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Catalyzing the Symbiotic Age: Discovering, Predicting, and Creating our Next Era of Accelerating Change Las Vegas Future PowerPoint Presentation
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Catalyzing the Symbiotic Age: Discovering, Predicting, and Creating our Next Era of Accelerating Change Las Vegas Future

Catalyzing the Symbiotic Age: Discovering, Predicting, and Creating our Next Era of Accelerating Change Las Vegas Future

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Catalyzing the Symbiotic Age: Discovering, Predicting, and Creating our Next Era of Accelerating Change Las Vegas Future

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  1. Catalyzing the Symbiotic Age: Discovering, Predicting, and Creating our Next Era of Accelerating Change Las Vegas Future SalonJohn Smart, President, ASF (

  2. Presentation Outline 1. Definitions 2. Futuring I: Intro to Accelerating Change 3. Futuring II: Globalization, Information, Service Age 4. Futuring III: The Symbiotic, Intelligence Age 5. Activism: Accelerating Positive Change © 2005

  3. 1. Definitions

  4. Acceleration Studies Foundation • ASF ( is a nonprofit community of scientists, technologists, entrepreneurs, administrators, educators, analysts, humanists, and systems theorists discussing and dissecting accelerating change. • We practice “developmentalfuture studies,” that is, we seek to discover a set of persistent factors, stable trends, convergent capacities, and highly probable scenarios for our common future, and to use this information now to improve our daily evolutionary choices. • Specifically, these include accelerating intelligence, immunity, and interdependence in our global sociotechnological systems, increasing technological autonomy, and the increasing intimacy of the human-machine, physical-digital interface. © 2005

  5. Systems Theory Systems Theorists Make Things Simple (sometimes too simple!) "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." — Albert Einstein © 2005

  6. Discovery, Prediction, and Creation: Yin, You, and Yang of Accelerating Change Equally Important Life Processes: Ends, Philosophy, and MeansNurture, Organism, and NatureDestination, Life, and Journey Development, Complex System, and Evolution Discovery, Prediction, and Creation What you manage to achieve in life (innovation, productivity) is a serendipitous synthesis of what unexpected benefits and catastrophes come to you (discovery), what you aim for (prediction), and the unique things you make along the way (creation). Innovation is a synthesis of discovery, prediction, and creation. Lack of interest in the unexpected (good or bad), short-term thinking (and “the future can’t be predicted”), and resistance to the new are also discovery, prediction, and creation choices. © 2005

  7. The Evo-Devo Paradigm May Explain Many Natural Polarities As complex systems, we each have both of these qualities. Their best use always depends on context. Use them both. Keep the balance. © 2005

  8. The Left and Right Hands of “Evolutionary Development” Replication & Variation “Natural Selection” Adaptive Radiation Chaos, Contingency Pseudo-Random Search Strange Attractors Evolution Selection & Convergence “Convergent Selection” Emergence,Global Optima MEST-Compression Standard Attractors Development Complex Environmental Interaction Left Hand Right Hand New Computat’l Phase Space Opening Well-Explored Phase Space Optimization © 2005

  9. How Many Eyes Are Developmentally Optimal? Evolution tried this experiment. Development calculated an operational optimum. Some reptiles (e.g. Xantusia vigilis, andcertain skinks) still have a parietal (“pineal”) vestigial third eye. © 2005

  10. How Many Wheels are Developmentally Optimal on an Automobile? Examples: Wheel on Earth. Social computation device. Diffusion proportional to population density and diversity. © 2005

  11. The Symbiotic Age • A time when computers “speak our language.” • A time when our technologies are very responsive to our needs and desires. • A time when humans and machines are intimately connected, and always improving each other. • A time when we will begin to feel “naked” without our computer “clothes.” © 2005

  12. The Start of Symbiosis: The Digital Era With the advent of the transistor(June 1, 1948), the commercial digital world emerged. New problems have emerged (population, human rights, asymmetric conflict, environment), yet we see solutions for each in coming waves of technological globalization. “The human does not change, but our house becomes exponentially more intelligent.” We look back not to Spencer or Marx and their human-directed Utopias, but to Henry Adams,who realized the core acceleration is due to the intrinsic properties of technological systems. Michael Riordan, Crystal Fire, 1998 © 2005

