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Robert Scoble on Singularity 1 on 1: Stop Resisting the Future!

Robert-Scoble

Photo by Thomas Hawk.

Robert Scoble is a Liaison officer for Rack Space, social media phenomenon, technology pundit with huge following, a journalist who has done thousands of interviews and a man who “always tries to have the front row seat on technology.”

Needless to say, I was very happy to have Scoble on Singularity 1 on 1. And, while I may disagree with him about the inevitability of Big Brother and not heeding George Orwell’s 1984 warning, I totally agree with him that it doesn’t mean we have to resist the future. [Just to steer it better…]

During our 1 hour conversation with Scoble we cover a variety of interesting topics such as: the short story of how he got to be where he is today; how he got his scobleizer moniker; his position at Rackspace and why it is among the coolest jobs in the world; his personal goals and motivation; why Google Glass is radically different and new; privacy, security, big brother and surveillance; his upcoming book The Age of Context; his take on the technological singularity

My favorite quote that I will take away from this interview with Robert Scoble is:

“The future is sacrosanct. We should serve the future!”

(As always you can listen to or download the audio file above, or scroll down and watch the video interview in full.  If you want to help me produce more episodes please make a donation)

 

Who is Robert Scoble?

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, Scoble travels the world looking for what’s happening on the bleeding edge of technology for Rackspace’s startup program. He’s interviewed thousands of executives and technology innovators and reports what he learns in books (The Age of Context, a book coauthored with Forbes author Shel Israel, will come out in Q4 of 2013), YouTube, and many social media sites where he’s followed by millions of people.

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  • AuthorX1

    Another great interview.

    I agree with the notion that privacy is doomed to
    extinction. There will be too many ways for a 3rd party to triangulate and
    extrapolate and interpolate all of our secrets. I do not agree with the
    machine is a light switch idea. I think it’s a situation where the whole will become greater than the sum of its parts. I also don’t agree that we will never be able to download or
    upload our brain. I think that your discussion about how so much can be known
    about a person because of their context and metadata might hold the key in this
    regard. Yes, our brains are complicated, but inside the machine, for all
    practical purposes, we have the option of simulating instead of replicating. If
    we can upload enough of your metadata and from that create a simulation that
    perceives like you and responds like you and which people can’t differentiate from you
    if we put the real you and the machine copy behind a curtain, then do we really need to
    upload every bit of information about every single axon and synapse and dendrite
    and neurotransmitter? I highly doubt it.

    —– http://www.singularityarchives.com

  • https://www.singularityweblog.com/ Socrates

    If you haven’t seen it yet, I suggest you check out my interview with privacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian where she says why we cannot and must not accept that privacy is dead: https://www.singularityweblog.com/ann-cavoukian-privacy-by-design/

  • AuthorX1

    I started listening to that one before and got interrupted. I’ll check it out again. I hate the idea that our privacy is being eroded, and I do think that it’s technically feasible to protect and maintain it, but I think that it has to be a social choice by an empowered community, and I think that’s something that works against the interests of large corporations and governments. So they keep developing better technologies that can track us and predict us and keep us occupied, and they offer services to people that make their lives even easier, but at the cost of just a little bit more privacy, and people like the services and don’t think that the tiny bit of additional missing privacy is a big deal, and so they accept it. Although, the joke may be on all of us in the end. As we evolve in the direction of becoming ever more synthetic forms, and technology evolves toward becoming ever more “human”, when the dividing line finally disappears, will the concept of privacy still have meaning?

  • dani pettas

    Awesome interview. Not sure how I feel about about Robert Scoble’s views on the NSA.

  • http://singularity-2045.org/ Singularity Utopia

    I am writing, or least have the notes to write, an article regarding mind-uploading being a type of mental illness. People often wrongly think mind-uploading is something to do with the Singularity. I think mind-uploading is very stupid thus it is the opposite of the Singularity, mind-uploading is not part of any intelligence explosion. Would people be interested in reading such an article? It is worth finishing? Or maybe it would annoy too many people?

  • http://singularity-2045.org/ Singularity Utopia

    I partially agree with your view of mind-uploading. I think uploading will be possible in some form but it will not widely be used and it is definitely not part of the Singularity because it is actually very stupid.

