Gheorghe Curelet-Balan Blog

Monday, July 28, 2008

What's possible?

Speaking of possibility...

Making predictions is a challenging enterprise. Two previous PI lectures revealed different approaches to forecasting: probability and possibility. While the probable approach is suited for repeatable phenomena the possible one is using reason and imagination in forecasting. Jules Verne predictions that became reality are well known. Sometimes possibility comes first to enumerate the elements that are the subjects of probability research.

In the PI lecture "Science Fiction and Reality" presented by Gerard 't Hooft we learn about scientific reality and how difficult is to make predictions. Here are some highlights, of the video annotated in the (minute:second) format:

7:57 atom scale matter manipulation
8:40 atom size computer chips
9:40 the potential of nanotechnology
13:00 genetic engineering
14:30 carbon nanotubes strength
16:30 Moore's law
18:20 computer intelligence better than human's (debatable in my opinion)
20:40 robots
23:02 Universe is made of same stuff than Earth
24:20 space shuttle is the most efficient way to go out of space if energy is the price to pay
26:40 Black Holes (BH)
27:30 BH cannot be used for transportation due to high forces developed
32:25 tether propulsion: use of cables to pull into space

The rest of the lecture continues with:
- the over optimistic predictions about robots use in the year 2000,
- how few have foreseen the personal computer, internet and the role of cell-phones,
- why it makes sense to colonize the Moon and the solar system,
- capitalistic scenario of Moon colonization with Cambots and galaxy conquering with Neumannbots (robots that reproduce themselves).
- humans will not be able to go outside the solar system (debatable in my opinion)

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