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arethuza 453 days ago | link | parent

"it's almost guaranteed that we'll never venture beyond our solar system"

I like to think that it's almost guaranteed that we will venture beyond our solar system - it might take hundreds or years (or maybe thousands) but, in one form or another, we'll get there.

[I suspect that transporting big lumps of meat about probably isn't the way ahead - travelling in an uploaded form seems far more likely (e.g. Greg Egan's Diaspora).]



panacea 453 days ago | link

A pessimistic way of thinking (apologies for my disposition on this entrepreneurial board) is that the odds of being born into an era with the highest population ever to live, are just that: the highest probability.

That we're going to solve the energy crisis, and that this era isn't a brief spike in human population, burning at breakneck speed through the very finite 'windfall' of exploiting found reserves of fossil fuels seems unlikely.

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guard-of-terra 453 days ago | link

But someone born in ancient Rome could say the same thing about an era with the highest population.

But we now know there's more to mankind than Rome.

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splat 453 days ago | link

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doomsday_argument

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jerf 453 days ago | link

I'm not sure that logic is valid (and thanks to splat for linking a more expanded version of the argument), because the probability of you being born when you were born is now 1. I'm not sure it's valid to try to do logic based on using that as a random variable.

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exit 453 days ago | link

7 billion are alive today, while 100 billion have ever lived.

haven't i already beat the odds of being born amoung the 93 billion who lived before today?

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mikeash 453 days ago | link

I don't think it's sensible to talk about probability when you only have a single data point and no clue whatsoever of the distribution involved. (E.g. is the human into which you're born actually random as that argument assumes?)

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bluedanieru 453 days ago | link

We have mostly solved the energy crisis, in the sense that we have the technical means to supply ourselves with power we can use, and in a sustainable way. Implementing that solution will require rather sweeping political and economic upheaval though, so the question remains for how much longer we'll continue to fuck the Earth's ecosystem before we get around to it (if indeed we ever get around to it at all).

As usual, mankind's biggest problems arise from our inability to scale social interaction well, not from technical prowess (or lack thereof).

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No1 453 days ago | link

Depending on whether "we" means people in a ship, or probes that we send out to do the exploring for us, "we" are already venturing beyond our solar system.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voyager_1

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bentcorner 453 days ago | link

The article reminded me exactly of Diaspora, but more about the gamma-ray burst in the plot. If you haven't read the book and are interested in this sort of thing, I highly recommend it.

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