  • https://www.singularityweblog.com/ Socrates

    I don’t see how the “it is actually very stupid” part of your comment follows logically and convincingly from the “will be possible in some form but it will not widely be used…”

  • https://www.singularityweblog.com/ Socrates

    I certainly don’t think it is a mental illness, whether it is achievable or not: https://www.singularityweblog.com/randal-koene-on-singularity-1-on-1-mind-uploading-is-not-science-fiction/

  • http://singularity-2045.org/ Singularity Utopia

    Well many things are possible but mere possibility does not mean it is intelligent.

    It’s possible to chill alcoholic beverages via liquid nitrogen, which is an interesting usage of science and technology but perhaps it isn’t smart to drink such beverages? I read a news report, not too long ago, about a young woman who drank a liquid nitrogen alcoholic beverage but the drink was too cold thus she destroyed her stomach. I also remember and incident where liquid nitrogen was used to cool a swimming pool but due to the nitrogen caused injuries to the swimmers.

    We can also invent nuclear bombs but it is not smart to start wars with them.

    So, being able to so something via technology does not mean it should be done. This is my issue with mind-uploading, from my viewpoint.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2344213/Man-21-left-COMA-faint-organizers-Mexico-pool-party-promoting-Jagermeister-pour-liquid-nitrogen-water.html

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/9637665/Teenager-who-lost-stomach-after-drinking-liquid-nitrogen-cocktail-speaks-of-her-ordeal.html

  • http://singularity-2045.org/ Singularity Utopia

    Yes I was already aware of Randal Koene. I am also aware many other people think mind-uploading is wise and good thing. Obviously my article is very controversial and provocative thus I was testing the water in the comments here. I think I can make a very compelling case to logically corroborate my views but people might be too emotionally-invested in the supposed validity of mind-uploading to understand my points.

  • CM Stewart

    Well I would be interested in a logically supported, yet controversial and provocative article about mind-uploading. I believe varying viewpoints are helpful for understanding.

  • connor1231

    Doesn’t a lot of this stuff scare anybody? Sure there is a ton of upside but things like losing our privacy, losing our autonomy, who does and doesn’t have access to the technogy…it could make your life just as bad as it could make it better.

  • connor1231

    If you are unfortunate enough to not have access to the newest technogy, you’re basically useless in your “chimp” human form. Also, you might get access to the technology but it might have bad consequences, like losing your autonomy, something backfiring or going wrong, etc. that’s a high price to pay for me: I want to be in control, like I am now in my human body

  • http://singularity-2045.org/ Singularity Utopia

    Well CM Stewart, maybe I will get around to it but often I feel I am trying to correct the whole Singularity community thus my energy is depleted. Before the “mind-uploading is a mental illness” article I need to finish the “speciesism is flawed” article, and I have an article about utopia not being a situation where people change their brains via drugs in the manner suggested by David Pearce. There is also Kurzweil’s dismissal of utopia to address.

  • Chris Armstrong

    I would definitely be extremely interested to hear how you think mind uploading is a type of metal illness. I see it as a desire to preserve ones consciousness more effectively by getting it out of these bodies that can be destroyed EXTREMELY easily. If you think about the hyper-fragility of our biology, it seems to me the height of rationality to want to find a more durable “platform” to house our consciousness.

    You mentioned such an article a few months ago, but at this point it still sounds to me like a strong personal aversion to the idea rather than an indication of some psychological defect in others. But, I’m all ears to hear your logically corroborated thesis. If it is compelling, it would be very interesting and something I could definitely learn from. Yes, it probably would annoy some people, maybe even me, but if it’s a good argument, so what…let the annoyance BEGIN! ;-)

  • Dark Cyberian Knight

    The NSA watching isn’t going away.
    If enough of us use technological solutions like tor and encryption and require it of others we could create a shift.

  • Dark Cyberian Knight

    Waiting and trying to slow it down will generally allow others some of whom are less moral make the decisions and set the path for you.

  • connor1231

    Well it’s not like somebody such as myself would be pioneering the way into the singularity anyway. And I wouldn’t be stopping it either. I’m just an average guy. But that’s my concern…the people who ARE paving the way and actually doing this stuff will get first dibs on it, and then the super rich, so average guys like me will be left in the dust. And there’s nothing anyone like me could do to combat that…what match am I for a superintelljgent immortal cyborg? All I could hope for is that somebody was nice enough to share the technology with the middle class and poor people. And then hope that the technology actually works and doesn’t totally mess up society, or take away your freedom, or expose you to other people with the technology, etc…

  • connor1231

    I guess my main concern is just control. I don’t want to lose control. Whether its control of my individuality, or allowing other people to somehow control me or my brain, or control of who gets the technology and when…it’s just the loss of control that comes with the singularity that scares me. Obviously there some awesome benefits and great potential, so if they could find a way to keep it under control I would be all for it.

