and that there exists some magical intangible Platonic essence called "the mind" that's distinct from and separable from the human body (meaning the human brain).
Antonio Damasio, in his book Decartes' Error, has deep-sixed most of the ignorant misconceptions on which hard AI is based. I.e., that there exists some magical fluid called "mind" separate from the brain; that human thought is primarily logical and rational rather than emotion-based and arising from bodily states; that humans use logic to solve problems, rather than intuition and experience; that thought involves sequences of computations, rather than emotions; that the brain is a mere piece of hardware for a pseudo-computer-program called "the mind." Kurzweil and his followers seem to be aware of none of this. They never mention Damasio's somatic-sensory hypothesis:

"Although I cannot tell for certain what sparked my interest in the neural underpinnings of reason, I do know when I became convinced that the traditional views on the nature of rationality could not be correct. I had been advised early in life that sounds decisions came from a cool head ... I had grown up accustomed to thinking that the mechanisms of reason existed in a separate province of the mind, where emotion should not be allowed to intrude, and when I thought of the brain behind that mind, I envisioned separate neural systems for reason and emotion ... But now I had before my eyes the coolest, least emotional, intelligent human being one might imagine, and yet his practical reason was so impaired that it produced, in the wanderings of daily life, a succession of mistakes, a perpetual violcation of what would be considered socially appropriate and personally advantageous.

I began writing this book to propose that reason may not be as pure as most of us think it is or wish it were, that emotion and feelings may not be intruders in the bastion of reason at all: they may be enmeshed in its networks, for worse and for better.

I wrote this book as my side of a conversation with a curious, intelligent, and wise imaginary friend, who knew little about neuroscience but much about life ... My friend was to learn about the brain and about those mysterious things mental, and I was to gain insights as I struggled to explain my idea of what body, brain, and mind are about."

http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/damasio/descartes.html

Kurzweil and his followers never discuss the frame problem in AI when they blithely rhadsodize about superhumanly smart silicon intelligences:
www.iscid.org/encyclopedia/Frame_Problem

Kurzweil and his sycophants never discuss the death of a patient in a recent and relatively mild gene therapy attempt when they talk blithely about genetically engineering much larger wholesale transformations of human beings into superhumans:
www.fda.gov/fdac/features/2000/500_gene.html

Ray Kurzweil and his toadies just ignore whole bodies of knowledge in order to further their crackpot claims.

Show us the hard evidence for Kurzweil's extroarindary claims or shut up.
Point us to a list of peer-reviewed articles in scholarly journals providing hard experimental evidence that these technologies do work.

Everything else is bullshit.
Put up or shut up. Provide hard evidence that the hypothetical technologies touted by Kurzweil actually could do what he claims they could, or stand revealed as an ignorant crackpot and compulsive liar.

"Proof" means a peer-reviewed journal article by a reputable scientists reporting verified and repeated experimental results. Everything else is not proof.
I'm not interested in anecdotes, or just-so stories, or logical arguments, or elaborate what-if scenarios -- those are the realms in which scientologists and ufologists and other crackpots prefer to operate.

Out here in the real world, we require proof before we believe a claim...and the more extraordinary the claim, the more exotraordinary the amount and quality of the evidence required for us to believe it.

Ray Kurzweil has made not just one, but many, extraordinary claims. He claims not just that hard AI will produce human-level intelligence, but that it'll happen soon, and go on from there to produce superhuman levels of intelligence. Ray Kurweil claims not just that we'll be able to simulate the human mind in silicon, but that we'll be able to upload our minds into computers, and that it'll happen soon. Ray Kurzweil claims not just that we'll be able to reliably genetically engineer traits like human intelligence which all the evidence shows, if they're heritable at all, must be polygenic and emergent, but that we'll be able to do it soon, and to reliably produce enhanced human capabilities that go far beyond the human, and that this genetic engineering will not have dire side effects like, oh, say, terminal leukemia, or autism, etc.
Ray Kurzweil claims not just that we'll be able to overcome molecular stiction and Brownian motion and the bombardment of phonons at the atomic-level to produce working rod-logic molecular computers, but that we'll be able to produce molecular assemblers capable of being reliably programmed and that can tear apart any type of matter and rebuild it into anything we like, and that this will happen soon.

This is tantamount not just to claiming that an evil Alien Xenu is responsible for invivible thetans that cause all mental illness...but that Xenu is real and the earth is flat and there's a an alchemical secret to turning lead into gold that anyone can use (and that doesn't involve a cyclotron) and and the earth is hollow and full of Nazis waiting to re-emerge and start WW III and that lizard men from Zeta Reticuli use secret underground entrances to get into the White House, where they plot to convert us all to Rosicrucianism.

Sane people demand hard evidence.

