Posted by: Paul Chiariello | February 28, 2011

We Have No Way of Knowing What’s Impossible: Some Amazing Videos on AI and Other Research

So, I love fantasizing about the future and trying to imagine the unimaginable.

However, what I do not love is when I’m off embellishing some crazy thought about the future of society and technology and some one remarks that X or Y is impossible. Robots will never be conscious, we will never colonize other planets, art and emotions are unique to people and not synthetic life, and so on and so on.

So to this I reply, try explaining to Aristotle the concept of the internet or how every plebian will one day have instant communication machines or that in a short while people will be walking on the surface of that small white disk that you see at night.   I imagine Aristotle’s as smart and creative as you and me, but the product and its impacts on society are so far removed from his likely ideas about what is ‘possible’ and ‘impossible’ that I doubt he could ever believe (much more grasp) these things with you just sitting down and explaining them to him.

Point is, we have no idea what is impossible. History only tells us what is possible and makes no comment on what is impossible.  Its not that history doesn’t tell us what is impossible, it is that looking back on history cannot tell us what is impossible.

Even philosophically we have no way of proving a universal negative (i.e. X will never happen or there exists no Y). Pointing out the fact we have not ‘figured’ X out or don’t understand X is no argument at all for whether it is possible or impossible. That we haven’t figured something out only means ‘we haven’t figured it out.’  We simply have no way of telling whether ‘yet’ should be tacked on to that last sentence.

Below are a list of videos on some of the latest artificial intelligence and other cool such for those, like me, that get inspired to imagine the impossible by looking at what is already possible.


On Human Enhancements:

  • Super sensitive, chemical sensing and solar powered robotic skin.
  • Fast forwarding evolution?  Great video on a variety of topics in technology and ethics.
  • Discussion of a variety of possibilities for human medical development, amazing robots and homo evolutis (skip to minute 8:30 to get to the fun science part).
  • Scientists develop an interface for steering your car with your thoughts.

On Artificial Intelligence:

On Robotics:

On Cool Other Things:



Small Note: this post with be old new in  two years or so :)

If you have any other cool things to update this list, please don’t hesitate to put the links in the comments below.


  1. […] we figure out things we previously thought were impossible.  I won’t go into musing over what is impossible and what isn’t.  But only because I have already done that (see the link).  In the post I argue we have simply […]

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