Re: What's going on this decade?

From: Mary Tobias (
Date: Wed Aug 09 2006 - 16:34:54 MDT

Ben Goertzel wrote:

> About the supposed lameness of the present decade...
> Hmmm...
> Well, the early 2000's is when I first created a truly viable design
> for an Artificial General Intelligence ;-)
> Also, among many other things...
> Estimation of Distribution Algorithms, fusing probability theory and
> evolutionary programming, became prominent and practical [spurred by
> Pelikan's PhD thesis]
> Viable automated NL translation via statistical methods became
> possible (due to Google...)
> Real quantum computers have been constructed -- we're up to 12 qubits now
> Evolutionary quantum computers have been designed and simulated (see
> some nice papers by Hugo de Garis; and a book by Lee Spector; and I
> gave a talk on this at a MITRE workshop earlier this year)
> The use of machine learning methods to discover biomarkers became
> viable, and very common (based on SNP data, microarray data, etc.)
> BitTorrent !!!
> I could go on and on but I won't.... There has been plenty of nice
> stuff in the 2000's.... Yes, much of it had its roots in the 90's;
> but much of the stuff you attribute to the 90's had its roots in the
> 80's too...
> -- Ben

I think we're looking at something completely different... the 90s were
given by tremendous intellectual
vitality, and tremendous amounts of money and energy being invested in
moving the race dramatically

The millenium has been marked by tremendous backlash; the explosive
growth of fundamentalist religion
especially in the first world nations, a virtual collapse of support for
science and engineering as the best
and perhaps only answer to human sustainability, and an overwhelming
struggle for those in power and
wealth to hold on to that power and wealth at any cost (up to and
including killing the very goose that lays
the golden eggs.) We seem to be caught up in the lethargy caused by
profound cynicism and resignation.
Worse, a lot of really brilliant people are living in/on hope/denial...
and we really need to get back to the
business of growing the future.

I think it's imperative that we begin at the societal level, and begin
teaching our children that they are the
future, and that blazing the way to a bright and powerful tomorrow is
way cooler that playing "Gangsta",
or commiting acts of virtual mayhem on portable game stations (not that
the two a necessarily mutually
exclusive.) Done properly we might begin stemming the tidal wave of
highschool drop outs and college
failures marking the latest generation of Americans.

A failure to do such, bodes poorly for the vision we all so passionately
embrace, and has us looking
squarely in the face of a slow and hot spiral into oblivion for
humanity, and the vast majority of higher
life forms currently enjoying the planet.

Mary Tobias

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