And when you get the truly wild claims of the kind of Ray Kurzweil has made, we demand not just hard evidnece, but a veritable mountain of bulletproof evidence before we'll believe claims this outlandish.

Yet what has Ray Kurzweil and his transhumanist extropian Singularitarian followers given us?

Nothing. No hard evidence at all. Just a bunch of PR. Eric Drexler has produced zero scientific research to support his claims, he's just given a bunch of speeches and written some books. Hans Moravec has produced no scientific research showing that his "bush robots" are possible -- he's just written some books and given some interviews. Folks, people who only write books and give interviews about fabulous future developments aren't scientists, they're called "science fiction authors." Science fiction is not reality. Don't confuse the two.

Have transhumanist extropians like Kurzweil and Moravec and Charles Stross and Cory Doctorow given us even the level of hard evidence in support of their claims that we would demand to convict a single person of murder in court?

Nope. They haven't even given us that. Not even that much evidence.

To convict someone of murder in court, we demand forensic evidence and eyewitness testimony, not just tall tales and might-be stories and wild guesses. How much hard forensic evidence have we seen that hard AI will fulfill its many promises?

Zero.

How much eyewitness testimony have we heard for working Drexlerian assemblers and mind uploading and genetic engineering that produces superhumanly smart people?

None.

So we haven't even gotten a minimal level of hard evidence, comparable to what you'd demand to convict someone in court of murder, out of Ray Kurzweil and his Singularitarians, in support of their outlandish end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it Singularity predictions.

Yet any sensible person would demand far more and far better evidence than you'd demand just to convinct someone of murder, in order to get us to believe their extraordinary transhumanist claims and uploading minds and creating supermen from DNA tweaks.

After all, people commit murder every day. Murder is commonplace -- compared to mind uploading. Murder is quotidian - compared to creating a superhumanly smart computer. We see murders all the time, we read about them daily, we hear about them on the news. No one has ever seen a superhumanly smart computer. No one has ever shown a person uploading his mind into a computer. No one has ever genetically engineered a superhumanly smart human being. And yet Ray Kurzweil and his transhumanist Singularitarians expect us to believe their much more fantastic claims with much LESS evidence than a sensible rational person would demand to convict a defendant in court of the far more ordinary and vastly more credible crime of murder.

Does any of this ring a bell? Does anyone smell a rat? Doesn't anyone see the scam that's going on here?

I want hard evidence for transhumanism and the alleged Singularity -- not baseless assertions.

I want to see working computer programs...not just-so stories.

I want to see actual functioning robots that don't bang into walls and that can recognize the difference between a dog and a volleyball...not just wild claims.

I want to see a functioning AI program that does real-language translation without appallingly stupid and shockingly obvious errors, like turning the motto "Out of sight, out of mind," into "Blind and insane," or mistranslating "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" into "The liquor is good but the meat is rotten."

I want to see a working genetic engineering vector that reliably makes a rat 200% smarter -- not just the sequencing of the rat genome.

I want to see a working Drexlerian assembler that can rip apart a spoon and turn it into a miniature Sterling engine. Show it to me. Let me see it working.
There are no such AI programs or robots or genetic engineering vectors or nanotech assemblers..
There is no such hard evidence for Kurzweil's wild claims.

After 50-plus years of sustained effort by the smartest people on earth, there has been ZERO progress in these areas. In the article "There's Plenty Of Room at the Bottom," in 1959, physicist Richard Feynman largely anticipated K. Eric Drexler's ideas from his 1987 Engines Of Creation. In the 50 years since Feynman gave his lecture, we've seen zero progress in creating anything like what Feynman talked about. No molecular machines capable of tearing apart molecules and rebuilding 'em to spec. No Drexlerian assemblers. No programmable virus-sized machines. No atomic-scale rod-logic computers. None. Zilch. Zip. Diddly. Bupkiss. Nada. Zippo. Nothing.

Claim I'm stupid or lying?

Great. Show us the proof.

Let us see the hard evidence. Put up or shut up.

