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Why the future is bad for our culture.

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posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 02:52 PM
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Before I start I would like to state that this is my first thread. I've been browsing around ATS for years and decided to join a few months ago.

That said, (don't) go easy on me and I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on what I have to say.

So without further Ado: Why the future is bad for our culture.


In the year 2000 we had flying cars, robots as maids, machines that were so simple the push of a button would run the day, and houses that stood with the clouds.

A year later we put a man in orbit around Jupiter and subsequently watched the formation of a second sun in our solar system.

Those of course are feats of film and fiction. The most futuristic thing we've done as a species happened over 30 years ago, and we don't appear to be in a rush to out-do ourselves.

To many, the future is a bleak and disturbing time filled with an ever-present government, global wars, famine, or a fight for survival from thinking machines; and, culturally speaking, these fears might have some weight to them. So why exactly is the future bad for our culture? What threat could it possible hold?

(1) Abundance and Things That Last
In our economic system scarcity seems to be the name of the game, the rarer an item the more it costs, you can look at gas prices for an example; it's been said countless times that you can't make money on things that last. With that mindset, how does GE expect to make money on a light-bulb that lasts 17 years? And how much can we expect people to pay for energy when it's available in near unlimited supply? The future offers many things in abundance thanks to upcoming innovations in growing meat, vertical farming, and the many new energy sources ranging from magnetic engines, harnessing the power of the waves, wind, human, sun, and geothermal energy, etc. etc.

If we could easily grow food to feed an entire city and do the same in meat production without feeding a single cow, how will you price things when our current model is based on scarcity. Will they regulate how much is made so they can keep a steady price in the market, in sort of the same way they currently pay farmers not to farm their land? And what will happen to prices when all the food formerly used to feed cows and livestock is now available for human consumption? Could prices fall to historic lows?

So how does our future, full of abundant amounts of food, longer battery life, longer lasting light bulbs, electric cars with fewer moving parts, etc. bode well for us?

It doesn't.

Longevity and abundance are the villains of our current culture. This was proven, in a way, over 50 years go. A man by the name of Nikola Tesla who designed and actually started construction on a device that would pull unlimited energy straight from the Earths atmosphere, of course once the real reason he was working on the project was discovered his funding was cut and the design confiscated.

Let us hope times have changed. Abundance is the way of the future.

(2) The Thinking Machine:
Since the beginning man and machine have been best of friends, tools aiding us in Our building of pyramids, in Our construction of stone cities, and in Our craftsmanship of sea worthy vessels, but somewhere along the line (roughly the industrial revolution) machines got a little big in the head and decided that it would no longer "aid" and they would construct. Slowly mans role was diminished or altogether erased, not only that but they did it better than we ever could. We started being replaced by our own creations.

It started in small areas like phone operators, in elevators, then making cups, dispensing soda, making computers, etc etc. It's become a way of life; do you remember the first time you checked yourself out at the grocery store? It just keeps growing; companies save money, run more efficiently and can give things to you cheaper. Great right? Well what about the thinking machine, how will we cope with that?

(Continued Below)

[edit on 6-6-2010 by Unseenmonument]




posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 02:54 PM
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reply to post by Unseenmonument
 


Imagine the day when our companies don't need to hire designers or engineers, pilots and bus drivers, mathematicians or historians. What will people do when companies can afford a thinking machine that can work better for cheaper, and not have to worry about it ever filing a law suit or being overworked?

Have you seen the Photoshop CS5 demo of the "content aware fill option?" Creating brand new imagery from existing data, what's to stop a thinking machine from going one step further? Creating a brand new imagine from data stored in its memory? Where will these jobs go, will our current culture adapt?

"Our politicians will save us!" Is that what you think? Considering congress recently passed legislation that allows any corporation to fund any candidate by giving them as much money as they wish, what makes you think they would fight for your rights when corporate goals write their paychecks? Where does this leave humanity when all the cheap labor and hard labor can be done by a thinking machine?

How does our culture survive?

And to me, it seems everyone expects the thinking machine to resemble a man, a walking talking human shaped computer that will slowly replace us in our everyday lives, this isn't the case at all. These thinking machines will be the buses, trains, and planes of our transportation services, the large ocean-liners that haul people to their vacation spots and cargo across the seas and well as the cranes that unload the ships and the trucks that take them to their destination. The thinking machine will be your family car that you can send to pick up James from football practice, or the chauffeur you hire on prom night.

