Re: from jms: research help
- From: swp <Stephen.W.Perry@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 19 Jun 2008 11:53:53 -0700 (PDT)
On Jun 18, 2:00 am, "jmsa...@xxxxxxx" <jmsa...@xxxxxxx> wrote:
I apologize for the cryptic nature of what follows, but in time this
will all be cleared up.
Starting mid-July into August and possibly September, I'm going to be
traveling quite a lot in researching a new movie project that I
cannot, for the moment, announce. (Not Lensman, this is a different
project, and I've already started on Lensman.) Suffice to say that
the research stage is going to be extensive in the extreme.
The main emphasis is on advanced technology. If someone who can do
the math were to look down the road a million years and see what
advances might be there, based on what we know now, what would that
look like? Advanced tech here covers warfare, living, toys,
environment, health, media, space travel, you name it. Everything
that a civilization a million years more advanced than we are might
use or encounter.
Secondarily to this would be information on planetary physics and
To that effect, my intent is to visit as many of the following places
as possible: NASA Florida, the Wright-Paterson Air Force Base High
Technology Labs, MIT, CalTech, and any other places that seem like
good prospects. (If there's anything missing from that list, feel
free to add it.) I'm going to listen, ask questions, and try to keep
up. And no, there's no money involved, though if anyone proves to be
insanely helpful, I can try to work out a consulting credit. No
The studio is going to help with some of the legwork here, they say
they can get me into Wright-Pat, but we'll see...even so, the ways of
studios grind very slowly. So I turn to you lot for assistance since
a number of you either are, or know someone who is, directly involved
with this stuff.
So...let the games begin.
The following stream of consciousness is copyright © 2008 Stephen W.
Perry, all rights reserved.
First off, and no offense intended, you are talking to the wrong
people. You need to talk to philosophers, psychologists, and
sociologists. Not scientists or engineers.
If you must speak to a scientist, try to get a hold of Michio Kaku.
He is brilliant in ways you can only imagine.
Scientists come in different flavors, each with their own timescale.
Biologists typically think in terms of generations and epochs which
are much too short to see as far forward as you suggest. chemists
think in terms of 1/2 lifes and decay, on the order of eons, again
much too small a time period. physicists do think on the order of
millions of years, even trillions when talking about the heat death of
the known universe, but are mostly concerned with theory and not
practical applications. The translation from theory to practice by
engineers, even assuming a few hundred generations of Heinlein-ian or
Clark-ian or Asimov-ian problem solvers who always find a solution to
the local/tactical problem at hand for that generation, is a long
process. Engineers, of every flavor, tend not to think past the next
100 to 200 years, mostly because they know deep down that another
generation of engineers will come along to solve their generations
problems just as they are. From figuring out how to make the cannon
hit the other guys ship and breaching the fortress walls to putting a
man on the moon and beyond, they are all temporary solutions to
temporary problems on the scale you suggest.
Assuming that Leonard Susskind's claims that some form of "multiverse"
is unavoidably true, and that we as a species do not evolve past our
infancy of tool-using-makes-us-superior-so-we-can-just-grab-everything-
within-sight-or-reach, we will seek to obtain a universal energy
source that can be taken for granted from this concept. Say, figuring
out how to create a supermicro black hole that collapses to explode
and release energy for use. The fact that it makes a new universe in
its own distinct continuum which has none of the basic time/energy/
space rules that our own does is irrelevant, that's the other guys
problem. And yes, its how our own universe came into being. We just
can't reach outside of the known universe to prove it yet. Perhaps
we're trying to solve that problem of how to travel throught the
exploding supermassive blackhole to escape the eventual heat death of
our own universe and into the next universe, although that is probably
on the order of 100 trillion years from now. Still, with time travel
a possibility by then, and who is to say we have any fine control over
it or that it involves a physical movement in space/time, we'll know
if its a problem that needs solving and how long it might take to
figure things out. Of course, that is always the big pivot in any
future history: can we travel faster than light or not? It places
limits on things if we can't, and opens up many avenues if we can.
150,000 years to the next galaxy? Sure, it means that if it takes us
100,000 years to develop the technology, and 150,00 for the trip, by
the time you suggest we'll have been there for 750,000 years. 15
times as long as we have developed here on earth. Communications
might be an issue with that. Government too. A feudal system again?
Depends on the technology we have, and if the corporations allow
governments to continue that far out.
