Ok, time to get serious or no ice cream for me today.
First, an article [Link] about some calculation of when homo sapiens is going to go extinct. The argument, which I can’t follow very well from the reportage, is that there is some probabilistic total number of humans that can live before we go away. Yeah, that’s why I have problems with this one. But I think its the presentation rather than the idea. I have similar concerns but mine are founded in two things: available resources; and extinction events. There are only so much oxygen, water, ….. on Tellus, in the solar system, in the galaxy,….. and when it is used up we, and life as we know it, ends. And it doesn’t have to be exhaustion, just scarcity enough to tip us into the void. The extinction event thing is more direct but harder to confront since the probabilities are small at any time. So we happily go along being bogs, in the main, and assuming that will be solved by a nerd in someone else’s lifetime. And not inconvenience us.
That may the the scariest source of extinction of all.
On a different azimuth, I found an article in WIRED [Link] that argues we need to change our computer usage from GUI to “conversational interface”. Ala Star Trek. The article is amazingly, to me, at least, frank about the difficulties, turning them into values in several cases. But I can’t suspend my disbelief. I spent several years trying to use dictation word processing software. It never had an accuracy better than 0.1. On a VERY good day. I quit repeatedly because I couldn’t afford the time waste.
My concerns about this all turn on vocalization. Language is complex, full of things with fuzzy meanings. I don;t think we are going to be happy limiting ourselves to baby talk to deal with computers. Besides, there are lots of things, some of those 18 click chains the article mentions, that I can do better and faster with clicks than words. And there is accent. No one thinks they have one. And while we may all be able to learn to machine talk, can we keep it up when we are sick or distressed or emotional?
Nice idea. Maybe it will work with the next dominant species.
Speaking of which, i see [Link] that 0.2 of the population of the Yankee republic, as estimated from assumedly representative sample populations, afirm they have “no religion”. That doesn’t mean they are atheists. It just means they don’t associate themselves with a religion organization or brand. Yes, I know religions don’t talk about branding outside the inner circle. But they;re a business and that means branding.
What’s missing from the stats is the demographic of nerds versus bogs. I know the folks here in the old Confederacy are less likely to have this state, but I would like to know what fraction of that 0.2 are nerds and geeks.