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Discussion on: What is the most potentially-revolutionary software currently being developed?

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Dan Dascalescu

NOTE: I initially wrote this post before I was aware of GPT-3. See the "rhetoric" bullet below.

I'm surprised to see so many narrow examples mentioned here: some CSS library, some JS framework, some project management app.

By "revolutionary", I'm thinking about software with the potential to profoundly impact life. This can be in established fields, or in emerging ones. I'm pretty sure there are efforts underway to build each of the examples below; we may just not know about them yet.

  • machine learning - autoML
  • law - deep-learning digital attorney able to find the most appropriate legal precedent in a matter of minutes, vastly outsmarting human lawyers
  • politics - liquid democracy, or other voting systems solving the one-person-one-vote problem
  • rhetoric - argument-making software able to persuade anyone on any controversial topic with a mix of flawless logic, appeal to emotion, and plain abuse of reasoning fallacies. This can have immense implications on politics, far beyond what fake news and social media manipulations have had, even at the current state of technology. UPDATE post GPT-3 and Neuralink: imagine a leader whose brain is connected to Neuralink and can come up with a brilliant, convincing, fact-checked, (counter)argument to anything, better than Gary Shapiro and the Limitless protagonist. Society is not ready to openly accept AI-based governance, even though we are already at the mercy of various algorithms deciding loan interest rates and whatnot. In 20-50 years, a charismatic leader with hidden wireless access to the successor to several generations of GPT-3 like algorithms, can plausibly take over the world.
  • molecular biology - figuring out protein folding
  • blockchain - encrypted storage of surveillance data (CCTV footage, Internet traffic etc.), whose decryption can only be done with a combination of keys from the owner of the data source and the authorities, and such decryption is permanently marked and visible in the blockchain. This would legitimize surveillance because the use of the data would be revealed.
  • prediction markets - Augur looks promising
  • SAFE Network - decentralized, autonomous and encrypted web
  • transportation - cheap self-driving modules
  • weather - high-accuracy weather prediction compensating for chaotic system effects
  • BCIs - intepreting subvocalizations for silent computing, AI software to decode brain waves in general
  • synthetic biology - iGEM, GenoCAD, and other tools