Countless jobs begging to be replaced.

Imagine a day when nobody has to be hired as a stock clerk, miner, cashier, truck driver, fisherman, farmer, garbageman, etc. A day when we do what we do only what interests us.

So why exactly is the future bad for our culture? Because we're moving into an age where computerized machines will be capable of doing more work while at the same time there will be more than 6,500,000,000 people needing jobs. That is a clash of interests if I've ever seen one. Fewer jobs and more workers, get it?

And if you think our answer should be to stop the progress of such technology, I ask you, why? Why should a man have to do work capable of being down by a machine? Our fear of machines replacing us in the workplace is due to us fighting the reality that our current systems is slowly becoming, if nor already, outdated.

But these are just my thoughts, and I'm no expert. What do you think?



Unseen


Vertical Farming:
www.time.com...

Paying farmers not to grow:
www.npr.org...
www2.tbo.com...

How we sold our Government:
www.nytimes.com...
rawstory.com...

IBM and US Government Seek to Build Computer Brain as Smart as a Cat:
www.dailytech.com...

Photoshop CS5 Content Aware fill:
www.youtube.com...

Light bulb to lasts 17 years:
news.cnet.com...

Picture is from xkcd.com:


[edit on 6-6-2010 by Unseenmonument]



posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 03:16 PM
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OK... I believe I accidentally posted this in the wrong area, it is possible for a moderator to close this thread, or move it to the appropriate area?


...I'm going to start an identical thread in the US Political Madness area, if that's wrong close that one and move this one. I'm just trying to make sure this thread gets the proper attention. Thanks and sorry for any confusion!

Unseen



posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 03:44 PM
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I have to agree that the future is bad for our current culture. A culture that is pretty much void of any purpose other than slaving to make a dollar, to have the things that we need to sustain. The problem is that everyone is so indoctrinated into the world of materialism that they have forgotten what the simple pleasures include, the things that we constantly complain that we do not have enough time for now. Our current culture would die. I'm sorry, but
I'd give that life up in a heartbeat if I could.

The picture you paint of abundance caused by machines doing the labor that we now spend the most of our time doing now is actually quite beautiful.

Imagine a world were all we had to do is spend our time with our families enjoying the company of each other, or perusing the plethora of books at our disposal and educating ourselves, learning history, mathematics, different languages, and more about the science and physics of the world around us./ I'd appreciate being able to walk through a forest, on a beach our through a garden with nothing else to do but appreciate the beauty and bounty of nature, and being able to travel wherever I wanted to experience the cultures I read about first hand, and enjoying the company of humanity.

Maybe it's just me but that type of existence doesn't sound bad to me at all!



posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 03:57 PM
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since the post starts with an arthur c clark example, let me respond in kind since you'll probably understand, the space guard program once a "sci-fi" concept is now in operation which on the large scale one might argue is protecting us at this very moment.

the future can be bad for us, but it can also offer us things we can aspire to, utopian visions of the future can never be bad if they inspire us to treat each other with at least basic respect.



posted on Jun, 6 2010 @ 04:15 PM
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reply to post by Unseenmonument
 


Nice thread, unseen. The near future looks dystopian, but there are signs of resistance and the future is not set in stone. Like you said a system that thrives on scarcity/infinite growth does not permit abundance/sustainability. I'm not talking about zero growth, though, I'm talking about a system that rewards slow growth and (somehow) finds a way to reward abundance more than scarcity.

" ...until we change the way money works, solutions to Peak Oil, food shortages, collapse and sustainability remain unreachable from a national or cultural level because it is simply more profitable to let people die and accelerate collapse through excessive consumption than it is to behave like a species that wishes to survive."- Mike Ruppert


[edit on 6-6-2010 by time91]



posted on Jun, 7 2010 @ 11:02 AM
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reply to post by time91
 


I agree that the future looks pretty bad, but unless we die from an all out nuclear war I think the human species will survive for a long time to come.

I love that quote you have at the end by the way, truly amazing,


Unseen



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