Re: EXTRO4: Timeline to 2020 Project Site now up
Wed, 7 Jul 1999 22:49:31 -0700

Greg Burch, <>, writes:
> The Timeline to 2020 project web site is now up and ready for input at:
> The site consists of pages for each of eight broad "development areas", which
> lead to separate pages for specific developments over the next two decades.

This looks very interesting and I can see that a lot of work has gone into it. I feel that there are a couple of problemw right now though.

The main one is that the topics on which we are asked to comment lack definitions. There appears to be room for a topic description, but many or most of the topics don't have one.

In some cases this is OK: "AI (Human-Equivalent)" and "Computer Speed (1 GigaFLOPS)" are pretty clear. But for others it is not clear what is meant: "Enhanced Reality", "Haptic Interfaces", "Agency Management" are ambiguous or confusing. Is "Expectation of Immortality" when I expect immortality to be achieved, or when the population as a whole comes to expect that immortality will someday be possible?

We are invited to attach comments to the topic title on each page, and that might be a place where someone could offer a straw man definition of each concept which would help other readers to make consistent predictions. I was concerned about the details of the technology, though, since there are two occurances of "Enhanced Reality" on the page for that topic: the title string at the top, but also the list of all computer related topics at the left. Is there a need to put in context information to make sure that our comments get put in the right place?

In terms of the dates, it might be nice if there were <2000 and >2020 options so that we can record that we don't think the events will occur in that time frame.

There seem to be somewhat over 100 topics, which spreads participants pretty thinly unless you get a lot of participation. I know you hope to do so, but it makes it harder to generate a critical mass of commentary that will invite others to participate.

Despite these issues, this looks like a great project. I'll jump in and try to make a few comments, and hopefully others will do so as well.