A reaction to one small part of Damien's very interesting message:
> Conclusion? Much of what we anticipate has already happened, at fast rates,
> and with the creation of sharp dichotomies. I already hear that no one person
> can fully understand a Boeing 747, or MS Excel. We can already produce
> superintelligences capable of producing things our minds aren't big enough to
> grasp. The consciousness isn't superhuman, but a human CEO makes decisions
> based on superhuman levels of prior processing, and with superhuman (in
> complexity, not just gross scale) consequences.
And speaking of the Y2K bug...
This point is what I think is being overlooked by the most extreme Y2K pessimists. They see the universal nature of the bug, the terrible complexity of its interactions. The scope of the effects is beyond human comprehension. This is part of why they conclude that it is beyond human power to fix it.
However as Damien points out, collectively we Have "superhuman" capabilities already. Even something as complex as the Y2K bug in all its manifestations can still be within our abilities to handle.
This is not to trivialize Y2K, which may yet prove to have catastrophic effects. But it calls into question the simplistic reasoning of many of those who claim to know that we are doomed.