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Broad Time Scale: troglodyte to astronaut


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#1    sear

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 04:30 PM

Broad Time Scale: from troglodyte to astronaut - are we in the elbow of the modernization graph?

Our great-grandfathers might have earned their living much as their great-grandfather did.
But it's quite unlikely our grandchildren will earn their living as their grandchildren do.

Why?

Because technology is simply spiraling out too fast.

I'm not yet 60.
When I was a boy:
- football goal posts were on the goal line (and an extreme hazard to football players)
- shampoo was sold in glass bottles, a serious problem if dropped in a tile shower
- turn on a TV set, and wait for a half minute or more while it "warmed up"
- cars were dangerous. Collapsible steering columns hadn't been invented. Drivers used to be impaled by the steering column in collisions.
- computers were human, and the few that weren't were gigantic, energy guzzling electro-mechanical machines

Moore's Law:
Computer Chip Power will double every ~18 months.

This doubling of computer chip power has been proceeding for decades. As a result, an inexpensive but reliable computer that costs less than $400.oo today can vastly outperform a super-computer of a few decades ago.
Cars rolling off our assembly lines today have more computer power aboard than the Apollo 11 lunar lander (the first rocket ship to carry humans to the moon).

The point is not the change.
The point is the vastly accelerating rate of change.

Will change continue to accelerate as it has in recent decades? If not, why not?
If so, where will it lead? What are the implications for:
- human rights?
- government authority?
- human longevity?
- wealth distribution?
- standard of living?

Are there any warnings in literature we should heed?
Brave New World

TXH-1138
?

What do you think will be the demise of humanity?
Global warming?

Thermonuclear War?

Terrorism?

Plague?

Doomsday disease (bio-warfare)?

When?


#2    Ashotep

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 06:34 PM

I think change will continue to accelerate until man is fully controlled or when a devastating disease or natural disaster hits and there are many left or we become extinct.  Which one will get us, who knows.


#3    praetorian-legio XIII

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 08:16 PM

A vast majority of the present technology is based on a continuous supply of electricity. Take that away and, unlike our grandfathers time, we'd be close to helpless. A few well locationed EMP burst and we're back in the "dark ages" (no pun intended).

And because of our dependence on that, few of us would be in a position to servive even semi comfortably if at all. So for all the tech today and the amount to come designed to make life easier, it is in fact making us weaker.

Consider that technology is like life in that they are both very very fragile. Here today, gone tomorrow.


#4    sear

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 08:40 PM

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"So for all the tech today and the amount to come designed to make life easier, it is in fact making us weaker." p-l
Harvesting enough firewood, felling trees, limbing them, blocking the trunks, splitting the blocks, stacking them for seasoning, then carrying them inside an armful at a time, to burn in the wood stove, and then shoveling out the ash (returning it to the forest to recycle); that's a lot of work, for a small house; with aid of diesel tractor, and chainsaws.
The thought of having to do it for a less well insulated home (log cabin), with an axe, bowsaw and Clydesdale, unthinkable!
You're absolutely right!
Our modern conveniences have made us weak.
A few centuries people used to die in their 40's & 50's for a reason. They wore themselves out!

Take away our extensive support system:
- abundant cheap, safe, food
- energy (electric, propane, home heating oil, gasoline, etc.)
- insulated homes
- central heat
and things would get primitive quite quickly!

The engine of evolution is adversity. Our easy modern lifestyle has neutralized that.


#5    Ashotep

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 09:00 PM

View PostHilander, on 01 April 2013 - 06:34 PM, said:

I think change will continue to accelerate until man is fully controlled or when a devastating disease or natural disaster hits and there are many left or we become extinct.  Which one will get us, who knows.
Meant to say aren't not are.


#6    Tutankhaten-pasheri

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 08:09 AM

Everything is too fragile now. As has been mentioned already, we depend 100% for our current standard of living and technology on electricity. I have seen analysis that after four days without electricity, developed countries will begin to collapse into anarchy. Many hospital patients will simply die in their beds, food supplies will not get through, refridgeration will be nonexistant. In winter how will people in apartment blocks or newer homes without a fireplace keep warm or cook food, if they have any food. You will have countless millions of people all trying to scavenge for firewood. Farms will very quickly be raided for their animals. There will be mass starvation and complete anarchy very quickly. Who here can light a fire, catch and skin a rabitt, know which mushrooms are good to eat, can make a shelter from twigs, moss and leaves? Some will I don't doubt, but most won't, and they will starve or freeze to death well before they can learn. We cannot rest on our laurels and smugly think how better of we are than our ancestors until we can be 100% certain that we will always have sufficient electricity, and the generation, supply and essential equipement be shielded from any great EMP caused by large solar flares. People think about climate change, yet we could be knocked of our perch by a giant solar flare within days. Our ancestors would never even have noticed, we will.......


#7    sear

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 10:01 AM

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"I have seen analysis that after four days without electricity, developed countries will begin to collapse into anarchy." A-p
The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy may be indicative.
There were a lot of people (in the order of hundreds of thousands, I gather) living in homes without running water, or septic systems, or electricity, or all three. And they did so for months, during some substantially cold weather.
Let us please not confuse a primitive but viable system, with a failed modern system.
Brewing the morning coffee with dried cattle dung is fine; if the system is set up for it; the cattle are outside the hut, the fireplace is set up, ready to go; it's routine.
Our system works too; when it's functioning smoothly.
But inflict a catastrophic mode of failure, that's a problem; just as killing all the cattle outside the hut would be, for those that depend upon that instead.

There's a titanic difference between a viable, functioning system (regardless of how modern or not), and a system so severely disrupted that it fails.


#8    Tutankhaten-pasheri

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 11:31 AM

View Postsear, on 05 April 2013 - 10:01 AM, said:

The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy may be indicative.
There were a lot of people (in the order of hundreds of thousands, I gather) living in homes without running water, or septic systems, or electricity, or all three. And they did so for months, during some substantially cold weather.
Let us please not confuse a primitive but viable system, with a failed modern system.
Brewing the morning coffee with dried cattle dung is fine; if the system is set up for it; the cattle are outside the hut, the fireplace is set up, ready to go; it's routine.
Our system works too; when it's functioning smoothly.
But inflict a catastrophic mode of failure, that's a problem; just as killing all the cattle outside the hut would be, for those that depend upon that instead.

There's a titanic difference between a viable, functioning system (regardless of how modern or not), and a system so severely disrupted that it fails.
Yet these people surviving after the hurricane were not alone, the state had not collapsed. In the event of a huge EMP, and this is well possible, the state itself will be unable to help it's own citizens. When people realise that, and they will do so quite quickly I think, then there will be anarchy. But not to worry, I know that shielding for power plants, switching stations and other essentials is being seriously thought about in some countries. Some was already done in case of airburst nukes anyway. But as of now, most of world is not protected, and nobody on an individual level is protected, unless you are a president....





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