When will be the next big leap foreward?

  • Thread starter AJ_2010
  • Start date
In summary, the next big leap forward in scientific knowledge may be in brain-computer interface technology. Scientists are currently trying to figure out how to make this technology work better so that it becomes more widespread and seamless. Once this happens, it is likely that a new level of thought and intelligence will emerge.
  • #1
AJ_2010
25
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I was watching a HORIZON program on the BBC a few days ago about big bang theory and how the old notion of there being a singularity that exploded with no consideration of time before that, and how this is now being torn apart by new theories etc.

But my question is about when do you guys think the next real leap forward will be in physics and science knowledge as a whole?

Are we missing a single piece of maths that will open doors or missing some specific decive that we need to measure something important?
Will the HADRON collider and the possible evidence of the Higgs Boson prove to be the key?


It seems to me these days that science progression has levelled out and is waiting for some new 'thing' to happen. (Or maybe its because I've not been paying much attention to detail over the past number of years since leaving uni) ;)
 
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  • #3
In the past 15 years, the "thing" seems to have been communications, especially wireless and optical. And since 5 years, any technology that is "green".

I'm in neither field directly but I still feel bombarded by related news.

In astrophysics, exo-planets seem to have been in vogue.

And graphene of course is currently an exploding area in material science.

Also, the use of carbon fiber has increases tremendously in the past 10 years.

As for more science-related stuff (vs tech), well yeah, watch out for the LHC. The NIF is also on the verge of doing interesting stuff.
 
  • #4
AJ_2010 said:
But my question is about when do you guys think the next real leap forward will be in physics and science knowledge as a whole?
It occurred 17 years ago, but nobody noticed.
 
  • #5
I think brain-computer interfaces are the next big thing, once they stop being viewed as just a kink for playing computer games and their use for communication gets so widespread and seamless that they're in fact brain-brain interfaces. They will eventually lead to a new "language" for communicating between ourselves that is orders of magnitude more efficient, accurate and expressive than current forms. And then, because we learn to think in parallel and in close relation to learning to communicate, a new level of thought and intelligence. Kids growing up with "telepathy" implants from infants will surpass today's geniuses while still in kinder garden. Maybe even some form of group consciousness can occur. It will be a complete new step in human evolution, although technologically driven.
 
  • #6
BORG ALERT... BORG ALERT!
Georgir is promoting Borgism! That's like Communism, but with cool implants. Don't fall into his trap!

Actually, I agree. Brain/computer interface has been postulated and depicted in fiction for decades, but it is now very close to everyday reality. Once readily available, it will indeed change the foundations of civilization. For one thing, instantaneous translation (ala Star Trek) will be commonplace and will help to tear down cultural barriers.
 
  • #7
resistance is futile
 
  • #8
granpa said:
resistance is futile

...but makes for some good pyrotechnics...
 
  • #9
Danger said:
It occurred 17 years ago, but nobody noticed.

So what occurred 17 years ago?

As for explosion in technology, i don't have credentials to say. But i'd like to guess it will be in another 60 years.
 
  • #10
When? I think it'll happen when scientists start throwing out their false presuppositions that they're trying to rectify current observations back to.

Basically, scientists make assumptions about things they do not know, do not understand, and in some cases, cannot know. These assumptions give rise to presuppositions about the world around them, many of which prove to be false presuppositions.

For example: Scientists presuppose that a particle known as the photon exists, and it acts as both a particle and a wave. It may in fact be proven that light is simply a wave, acting as a quasi-plane wave.

Another example: Scientists presume that the Earth and the universe is billions of years old, despite equally weighty and compelling evidence to the contrary. If Creation Scientists are right in their belief that the Earth is 10,000 years old, then scientists that hold to the billions of years theory are literally off by a factor of 500,000. That would *greatly* change the conclusions drawn from observations we see today.

What I'm trying to say is, most scientists today spend a great deal of their time trying to prove their presuppositions right, instead of looking at the objective evidence right in front of them. It happens on all sides of every argument, but the ones that put aside their presuppositions and are willing to be wrong in order to be right in the long run, will make great leaps.
 
