Science Fiction to Science

If we are thinking about it now, then at some point in the future, we are likely to see it come to fruition.  Jules Verne provides us some great examples of science fiction becoming science, as do places around the globe today. CERN for example using new technologies to smash atoms and bring us more knowledge about the universe in which we live.  IBM with their WATSON computer trying to power through our current ceiling of artificial intelligence.  Even companies like Google that bring satellite and search technology into the hands of anyone with an internet connection.

We see science fiction and science coming closer together on a daily basis.  Most of this is done in the name of human discovery and advancement of technology, for that we can applaud.  We all have faster computers, intelligent vehicles, smart phones, flat screen televisions, and many other technologies as a result of the hard work and diligence of many scientists around the globe.

However, is our speed at which we are improving technologies overshadowing our ability to control them?  At this time we are currently developing new technologies at an exponential rate, and as I will illustrate, this is both fascinating and scary at the same time.

“The more we know, the greater our capacity to learn and understand, thus the more we know”

Think about that sentence.  If you take that one sentence and apply it to any field, you immediately see the results.  Increased understanding, that increases faster over time.  Da Vinci was one of the first to truly examine the possibilities of flight and it took 400+ years for humans to truly fly.  Roughly 50 years ago, we truly began to examine video phones, and now we have this in our every day lives.  Twenty years ago we examined the possibilities of a connected world via the internet, and a short time later we can do just about anything with an internet connection.

What are the next steps in technological evolution.  Will they serve the good of the world?  Or will they serve the sinister?  As with most things, it will likely depend on the user and their intent.  Just look at what we know about nuclear technology, it can keep our lights on, but in the wrong hands, it can destroy our entire world.

So who decides the true intent and implication?  I suppose it depends on the context, but in many cases, our leaders and governments will ultimately decide how this technology is used, and for what purpose.  Take homeland security for instance, a department developed courtesy of the PATRIOT ACT, and a department with a significant amount of power.  So much power in fact, that I have little doubt that my references to “homeland security” mean this post could immediately raise a flag upon publication.

Today I found myself watching a video from Homeland Security and I again see science fiction becoming reality.  Watch for yourself, judge for yourself, but remember this technology may be at your local sporting events in the future.  Are we actually willing to hand over our freedom blindly in the name of security?

We know that we can be held accountable for the things we do, but is it possible, in the future, we will be held accountable for things it is suspected we will do?