People matter in the state of Arizona, we are opening so many private prisons in this insane state that we need people to fill them and any reason will work. Repeated jaywalking citations, spitting on the sidewalks, under age frat parties are all bringing in harsh sentences by the Tempe Arizona City attorneys office who are trying to make a name for themselves and their superiors, they are having a field day with ASU students and their stupid 30 to 90 day sentences but that's Arizona.
Next to Mississippi Arizona is near the bottom in everything and one of the most backwards states in the US but in states like this yes people matter but for the wrong reason.
Given that anyone with a pacemaker, a cochlear implant, or any number of similar devices is already "cybernetic", I would presume that most people a few generations from now will. I still don't think that this implies that they wouldn't be recognizable as modern humans or would have significantly different preferences or needs than people today.
I'll leave you with a question: If God came down and said he would destroy the planet if we didn't end any substantial or authorized use of fossil fuels within five years, do you think we couldn't get this done? Where there is a whip, there is a will, my slug.
I think that ever since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, people only matter to the extent that they can reinvent themselves. People need to add value to society, broadly speaking. Those unable to reinvent themselves, to continue to add value after machines have usurped their previous occupations, become sidelined.
Totally agree that global trade only makes the problem more acute, for the developed world initially. Only initially. Eventually, everyone will be in the same boat.
I chuckled at David's comment on lawyers. There's one profession that manages to create ever more inelastic demand for its own services, eh?
Many of us have devoted our lives to pushing the information revolution forward. We are now passing through the midpoint of that revolution. The second half of these revolutions are always more interesting than the first.
The relationship of people to each other, to technology, to the economy, and to the planet are starting to change in frightening ways. And that pace of change is accelerating. My kids' uber liberal friends are, in many ways, the new Luddites. Can we really blame them?
The Model T Ford - which hallmarked the midpoint of the industrial revolution - led directly to soaring divorce rates. The iPhone - arguably the hallmark of the midpoint of the information revolution - will have impacts no less profound over the next decade or two.
You can't know where you're going if you don't know where you are. Thanks again, Brian, for sharing a signpost along the way.
Thanks for the link to a thought provoking article, Brian.
My kids are now in their early 20s. For the past few years, I've enjoyed meeting their college friends.
Their friends tend to fall into one of three broad categories: clueless, uber liberal dogmatists, and 'old souls'.
In many cases, I seem to be the first person over the age of fifty who's ever forced many of them to think out loud.
I consider myself a 'rational engineer environmentalist'. Preserve it if it's worth preserving, try hard not to pollute, invest in alternative energy - to a point. At the same time, be realistic about our energy needs and how long it takes to shift sources. And don't put up a high fence around all of the beautiful places that have been preserved.
My kids' uber liberal friends get strident about environmentalism. So I ask them a basic question:
"What do you think the odds are that your grandchildren or great grandchildren will be cybernetic organisms?"
They look at me like I am nuts. And then I ask them the religious question:
"Have you read Kurzweil? Huxley? Do you know who Gordon Moore is? Is it easier to 'fix' a broken planet or to re-engineer man? What is your relationship to the technology that surrounds you and that you can't live without?"
Many of these kids have so little background in the sciences and math that they don't understand how to spot a statistical 'trend'. They think trends are about fashions or beliefs.