Glenn: The government cannot stop the exponential growth of technology

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Editor’s Note: This story was originally published on Thursday as part of “Wiki Weapons Founder: They can never eradicate gun from the Earth”

Technology is advancing at a rampant rate, which creates amazing possibilities but also incredible challenges for the average person. Only a few years ago your music player, phone, TV, and computer were all separate devices that would have cluttered your desk if you laid them all out. Today, all of that fits in the palm of your hand with your smartphone or tablet. And that’s just the beginning. New technology like 3D Printers has presented everyone with the ability to create all kinds of stuff right in their own home without even leaving their home. The opportunities people have now are limitless, but so are the dangers presented by this new technology. This was the topic of Glenn’s show Thursday night as he spoke on Ray Kurzweil’s “Singularity” and spoke with people who are using new technology in some fascinating ways.

To start the show, Glenn explained Ray Kurzweil’s idea of “The Law of Accelerating Returns”. Glenn, of course, used M&Ms to demonstrate how technological advances increase exponentially over time, meaning that what comes in the next few years will dwarf advances in technology that came in the past few decades (check out Glenn’s explanation in the video at the top of the page). In his essay on the topic, Kurzweil wrote:

An analysis of the history of technology shows that technological change is exponential, contrary to the common-sense “intuitive linear” view. So we won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century — it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate). The “returns,” such as chip speed and cost-effectiveness, also increase exponentially. There’s even exponential growth in the rate of exponential growth. Within a few decades, machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence, leading to The Singularity — technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history. The implications include the merger of biological and nonbiological intelligence, immortal software-based humans, and ultra-high levels of intelligence that expand outward in the universe at the speed of light.

Glenn used the example of the cell phone to make his point. What was once bound to the wall with cords first went cordless and then mobile and bulky. And while phones got smaller, they also got a lot smarter. Today, an iPhone can act as your personal assistant. It can find a restaurant just by hearing you talk. What could come next? Ray Kurzweil told Glenn that in the next five years computer will be able to basically read your thoughts by having read every e-mail, website, text message and communication you have. It will learn from you to the point it can predict what you are thinking.

“I want you to understand, it’s nothing to fear as long as we are in control. There is nothing stopping it. The government would have to take away all the technology for this trend to reverse or stop – and you cannot do that as we will demonstrate tonight,” Glenn said.

“The answer is not, should not, and cannot be regulation. The answer is not anti-technology. The answer is to be strong in ethics, and community and decency. To control it, and to know you’re about to be overwhelmed by what you are about to see in just the next few years.”

Glenn said that the technology is going to move so fast that the government will not be able to keep up with it. He used the example of a 3D Printer, which can be used to print high capacity magazines for guns. By the time Congress could pass legislation outlawing the technology it would be outdated.

“What is coming has never been seen before in the history of all mankind,” Glenn said. “We are going to have to deal with health, social, spiritual, society questions that we have not even ever considered. No man ever has.”


  • snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

    Neither government or anyone else can stop the growth of technology, what matters is HOW it comes to be used. Good or bad that choice is in the people wielding the tech-devices, as the new technology in and of itself is neutral.

    Great good or great harm, its based on the choices we all make.

    • Draxx

      What scares me about the Downloading to the Brain stuff is…

      Electronic Viruses!  You can then turn a Human Being Into a Cyborg.  But, you would not miss what you thought you never had…

      And, whoever designed that Virus Will Now Become Your Master!

      • Sam Fisher

        Yup and the government most likely would be the puppet master.

      • Anonymous

        Fear not.  Man is not a two part helix.  We are three (body, mind, sprit).

        Mankinds tools can not yet maniuplate the spirit.  Only the mind/body.  When they collide with the spirit the spirit will generate a crisis of conscious and interupt at some point such programming. 

  • Anonymous

    The singularity will result in complete loss of control by man and complete attainment of control by machine.  Enjoy!