  • https://www.singularityweblog.com/ Socrates

    I agree with you friend – control ought to be in our hands! That is what privacy by design is all about: https://www.singularityweblog.com/ann-cavoukian-privacy-by-design/

  • connor1231

    Yes, that sounds awesome to me. I visited your link and it would make me feel a whole lot better if somebody like her was creating or influencing the coming technology. Who’s to say that the designers of the technology feel the same way about privacy though?

  • http://www.LimitlessMindset.com/ Jonathan Roseland

    How inexpensive will Google Glasses (or a comparable wearable technology) have to get before you consider buying them?

  • https://www.singularityweblog.com/ Socrates

    I think the $200 range pretty much guarantees their wide-spreading in North America and Europe, assuming that they do work as promised and price is the only obstacle on the way to their popular adoption…

  • http://www.LimitlessMindset.com/ Jonathan Roseland

    I feel like Google should send you some!

  • https://www.singularityweblog.com/ Socrates

    I feel the same way ;-)

  • http://flavors.me/flywheel Craig Simon

    Fascinating interview… particularly the insights about how Google Glass can augment a person’s power of “aiming.” Also, in light of Robert Scoble’s reference to MLK, I’ve been toying with ways of expressing the social consequences of big metadata… We’re no longer to be judged by the content of our character, but the by context of old data headers.

  • http://singularity-2045.org/ Singularity Utopia

    My opposition to mind-uploading is no more pronounced than drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes, which is actually very pronounced, furthermore my aversion is personal, similar to to any aversion I have because I am a person, but my “personal aversion” does have a very clear logical foundation.

    The feedback I am receiving is positive, people seem willing to listen with an open mind, thus I will probably write it.

    In the meantime Chris you mention the “hyper-fragility of our biology” but I disagree, biology is generally far sturdier than a computer. If you drop an iPhone on the floor it will likely be damaged, it will not self-repair, whereas biology is more resilient. You wrote:

    “…bodies that can be destroyed EXTREMELY easily…”

    Actually I think computers can be destroyed with greater ease because they can’t fight back if you smash them with as sledgehammer. Humans can even survive a hammer being whacked into their heads (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2408814/Late-night-Lincoln-attack-left-rugby-star-Matthew-Probert-HAMMER-embedded-head.html) and Gabby Giffords actually survived a bullet through the brain. Try shooting CPUs and see how many computers are functional afterwards. Yes many humans do die from being shot in the head but there are a significant number of humans who survive extremely traumatic head injuries because the human body is very resilient.

    There is great room for improving the human body, which will happen similar to how smart-phones are becoming drop-proof and waterproof.

    Anyway I shall end my response here for now, otherwise I’ll end up writing the article in the comments.

  • Chris Armstrong

    Yes, I can understand that you don’t want to hash-out the whole article here, but let me provide some food for thought as you write your article…

    With all due respect, so far, I’m not too hopeful that you will provide a compelling logical argument since you just used two CLASSIC logical fallacies in the above post. The first is known as the “straw man”: “to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the “straw man”), and to refute it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.”

    You pointed out how easily cell phones and computers can be damaged if you drop them or hit them with a hammer or shoot them. Really?

    This is such a very BASIC reaction that people who have never even thought about this stuff have when they hear about the idea of uploading their consciousness into a “machine” for the first time. Their vision of a machine is a cell phone or a laptop and they say: “I’ll stick with my body. It’s WAY better than THAT.”

    Do you think that a cell phone or present-day computer is in ANY WAY comparable to what people who advocate mind-uploading have in mind when they talk about a more sturdy platform to house and protect their consciousness?

    Not even CLOSE. We are talking about bodies that are hardened against blunt force or penetration. Hardened against radiation, extremes of cold…such as the vacuum of space. Bodies that don’t die within minutes without oxygen, or within days without water. And don’t die because it was salt water rather than fresh water. And don’t die because, although it was fresh water, it had some nasty bug in it. Or the nearly uncountable ways we can be killed by the universe as it’s merely going along about its business.

    We will design bodies that are not only hardened and strong, but ALSO have heightened and expanded sensory apparatus, beyond our current 5 senses, with the ability to combine them in bizarre ways, and all under our own control and the ability to modulate levels of intensity at will and beyond ANY sensory experience possible with these evolved bodies we’re currently imprisoned in.