  • #11
So what should scientists concentrate their studies on now? What subject should scientists concentrate into yield the greatest returns in terms of technology?
 
  • #12
I'm not psychic so I can't say, but I think any area is equally ripe for scientific advancement. Specifically ones that can provide near-term financial benefit, because if you can do that, you can pay for more of the theoretical stuff that will pay dividends decades from now.
 
  • #13
So, with the brain-computer interfaces, will that likely take the format of shared thought and maybe take every 'plugged-in' human to increase their brain capacity by using the output of other's?

I know that only a small percentage of the brain is used for computation and active thought and the like. Being able to add in the power of many other brains could lead to a vast expansion in knowledge and understanding.

Is this how it is expected to pan out?

Or are we talking about the use of a computer chip to 'add' to the human brain power (independant of other human connection)?
Again, this is an interesting concept. Totally no idea how it will connect or work but it opens doors to many possibilities.
 
  • #14
AJ_2010 said:
I know that only a small percentage of the brain is used for computation and active thought and the like.

Adding to that mystery is the contention that humans "only" employ 10 percent of their brain. If only regular folk could tap that other 90 percent, they too could become savants who remember π to the twenty-thousandth decimal place or perhaps even have telekinetic powers.

Though an alluring idea, the "10 percent myth" is so wrong it is almost laughable, says neurologist Barry Gordon at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Although it's true that at any given moment all of the brain's regions are not concurrently firing, brain researchers using imaging technology have shown that, like the body's muscles, most are continually active over a 24-hour period. "Evidence would show over a day you use 100 percent of the brain," says John Henley, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=people-only-use-10-percent-of-brain
 
  • #15
the human brain is so resource-hungry

it wouldn't be rational for it to work at less than its full capacity

considering that 20%-30% of your food and oxygen feed it, it's a huge evolutionary pressure
 
  • #16
G037H3 said:
the human brain is so resource-hungry

it wouldn't be rational for it to work at less than its full capacity

considering that 20%-30% of your food and oxygen feed it, it's a huge evolutionary pressure
Intelligence is the evolutionary barrier. We adapt nature instead nature adapting us. Well, there is still some evolution in progress, mainly in so called 3rd world countries where genetic screening is not available.

If it isn't rational to use less than full capacity of your brain then use it. Stop sleeping.
 
  • #17
I'm expecting next big leap to be done by data generated by LHC. (or maybe lack of data)
 
  • #19
The next big leap forward will come on Dec. 22, 2012. It will be a big aha moment for millions of people.
 
  • #20
Jimmy Snyder said:
The next big leap forward will come on Dec. 22, 2012. It will be a big aha moment for millions of people.

Well while we're throwing out dates... the next big leap forward will come on Nov 2, 2010 :biggrin:

After that, the next big leap will come on Nov 6, 2012, and subsequently January 20th, 2013.

And now, for another presupposition:

Upisoft said:
Intelligence is the evolutionary barrier. We adapt nature instead nature adapting us. Well, there is still some evolution in progress, mainly in so called 3rd world countries where genetic screening is not available.

Scientists base their studies on the presupposition that evolution is happening, and/or that it happened. Namely, new beneficial information being added to the genetic pool that was never there before, creating more complex systems that on their own have no benefit, but as a complete system suddenly have a useful benefit.

It is all well and good to base on the presupposition of change within one's own kind (squirrels in one area being brown, and in other areas being black, despite the same genetic makeup), that has been observed and is scientifically verifiable. But the addition of new genetic material to the gene pool has never been observed; and in reality, the exact opposite is observed to be taking place, namely that information and complex systems over time tend to simplify (languages are an easy to see example).

The addition of new genetic material in the past can only be inferred by a complex system of other presuppositions about layered strata, fossil dating, etc, which in turn are based on the presupposition about the age of said strata, etc.

What I'm getting at is, there's a lot of presuppositions in there that if they were let go, some real progress could be made.
 
