14.0314 modern-day prophets

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: 10/05/00

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 14, No. 314.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
             Date: Thu, 05 Oct 2000 20:18:39 +0100
             From: Randall Pierce <rpierce@jsucc.jsu.edu>
             Subject: Minsky quote
    Mr. Minsky has the right perspective on futuristics. I have heard, as
    did he, "experts" declare the limits of technology and create "laws"
    delineating what can be expected from machines. Robert Heinlein, a
    science fiction writer who died in the late 1980's, devised what might
    be called the statistical curves of invention and technological
    development. The bottom line shows a very slightly ascending curve from
    the past into the future. This is what most "experts" expect. Another
    curve ascends about twice as fast, and it represents what the inventors
    and developers of technology forecast. The third and upper curve rises
    at an expotential rate. It represents actual progress in a field. Man
    seems to be so "conservative" in his acceptance of progress(whatever
    that may be defined to be.) He, Heinlein, also said, "A ten-day wonder
    is accepted as a matter of course on the eleventh day." A final
    quotation: Arthur Clarke, scientist and science-fiction writer, was
    quoted: "When a scientist says that something is possible, he is most
    probably right. When he says that something is impossible, he is
    probably wrong." We need to listen to our modern-day "prophets" as well
    as becoming involved in our technology. Thank you for your consideration
    ... Randall

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