    Yes, we will be able to do amazing things with genetics/biotech as well, and we NEED to do that, but there will STILL be so many ways even vasty improved bio-bodies can succumb to the hazards of the universe that I think we’re better off starting from scratch and making seriously strong bodies.

    Our bodies evolved to live in this very specific environment and within VERY narrow bands of fluctuations of temperature and atmosphere. A huge Gamma ray burst and many other things can disrupt earth’s ability to support ALL THE LIFE that evolved here.

    I’m sorry, but your vision is far too provincial for me and other mind-uploading advocates. We want to be able to take our consciousness off of this planet and explore the universe without the burden of having to carry a little replication of earth’s atmosphere and temperature with us (a space suit) everywhere we go, and one significant puncture in in that suit and you’re HOSED. Same problem with scuba diving, which is pretty much an activity predominated by avoiding the MULTIPLE ways our fragile bodies can be killed by something as bio-friendly as WATER, for Pete’s sake.

    We want to create “full body prostheses” to house our consciousness that were designed to withstand FAR GREATER extremes that our bio-bodies can tolerate. That can draw energy from multiple sources. And on and on…whatever limitation or vulnerability that we can think of to be overcome…to insure survival…will be designed into these bodies. Because these bodies must house and protect something precious.

    We’re not talking about disposable cell phones worth a few hundred dollars. There’s no point in making them impervious to a gunshot, but there damn sure is a point to making a non-bio-body impervious to THAT and a helluva lot more.

    And yes, I would expect these bodies will also be able to “self-repair” at some point as well. Don’t picture a mother-board. Picture some exotic kind of man-made structure that is more like a complex life form than a computer. Your vision is being severely limited by present-day-level-of-tech thinking.

    And I’ll just mention briefly that we’ll be able to back-up our “mind-file” so even if these super-hardened bodies are destroyed, it’s not “the end of the world” as it IS NOW while we live in these fragile meat-machines.

    The second logical fallacy you employed is called, “cherry picking”: “the act of pointing to individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position, while ignoring a significant portion of related cases or data that may contradict that position.”

    You chose the OVERWHELMING EXCEPTIONS of head trauma survival to try to show how “resilient” our bodies are. You said: “Yes many humans do die from being shot in the head…” No, not “many”…MOST…nearly ALL OF THEM. Check out statistics about the survivability of being shot in the head and you will find things like: over 70% die immediately; nearly 20% die soon afterward.

    So over 90% die from being shot in the head. One stat said 95% with only 3% having a “good quality of life afterward.” When you’re trying to argue for the superiority of bio-bodies over something MUCH STURDIER that we could eventually create, I wouldn’t call a less than 10% survival rate as “significant,” especially when we can ALREADY make things that the bullet that severely damaged Gabby Giffords can’t penetrate AT ALL.

    So it’s pretty weak to drag out Gabby Giffords and other exceptions to hang your hat on. If you are comforted by this statistically small set of exceptional and near miraculous cases of survival and want to entrust the SOLE COPY of your mental-software to this kind of body, be my guest.

    Biology is only “very resilient” within a very limited range of physical damage and atmospheric fluctuation and environmental pathogens, etc., on THIS planet. But take that biology out of this extremely thin atmospheric CACOON that it’s swaddled in and it will immediately discover that the rest of the universe is in a conspiracy to destroy this biology within SECONDS.

    I aspire to something better and longer lasting than a biology that is far too specially tuned to, and limited by, the particular environment on this one spec of dust in the universe.

    ”Man is an artifact designed for space travel. He is not designed to remain in his present biologic state any more than a tadpole is designed to remain a tadpole.” – William S. Burroughs

    “We are at the cusp of incredible things. It’s time to wake up and embrace it. We didn’t evolve through billions of years to remain animals.” – Zoltan Istvan, author of, The Transhumanist Wager

    “I believe that the biology has to go…essentially, we’re living in a coffin. That is what our flesh is. I think we need to get down to the point when we’re basically pure data in machines…

    At some point we will probably discover other entities to become…sub-atomic particles, pure energy, all sorts of cool nanotechnologies that will exist, but I don’t believe that biology is going to make it. I think it’s fragile. I think it’s crude.