  • #21
Barwick said:
Scientists base their studies on the presupposition that evolution is happening, and/or that it happened. Namely, new beneficial information being added to the genetic pool that was never there before, creating more complex systems that on their own have no benefit, but as a complete system suddenly have a useful benefit.
And I assume that your presupposition is it cannot happen, right?

Barwick said:
It is all well and good to base on the presupposition of change within one's own kind (squirrels in one area being brown, and in other areas being black, despite the same genetic makeup), that has been observed and is scientifically verifiable. But the addition of new genetic material to the gene pool has never been observed;
Wrong. Some bacteria have developed resistance to some drugs encoded in their genetic material. Anyway we are observing DNA only for the last 40 years. And even in that time we are still perfecting the techniques for DNA sequencing. It is a lifetime period for a human, you cannot expect to observe evolution within the lifetime of a person. The bacteria however have much higher rate of reproduction.

Barwick said:
and in reality, the exact opposite is observed to be taking place, namely that information and complex systems over time tend to simplify (languages are an easy to see example).
So, you were born, then you simplified to what you are now. I don't know if I agree or disagree with that. Explain.

Barwick said:
The addition of new genetic material in the past can only be inferred by a complex system of other presuppositions about layered strata, fossil dating, etc, which in turn are based on the presupposition about the age of said strata, etc.

What I'm getting at is, there's a lot of presuppositions in there that if they were let go, some real progress could be made.

How do you propose to make some real progress? You already "proved" that is impossible. It is necessity that we as complex information systems will tend to degrade with time, isn't it? So embrace your degradation and stop calling for impossible.
 
  • #22
The next big leap forward will come on Dec. 22, 2012. It will be a big aha moment for millions of people.

What, when the LHC is finally run at full power?
 
  • #23
Blenton said:
What, when the LHC is finally run at full power?

You are talking about that big demon summoning circle? Don't worry it is not pentagram, it will not work.
 
  • #24
Upisoft said:
And I assume that your presupposition is it cannot happen, right?

Not that it cannot happen, but that it does not account for what we see, and that it is incredibly unlikely, statistically, to happen. Especially when considering complex systems whose component parts have no benefit on their own, but together have a vast benefit. The likelihood of the component parts spontaneously being generated are low (to throw out a random number, let's just say 1 in 10^15 reproductions, it's likely much higher than that). if there were only 15 of those component parts required, all of which serve no benefit on their own (and therefore wouldn't be preserved by natural selection), we're talking on the order of 1 in 10^240 chance of that happening.

So, that's my personal belief based on evidence I've seen.

Could new evidence show that random beneficial genetic mutations like the one above are possible? It's possible, but I haven't seen it, at least not without some convoluted reasoning to arrive at that conclusion.

Upisoft said:
Wrong. Some bacteria have developed resistance to some drugs encoded in their genetic material. Anyway we are observing DNA only for the last 40 years. And even in that time we are still perfecting the techniques for DNA sequencing. It is a lifetime period for a human, you cannot expect to observe evolution within the lifetime of a person. The bacteria however have much higher rate of reproduction.

The resistance to bacteria was already present in their genetic material, and a simple modification of the expression or arrangement of that material produced the desired effect. Almost always, drug resistance results in a weaker (albiet still alive in a hostile environment) bacteria.

Upisoft said:
So, you were born, then you simplified to what you are now. I don't know if I agree or disagree with that. Explain.

Just that the 2nd law of thermodynamics states that complex systems over time tend to degrade into more simple systems and closer towards chaos. Unless intelligently directed energy is put into arrange it, those systems tend to degrade. Hence why my house doesn't naturally stay clean, there's not the right kind of intelligence in our four little kids to keep the place looking spotless.

Upisoft said:
How do you propose to make some real progress? You already "proved" that is impossible. It is necessity that we as complex information systems will tend to degrade with time, isn't it? So embrace your degradation and stop calling for impossible.

I didn't prove progress is impossible, I simply stated that scientists clinging to their "I know evolution is true, and the Earth is billions of years old" is holding them back from making discoveries that are contrary to their presuppositions. They are refusing to use their intelligence (which is the key to increased order) to make those advances because it contradicts their emotional presuppositions.
 
