This is another post of expeditionary nature, rather than a declarative nature. To be clear - I'm not going to discuss "disclosure," "the alien
agenda," or any other such senseless and pointless topics.
While I often caution people against assuming a species with an advanced ability in one sense (such as practical space travel) also has advanced
abilities (or understanding) across other areas - I have begun to think about what the future of our society will look like. Yes, I do believe our
species has a future beside that of a global hippie commune or smoldering radioactive crater (despite our species' fixation with its own destruction
and ideals of non-violence). I began wondering what would happen to society as we begin advancing toward the perfection of current and on-the-horizon
medical, technological, and industrial capabilities. While it is likely we will advance in other ways (such as how electronics has advanced
considerably - and unexpectedly, since the development of semiconductor junctions) - those are difficult, and even impossible to predict from our
current perch in the present.
To begin projecting the changes in society induced by advances in our capabilities, we must look at some of the relevant capabilities we currently
have and new ones under development. Bear in mind that many of these will begin to overlap and compound on each other (for example, nanobots have
both industrial and medical applications).
Let's start with medical. Currently, we are looking at the ability to prolong the natural human life indefinitely and keeping the body at the peak
of physical condition. While research into diseases and disorders will be a never-ending challenge and approached on a case-by-case basis; we may
truly be looking at an end to mandatory aging.
- linking telomere dysfunction with stem-cell aging and tissue disorders.
- similar, but in the format of an article or blog.
This is rather unprecedented in human history. Being ATS - I'm sure some of you have the opinion that this is only going to be available to select
people - but when you've got a product/service everyone wants (like cellular phones - once the domain of people with money to spend on phones as
convenient to pack around as a brick) - a way will be devised to make it affordable for the masses.
The positive side of things is that problems like supporting the aging generations go out the window - in theory the baby boomers could go back to
work while spending less time in the hospital due to aging - thereby resolving medicare and social security spending issues.
The weird side of things is that your great grandpa would be indistinguishable from your average college student, or a grandchild choosing to allow
him/herself to age would appear older than you (choosing the 'immortal' route). However, I'm sure the "weird" would eventually fade after a few
new generations appear and those of us who remember a 'time of aging' become a smaller portion of the population - and we'd grow used to it,
While "Rapid Prototype Machines" have been around for a little while, some recent advances in the field have lead to machines capable of
'printing' or 'assembling' materials from stocks of basic materials. As this technology advances, it would begin to be similar to "replicators"
in the famed Star-Trek series. I further expect this will be combined with micro and nano technology to develop miniature robots that network
together to build objects atom-by-atom.
While I do not expect edible substances to be a popular build with these types of devices - the impact this has on industry is enormous, as entire
industrial enterprises can be replaced with small swarms of nanobots and raw materials.
From what exists: www.msnbc.msn.com...
To what is in the works: www.usatoday.com...
- The idea that you could 'download' your next computer, your next -car-, TV, or what-have-you is simply mind-numbing. Compound this with the
ability to 'download' the next revision of the machine, and all of the industrial capabilities of man pretty much sit on your desk.
This is mostly aimed at computer and information technology. Computers are getting more powerful, we know that. Quantum computation and information
storage offers computer performance that, really, is beyond our ability to comprehend.
The real break-through is going to be in human interface. Even now - computers hold vast amounts of power that we cannot fully exploit due to the
unwieldy nature of keyboard controls and quirks of programming. Yes, this means cybernetics and concepts of 'augmented reality.'
I expect nanobots will eventually be used to build digital interfaces and networks intertwined with our own neurology. While some impressive computer
power can be placed within our bodies - the main point of these will be to serve as an interface for much more powerful units worn as accessories or
even embedded into clothing.
From the 'ancient' achievements: articles.sfgate.com...
To reviews of evolutions of human interfaces: sixrevisions.com...
Put it all together:
Now, this is a very brief set of related capabilities that I have selected. The prospects only get even more crazy when you include things like
Genetic Engineering, Meta Materials, etc. However - any one of these alone will fundamentally and eternally change our society and how it functions,
making the ability to give yourself neon-blue, bio-luminescent hair with a negative refractive index trivial.
First, you're likely packing around nanobots with you - likely in some kind of container that can produce them out of a handfull of dirt and solar
power (or stray body heat). This makes you a one-[wo]man industrial enterprise. To top things off, you have a supercomputer in your watch networked
to your brain and responding in concert to it (the computer would become an extension of your mind - almost like hand gestures). Complex models can
be created and simulated with the accuracy of digital systems as quickly as your 'wet' mind can interact and process what is happening. This same
network ties you in with your cloud of nanobots - capable of building almost anything.
And as if that's not enough to give you a god complex; you have an indefinite lifespan on top of that.
It is safe to presume that such a society would be post-scarcity. But what would such a society be like? Society as it is, now, exists to serve the
needs of people. The tasks necessary to support life are distributed amongst its members in some way, shape, and form, so as to reduce the individual
burden. However, in a society with the above capabilities, each individual is almost entirely self-sufficient while still retaining the ability to
undertake many modern tasks of industrial, medical, and scientific nature.
There are four things that would be unable to be provided for by one individual alone, however:
Ironically - the first would be food supply. While I'm certain one could whip up food from the ambient environment using a cloud of nanites - from
research into growing edible organics in the laboratory (such as one project where fish was 'grown' and eaten by astronauts) - the result was not
very savory. While one could create a team of robots, using their nanites, to tend a garden and livestock - I expect that individuals will take up
this task as well, and be a critical social link.
The second would be pure and rare base materials. Carbon, nitrogen, oxygen - those are so abundant that we'd spend most of our time trying to get
away from them. However, pure materials for our nanites to use in construction would still be valued. Again - robots could be used, but I expect
people will take it up as a sort of hobby out of personal enjoyment more than anything else, and be another critical social link, and likely the only
real economy outside of food and information.
The third would be information - research, design concepts, etc. Rather than building existing designs - focus would shift toward developing new
devices and materials, as well as finding new phenomena to exploit. The exchange of this information would be highly valued - and probably the most
substantial social link in such an individually advanced society.
The fourth is more primal - companionship. While it could be expected that future generations could eventually evolve to favor a life of solitude -
we are, at least at present, rather social beings with a strong desire to have others to interact with. This, however, would be undertaken by choice
and desire rather than out of absolute necessity.
So, where is the talk of aliens?
Quite simply - I'm presenting a case for what our own society will be capable of, potentially in less than a hundred years from now. We would fall
in line with a hyper-advanced species by our current concepts. Presuming another species were able to achieve similar levels of advancement - it
would impact, greatly, their society, culture, and how they interact with the world around them and other species.
I would expect such a species to be more individualized as each individual's goals and ambitions within such a society are not at all dependent upon
the contribution of others within the society. Even issues of materials and organics can be resolved with automated systems that can be built by the
individual from ambient and trace materials. Even today - an increasing number of people socialize on the internet without being face-to-face (IE -
One who desires to explore space could build a small space-ship in their back yard (presuming they knew of more compact and practical thrust/drive
systems) and then construct a star-cruiser on a nearby moon or asteroid. He/she may or may not bring friends along, or even make contact with his/her
host species again.
This challenges the very notion of society as we know it - which is based around material needs and mutual support. We have, whether we realized it
or not, projected these same principles of society onto our ideas and concepts of extra-terrestrial beings envisioned to have advanced
But we can see from our own development that space-faring species may not socialize at all, or when they do, not do so out of need or in terms we are