Sunday, December 4, 2016

Hawking's vision of the future

Physicist Stephen Hawking writes:
This is the most dangerous time for our planet

As a theoretical physicist based in Cambridge, I have lived my life in an extraordinarily privileged bubble. ...

So the recent apparent rejection of the elites in both America and Britain is surely aimed at me, as much as anyone. ...

The automation of factories has already decimated jobs in traditional manufacturing, and the rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend this job destruction deep into the middle classes, ...

These migrants in turn place new demands on the infrastructures and economies of the countries in which they arrive, undermining tolerance and further fuelling political populism.

For me, the really concerning aspect of this is that now, more than at any time in our history, our species needs to work together. ...

We now have the technology to destroy the planet on which we live, but have not yet developed the ability to escape it. ...

To do that, we need to break down, not build up, barriers within and between nations.
Yes, he has lived in a bubble. He wants to flood First World countries with Third World migrants until we can all escape to another planet.

He is entitled to his opinion, of course, but aren't there any physicists who voted for BREXIT and Trump? Who want to preserve the middle class? Who are not clinging to crazy sci-fi fantasies?

Update: LuMo piles on:
But if you look at the majority of the political questions, Stephen Hawking is just another rank-and-file leftist. And he is perhaps more radical or fanatical than the average obnoxious leftist – especially when it comes to the global fearmongering and the need for a global government and global redistribution. ...

Hawking's essay is interesting, he is a good writer, and references to his very special life always bring some added value. But ideologically, the text is full of nonsense that is basically identical to the nonsense that ideologues were offering at crazy interdisiplinary conferences more than half a century ago.
He quotes R.P. Feyman as rejecting these egalitarian fantasies:
...There was a special dinner at some point, and the head of the theology place, a very nice, very Jewish man, gave a speech. It was a good speech, and he was a very good speaker, so while it sounds crazy now, when I’m telling about it, at that time his main idea sounded completely obvious and true. He talked about the big differences in the welfare of various countries, which cause jealousy, which leads to conflict, and now that we have atomic weapons, any war and we’re doomed, so therefore the right way out is to strive for peace by making sure there are no great differences from place to place, and since we have so much in the United States, we should give up nearly everything to the other countries until we’re all even. Everybody was listening to this, and we were all full of sacrificial feeling, and all thinking we ought to do this. But I came back to my senses on the way home.

The next day one of the guys in our group said, “I think that speech last night was so good that we should all endorse it, and it should be the summary of our conference.”
I miss Feynman. He would expose crap as crap.

1 comment:

  1. "Although Hawking is a political genius in comparison e.g. with Terry Tao," ROFL! True!

    As a matter of fact, I'm even less impressed with the mathematics people. They are completely obsessed with outdated and useless theories. They can't even teach people basic statistics and that's why we are getting poor reproducibility...besides the fact that they are pencil neck geeks:

    I confronted someone about group theory because he said it was the basis of all our modern technology. I was reduced to laughter. I found out the source of such pseudo-intellectualism and it came from a TED talk by someone constructing ugly music:

    "Scott Rickard has degrees in Mathematics, Computer Science, and Electrical Engineering from M.I.T. and MA and PhD degrees in Applied and Computational Mathematics from Princeton University. At University College Dublin, he founded the Complex & Adaptive Systems Laboratory"


    They can't even find a good cryptography system using group theory but stick to basic number theory. Even mainstream error correction codes never essentially used it. It was all glorified and dressed up XORing [one-time pad with a trapdoor & GF(2)]. Modern codes are graph based and they don't even teach the abstract algebra anymore. Just theoretical physics...

    They can't even update linear algebra from Grassmann in 1844. The textbooks are awful in almost ever area. Sloppy and dated. Not many Fields Medals in our future.