  • #25
Barwick said:
Not that it cannot happen, but that it does not account for what we see, and that it is incredibly unlikely, statistically, to happen.
So, you have the collected statistical data. Please quote the source. Throwing random numbers isn't helping.

Barwick said:
The resistance to bacteria was already present in their genetic material, and a simple modification of the expression or arrangement of that material produced the desired effect. Almost always, drug resistance results in a weaker (albiet still alive in a hostile environment) bacteria.

Well, there you are. Simple modification = huge effect. You said it.
Also you described well the natural selection process. These weaker, but still alive bacteria survived. Also, where is the intelligent design here? We created the drug with exactly opposite idea - to kill the bacteria. The unexpected by you behavior was that it have adapted.

Barwick said:
Just that the 2nd law of thermodynamics states that complex systems over time tend to degrade into more simple systems and closer towards chaos. Unless intelligently directed energy is put into arrange it, those systems tend to degrade.
Quite an addition to the science. The class has a question though. What is the intelligent entity in the crystal making business. After all, the crystals do not organize by themselves, do they?
BTW, you missed the word "isolated" or "closed" systems.

Barwick said:
I didn't prove progress is impossible, I simply stated that scientists clinging to their "I know evolution is true, and the Earth is billions of years old" is holding them back from making discoveries that are contrary to their presuppositions. They are refusing to use their intelligence (which is the key to increased order) to make those advances because it contradicts their emotional presuppositions.
Speaking about presuppositions.
 
  • #26
Here are some possible revolutions:

* An as yet unknown new paradigm for the quantum gravity problem?

* Bussard's http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polywell" (if it works) real clean abundant power!

* http://www.celltechpower.com/technology.htm" (LTA-SOFC) Potentially able to produce electricity from any fuel (coal, oil, LP * natural gas, sawdust, lawn trimmings, etc) more efficiently than high pressure steam turbines. Real distributed power generation (getting rid of "the grid"!).

* Genome project based http://www.microsoft.eu/Futures/Viewer/tabid/64/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/297/The-virtual-physiological-human-The-search-for-computings-supermodel.aspx" . I'm not sure how practical but potentially this would provide super precise medical diagnostics, drug design, and custom treatments for diseases.

* Related to the last, and probably occurring on the way: Computer modeling of organisms, enabling custom genetic engineering of agricultural and bio-industrial organisms, modeling of pathogens, e.g. a way to wipe out malaria would save millions of lives. Imagine programmable ants capable of sorting recyclables while eating the waste organics. Imagine precision customization of yeasts producing nutritionally complete food, or drugs or industrial chemical feedstocks.

* http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.09/diamond_pr.html" .

* Super "batteries"? Would be great but I don't see any quantum leaps. We have however seen steady slow improvements.

* Stem cell research- growing new whole organs and tissue from the patient's own stem cells would be a dramatic breakthrough.

* A new economics paradigm?

> I do not see quantum computing as producing a major paradigm change. I see this as an academic subject capable of advising classic computing problems. (But a worthy subject of research.)

> "Nanotech" is a broad category and I don't see micromachines cleaning out our arteries anytime in the near future but we have seen behind the scenes nano-scale materials technology enabling customized material properties.
 
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  • #27
Upisoft said:
So, you have the collected statistical data. Please quote the source. Throwing random numbers isn't helping.

On average, mutations occur once every 10 million duplications of DNA, or 1E7 (ref: Paul S. Moorhead, Martin M. Kaplan; Wistar Institute Symposium; Science Vol. 160. no. 3826, p. 408, 1967).

That's for *any* mutation to take place (beneficial, harmful, or neutral).

I can't offhand find my source for the rate of beneficial vs harmful mutations, and the both of those vs neutral (which comprise the vast majority of mutations by many orders of magnitude). A few sites said anywhere from as high as 1 in 150 mutations are beneficial vs harmful, to as low as 1 in thousands or millions. Let's go with 1 in 150 being either harmful or beneficial. Now figure out how many are neutral (thousands of times more than the # of beneficial/harmful ones), and we've got another 1 in 1E9 or so, leaving us with a probability of beneficial mutation of 1 in 1E16 or so.