  13. 2. Futuring I:Intro to Accelerating Change

  14. Acceleration Quiz Q: Of the 100 top economies in the world, how many are multinational corporations and how many are nation states? © 2005

  15. Acceleration Quiz Q: Of the 100 top economies in the world, how many are multinational corporations and how many are nation states? 51 MNC’s and 49 Nations. © 2005

  16. Acceleration Quiz Q: Disney and Sony (respectively) produce and launch one new product every _________? © 2005

  17. Acceleration Quiz Q: Disney and Sony (respectively) produce and launch one new product every _________? Once every three minutes for Disney.Once every twenty minutes for Sony. © 2005

  18. Acceleration Quiz Q: How much of Hewlett Packard’s revenue comes from products launched in the last year? © 2005

  19. Acceleration Quiz Q: How much of Hewlett Packard’s revenue comes from products launched in the last year? 70% Elizabeth Debold, What is Enlightenment?, March-May 2005 © 2005

  20. Acceleration Quiz Q: How many of the lowest net-worth Americans would it take to approximate Bill Gate’s net worth? © 2005

  21. Acceleration Quiz Q: How many of the lowest net-worth Americans would it take to approximate Bill Gate’s net worth? Roughly 110 million Americans in 1997, when his net worth was $40 billion. At $30 billion presently (2005), Mr. Gates ranks roughly as the 60th largest country (of 280) and the 55th largest business. When MSFT went public in 1986, Bill was worth $230 million. NYU economist Edward Wolff, Top Heavy, 2002 © 2005

  22. Something Curious Is Going On Unexplained. (Don’t look for this in your physics or information theory texts…) © 2005

  23. Henry Adams, 1909: The First “Singularity Theorist” The final Ethereal Phase would last only about four years, and thereafter "bring Thought to the limit of its possibilities." Wild speculation or computational reality? Still too early to tell, at present. © 2005

  24. The Technological Singularity Each unique physical-computational substrate appears to have its own “capability curve.” The information inherent in these substrates is apparently not made obsolete, but is instead incorporated into the developmental architecture of the next emergent system. © 2005

  25. From Biogenesis to Intelligent Technology: The “Accelerating Phase” of Universal ED Carl Sagan’s “Cosmic Calendar” (Dragons of Eden, 1977) Each month is roughly 1 billion years. © 2005

  26. Brief History of Accelerating Change © 2005

  27. Eric Chaisson’s “Phi” (Φ): A Universal Moore’s Law Curve Ф Free Energy Rate Density Substrate (ergs/second/gram) Galaxies 0.5 Stars2 (“counterintuitive”) Planets (Early) 75 Plants 900 Animals/Genetics 20,000(10^4) Brains (Human) 150,000(10^5) Culture (Human) 500,000(10^5) Int. Comb. Engines (10^6) Jets (10^8) Pentium Chips (10^11) time Source: Eric Chaisson, Cosmic Evolution, 2001 © 2005

  28. Big Picture • Outer Space2025: Sustainability, Transitioning to Nuclear, Hydrogen and Solar • Human Space2025: Advanced Globalization, Transparency, Early Symbiotic Age, Linguistic User Interface, Early Valuecosm • Inner Space2025: Synthetic and Computational Biology, Early Technocellular Substrate (Silicon Photonics, Spintronics, Nuclear Energy, etc.) • Cyber Space2025: GPS/LPS, Local Search, Persistent and Mirror Worlds, Early Artificial Life and Hyperreality • Hyper Space2025: Bio-Inspired Computing, Early Personality Capture/DT © 2005

  29. Virtual Space: Is Inner Space the Final Frontier? • Mirror Worlds, David Gelernter, 1998. Real structures in spacetime (very large and very small) are: • Computationally very simple and tractable (transparent) • A vastly slower substrate for evolutionary development • Rapidly encapsulated by our simulation science • A “rear view mirror” on the developmental trajectory of emergence of universal intelligence? • versus Non-Autonomous ISS Autonomous Human Brain © 2005

  30. Smart’s Laws of Technology 1. Tech learns ten million times faster than you do.(Electronic vs. biological rates of evolutionary development). 2. Humans are selective catalysts, not controllers, of technological evolutionary development. (Regulatory choices. Ex: WMD production or transparency, P2P as a proprietary or open source development) 3. The first generation of any technology is often dehumanizing, the second is indifferent to humanity, and with luck the third becomes net humanizing. (Cities, cars, cellphones, computers). © 2005

