Friday, June 08, 2007

David Brin on the science of the future

Wired Science asked science fiction author David Brin "What area or application of science do you feel holds the most potential for the future?" Brin's response focused on the development of better methods and technology for problem solving. He doesn't believe that artificially enhanced intelligence in individual humans is going to do the trick.
Seriously, we’re pretty smart and wise, for jumped-up cavemen. But we need to get smarter. And a whole lot wiser.

Some hope to advance average human intelligence by helping _individuals to boost their own, separate abilities, both at thinking and using advanced tools. Picture an IQ boost like Poul Anderson described in BRAIN WAVE. I wish these efforts luck, but I also have doubts that very much will be achieved by fiddling with our natural hardware. Biology is a very, very complex can of worms and we meddle at some risk.

The real potential may be in striving for better collective intelligence, in much the same way that we’ve managed to make societies smarter, for hundreds of years. For example, through mass education, free speech, and improved methods of positive-sum discourse. Taking this much farther will call for tools-of-discourse that are vastly better than, say, the screeching drivel that passes for “discussion” on today’s websites and blogs.
Ouch on that last bit.

Read the whole interview.

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