Monday, October 17, 2005

Space.

As I look to the future my mind wanders into space. I see material sciences unlocking better composite ceramics that are light and strong and protect us from the dangerously messy environs found up there. I see a space-elevator built allowing cheap bulk access making space-based infrastructure possible. I see a settlement on the moon and a boon in science from working in a smaller gravity well (for example, various metallic glasses that cannot easily be made in our gravity well). I see progress in technology, but I have my doubts about society... Here’s hoping!

4 comments:

ekantha said...

Nice to hear from you blenster. I see nature becoming a novelty and collector's item as we start to build our own worlds that needn't be ventured out from. I see paper becoming a thing of the past as computers become devices that can be held like books and can hold all our literature needs. I see technology entering the human body in the form of nanorobots, implants and devices enhancing our abilities. I see morals coming secondary to power in most wars. I see humans losing some of the feelings we have now all in the name of progress. And I see inventions that give us a greater reason to hope. Do you think that we will be better off knowing more, having more, changing more?

Live the Future said...

Blenster, why the doubts about society? Are they serious, long-term concerns, or the type that will disappear around 2008 after Bush leaves office? :-)

Ekantha, computers were supposed to have led to the "paperless office," instead we're generating more paper than before. E-books are advancing but probably won't supplant real books for some time. Things like weight, battery life and screen contrast still need to advance a bit more and wrt content there is the matter of copyrights and other legal mumbo-jumbo which will slow adoption.

Why do you think progress will cause humans to lose feelings? Progress has allowed us to communicate more easily and with more people. News is now more "instant," and much less abstract than reading a story in the newspaper days after the event happened.

I most definitely think we are better off "knowing more, having more, changing more." Less ignorance, more comfort, more control.

LifeMoments said...

Now I know who to go to when I need to write my thesis....

Blenster said...

I am pessimistic about societal changes because despite rapid and vast cultural changes basic human nature has changed very little over time. Greek and Roman stories from 2,000 or more years ago echo "modern" themes and Shakespeare remains a key source of reading if you wish to understand humans at their most honest. Simply put we still have the petty and immature emotional reactions and desires that lead to such follies, both grand and small. When our school children are taught these ancient masterworks and can no longer fathom the reasoning behind their actions we will then have achieved some measurable change, but for now these ancient stories lack only the modern technological touches of today's society while remaining true to humanities actual being. I simply meant to say that I am not idealistically blinded to the reality that humanities core has changed little and likely will not change much in the future. As much as I long for the type of society depicted in modern mythology such as Star Trek (particularly in the "Next Generation" series, for this example), I feel strongly that the universe depicted in the "Firefly" series (by Joss Whedon, I highly recommend it to all) is far more likely to occur. Not much changes with us, just our technology. Same problems, so many of them self-created, and the same idealism trying to ignore them, leading to disastrous consequences. As for human feeling, I seriously doubt we'll loose either tactile feelings or emotional ones. If anything we will seek out ways to increase both. I dare not comment on war and morality here, it deserves a post all its own, but I heartily suggest you do some reading before talking like that! As to the question: "Do you think that we will be better off knowing more, having more, changing more?" I would remind you that we "know" more than the ancient Greeks, have a LOT more than the ancient cultures, and have culturally changed more than at any other time I've read about in our past, and yet these same core human frailties seem to exist every bit as strongly. I wonder why you feel we are better off now, 'Live the Future'? I think it's quite clear that despite having more our old 'problems' still exist as strongly as ever. In fact, more people have more empowerment to act out on them now than say a few hundred years ago when travel and information exchange was severely limited. If anything, it's getting worse as technology allows more and more people to achieve more and more. Certainly there are positive trends counter-balancing this, however it's foolish to ignore the negative aspects. For example, using technology a physically weak person can "bully" another person online, a feat impossible 50 years ago when such activities had to be done face-to-face. (On the flip side, we can have this discussion despite being thousands of miles apart, so obviously there is a lot of gain as well.) Just some points to ponder.