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February 8th, 2008
Interview: Lee Kuan Yew -- Part 2
UPI: Unless you've read science fiction, it's pretty hard to keep up with the ever-quickening pace of the revolution in technology. From the newfound ability to create artificial life to the now visible horizon of new supercomputers -- IBM's latest can compute at the rate of 1,000 trillion operations per second, up from 73 trillion -- that will surpass the human brain in every respect, to the current fusion of IT, biotech, nanotech and robotics. Humanity appears to be morphing from homo sapiens to homo connectus in one generation. Where do you see humankind going in the 21st century?
Lee: I give up! Because I no longer understand, let alone relate. I didn't do science beyond high school, but at least I could understand the world around us, from totalitarian dictators out to rule the world to the pushback on freewheeling, anything-goes democracy. Now I read learned articles that don't tell me why all this new stuff is happening. I learn new words daily, like biopharmaceuticals and biologics and send them to my secretary for an explanation, and the answer comes back, from Google or somewhere on the Internet.
When I was in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) recently, I was watching a BBC documentary, a sparkling, fascinating talk by Craig Ventner, the human genome scientist, who covered the whole field of tomorrow in 50 brilliant minutes. I was transfixed by the part about creating artificial life. But I can't figure out what it all means and where are we going.
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