  • Sam Fisher

    Singularity is coming and we should put in fail safes to make sure computers don’t someday turn on us. This could be a good thing as well open up the universe to exploration.

  • Omegaomni

    strong in ethics?  in a future where people can make bombs that kill everything on planet, how is strong ethics going to do anything?  if one person out of trillions can kill everyone how can you prevent it?  You would need a complete mind control police state to ensure “ethics”

    Why do christians care about this singularity? Isn’t jesus coming back? 

  • Anonymous

    Not to worry one iota! God is still in absolute control and always will be!

  • Anonymous

    Overrated. What’s the difference between a ZX81 (i had one) and an i-mac ? Processing speed, Disc Capacity, relative size, and data transfer rates. The ‘internet’ and computers handle text, pictures, audio. Not as much has changed as you think. 3D printers are old and don’t produce material out of nothing. You Government already has the technology to get inside your (our) brains, in fact has been doing successfully for decades via controlled media, marketing, film, music, and T.V. programming. And the constant stream of fake enemies of course. But they can now actually get inside your head with various technologies. (Who ‘they’ are is of course the question).
    And you wouldn’t let anyone upload anything directly to your brain, would you ? And can Modern Man not find a pizza without a machine ? Technology has brought us many wonderful things no doubt, but let’s not forget that at the consumer end of the scale things are little more than toys that ‘you and me’ are programmed to queue for in freezing temperatures, fight and trample others for when the shop doors open. It’s greed. It’s coveting. Those words not mean anything ?And let’s not also forget that these toys are manufactured to within an inch of their lives. Modern electronics manufacturing is of the cheap throw away variety. It has to be to keep false economies afloat. But you may have noticed the boat is sinking..The exponential growth analogy is a massive exaggeration. It also assumes that Mr. Beck can see into the future. We have been programmed to believe that the sky’s the limit for technology and science. I contest that we’ve probably found out 95% of the useful stuff. I mean they are developing cars so you can switch the lights, the oven, and the telly on before you’ve pulled the hand brake in the driveway. Great.So considering all the stuff going on, instead of looking forward to the next i-whatever, I’d spend more time looking back at how to build a leaf shelter and hunt ! (I guess a number you are already proficient..)When the power goes off every i-thing instantly becomes an i-nothing.I’m suspicious that Mr. Beck is doing some programming of his own here.. 

  • Anonymous

    If you think Mildred`s story is amazing…, 1 week
    ago my girlfriends brother also got a cheque for $8860 sitting there a
    fourty hour month from there apartment and the’re roomate’s
    half-sister`s neighbour done this for 4 months and got a cheque for over
    $8860 part-time On their laptop. apply the information here…

  • Dan Allen

       What will the pro-multiculturalist do when we all see the true seperation of abilities in different types of people? Technology is great, I am very excited about the comming new age.

  • Anonymous

    hello glen beck   I really hope you read this letter I don’t have a computer and have to use other people lap tops well with that said , I seen on your show on the other night about that city you want to build . I have been spending lots time designing glass walls to keep us safe from the ozone layer and look beautiful at the same time . I don’t think we should send our children to schools  like they are now I believe we should build a school so beautiful and safe at the same time also free from first grade to collage where no child will be held behind but can excel to any grade or talk to any teacher they want . I also have an invention of anti gravity to install the huge glass blocks . I just need to get in touch with the right people but I don’t want this technology to get into the wrong hands I am not making this engine for war but to bring about world peace . I seen your idea about the city in Texas and I would love to help out and share my invention to speed things up for you . I am a Christian and really dislike what I see going on around me, I have kids and its pretty sad what is going on today . So please who ever reads this remember we are all family . so help me so I can help you . I know there is a lot of work to get done .I am willing to share and help to the best of my abilities ,so please if someone who reads this contact me so we can make it a better future for the next generations I love GOD this earth all men , women and children . So please lets work together to make it a better tomorrow  . my name is joseph scott email or call me 1-413-218-4596 thank you for your time

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