The next transformation

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The next transformation

Postby broken robot » Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:39 pm

I posted this in the history forum but really my question is about the future. What do you think needs to happen for humanity to take the next great leap? Meaning, we could say for example that the Bronze Age Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, and so on were quite significant. The latter in particular, through increased urbanization, communication, and connection across the world brought us what we now term "modernity." But what kinds of technological or social change do you think would have to occur to significantly transform existing social structures and create in a very substantive sense a new world? Some brief ideas:

1) Energy. While I doubt the apocalyptic theories about "peak oil," and quite a bit has been going on in exploiting new oil resources such as fracking, we haven't gotten to the stage where we have sustainably met our long-term energy needs. Moreover with China, India, and other newly industrializing countries requiring vast amounts of resources for their development, it's quite clear that oil won't sustain us over the long haul. So whether it's solar, biofuel, whatever, there would need to be significant transformation in the energy sector to unleash the better part of human potential.

2) Space. Though we've advanced quite far with the recent rise of the internet and new features such as social media, we haven't actually transcended our understanding of the world as a bounded sphere, and having an ever-present map of the earth in our minds. What would our society look like if we were to take seriously space colonization. What kinds of new social identities might be spawned in the movement from the earth to colonies beyond? How would distance, length of travel time, etc. influence our new perceptions of time, distance, and potential connectivity?

3) Post-human modifications. Already we have a sense of the malleability of the human body, what with plastic surgery, performance enhancing drugs, and so on. But what happens if we are able to eventually integrate ourselves into networks through robotic adaptations, or even modify aspects of our DNA? What kinds of stigmas or new social identities might develop around human modification?

I know this all sounds very sci fi and speculative but I'm actually keen to discuss these possible changes from a historically-informed perspective, based on what we know about previous changes in society and their impact on our relative understanding of the world. One of the greatest changes will occur I think when we finally move beyond this planet, because we've been so used to thinking about the world as simply a bounded sphere. How also will this impact large social structures such as capitalism? Will the logic of the market still prevail, or will old/new patterns of social action arise such as piracy?

Finally a fourth possibility:

4) Nuclear war or some kind of techno-environmental collapse. It's worth discussing what kind of social structure might persist in the face of permanent ecological disaster. Historical examples drawn from places such as the Yucatan or Easter Island might also be useful.
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Re: The next transformation

Postby Professor » Fri Feb 07, 2014 5:32 pm

I read an article a while back that they were very close to finding a way to "fix" human DNA. Basically, DNA is damaged by radiation and other things, and then as it replicates, that damage is carried on. That's, essentially, why we "age".

They were saying that they might have found a way to repair DNA, which would allow our cells to reproduce perfect copies of themselves, even if the original was damaged.

I took it to another level - thinking that this type of therapy might be available to people to essentially stop their aging process. Of course, it would cost money, which would mean that the richest among us could live forever (assuming they don't die of accidental causes or aren't killed).
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Re: The next transformation

Postby exploited » Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:04 pm

Quantum computing will be a crucial step. Once we are able to exploit the processing power it provides, our scientific and technical understanding of the world will expand rapidly.

Energy is the biggest, probably. Will also solve lots of political problems (while creating new ones of course).

The institutionalization of real wealth equality. We don't all have to make the same, but class as a generational issue needs to be destroyed.
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Re: The next transformation

Postby Stratego » Sat Feb 08, 2014 6:55 am

Understanding that mass does not have gravity but that mass just get sucked into the gravity stream will help us realign our scientific thinking. Gravity is like a tornado. There's a lot of crap in big tornadoes, but the crap doesn't contribute to the tornado, they just got sucked in.
Sigmund Freud defined four parts of a psyche; the id, the ego, the superego and the stratego. The Stratego being the highest form of morality and scientific thinking.

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Re: The next transformation

Postby Bauce » Sat Feb 08, 2014 6:56 am

Stratego wrote:Understanding that mass does not have gravity but that mass just get sucked into the gravity stream will help us realign our scientific thinking. Gravity is like a tornado. There's a lot of crap in big tornadoes, but the crap doesn't contribute to the tornado, they just got sucked in.

/thread
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Re: The next transformation

Postby Dylan » Sat Feb 08, 2014 8:15 am

Bauce wrote:
Stratego wrote:Understanding that mass does not have gravity but that mass just get sucked into the gravity stream will help us realign our scientific thinking. Gravity is like a tornado. There's a lot of crap in big tornadoes, but the crap doesn't contribute to the tornado, they just got sucked in.

/thread

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Re: The next transformation

Postby broken robot » Sat Feb 08, 2014 2:05 pm

exploited wrote:Quantum computing will be a crucial step. Once we are able to exploit the processing power it provides, our scientific and technical understanding of the world will expand rapidly.

Energy is the biggest, probably. Will also solve lots of political problems (while creating new ones of course).

The institutionalization of real wealth equality. We don't all have to make the same, but class as a generational issue needs to be destroyed.


I don't know much of anything about computing, but what exactly is quantum computing? And what kind of impact would it have?

@Prof, heh, sounds like one of those all-intensive medical machines in Elysium (which also addresses ex's point about wealth inequality, albeit in the negative):

Video from : old youtube.com


Also interesting to think about is how science fiction can anticipate some of these developments. I'm always reminded of how some people say Arthur C. Clarke anticipated satellites...
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Re: The next transformation

Postby broken robot » Sat Feb 08, 2014 2:26 pm

Stratego wrote:Understanding that mass does not have gravity but that mass just get sucked into the gravity stream will help us realign our scientific thinking. Gravity is like a tornado. There's a lot of crap in big tornadoes, but the crap doesn't contribute to the tornado, they just got sucked in.


I don't get it.
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Re: The next transformation

Postby exploited » Sat Feb 08, 2014 2:57 pm

Computers work using binary. Ones and zeros, on and off. Quantum computing works by manipulating the thirty two states of an electron. It would result in nearly instantaneous processing power.
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Re: The next transformation

Postby broken robot » Sat Feb 08, 2014 5:23 pm

exploited wrote:Computers work using binary. Ones and zeros, on and off. Quantum computing works by manipulating the thirty two states of an electron. It would result in nearly instantaneous processing power.


So do elaborate, how would this affect existing social life?
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