Jul 6, 2018

Survival of the Richest

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, biotech/medical, bitcoin, finance

Last year, I got invited to a super-deluxe private resort to deliver a keynote speech to what I assumed would be a hundred or so investment bankers. It was by far the largest fee I had ever been offered for a talk — about half my annual professor’s salary — all to deliver some insight on the subject of “the future of technology.”

I’ve never liked talking about the future. The Q&A sessions always end up more like parlor games, where I’m asked to opine on the latest technology buzzwords as if they were ticker symbols for potential investments: blockchain, 3D printing, CRISPR. The audiences are rarely interested in learning about these technologies or their potential impacts beyond the binary choice of whether or not to invest in them. But money talks, so I took the gig.

After I arrived, I was ushered into what I thought was the green room. But instead of being wired with a microphone or taken to a stage, I just sat there at a plain round table as my audience was brought to me: five super-wealthy guys — yes, all men — from the upper echelon of the hedge fund world. After a bit of small talk, I realized they had no interest in the information I had prepared about the future of technology. They had come with questions of their own.

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  1. Bennie Beaver says:

    Nice to hope and feel most of scientist don’t desire the darkest of all scenarios. We witnessed this recently when some scientist at Google declined to create for the military. But of course, they will still need to help design defenses against those in the world who will create those offensive weapons.

    For me one solution is a socialist-capitalist-democracy. It seems none of these political systems work in a pure form. We need capitalism for human nature’s need to compete and growth. We need socialism for our desires for a degree of humanity. We need democracy of a kind to lend equity to regulations and controls.

    How do we balance out the differing natures of humanity for the better of all mankind? Will be ever control more and more progress produced by more and more population growth? Somewhere along the line when is enough-enough?

    Considering the history of human nature its still a question whether the better part of human nature will win out in a future singularity I believe is coming sooner than most imagine.