the fact that human beings would be prone to disease and injury caused by accident pretty much guarantees the eventual rise of medical science. We would rediscover antibiotics and anesthesia.
The more general point that disease provokes its address seems true enough, but as for the "eventual" discovery of antibiotics and anesthesia I thoroughly disagree there was any kind of inevitability of their discovery or the order of their discovery vis-a-vis other discoveries.
I'm not a technological determinist, I do not agree that there was any "natural" inevitability about the discoveries humans made nor their dissemination nor their application, since I understand the contingent historical, socioeconomic, and cultural dynamics in play in such processes.
One of the reasons I prefer the awkward phrase "technodevelopmental social struggle" over the term "technology" is because it reminds us and helps us to resist the temptations to retroactively invest technoscientific contingencies with inevitability and confuse our limited knowledge in the present (usually invested with deeply prejudicial desires) as a key to "The Future."
the wish that death could be cheated; that one could hold onto the vitality of youth indefinitely. It seems to me that, so persistent is this wish, medical science is bound to be rediscovered if history were run again
That's like saying people feed themselves when they are hungry because they are closeted techno-immortalists or indulging in the wish-fulfillment fantasy of discovering the fountain of youth every time they quench their thirst. Neither is true. Understanding, remedying, and curing diseases -- which, indeed, looks likely soon to include the remediation and cure of some conditions hitherto connected with aging -- isn't about techno-immortalization, "cheating death" (an expression saturated in adolescent religiosity to my eyes), or the invulnerability or eternalization I describe as the super-predicate of superlongevity in the superlative schema. You are hyperbolizing science into a profoundly unscientific sub(cult)ural aspiration for personal transcendence again.
Another technology that is very likely to be re-invented is the computer.
You think an analogue computing device arising out of Greek, Roman, or pre-Euro-modern Chinese civilization would have been morphologically the same, arising out of a water clock or an abacus or who knows what, as an industrial age computer; that it would acquire the same historical associations; that it would be freighted with the same figures and frames and aspirations, such that in every case "the computer" arriving in its "present" would mean the same thing to you as "a computer" does to you now? You think it would inspire the same intuitions and hopes?
Mathematics is so important to science, and a machine that can calculate is such a useful tool for maths (and science) that computers' reinvention is almost certain to happen.
Well, I disagree, or at any rate I disagree how detailed a developmental trajectory you can claim to be entailed by this usefulness. Necessity may be the mother of invention but it is very contingent indeed which necessities seem susceptible of intervention and to which ones we are reconciled, so invention has at least two mommies.
How the brain does what it does has fascinated us for millenia and I cannot imagine us losing that fascination. Therefore, the eventual rise of cognitive computing is a given,
because humanity is bound to gather data on how the brain works and use that to design and build computers that are brainlike.
"Brainlike"? Like? Just how "brainlike"? You can say the feedback of a steam release valve is "brainlike" if you want. You can say a bee hive is "brainlike." You can say cauliflower is "brainlike." You can spend the rest of your life delineating the ways in which a soup can is "like" a cereal box. Everything is indefinitely like and unlike everything else, what matters are the determination and communication of salient similarities and differences. And salience is a crucially normative, and therefore plural and contingent, rather than factual matter.
I don't agree there is anything remotely inevitable in the obsession of so many information and computer "science" people with entitative, agentic "artificial intelligence," I consider it an unfortunate accidental association yielding a deranging constellation of narrative frames and figures that at this point amounts to something like an ideology or a religious faith with endless bedeviling implications. I sympathize with Jeron Lanier's critiques of "cybernetic totalism" on this score, to cite somebody who speaks something like language you will likely take more seriously than my own.
I must say that it is classic the way you proceed from an assumption of technological determinism conjoined to a privileging of mathematical calculation and then move straight away to "inevitable" computers and brain modeling and the insinuation that the pony of techno-immortalization via "mind uploading" straightforwardly "follows." If I reconstructed your discourse this way in the abstract, you would decry my facile parody of a hard he-man science I am too literary to grasp, but then you simply reproduce the trajectory yourself completely oblivious to your own entrapment in your propositional and figural entailments. It's as if you are incapable of thinking what you are doing, so preoccupied are you with calculating out your givens.
anything that fulfills persistant wishes stands a good chance of being discovered or invented, provided A) solutions exist and B) we have time enough to work out what those solutions are
There is nothing in the wish itself that informs you as to "A", and "B" doesn't specify a timescale and so there are no ponies in it for Robot Cultists even when you clap with all your might.
You go on, rather refreshingly, to admit that nobody knows enough in the present to earn certainty about future technodevelopments and even admit that futurology is weighted down with hype and scam artistry and fringe loonies (your phrases, this time).
I agree with the tradition of pragmatic philosophy that we can best determine the substance of this admission on your part by observing your subsequent conduct. If you continue to indulge in such speculation to the exclusion of more qualified claims legible in terms of consensus science, or indulge it outside of sf fandoms that don't pretend to be policy think-tank or activist organizations, if you continue to identify as a member of a "movement" suffused with precisely the hype, scam artistry, and fringe loons you here disdain, we will know just what to make of the reasonable noises you find yourself making now, when backed into a corner by somebody who sees very clearly what superlative futurology is actually all about and what it is trying to get away with.