Neill Blomkamp’s TED Talk: Life On Other Planets and the Future of Human Civilization

So you undoubtedly know about TED talks, and of TEDx, the independently-organized TED events around the world. We had one recently in Vancouver, where Neill Blomkamp was a speaker. The video of his talk went up a couple of days ago, and regardless of whether it contains the direction of his next/a future film (which I strongly feel it does) that he’s going to do, it’s a pretty captivating, theoretical science-driven vision of our universe, life on other planets, and the future of human civilization in a way that most of us probably haven’t ever thought of. I think you’ll love it.

Amazing. Neill Blomkamp is one smart dude.

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10 thoughts on “Neill Blomkamp’s TED Talk: Life On Other Planets and the Future of Human Civilization

  1. I’m glad he mentioned the Rare-Earth Hypothesis, which seems more and more correct with every new discovery. Other than that he doesn’t say anything new, if you’ve been keeping up with science or even hard sci-fi.

  2. Why is it assumed that every intelligent life wants to spread and multiply? It is true for native, i.e. organic life, I think, as we are programmed to proliferate because otherwise our ancestors would have just died out, but a machine does not need to multiply to live, and is not programed that way, which means it has, as far as I understand, would it be sentient, no urge to reproduce. It has to maintain itself to survive,true, but does not need to multiply. Does anyone of you know why this assumption is made? Is it just a prediction based on our behaviour as life?

    The exception would be, of couse, when a) a program/machine becomes sentient that has “the urge” to reproduce because that`s part of the program itself or b) when a sentient program/machine wants to get better adapted and thus starts evolving on its own. But why does it need to multiply then, instead of modifying itself? And why does it want to get better?(I think there are a thousand other ways to explain reproductive behaviour in non organic sentient life, but these were the only two which came to my mind, still, I do not understand why reproduction is assumed as “naturally occuring” in this theory).

    1. I like how you approach this problem. Another is that we have no idea what artificial intelligence will take. Will it really be just a computer, able to upgrade itself, and restart at will? Or perhaps it will be more similar to our brains, once in place, the neural pathways can’t be radically changed.

      The bottom line is that we don’t know if strong AI will be able to upgrade themselves and thus lead to the singularity.

      1. So, let`s assume this AI is here. When it exists, the soul/matter problem is really solved (except for many religious pepole, but never mind). Why should it want to live? What drives an intelligence that is not formed by and selected by a strong will of survival, as our ancestors were? What I want to say is: Will this thing even want to live, reproduce, evolve, modify itself? From an atheistic point of view, life is, on a large scale (I mean a relly large scale), meaningless, so if the machine/program is an atheist, ow will it react? If the AI possesses emotions, perhaps it will live just for pleasure, as most people do, but …. oh, so many things to speculate about. And so many things which lie beyond speculation, because the matter is so complex. It was meaningless to write this, on a large scale. But speculation is fun.

  3. I am really no expert or whatsoever in Informatics and programming etc., but I had a similiar talk about programs gaining self awareness a few days ago with a friend. She is a programer, and told me the normal approach is just to not let it happen, for example: when you program something really complex, don`t connect your computer to the internet, in case the program runs wild, gains awareness etc. She also told me that the ethical implications of sentient programs/machines is not adressed at all in the programming community as a whole. I think this is, let`s say, not a really wise approach, but on the other hand this is the way humans always tend to act. As long as the problem evolves slowly and is still, theoretically at least, under control, nothing will happen. Oh, this video offers so many interesting topics to talk about.
    I a really happy that I live in a time of great discoveries and problems. I think the previous and following decades will really be a few of the really really interesting ones in human history.

    1. well, on the bright side, most of us should live to see 2045. One aspect of the singularity that he neglected to mention was the prospect that humans will evolve into computers. As AI develops, cybernetic integration will develop too, until the human race IS a computer.

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