The Future And You
Ideas and opinion about the future based on verifiable facts of today.

Authors Kevin J. Anderson and Doctor Aubrey de Grey are joined by professional comedian Grant Baciocco as well as Walt (The Bananaslug) Boyes and Stoney Compton.  Hosted by Stephen Euin Cobb, this is the November 1, 2007 episode of The Future And You. [Running time: 100 minutes]

Topics include:

[1] Can catching a cold cause you to become obese? The explanation, which is still theoretical, is that because this particular virus reproduces in fat cells it has evolved the ability to stimulate the human body to create more fat cells.

[2] Kevin J. Anderson feels that if nanotechnology and molecular manufacturing turn out to meet their potential they will change human society and the human race forever, and that this will be a bigger change than any change we have experienced in all of human history.

He says Vernor Vinge's Singularity is a fascinating and scary possibility. Though a long-time Mac user and early adapter, he feels the curve of the singularity has already passed him by.

One of his worries for the future is that we have lots of smart people working on scientific advances when they have no clue what the effect on society will be. As an example, he sites a US project from the sixties called Operation Plowshare in which nuclear warheads were to be used in place of earth moving equipment for construction projects such as blasting tunnels through mountains for interstate highways and creating municipal reservoirs for public drinking water.

[3] Walt Boyes (The Bananaslug) and Stoney Compton give us an inside peek at what's in the latest episode of Jim Baen's Universe Magazine.

[4] Cryonics is a very good bet, says Doctor Aubrey de Grey who sees resuscitation from a cryo-preserved state as a natural extension of the work he's already doing in Medical Life Extension. He is pessimistic about cancer, however, and does not expect a cure within the next few years. He feels that cancer will be one of the most difficult problems of Life Extension to overcome.

He also uses empirical evidence to make a case for his notion that because Life Extension raises people's perception of the value of life, in the future wars will become less and less common.

He also suggests that the reason the US medical system is so expensive compared to those of the rest of the civilized world is not that it is not socialized but that America is such a litigious society. A lot of the money goes to lawyers, rather than to medical professionals.

[5] The final installment in our serialization of the novel Bones Burnt Black.

[6] An interview with the professional comedian Grant Baciocco in Atlanta Georgia where he had just accepted a Parsec Award for the weekly, family-friendly podcast which he co-created with Dougg Price called The Radio Adventures of Doctor Floyd.

A technogeek but no transhumanist, Grant Baciocco is one of the early pioneers of podcasting. He discusses trends in comedy including the recent increase in vulgarity, his use of SeatGuru to always get an aisle seat when flying, and trends in theme parks--especially the new interactive animated characters which talk with and answer questions from their audience.

Direct download: TFAY_2007_11_1.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:01am EDT