    It’s also beautiful…for where we are now, the human being is also a magnificent creature. But in a hundred years, we’re going to look back and say: Wow, the human being was such a fragile entity.” — Zoltan Istvan

    Our bodies ARE “beautiful…for where we are now” but we mind-uploading advocates and designers of “full body prostheses” aren’t content with where we are now, nor with tweaking our biology endlessly in an effort to extend the life of such a perishable platform.

    Yes, this may be an unusual way of viewing ourselves and our place in the cosmos, but really, where’s the “mental illness” here? I can’t find it in myself nor in any of the mind-uploading buffs I know.

  • http://singularity-2045.org/ Singularity Utopia

    You misunderstand my point Chris, obviously being who I am I know technology will progress thus mind-uploading will not be to today’s phones, but my point is that biology is already ahead of technology, resilience wise, furthermore soon via technology biology will progress, thus when I refute you assertion of bio-fragility I am not engaging in a straw-man fallacy. Looking at the facts current computers are more fragile than current humans. Future computers will be much more sturdy but so will future humans.

    I was not offering a total refutation BTW, so obviously I will focus on the key points in a brief reply, which is not the fallacy of cherry picking. I did mention I don’t want to write the article in comments.

    Ironically you think I was tech-unaware regarding future computers but you seem to be tech unaware regarding future spacesuits when you mention the ability or not of Earth-based bio forms to explore the expanse of Space.

    You wrote; “We want to be able to take our consciousness off of this planet and explore the universe without the burden of having to carry a little replication of earth’s atmosphere and temperature with us (a space suit) everywhere we go, and one significant puncture in in that suit and you’re HOSED.”

    Nice touch, with the CAPS.

    How would you feel if I wanted to quote parts of your previous comment, would you be OK with that?

  • Chris Armstrong

    Yes, feel free to quote me as your “exhibit A” example of loony-tunes, mind-uploading, mental patients…but you gotta promise to include all my CAPS…that’s kinda my SPECIALTY, ya know. ;-)

    Yes, surely we can make ever-gnarlier space suites with ever greater protection from “the elements” of space. But to me, it just seems like a second-rate solution to have to drag a little replica of earth’s atmosphere everywhere we go, when we eventually could engineer a body that could withstand a MUCHO wider range of temperatures, radiation, and lack-of-atmosphere, etc.

    On the horizon now, are things that can allow us to go for hours without breathing, and someday nano-bots fixing things internally, and amazing gene-modification, etc., so all that will help. I am definitely gonna need all the bio-tech breakthroughs I can get, cuz odds are EXTREMELY low that I will even make it to the point when an ultra-gnarly full-body-prosthesis (Shout out to Natasha Vita-More for that term, BTW) like I’m talking about is available, we’ll see.

    But I see, even the gnarliest bio-tech breakthroughs as a bridge to when we can replace all that. Yes, biological systems can currently do way more things than we can fully understand or replicate, but I don’t see that that needs to remain the case forever.

    From a functionalist perspective, it seems that we’ll be able to understand the functions of all these biological systems and processes to a great enough level of detail that we can replicate what is essential from them, by-pass any weaknesses/limitations, and even improve on them.

    Are we not talking about TRANSHUMANISM and the SINGULARITY after all? And isn’t extreme technological development FAR BEYOND the limitations of today what these two things are all about?

    However, I do think we’ll probably be able to do mind-uploading a good deal earlier than we’ll be able to hook-up that mind’s nerve/motor-control/sensory-stuff to a body, so our consciousnesses may need to chill for a while in virtual worlds until they can attain physical-embodiment.

    Here’s the bottom line for me: No matter how advanced our bio-tweaks become, short of a genetically engineered Iron-Man-like exoskeleton and other similarly radical bio-adaptations, we’re still dealing with flesh and bone, which is something so fragile that nothing more technologically advanced than a rock or a pointed stick can EASILY cause fatal, lights-out, GAME-OVER injuries to a body made of flesh, bone, muscle, delicate organs, blood, etc. And that’s unacceptable to me.

    Yeah, lots of these problems can be mitigated by replacing some things with genetically-engineered ones but then, why not just go all the way and replace EVERYTHING that is so vulnerable? And yes, we could also have biological clones of ourselves waiting around for us to transfer our minds into if one body wears out or is severely damaged, which it WILL since it’s only made of FLESH AND BONE.