Now, let's just assume a 5 part system, all of which must be developed in the same organism, or successive organisms, despite there not being any natural selection benefit to doing so. Suddenly you have a 1 in 1E80 chance of that 5 part system (which is actually very very simple as far as life systems in an organism go) arising by chance.

Upisoft said:
Well, there you are. Simple modification = huge effect. You said it.
Also you described well the natural selection process. These weaker, but still alive bacteria survived. Also, where is the intelligent design here? We created the drug with exactly opposite idea - to kill the bacteria. The unexpected by you behavior was that it have adapted.

Exactly my point, it was a modification of information that was *already present*. No new information was created.


Upisoft said:
Quite an addition to the science. The class has a question though. What is the intelligent entity in the crystal making business. After all, the crystals do not organize by themselves, do they?
BTW, you missed the word "isolated" or "closed" systems.

If you want my opinion on that, crystals form that way because it's efficient for them to do so. That is, it's basically the equivalent of their "resonant frequency". It is the state of highest order created by the lowest amount of energy input.

It would be akin to asking why is the sky uniformly blue, instead of having patches of different colors? It's because of the dimensions of the nitrogen in the atmosphere causing that particular frequency to be scattered more than others. It's an inherent property.

Similarly, you could ask why does XYZ element absorb 62nm, 982nm, and 442nm frequencies well, while ABC element absorbs 874nm, 554nm, 654nm, 988nm, and 121nm well... It's got to do with their inherent properties. Heck, if you think of fractals even, and apply that to atomic structure... their protons and neutrons are structured in such a way that they would act as a great antenna at certain frequencies, and a poor antenna at others.

Upisoft said:
Speaking about presuppositions.

You don't believe directed intelligence toward a goal is the fastest path to increased order? Simple observation would prove that... Try writing a book, and then try putting 100,000 monkeys in a room and wait for a readable book to come out, and tell me which took longer, and which is a better book.
 
  • #28
jambaugh said:
Here are some possible revolutions:

* An as yet unknown new paradigm for the quantum gravity problem?

Check out Xavier Borg's stuff on that topic:
http://www.blazelabs.com/f-g-intro.asp

jambaugh said:
* Bussard's http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polywell" (if it works) real clean abundant power!

I've been following this for some time, it would be excellent.

jambaugh said:
* http://www.celltechpower.com/technology.htm" (LTA-SOFC) Potentially able to produce electricity from any fuel (coal, oil, LP * natural gas, sawdust, lawn trimmings, etc) more efficiently than high pressure steam turbines. Real distributed power generation (getting rid of "the grid"!).

You're going to keep me busy looking up these things for a long time aren't you? Some neat stuff...

jambaugh said:
* Genome project based http://www.microsoft.eu/Futures/Viewer/tabid/64/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/297/The-virtual-physiological-human-The-search-for-computings-supermodel.aspx" . I'm not sure how practical but potentially this would provide super precise medical diagnostics, drug design, and custom treatments for diseases.

* Related to the last, and probably occurring on the way: Computer modeling of organisms, enabling custom genetic engineering of agricultural and bio-industrial organisms, modeling of pathogens, e.g. a way to wipe out malaria would save millions of lives. Imagine programmable ants capable of sorting recyclables while eating the waste organics. Imagine precision customization of yeasts producing nutritionally complete food, or drugs or industrial chemical feedstocks.

I don't know that I'd trust #2 here, at least in the near future. The understanding of the processes in the human body is seriously lacking. Heck, mainstream science is just figuring out that Omega 3 is good for us, and solves a LOT of problems we've been seeing... and despite that they're only advocating 1-2 grams per day, when we should be consuming 20-30 grams per day or more. Just saying they're a long ways off there, but you're right it'd be cool the possibilities.

jambaugh said:
* http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.09/diamond_pr.html" .

