Printed: 2020-08-07

Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

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On the Pernicious De-Radicalization of the Radical Future

George Dvorsky

Sentient Developments

August 23, 2011

Over the past several years a good number of “futurists” and all-out naysayers have systematically worked to undermine and dismiss the potential for radical change to occur in the not-too-distant future. While I’ve always been more a fan of concepts than time-lines, there is little doubt in my mind that a number of disruptive technologies that have been predicted in the past few decades will eventually come to fruition.

But it’s suddenly become very fashionable to poo-poo or sweep-aside the pending impacts of such things as the looming robotics and manufacturing revolutions, the rise of super artificial intelligence, or the migration of humans to a postbiological form. My best guesses as to why include the arrogance of the now (i.e. “we currently live at the most special of times and things will never change too significantly”), distraction (i.e. “there are other more important issues that require our attention”), fear, denial, weak imaginations, and just plain ignorance.

Here’s a quick overview of what’s coming down the pipe—developments that will forever alter what we currently think of as normalcy and the human condition:
Work for radical change

So, just keep on thinking that the future is going to be more of the same.

George P. Dvorsky serves as Chair of the IEET Board of Directors and also heads our Rights of Non-Human Persons program. He is a Canadian futurist, science writer, and bioethicist. He is a contributing editor at io9 — where he writes about science, culture, and futurism — and producer of the Sentient Developments blog and podcast. He served for two terms at Humanity+ (formerly the World Transhumanist Association). George produces Sentient Developments blog and podcast.


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