    Earlier, I used the term, “personal aversion,” referring to you. Well, similarly, I know that my enthusiasm for the idea is directly related to certain personal experiences of my own:

    I have had 7 surgeries to fix physical injuries and syndromes that have taken me away from my career several times and left me with serious nerve damage and some “diminished physical capacity.” I am 54 and thus on the “downside” of my expected lifespan (unless some serious breakthroughs come along, PRONTO!)…some bad family history of serious health issues. I have to spend precious bits of my ever-dwindling lifespan exercising to keep some muscle going and keep my old bones strong. I have a body the requires that I spend a FULL THIRD of my aforementioned, ever-dwindling lifespan, SLEEPING. Every day is a race between hoped-for scientific breakthroughs and my body’s continual slide into decrepitude and certain death.

    I think I am just very tired of being so hampered by biological limitations that are outside of my control and I think the most complete control and power to alter my physical and mental states will come through a COMPLETELY humanly designed and self-modifiable “platform” that completely bypasses the need to overcome historical evolutionary biological “issues.”

    Being a Transhumanist/Singularitarian type, I relish the day when we humans can seize control of our destiny by creating vessels for our consciousnesses of OUR OWN DESIGN, that weren’t “designed” by a Nature, that cared only that we were sturdy enough to make it to procreation-age and then after that were more of a drain on “the system” and became expendable. I don’t want to stop at the ability to use fantastically advanced bio-tech to overcome all the limitations and frailties that were imposed on us because of Nature’s haphazard design-specs and priorities.

    I want to learn from and enhance our biology and then go FAR BEYOND it. Even beyond the limitations of physical embodiment AT ALL. Maybe we can eventually find a way that our “consciousness-pattern” can remain coherent outside the confines of a physical brain or brain-inspired artifact, and become freed from the limitations of many/most/all physical constraints ALTOGETHER.

    So, I see bio-tech breakthroughs…leading to greatly enhanced non-bio bodies…leading to a liberation from the constraints of physicality…or something even grander that I’m not even capable of imagining right now.

    Again: “We didn’t evolve through billions of years to remain animals.” – Zoltan Istvan

    …even amazingly enhanced and tricked-out animals. Eventually, we can do better. We can surpass the limitations of nature’s handy-werk in a FAR STURDIER substrate. I believe that because I am a Trans-humanist…one who seeks to go “beyond human.”

    That’s how I see it anyway…but please feel free to ignore it all, as it could be nothing more than the ravings of a madman. ;-)

    Now, go write your article and refute all my silly notions. ;-)

  • connor1231

    Yes, that sounds awesome to me. I visited your link and it would make me feel a whole lot better if somebody like her was creating or influencing the coming technology. Who’s to say that the designers of the technology feel the same way about privacy though?

  • connor1231

    Another thing I’ve always struggled with, and I actually brought up to Chris Armstrong in another thread is:

    Isn’t it hard to keep motivation in your current form when you know how useless it will be? In 20 or 40 years or whatever, it won’t matter how much you studied in school, because somebody who is lazy but rich could buy themselves some awesome upgrades and become a super genius. It doesn’t matter how much you worked out, how healthy you ate, because somebody who put no effort into their health could be able to afford a new body with immortality and super strength, while maybe you couldn’t. Isn’t that dissatisfying to think about?

    Chris did make the point of saying that his motivation is being able to stay alive and well for the next “bridge”, or advancement to take place. But even this seems a bit depressing. If our only goal is just to stay decent enough until we get the next enhancement, aren’t we never really content with how we are? We would just always be wanting the next thing…and we all know this doesn’t lead to happiness. It also wouldn’t pay to be “the best” or really put hard work into anything, because you could essentially just coast by until you can “buy” the next upgrade. And lastly, let’s say you do make it over the bridge, who’s to say your get the newest upgrade? What if it’s not available to you, or not affordable, or the developers don’t offer it to the public?

    The whole mentality just seems like you would never be quite content with how you are, you always feel inadequate compared to how you could be if you could buy the new enhancement, and it rewards the rich but not the hard workers. I personally lose any motivation to study, workout, develop talents, etc… When I think of that.

  • connor1231

    Another thing I’ve always struggled with, and I actually brought up to Chris Armstrong in another thread is:

    Isn’t it hard to keep motivation in your current form when you know how useless it will be? In 20 or 40 years or whatever, it won’t matter how much you studied in school, because somebody who is lazy but rich could buy themselves some awesome upgrades and become a super genius. It doesn’t matter how much you worked out, how healthy you ate, because somebody who put no effort into their health could be able to afford a new body with immortality and super strength, while maybe you couldn’t. Isn’t that dissatisfying to think about?