  31. The Prediction Wall and The Prediction Crystal Ball What does hindsight tell us about prediction? The Year 2000 was the most intensive long range prediction effort of its time, done at the height of the forecasting/ operations research/ cybernetics/ think tank (RAND) driven/ “instrumental rationality” era of Futures Studies. (Kahn & Wiener, 1967). © 2005

  32. Moore’s Law Moore’s Law derives from two predictions in 1965 and 1975 by Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, that computer chips (processors, memory, etc.) double their complexity every 12-24 months at near constant unit cost. This is one of several abstractions of Moore’s Law, due to miniaturization of transistor density in two dimensions. Others relate to speed (the signals have less distance to travel) and computational power (speed × density). © 2005

  33. Relative Growth Rates are Surprisingly Predictable Brad DeLong (2003) noted that memory density predictably outgrows microprocessor density, which predictably outgrows wired bandwidth, which predictably outgrows wireless. Expect: 1st: New Storage Apps, 2nd: New Processing Apps, 3rd: New Communications Apps, 4th: New Wireless Apps © 2005

  34. Some Tech Capacity Growth Rates Are Independent of Socioeconomic Cycles There are many natural cycles: Plutocracy-Democracy, Boom-Bust, Conflict-Peace… Ray Kurzweil first noted that a generalized, century-long Moore’s Law was unaffected by the U.S. Great Depression of the 1930’s. Conclusion: Human-discovered, Not human-created complexity here. Not many intellectual or physical resources are required to keep us on the accelerating developmental trajectory. (“MEST compression is a rigged game.”) Age of Spiritual Machines, 1999 © 2005

  35. Ray Kurzweil: A Generalized Moore’s Law © 2005

  36. Hans Moravec, Robot, 1999 © 2005

  37. Four Pre-Singularity Subcycles? • A 30-yearcycle, from 1990-2020 • 1st gen "stupid net "/early IA, weak nano, 2nd gen Robots, early Ev Comp. World security begins. • A 20-year cycle, from 2020-2040 • LUI network, Biotech, not bio-augmentation, Adaptive Robots, Peace/Justice Crusades. • A 10-year cycle, from 2040-2050 • LUI personality capture (weak uploading), Mature Self-Reconfig./Evolutionary Computing. • 2050: Era of Strong Autonomy • Progressively shorter 5-, 2-, 1-year tech cycles, each more autocatalytic, human-centric, invisible. © 2005

  38. Ephemeralization: The Accelerating Efficiency of Physical-Computational Transformations In 1938 (Nine Chains to the Moon), poet and polymath Buckminster Fuller coined "Ephemeralization,” positing that in nature, "all progressions are from material to abstract" and "every one of the ephemeralization trends.. eventually hits the electrical stage."(And today, due to principles like superposition, entanglement, negative waves, and tunneling, the world of the quantum (electron, photon, etc.) appears even more ephemeral than the world of collective electricity.) In 1981 (Critical Path), Fuller called ephemeralization, "the invisible chemical, metallurgical, and electronic production of ever-more-efficient and satisfyingly effective performance with the investment of ever-less weight and volume of materials per unit function formed or performed". In Synergetics 2, 1983, he called it "the principle of doing ever more with ever less weight, time and energy per each given level of functional performance” This trend has also been called “virtualization” and Matter, Energy, Space, Time (MEST) compression, efficiency, or density by other theorists. © 2005

  39. MEST Compression: Managing Technological Development Since the birth of civilization, humanity has been learning to build special types of technological systems that are progressively able to do more for us, in a more networked and resilient fashion, using less resources(matter, energy, space, time, human and economic capital) to deliver any fixed amount of complexity, productivity, or capability. We are faced daily with many possible evolutionary choices in which to invest our precious time, energy, and resources, but only a few optimal developmental pathways will clearly "do more, and better, with less." © 2005

  40. Unreasonable Effectiveness/Efficiency: Eugene Wigner and Carver Mead The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences, Nobel Laureate Eugene Wigner, 1960 After Wigner and Freeman Dyson’s work in 1951, on symmetries and simple universalities in mathematical physics. Commentary on the “Unreasonable Efficiency of Physics in the Microcosm,” VSLI Pioneer Carver Mead, c. 1980. W=(1/2mv2) F=ma E=mc2 F=-(Gm1m2)/r2 In 1968, Mead predicted we would create much smaller (to 0.15 micron) multi-million chip transistors that would run far faster and more efficiently. He later generalized this observation to a number of other devices. © 2005