* Super "batteries"? Would be great but I don't see any quantum leaps. We have however seen steady slow improvements.

* Stem cell research- growing new whole organs and tissue from the patient's own stem cells would be a dramatic breakthrough.

Back in 2007, we've had 73 treatments as the result of Adult Stem Cell treatment. It's a very promising field. I don't know what that number is today. I do know that the very first treatment based on embryonic stem cells has finally started, and it isn't looking good. So much for the embryonic stem cell hype... so far the score is Adult Stem Cells 73+, Embryonic 0.

This is a very very promising area.

jambaugh said:
* A new economics paradigm?

Marx and Engels tried that, a paradigm designed on the theory that human beings could be perfected. It failed miserably, and caused the deaths of well over 100 million people in trying to implement it. I'll take our voluntary system of prices and free competition over a man-designed system any day.
 
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  • #29
AJ_2010 said:
This is suggesting that 'over the course of a day' that 100% brain power is used...but not on individual tasks.
Or am I wrong (again)?
If you used 100% of your brain on a single task, you'd die.
 
  • #30
kramer733 said:
So what should scientists concentrate their studies on now? What subject should scientists concentrate into yield the greatest returns in terms of technology?

My 2cents in order of importance.

1. Material Sciences : Particularly CNT. In my opinion CNT advances represent an entirely new way of looking at materials. It's about as amazing as plastics and nylon were for their times. Look around you and subtract everything in your room that contains even one tiny part plastic or nylon.
Material advances are THE major catalyst for change for human society. This is why many historical epochs are labeled "Bronze age", "Iron age" etc. Well we are on the cusp of another one of these shifts involving CNT.
I say catalyst because advances in material sciences help just about every other field in science and I mention CNT because it is the most exciting new material since plastics.
Plastic may have a bad reputation (because it is a synthetic substance) but try to imagine a world without it.

2. Computers: Computers and materials sciences go hand in hand but this is another catalyst technology. Ill say again I use that word (catalyst) because better cheaper and more advanced computation helps every other field of science grow.

3. Extra-solar planets : While this may not be a catalyst for all human advancement as such right now there is a gamble in the search for life outside Earth. If we do find it there's a huge pay off. If we can prove that it exists elsewhere (and I see no better way than to keep searching for Extra solar worlds and examining them) then I think there would be a huge ideology shift here on Earth. I don't know which way it would take us but trust me : major change. A person might be skeptical to say that these ideological shifts mean nothing. Some others in the past : discovery of fire, the first telegraph sent, the first brick kilned.. etc.


These are the three I most expect to see a game changing shift in my lifetime. I would hope that the people in these fields doing valid work get the right funding to continue.
 
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  • #31
Barwick said:
On average, mutations occur once every 10 million duplications of DNA, or 1E7 (ref: Paul S. Moorhead, Martin M. Kaplan; Wistar Institute Symposium; Science Vol. 160. no. 3826, p. 408, 1967).

We are doing DNA sequencing since 1970 and you cite source before that time? It's time for you to learn what happened in science since 1967.

Anyway the question of this thread is about future. And now I think that the next big leap will be when people will stop using outdated information.
 
  • #32
Barwick said:
Exactly my point, it was a modification of information that was *already present*. No new information was created.
Yes, of course. Painting is just changing the color that already existed, nothing new was created.

What you typed is just change in the color of some pixels on my screen. I very much agree that I see no new information there.
 
  • #33
February 29, 2012
 
  • #34
I see there is a science vs religion discussion going on in my thread.

As I am firmly on the science side of the debate I will continue to watch as the religion elements are continually shot down in flames. :)
 
  • #35
AJ_2010 said:
I see there is a science vs religion discussion going on in my thread.

As I am firmly on the science side of the debate I will continue to watch as the religion elements are continually shot down in flames. :)

HA! You're hilarious. This is exactly what I am talking about... "Since I believe this, I'm going to watch and ignore everything I hear from the other side..." Then you act as if religion is at odds with science.

Enjoy the mediocrity.
 

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