Sociologically ... will be become a single group mind by then? Slaves
to the bees and spiders that evolved faster than we did? Will we
understand the concept of "God" by then? With the vastness of the
universe, will we have a need to allow death to continue? Death as
the cessation of thought by a particular being, that is. Crime and
punishment take on whole new meanings in that context -- if everyone
is immortal, joined in a group mind at some level, and there is
plentiful energy and therefore food, what would constitute a crime?
The most important issue if these other problems are solved becomes:
why do we carry on moving forward? To shepard other younger races?
To understand the rest of the universe? To create new universes as a
race of gods? To procreate and fill all worlds with our kind?
Commerce? And how do we communicate between worlds? Even if all
worlds only have humans on them, language variations exist that change
in a matter of a single generation within the same root language and
eventually lead to whole new languages. The romance languages, for
example,all started out as latin. Which started out as something else
entirely which we've forgotten in the distant past (a mere 15000
years). Is earth a myth by one million AD? Could anyone trace back
to the homeworld over that amount of time?
Biology of the human race ... well, we will probably still be made of
matter. No offense to your B5 rangers as beings of energy in the year
1,000,000 intended. Skeletal structure might be reasonably similar;
that is, bipeds with a single brain who ingest nutrients to maintain
our life support functions and have multiple sensory organs to
experience the world around us. A single efficient heart/lung organ,
a single efficient digestive organ instead of separate intestines,
stomach, pancreas, etc. Loss of body hair, lengthening of fingers,
minimal or lack of waste disposal because we efficiently recycle and
reuse everything internally. Sexual pheromone organs to attract mates
possibly. Telepathy, telekinesis, on both large and small scales,
certainly. Empaths, likely, but that gets back to the science of
sociology and the group mind theory. We may all have implants by
then, nanotechnology to help us survive with heightened senses,
advanced teaching at an early age, control of the masses. And lets
not forget cross breading with other species. We'll figure out how to
make it work just like every other problem. It'll only take some
time, and you've given us plenty to work with.
Toys ... yeah, kids will always have toys. They need to learn after
all. The last mimzy, if you will. Been there, done that.
Some left over technology specifics (alphabetically): anti-matter
engines, invisibility, starships, telepathy, teleportation,
terraforming, and "time travel" will exist. Although by 1,000,000AD
our understanding of "time" will be as knowing a steams trickles to an
oceans currents. Perhaps time and energy are related, just like
matter and energy are. Lots of possibilities there. (Anti-matter
engines? what about dark matter engines since there seems to be more
of it out there?) (Why do we want to make things invisible? To hide a
planet and watch as the young space cadet crashes into it so we get a
good laugh?) (Do we crack the moon apart to make starships for the
long journey outwards? Nature gave us the clue how, when the meteor
that created Mare Imbrium almost broke the moon apart - like hitting a
bowling ball with a bullet from a high speed rifle. Break up the
moon, attach a few engines, put in some renewable life suppport
systems, add guidance and astrogation, and wah-lah! Instant starship
with enough room to hold a few generations of colonists.) (Do we
terraform mars, reignite its core to provide warmth and a nice van
allen belt, and then extend that to other worlds beyond our own solar
system?) (why will we still do or need any of this in one million
There is also the matter of the plateau theory. We advance for a
short burst, for example inventing the wheel and 6 other basic tools,
and then level out for a period of time while we figure out what to do
with them. The dark ages are another example of a plateau. In a
million years, it is probable that thousands of such events will
occur. Perhaps even "bust" periods where technology is lost due to
cataclysm or conflict. But on the whole, technology will march
forwards in its own herky jerky way.
Religion ... yeah, it'll still be around, but not as we know it
today. By then I hope we have a whole new concept that no one's
thought of yet to explain "god" or "time" or whatever. Maybe a
'radio' to talk with "god" has been invented by then. Technology will
solve the problems we develop as a system of interacting societies,
like the problem of "why are we here?" which WAS traditionally a
question for religions and philosophers.
Go reread the Foundation series, and the Dune series for that matter
as a contrast point, and think in Harry Seldon terms about the psycho-
history you are really looking to generate. Technology follows social
reasons, and is almost never developed for its own sake. "To better
understand the nature of God," for example. Or because it made
business more efficient/profitable to transport things by train. Or to
develop a weapon to defeat our ancient enemies the kaleds. To make
life easier, allow for more leisure time, to prolong life, etc. Once
we pass those current problems we have faced since the dawn of
mankind, what problems will we try to solve then? Immortality ...
seems easy quite honestly if you can get past the prejudice of having
a body or at least your original one.
Somewhere in all that you may find part of the answer you are looking
for. It all really depends on what is motivating us, and that is not
a technological question at all.
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