  41. Example: Holey Optical Fibers • Above: SEM image of a photonic crystal fiber. Note periodic array of air holes. The central defect (missing hole in the middle) acts as the fiber's core. The fiber is about 40 microns across. • This conversion system is a million times (106) more energy efficient than all previous converters. These are the kinds of jaw-dropping efficiency advances that continue to drive the ICT and networking revolutions. • Such advances are due even more to human discovery (in physical microspace) than to human creativity, which is why they have accelerated throughout the 20th century, even as we remain uncertain exactly why they continue to occur. Lasers today can made cheaply only in some areas of the EM spectrum, not including, for example, UV laser light for cancer detection and tissue analysis. It was discovered in 2004 that a hollow optical fiber filled with hydrogen gas, a device known as a "photonic crystal," can convert cheap laser light to the wavelengths previously unavailable. © 2005

  42. Acceleration Awareness What do you see accelerating around you? What do you see remaining constant? © 2005

  43. Many Accelerations are Underwhelming Some Modest Exponentials: • Productivity per U.S. worker hr has improved 500% over 75 years (1929-2004, 2% per yr) • Business investment as % of U.S. GDP is flat at 11% over 25 years. • Nondefense R&D spending as % of First World GDP is up 30% (1.6 to 2.1%) over 21 years (1981-2002). • Technology spending as % of U.S. GDP is up 100% (4% to 8%) over 35 years (1967-2002) BusinessWeek, 75th Ann. Issue, “The Innovation Economy”, 10.11.2004 © 2005

  44. Different Kinds of Accelerations: Efficiency vs. Transformation Business Week’s First Edition, October 1929: • IBM has an ad for “electric sorting machines.” • PG&E has an ad announcing natural gas powered factories in San Francisco. Could we have predicted that one of these technologies would continually transform itself while another would experience accelerating efficiencies but, on the surface, be unchanged? © 2005

  45. Physical Space: Is Biotech a Saturated Substrate? 21st century neuropharm and neurotech won’t accelerate biological complexity! • Neural homeostasis fights “top-down” interventions • “Most complex structure in the known universe” Strong resistance to disruptive biointerventions • Ingroup ethics, body image, personal identity We’ll learn a lot, not biologically “redesign humans” • No human-scale time, ability or reason to do so. • Expect “regression to mean” (elim. disease) instead. Neuroscience will accelerate technological complexity • Biologically inspired computing. “Structural mimicry.” © 2005

  46. Physical Space: Accelerating Public Transparency (“Panopticon”) David Brin, The Transparent Society, 1998 Hitachi’s mu-chip: RFID for paper currency © 2005

  47. Punctuated Equilibrium (in Biology, Economics, Politics… and Technology) • Eldredge and Gould (Biological Species) • Pareto’s Law (“The 80/20 Rule”) (income distribution  technology, econ, politics) Rule of Thumb: 20% Punctuation (Development) 80% Equilibrium (Evolution) Suggested Reading: For the 20%: Clay Christiansen, The Innovator's Dilemma For the 80%: Jason Jennings, Less is More © 2005

  48. Three Hierarchical Systems of Social Change • Technological(dominant since 1950!) “It’s all about the technology” (what it enables, how inexpensively it can be developed) • Economic(dominant 1800-1950’s, secondary now) “It’s all about the money” (who has it, control they gain with it) • Political/Cultural(dominant pre-1800’s, tertiary now) “It’s all about the power” (who has it, control they gain with it) Developmental Trends: 1. The levels have reorganized, to “fastest first.” 2. More pluralism (a network property) on each level. Pluralism examples: 40,000 NGO’s, rise of the power of media, tort law, Insurance, lobbies, etc. © 2005

  49. 3. Futuring II: Globalization, Information, Service Age

  50. Our Greatest Strategic Interest: Managing Globalization “America has had 200 years to invent, regenerate, and calibrate the balance that keeps markets free without becoming monsters. We have the tools to make a difference. We have the responsibility to make a difference. And we have a huge interest in making a difference. Managing globalization is… our overarching national interest today and the political party that understands that first… will own the real bridge to the future.” - Thomas Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization (2000). © 2005