Pay attention, folks. Notice the scam here. Every single objection to skeptical requests for evidence of transhumanist Singularitarian predictions gets met with the exact same type of reasoning used by ufologists and scientologists and Bigfoot fancier.
Ufologists claim not enough research has been done on UFOS and that's why there's no evidence for alien abductions -- Ray Kurzweil claims not enough research has been done on AI and nanotech and genetic engineering, and that's why there's no hard evidence for superhumanly smart computers and genetically-engineered supermen and mind uploading and Drexlerian nanomachines that can rip apart matter at the atomic level and rebuild it atom by atom. Exact same type of reasoning as ufologists.
Bigfoot enthusiasts claim it hasn't been long enough to give us evidence of Bigfoot's existence, but that we'll see lots of evidence real soon now. Ray Kurzweil makes the exact same claim -- "it's early days yet in AI research, we haven't been at it long enough to give us proof of the inevitable triumph of superhuman hard AI"...the exact same argument as the Bigfoot crackpots.
Scientologists claim people who don't see dramatic cures for their mental problems need to spend more money -- Ray Kurzweil and the AI and nanotch crackpots also say that we haven't seen dramatic new results like superhumanly smart computers and mind uploading because we need to spend more money. And, just like the Scientologists, no matter how much money we spend on AI and nanotech, it's never enough. We always need to spend more money. More and more and more money, and never any results. And what's the answer to any skeptic who objects? "You need to spend more money." Just like Scientology.
Psychic "researchers" can never provide us with a definitive point at which a sensible person can conclude "ESP is bullshit." No, they tell us we just have to keep spending money on their fruitless experiments that never produce results, we just have to keep supporting their failed psychic research forever and ever, amen. Same thing with Ray Kurzweil and his crew -- they can never provide us with a single experiment, which, if it fails, means hard AI is dead. They can never give us a single condition under which we could conclude that Drexlerian nanotech is a degenerating research program and must be abandoned. No, just like the psychic crackpots, Ray Kurweil and his crew continually demand more and more money for their failed AI efforts, more and dead-end research with no results, forever and ever, and no matter how unbroken the string of failures, they can never accept any evidence as being sufficient to disprove their claims ofr superhumanly smart computers and genetically engineered supermen and mind uploading.

After 50 years of concentrated effort by the greatest geniuses on earth, the best AI programs today still get fed a sentence like "The astronomer married a really hot star" and STILL can't answer "What does the word `hot' mean in that sentence?"


The finest AI programs today get fed a sentence like "Mary saw a puppy in the window and wanted it," and they still can't answer the simple question: "Which one did Mary want -- the puppy, or the window?"

If you believe Kurzweil's bullshit and you've swallowed the Singularitarian Kool-Aid, great -- show us computer programs that can correctly answer the above questions.

Otherwise, shut up, because you're spouting ignorant tripe.

Shane said...

Zorgon, how I wish I had been here months ago when you posted your silly- though admirably lengthy- screed.

Most of your criticism boils down to "Ray Kurzweil's predictions are wrong, because the things he predicted are not currently available."

Basically, you point to the fact that his predicted technologies do not currently work, and conclude on that basis that they cannot ever work.

Of course, I'm sure I don't need to point out that Kurzweil has never claimed that the technologies he predicts (AI for example) currently exist. If he did, he wouldn't be predicting. Half your post demands proof that the technologies he predicts exist right now (or we must be an ignorant liar. Which is odd, as if we were simply ignorant of the facts, we wouldn't be lying. If we were lying about the facts, we wouldn't be ignorant of them.).

There's much more, of course. You dismiss the entire field of intelligence testing from Terman's study alone. This is comparable to saying Freud was full of shit, therefore psychiatry is worthless. Or that Lamarckianism did not explain speciation, so biology is nonsense.

I'd advise you to do some more research on intelligence testing, and pay particular attention to how the field has advanced since its infancy (Terman's day), and the strong reliability and validity of modern psychometrics. IQ correlates well with income and academic success, and is inversely correlated with a whole host of social ills (young pregnancy, crime, etc.)

Well, god knows if you'll ever read this, so I'm not going to spend any more time debunking the rest of your stupid rant.

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Anonymous said...

Actually, Zorgon's debunking of Kurzweil is excellent. It is Shane's "reply" that was stupid, and frankly, pretty useless except for those of us who want to point to the bankruptcy of the Kurzweilian position.

futureisnear said...

shanes argument wasn't stupid, just to the point, zorgon just went on repeating himself, with what was essentially the same argument that religious people use against scientist, "you can't prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt, so your wrong"
The fact is, kurzweil is an expert in predicting computer technology trends, and has been extremely accurate since the 80's in his computer related predictions.
Zorgon continually sited situations where we have the general principle of a problem, yet lack a complete understanding and ability at this point, and dismisses the research as "crackpot" for that reason.
I ask you, how many technologies do we have today, that were not only technically difficult to produce 50-100 yrs. ago, but considered IMPOSSIBLE.
there in lies the flaw in zorgons thinking, he forgets the proven reciliance of man, and the proven exponential trend of computer, bio, and nano technologies.
Theres always going to be hurdles, but we're passing them at an ever accelerating rate ( haven't checked, but I bet many of the problems sited by zorgon have been fixed since he left his little rant.)
History has shown that technological pessimists tend to be wrong, and the wild "crackpot" optimists seem to have not only been right, but very often to conservative in their predictions