Random Thoughts



I'm starting here not because this is the beginning -- there is no beginning to this story -- but because I might as well start somewhere, and this is a good place as any.


At various times in history, and without knowing it, groups of people have been just minutes away from major discoveries that will change the world forever.   The inventions of fire, the wheel, farming, industry, and computers -- in a word, Technology -- as not just a progression, but an uphill progression in that we humans are relentlessly pushing, pushing against the force of Chaos.  A startling prediction: Without warning,  Chaos will yield to the increasing power of Technology.  Technology will crest that hill, and start snowballing down the other side.  No longer pushing, we humans will be running behind the Technology no longer in our control.  Before long, it will no longer be in our grasp.  And finally, it will fall from view.

We've been pushing technology up that hill for a long time.  Are we nearing the crest of that hill now?  What if our technology reaches a "critical mass" such that machines can make better faster machines, which in turn can make even better smaller faster smarter machines that really make our lives better.   How would our lives be different if that happened?  What will we do with our time when that happens?


Is the world the way it looks to us?  Well yes, by definition, if we define the "world" as that which we see and understand.  But exactly how screwed-up is our understanding of the "world"?  This question is connected with questions about how our minds work.  And there's a connection between mind and technology, too: Is technology supposed to "improve" human abilities by mimicking them, only better?  (A steamshovel does this.)  Or is it supposed to mimic the "world" for our benefit? (A pair of headphones does this.) 

This distinction between human-mimicking and world-mimicking technology gets very blurry when the technology in question is a computer.  That's because the computer mimics the mind in some ways (it appears to "think") and the world in some ways (it stores and recreates music, for example).  Technological advances will depend to a great degree on an understanding of how our "mind" understands the "world".