What Science Has Forgotten

Many people think that science will eventually be able to explain everything that happens in nature, and that technology will be able to reproduce it. Perhaps that is so, but even then, that day lies far into the future. Probably a more likely scenario is that the further science and technology advance, the deeper the mysteries of the world will grow. Even with topics that we believe science has solved for good, when you take a closer look, you'll find that plenty of problems have slipped through the cracks or been swept under the carpet. Furthermore, these are often the issues that are closest to us and most important in our daily lives. Take hunches or intuitions or premonitions, for example. They may have rational-sounding explanations, but our gut feelings tell us something is not quite right after all. Such examples are not at all uncommon. When you think about it, there are lots of things that modern civilization has forgotten all about. Maybe the time has come to stop for a moment and try to remember. The seeds of forthcoming science and technology are impatiently waiting to be discovered among the things we have left behind.


Vital Energy, Steam, Electricity

The fundamental forms of energy are fire and human power. In East Asia, there was also believed to exist a kind of vital energy known as qi, and to be of full health was expressed as possessing one’s “original energy.” Eventually, animal power was added, and then water wheels, windmills and other ways of utilizing natural energy. Even the era of the great voyages was still propelled by wind power.
It was the invention of the steam engine that greatly changed the history of energy. It marked the beginning of the industrial revolution. Before long, steam power was replaced by electricity, and now gasoline-powered cars are gradually being replaced with electric cars.
Compared to steam or human power, electricity certainly seems easier to control using computers etc., but there is also a major weakness.
A blackout brings modern civilization to a complete standstill.

Is it possible to incorporate hunches and intuition in artificial intelligence? At first sight it may seem so: by collecting the experiences of craftsmen and vast amounts of data about various previous events, computers have managed to beat grandmasters of chess and Go. Yet our most powerful supercomputers still canÅft predict as much as the weather with 100% accuracy. In fact, their accuracy is not even a match for the predictions of professional farmers or fishermen.


The systemization of intuition might well prove impossible. Intuition is thought to largely rely on the unconscious, and information and memories that canÅft be made conscious canÅft be systemized either. For that matter, neither can noise. Actually, it is precisely because hunches and intuitions can be excluded that they sometimes display such strong power. If failure is unthinkable from the very beginning, a program that rules out deviations and divergences will never gain any gut feelings either. TodayÅfs civilization tends to reject failures and noise, so perhaps our hunches and intuitions will also be removed from our abilities before we know it.