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Thread: It sounds wise not to predict technological advancements.

  1. #1
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    Cool It sounds wise not to predict technological advancements.

    As the signature says: "no expectations, no disappointments".
    Of course there are evolutions of technologies, such as the various technologies required to build horological units (.....a "fancy name" for watches and clocks), cell phones, computers, etc.
    And there are technological revolutions; it is not certain whether "high speed Internet" is considered "technological revolution", but just remembered back than, dial up was practically useless, especially if you are a fan of downloaded OS (such as Solaris and various versions of Linux), online multimedia (imagine using Youtube with dial-up).

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    Sure, by today's standard, dial-up is rapidly becoming useless but it was very useful 20 years ago. Was the Model-T Ford useless? Absolutely not. Is it now? Yes, unless you're a collector.

    I don't think it's unwise to make predictions just because many of them don't pan out. It's only unwise (in retrospect) if you invested time and money into making that prediction reality and it never happened.

    We need visionaries but none of them will be right all the time.
    "There are powers in this universe beyond anything you know. There is much you have to learn. Go to your homes. Go and give thought to the mysteries of the universe. I will leave you now, in peace." --Galaxy Being

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    Most things are predicted. Unless I'm mistaken, Model-Ts didn't pop into existence ouf of the blue. You just have to be smart enough to know what you're talking about.
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

  4. #4
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    Predictions are hard because of the sheer number of variables involved. One of my favorite pass-times involves thinking up plausible future timelines for humanity (should I get out more? lol). But as you go further and further into the future... maintaining plausibility becomes all but impossible. We just can't know for sure how things will pan out!

    Will computers continue to advance non-stop, will Moore's law end? Will we master our genes and create a super race? Will obstacles prevent serious gene-engineering within our lifetimes? Simple differences like these can create very different paths that humanity will go down.
    Artificial gravity and week-long interplanetary travel through linear acceleration.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artific...r_acceleration

  5. #5
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    Predictions are still interesting from an historical perspective for what they tell us about the people and the culture that made them. They tell us about the wants and dreams of these people, their optimisms and their pessimisms.
    Accurate or not, they are still important.

  6. #6
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    Sure. Making predictions are acceptable, but assumptions are unacceptable and dangerous.

  7. #7
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    I anticipated the IMAX Theatre 50 years ago. Of course , I didn't realize that it would be that much more complicated .
    Lightweight aircraft with wings wraped in saran wrap. See Paul McCready.
    Minivans.
    4 cyclinder cars "everywhere" .
    Videotape recorders in every household.

    Yes, we anticipate the future every day.

    Dan

  8. #8
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    If we discuss future ideas we may get into some logical problems? It admit I find long timelines a bit fascinating, buit less believable. Who can tell the future (for societies) in a month for a certain part of the planet?

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    Quote Originally Posted by danscope View Post
    Lightweight aircraft with wings wraped in saran wrap. See Paul McCready.
    They were putting Saran on fighter plane wings back in WWII, IIRC.
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by danscope View Post
    Lightweight aircraft with wings wraped in saran wrap. See Paul McCready.
    The Gossamer Albatross was covered in Mylar (polyethylene terephthalate), not Saran wrap (which is either polyvinylidene chloride or low density polyethylene).

    And it was not that large a stretch (sorry) to think of the idea fifty years beforehand, as rubber band driven microfilm (homemade nitrocellulose with an occult mix of additives) covered ultralight (1-2g weight for one competition class) model aircraft had played with for a while by then. Video of a recent one here, they haven't really changed in that time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ara Pacis View Post
    They were putting Saran on fighter plane wings back in WWII, IIRC.
    As it was invented in '53 I seriously doubt that they did.
    Last edited by HenrikOlsen; 2011-Feb-02 at 06:52 AM.
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  11. #11
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    A few IT related quotes to demonstrate just how good we are at predicting technological advancements...

    "Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons."
    -- Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949
    1.5 tons is about 1400 Macbook Airs.


    "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
    -- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943
    There are more than a billion

    «
    "This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us."
    -- Western Union internal memo, 1876.
    There are five BILLION cell phones in the world. 1.2 billion were sold in 2009 alone.

    «The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty, a fad.»
    The president of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford's lawyer not to invest in the Ford Motor Co., 1903.
    108 years later, there are more than 600 million cars on the roads, and more than 50 million were made in 2010.

    Just a bit of perspective for technology predictions.

  12. #12
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    And it was predicted that people would be on Mars by...........Sheesh.

  13. #13
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    Predictions have went amok over and over again; djellison has just pointed out a few examples.

  14. #14
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    And?

    You have to consider that everything you have that is more technologically advanced than a rock, came from someone who thought 'hey I think everyone would want one of these'

    and the immediate response was 'dont be silly, it will never catch on'

  15. #15
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    Please notice that history is notably asymmetric along the time axis. Looking back one sees the path traveled and is tempted to assume it was the only possible path traveled, instead of the one reality out of many possibilities.

    An example (used for demonstration purposes only, no politics): Today, Friday, February 4 2011, 9:30AM PST. How will the unrest and demonstrations in Egypt end up? NOBODY knows, but just about everybody will point to the inevitability of this or that a year from now.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenrikOlsen View Post
    As it was invented in '53 I seriously doubt that they did.
    According to what I read, saran predates Saran-Wrap(tm)
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

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