Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Carnival of Tommorow 12

Welcome to the Event Horizon. Now get ready because you are about to venture into the strange world of 'The Carnival of Tomorrow'. The theme of this carnival will be the economics of the future. Some of the subtopics I have gathered from all over the vast regions of the blogosphere include robotic manufacturing and self-replication, the free market and prize driven twentyfirst century space race, nanomanufacturing, and some of the surprising properties that are emerging from our economic/technological infrastructure.

To kick things off there are a couple of very good posts on applying exponential growth thinking to the current linear-intuitive economic model. Arnold Kling over at Tech Central Station kicked of a three part series of his thinking on Ray Kurzweil's recently released book "The Singularity is Near". The first article he wrote was entitled "Kurzweilomics" and it elicited a response from a few bloggers including this piece from Stephen Gordon back at the Speculist. Also I wrote a related piece which discusses the relationship between economic philosophies and technological evolution. Update: also check out this post by J. Random American from Ideas in Progress on the effect of greater human life spans on political philosophy and individual liberty.

first off check out this really exciting video footage of the RepRap machine.
If you aren't familiar with the project it is a serious attempt at building a self-replicating machine and they are making a lot of progress.

Marshall Brain over at Robotic Nation Evidences talks about how an automated economy might effect the middle class. I find his writing thought provoking but I disagree with the extent to which he thinks full automation could be a disaster. Also check out his more comprehensive essay Robotic Nation.

J. Random American of Ideas in Progress points out an interesting breakthrough reported at AIM Points by Mr. Goldberg. This is one for all you Trekies. Transparent Aluminum. (its a manufactured material right?)

The final news for the future of manufacturing is a very interesting report on the progress being made in molecular manufacturing brought to us by Mike Treder of Responsible Nanotechnology.


Science, capitalism, and democracy work together to make some incredible synergy. This part of the carnival looks at how market driven models are breathing new life into humanity's quest to reach the stars (or at least low earth orbit for now).

A couple of the recent events which have been trying to harness American innovation through contests offering large cash prizes to those who are able to overcome specific obstacles were the successful DARPA challenge to build robotic vehicles, The x-prize and related contests, and most recently a competition to build a climber for the space elevator. A lot of good stuff is coming out of these kinds of contests but some have been more successful than others. Keith Curtis has some comments and criticism that are of interest about the tether climber contest.

If your interested in the space elevator also check out Brian Dunbar's blog Space for Commerce. Brian works for Liftport which is the company building the space elevator and he writes a good blog. Update: Keith Curtis interviews Dr. Bradley Edwards on the space elevator. Very informative. The Speculist offers commentary on that interview here. Also Brian says this site has better information on the space elevator

If it looks as though space commerce is taking a giant leap forward it also looks as though NASA's latest plans are taking a quite anachronistic two steps back. Rand Simberg offers some commentary on this over at Transterrestrial Musings.


Two key aspects of infrastructure are driving our modern economy and those infrastructures themselves are evolving. Those two aspects are the energy grid and the infotech communication grid.

A lot has been said the last couple of weeks about what has been dubbed 'web 2.0'. This label is as good as any for what I see as a very important evolution of the global communication/knowledge sharing infrastructure. A blog called TechCrunch is dedicated to reporting on innovations in this field. Also Daniel Poynter has a blog called Hyper Aware Consciousness with a few posts on this subject from an interesting perspective.

Finally Joel Makower of WorldChanging writes this article about the need for a future 'smart power grid'. Apparently our electrical grids are highly inefficient and badly in need of an upgrade. I think this is going to become a huge issue over the next ten years as electric vehicles are phased in and petroleum is phased out.

Well that's it for The Carnival of Tomorrow 12. Hopefully your horizons have been expanded a bit.

  • The next Carnival of Tomorrow will be held back at the Speculist.
    If you would like to contribute to it just email them at:
mrstg87 {@ symbol} yahoo {dot} com


bowermaster {@symbol} gmail {dot} com


If your interested in the space elevator also check out Brian Dunbar's blog Space for Commerce. Brian works for Liftport which is the company building the space elevator and he writes a good blog.

Please don't look at my humble blog if you're really interested in space elevators and space commerce. Or do but I frequently devolve into pictures of monkeys and kittens. It's not pretty.

The Liftport blog is more narrowly focused on Liftport and space elevators - do check us out at www.liftport.com/progress/wp/

By Blogger Brian Dunbar, at 26/10/05 02:16  

It's my first time here, and I find it very informative. However, one small criticism: your links are very hard to see against the white background.

By Blogger RebeccaH, at 26/10/05 11:07  

Thanks for the feedback rebeccah. I'll work on that.

By Blogger Micah J. Glasser, at 26/10/05 11:35  

Thanks for your hard work. I was happily introduced to this particular carnival by J. random american. You are helping to introduce a lot of fellow travelers in futurism to each other. Keep it up.

By Blogger al fin, at 28/10/05 10:52  

Thanks Al. I appreciate the encouragement. I see from tour profile that you are interested in neuroscience. I just added Chalmers' resource page to my links. If you havn't already seen it you shouls check it out. Its a treasure of information on consciousness, AI etc.

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