Topic: Futures studies

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Possible explanations for the slow progress of AI research

Computing Computer science Science Fiction Cognitive science Robotics Transhumanism Software Software/Computing Futures studies

Artificial general intelligence (AGI) is the hypothetical intelligence of a machine that has the capacity to understand or learn any intellectual task that a human being can. It is a primary goal of some artificial intelligence research and a common topic in science fiction and futures studies. AGI can also be referred to as strong AI, full AI, or general intelligent action. (Some academic sources reserve the term "strong AI" for machines that can experience consciousness.)

Some authorities emphasize a distinction between strong AI and applied AI (also called narrow AI or weak AI): the use of software to study or accomplish specific problem solving or reasoning tasks. Weak AI, in contrast to strong AI, does not attempt to perform the full range of human cognitive abilities.

As of 2017, over forty organizations were doing research on AGI.

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Creeping normality

Psychology Sociology Futures studies

Creeping normality (also called landscape amnesia) is a process by which a major change can be accepted as normal and acceptable if it happens slowly through small, often unnoticeable, increments of change. The change could otherwise be regarded as objectionable if it took place in a single step or short period.

American scientist, Jared Diamond, first coined the phrase creeping normality in his 2005 book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. Prior to releasing his book, Diamond explored this theory while attempting to explain why, in the course of long-term environmental degradation, Easter Island natives would, seemingly irrationally, chop down the last tree:

"I suspect, though, that the disaster happened not with a bang but with a whimper. After all, there are those hundreds of abandoned statues to consider. The forest the islanders depended on for rollers and rope didn't simply disappear one day—it vanished slowly, over decades."

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Kardashev Scale

Technology Environment Science Fiction Astronomy Transhumanism Futures studies Energy

The Kardashev scale is a method of measuring a civilization's level of technological advancement based on the amount of energy they are able to use. The measure was proposed by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Kardashev in 1964. The scale has three designated categories:

  • A Type I civilization, also called a planetary civilization—can use and store all of the energy available on its planet.
  • A Type II civilization, also called a stellar civilization—can use and control energy at the scale of its stellar system.
  • A Type III civilization, also called a galactic civilization—can control energy at the scale of its entire host galaxy.

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List of Emerging Technologies

Technology Lists Futures studies Invention

Emerging technologies are those technical innovations that represent progressive innovations within a field for competitive advantage.

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List of stories set in a future now past

Lists Science Fiction Transhumanism Sociology Futures studies Science Popular Culture

This is a list of fictional stories that, when written, were set in the future, but the future they predicted is now present or past. The list excludes works that were alternate histories, which were composed after the dates they depict, alternative futures, as depicted in time travel fiction, as well as any works that make no predictions of the future, such as those focusing solely on the future lives of specific fictional characters, or works which, despite their claimed dates, are contemporary in all but name. Entries referencing the current year may be added if their month and day were not specified or have already occurred.

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Pessimism Porn

Economics Futures studies

Pessimism porn is a neologism coined in 2009 during the 2007–2012 global financial crisis to describe the alleged eschatological and survivalist thrill some people derive from predicting, reading and fantasizing about the collapse of civil society through the destruction of the world's economic system.

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Ray Kurzweil 2019 Predictions

Transhumanism Alternative Views Futures studies

American author, inventor and futurist Raymond Kurzweil has become well known for his predictions about artificial intelligence and the human species, mainly concerning the technological singularity. He predicts that Artificial Intelligence would outsmart the human brain in computational capabilities by mid-21st century. His first book, The Age of Intelligent Machines, published in 1990, put forth his theories on the results of the increasing use of technology and predicted the explosive growth in the internet, among other predictions. Later works, 1999's The Age of Spiritual Machines and 2005's The Singularity is Near outlined other theories including the rise of clouds of nano-robots (nanobots) called foglets and the development of Human Body 2.0 and 3.0, whereby nanotechnology is incorporated into many internal organs.

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Surveillance Capitalism

International relations Mass surveillance Internet History Computing Internet culture Economics Law Business Politics International relations/International law Sociology Futures studies Capitalism Globalization Google

Surveillance capitalism has a number of meanings around the commodification of personal information. Since 2014, social psychologist Shoshana Zuboff has used and popularized the term.

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Timeline of the far future

Physics Lists Statistics Astronomy Time Futures studies Geology Extinction Solar System

While the future can never be predicted with absolute certainty, present understanding in various scientific fields allows for the prediction of some far-future events, if only in the broadest outline. These fields include astrophysics, which has revealed how planets and stars form, interact, and die; particle physics, which has revealed how matter behaves at the smallest scales; evolutionary biology, which predicts how life will evolve over time; and plate tectonics, which shows how continents shift over millennia.

All projections of the future of Earth, the Solar System, and the universe must account for the second law of thermodynamics, which states that entropy, or a loss of the energy available to do work, must rise over time. Stars will eventually exhaust their supply of hydrogen fuel and burn out. Close encounters between astronomical objects gravitationally fling planets from their star systems, and star systems from galaxies.

Physicists expect that matter itself will eventually come under the influence of radioactive decay, as even the most stable materials break apart into subatomic particles. Current data suggest that the universe has a flat geometry (or very close to flat), and thus will not collapse in on itself after a finite time, and the infinite future allows for the occurrence of a number of massively improbable events, such as the formation of Boltzmann brains.

The timelines displayed here cover events from the beginning of the 11th millennium to the furthest reaches of future time. A number of alternative future events are listed to account for questions still unresolved, such as whether humans will become extinct, whether protons decay, and whether the Earth survives when the Sun expands to become a red giant.

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Malthusian Catastrophe

Environment Agriculture Economics Futures studies

A Malthusian catastrophe (also known as Malthusian check, Malthusian crisis, Malthusian spectre or Malthusian crunch) occurs when population growth outpaces agricultural production.

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