    Here’s another problem i have. Right now, if you can’t afford the latest technology, you can still make a good living for yourself. If you don’t have a personal computer, or a cell phone, or anything fancy, you can still be a smart, hard-working guy, get through school, get a good job, and live a good life. You can succeed and climb to the top regardless of the technology you have (although it does help). But in the future you guys are talking about, if you don’t have the latest technology, the gap in intelligence and capability will be so wide that you won’t be able to contribute to society. You won’t be able to climb to the top, or succeed and work your way to a good job, or any of that, unless you have the super intelligence that comes with the latest upgrades. And even jobs set aside, you will be drastically inferior in almost every way to the people who can afford the technology.

    Chris did make the point of saying that his motivation is being able to stay alive and well for the next “bridge”, or advancement to take place. But even this seems a bit depressing. If our only goal is just to stay decent enough until we get the next enhancement, aren’t we never really content with how we are? We would just always be wanting the next thing…and we all know this doesn’t lead to happiness. It also wouldn’t pay to be “the best” or really put hard work into anything, because you could essentially just coast by until you can “buy” the next upgrade. And lastly, let’s say you do make it over the bridge, who’s to say your get the newest upgrade? What if it’s not available to you, or not affordable, or the developers don’t offer it to the public? What if only the rich get it, or maybe only the people who developed it get it, and decide not to release it? or the government is in control of dispersing it? the point is that even if you “make it over the bridge”, there’s no guarantee you’re going to be rewarded with the latest tech.

    The whole mentality just seems like you would never be quite content with how you are, you always feel inadequate compared to how you could be, your destiny lies outside of anything you can do (but rather with technology producers), and it rewards the rich but not the hard workers. I personally lose any motivation to study, workout, develop talents, etc… when I think of that.

  • connor1231

    What do you mean by that?

  • connor1231

    What do you think of my last (really long) message? How would you deal with those questions, or rather how do you stay motivated? And how would a 21 year old guy like me stay motivated?

    I’m sure you have some good insight because you seem very optimistic about our future and I’d like to feel that way too.

  • http://singularity-2045.org/ Singularity Utopia

    LOL :) glad you are good humoured about it. Thanks!

  • Chris Armstrong

    You’re welcome! :-)
    BTW, I noticed from your comments on Natasha Vita-More’s interview that your issue was more of a complaint that some/many H+/SIng. types are putting the cart before the horse by thinking of jumping directly to mind-uploading and downplaying or ignoring significant biological enhancements, rather than a blanket rejection of mind-uploading per se.

    On this, we agree. It seems that bio-enhancements will progress and have a MAJOR impact long before we figure out the “hard problem” of mind-uploading.

  • connor1231

    Another thing I’ve always struggled with, and I actually brought up to Chris Armstrong in another thread is:

    Isn’t it hard to keep motivation in your current form when you know how useless it will be? In 20 or 40 years or whatever, it won’t matter how much you studied in school, because somebody who is lazy but rich could buy themselves some awesome upgrades and become a super genius. It doesn’t matter how much you worked out, how healthy you ate, because somebody who put no effort into their health could be able to afford a new body with immortality and super strength, while maybe you couldn’t. Isn’t that dissatisfying to think about?

    Here’s another problem i have. Right now, if you can’t afford the latest technology, you can still make a good living for yourself. If you don’t have a personal computer, or a cell phone, or anything fancy, you can still be a smart, hard-working guy, get through school, get a good job, and live a good life. You can succeed and climb to the top regardless of the technology you have (although it does help). But in the future you guys are talking about, if you don’t have the latest technology, the gap in intelligence and capability will be so wide that you won’t be able to contribute to society. You won’t be able to climb to the top, or succeed and work your way to a good job, or any of that, unless you have the super intelligence that comes with the latest upgrades. And even jobs set aside, you will be drastically inferior in almost every way to the people who can afford the technology.

    Chris did make the point of saying that his motivation is being able to stay alive and well for the next “bridge”, or advancement to take place. But even this seems a bit depressing. If our only goal is just to stay decent enough until we get the next enhancement, aren’t we never really content with how we are? We would just always be wanting the next thing…and we all know this doesn’t lead to happiness. It also wouldn’t pay to be “the best” or really put hard work into anything, because you could essentially just coast by until you can “buy” the next upgrade. And lastly, let’s say you do make it over the bridge, who’s to say your get the newest upgrade? What if it’s not available to you, or not affordable, or the developers don’t offer it to the public? What if only the rich get it, or maybe only the people who developed it get it, and decide not to release it? or the government is in control of dispersing it? the point is that even if you “make it over the bridge”, there’s no guarantee you’re going to be rewarded with the latest tech.

