DAVID BRIN's world of ideas

A HYPERFORUM POLL

By David Brin, Ph.D.

Test your knowledge about progress -- and send your replies to me, if you're so inclined.

Which of the following fields of human endeavor will bring about the greatest positive impact in the next 25 years?
advances in physical science (e.g. allowing access to the resources of space)
advances in biology (e.g. extending human lifespan or intelligence)
advances in cybernetics and related fields (e.g. creating intelligent or hyper-intelligent machines)
advances in human sanity, behavior and understanding
something else (write-in)

Which field will have the greatest negative impact in the next 25 years?
advances in physical science (e.g. allowing access to the resources of space)
advances in biology (e.g. extending human lifespan or intelligence)
advances in cybernetics and related fields (e.g. creating intelligent or hyper-intelligent machines)
advances in human sanity, behavior and understanding
something else (write-in)

SOME FOLLOWUP QUESTIONS:

What, in your opinion, is the sustainable human population of Earth, assuming that technology keeps advancing?
less that one billion
one to three billions
three to six billions
six to twelve billions
much more than twelve billions

Will nation states continue to be important, fifty years from now?
as important or more so
less important but still valuable for organizing largescale efforts
unimportant because of World Government
unimportant because power will devolve to individuals and self-organizing groups
some combination of the above

Choose which statement you agree with:
My own favorite ideology is a good approximation of what it will take to make a better civilization.
It will be enough to raise a next generation that is measurably saner and better educated than ours; it's none of our business to prescribe their model of utopia.

Scientific advances suggest that:
destructive powers will become available to ever-smaller groups of angry people
error-detecting and problem-solving tools will become available to ever more numerous groups of sincere people
artificial intelligence and nanotechnology may enable humans to redesign themselves in fantastic ways
artificial intelligence and nanotechnology may enable new forms of "life" to overtake or replace humanity
all of the above

Choose which statement you agree with:
Human decency and justice haven't kept pace with technological progress.
Wealth and technology have helped us start to address ancient injustices, maturing enough to face new challenges.