    The whole mentality just seems like you would never be quite content with how you are, you always feel inadequate compared to how you could be, your destiny lies outside of anything you can do (but rather with technology producers), and it rewards the rich but not the hard workers. I personally lose any motivation to study, workout, develop talents, etc… when I think of that.

  • Backstage Pass

    The surveillance points Scoble’s making are correct. If we significantly tone it down, then another significant attack might occur. If this happens, then the public outrage will be far greater than the mild annoyance US citizens have with the current tracking program. Thomas Hobbes social contract made it clear that some questionable and sometimes downright rotten things have to occur either in the past or around the edges to provide the average citizen the level of happiness, freedom, and security desired. It’s a social contract that is still better than a far worse alternative. Granted, it’s a slippery slope, but compared to other developed nations we still have a quality of life that’s to be envied.

  • https://www.singularityweblog.com/ Socrates

    Greetings friend, thank you for your contribution to this discussion. I however do not see it your way at all. In fact, there is little evidence that significant attacks were stopped as a result of the wholesale surveillance. What is worse, we have a lot of evidence that 9.11 related intelligence info and warnings from other states were ignored. We also have evidence that suggests that citizenship rights have been routinely ignored, not to mention the fact that the NSA has turned itself into both domestic and global Big Brother. And so we have tons of signs that the negatives are piling up while no clarity on the positives. We also know that the people in charge have lied routinely both in Congress and during senate hearing committees. So they have lost any credibility in my eyes.

    Finally, I don’t find the current American situation enviable in any way. I find it sad and highly concerning. I personally can name at least a dozen other countries that win no contest as better places to be a citizen of. And, the way the country is slipping down, the list is growing by the day. Sad, sad to see it happen too…

  • r7.5

    Here’s where I checked out on this one:

    “We’re going to be playing paintball with each other and with virtual zombies in the street…the next Xbox is going to be wearables, y’know.”
    “Did you see the winner of the google glass hack-a-thon this weekend? [No.] It was built in one weekend and it was a Frogger that you played by jumping.”

    This is it…really? This is a half-step from doing reviews on the next gen super-soaker. If only they had a way to pack some electronics into one of those things. Robert Scoble is dismissive about some of the most complex and important issues around tech, privacy, and society, essentially copping out by saying “I’m a journalist” and steering the conversation to a Frogger you play by jumping. We’re adults. We live in an adult world and we have adult problems. We might have the means to solve them, but we need the will. We’ll never get there if we continue to employ our best resources to become ever more sophisticated consumers and find novel ways to amuse ourselves. The reason I listen to this show is to get away from this kind of nonsense…it’s a frightening and dehumanizing dead end. Socrates, thank you so much for your hard work and for creating a space to discuss important, if not critical, ideas that impact us all. As for Mr. Scoble, we would have gotten along great if we had met in 1981, because I eight years old and loved Frogger. Paintball would have been fascinating to me. A computer I wear on my face that knows what I’m shopping for in the mall would have sounded like pure science fiction and I would still have been young enough that you might have convinced me that I wanted one, but we live in remarkable and sometimes troubling times. You’ve somehow managed to sustain a lucrative career around ephemeral technology. You’re fortunate have a voice and a forum, you can inspire or influence people. Please help us move past the perpetual adolescence of our age instead of celebrating it.

  • Pingback: Alexander Hayes on Singularity 1 on 1: It’s a shift in humanity, not in technology!()

  • http://blakehall.ca/ Blake Hall

    Because nothing can go wrong in a human body. You’re in complete control.

  • connor1231

    Well in the sense of your mind. As of right now somebody else cannot control my thoughts, hack into my brain, program my brain in any way (unless you count hypnotizing or something). If we turn our brains to metal machines that are all linked up or something, it can give people access to your mind in ways that don’t exist now. You can’t dispute that. If someone hacks your phone now, big whoop. Someone hacks your mind…there can be a lot of bad stuff…

  • connor1231

    And also I mean “in control” in the sense of being able to get the new technology and not become part of the lower unenhanced human class if you don’t want to.

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