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Jakob sporks FTL

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#1
Jakob

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Well, why not? Also, I'll do it in whatever order I please, not chronological order. Just because.

 

2090 to 2099

  • What's with this graph??? Why does train speed mysteriously increase exponentially, instead of a more sensible linear increase or an even more sensible S-curve? Vehicle speed is one of those things where Moore's Law doesn't make sense. Look at speed records for cars and airplanes, if you don't believe me.
  • As I pointed out in my PM, world fertility rates probably aren't going to level off by 2095. The chances of that happening are maybe somewhere in the neighborhood of 20% according to the latest research. And that's without life extension.
  • Not a criticism, but a thought I've been entertaining for a while: given the proliferation of real-time machine translation, are we sure that languages will continue to disappear? I mean, even if kids only speak those "obscure local dialects", they'll be able to talk to English speakers or people speaking other obscure local dialects just fine. So there's much less of an incentive to abandon native languages like that. Though I suppose it's possible that some tribal languages could disappear, but still....
  • "These people will tend to be those who reject science and technology, or have purposefully chosen to isolate themselves from the rest of the world." -- no, they really won't. Just no. Also, religion is going to be a small but significant part of our culture for centuries and millennia to come. Science can never explain Creation, tell us the meaning of life, or do anything else that religions were created for. It's up to everyone to figure out what these things mean to them, and for some people religion is a great way to do that.

2100 to 2149

  • "A person can learn self-defence, for example, become an expert in any sport, or be taught to operate a new vehicle, all within a matter of seconds." -- I can see it being a great help, but you would still have to build up the right muscles, which takes time.
  • "Compared to transhumans, these non-upgraded humans are becoming like cavemen – thousands of years behind in intellectual development" -- YMMV but I think 2100 is probably too soon for this. Sure, by then people without neural laces (which actually aren't too invasive, they just require a simple injection) will be at a distinct disadvantage, but it'll be on the level of not having a college degree, not being a caveman. Einstein with no lace beats a lazy idiot with one. And more powerful, more invasive procedures are likely to be shunned by most--human nature. Also, cavemen weren't stupid, just ignorant. A Cro-Magnon or even Neanderthal with a proper education and immersion in 21st century culture would probably do okay.
  • "landing pads for anti-grav vehicles" -- er, what? How do they work? Does whatever powers the anti-gravity drive really take up less energy than the engines on a plane? Anti-gravity may exist by then, but it's likely to be limited to specialized applications for a long, long time.
  • "ultradense but extremely lightweight structures" -- density is literally mass divided by volume, so this doesn't make a lot of sense. On the other hand, AB matter is a possibility.
  • "Ongoing globalisation, the birth of a single world currency, the dominance of artificial intelligence in government, a defection of citizens to online "virtual states", and other technological advances have contributed to this." -- Okay, so I've never really understood how you can defect to a "virtual state". I mean, you are physically in some country (unless you're in international waters or in space), so wouldn't you still have to pay taxes and obey their laws?
  • "The sheer complexity of the brain, and its inherent fragility – along with the many legislative barriers that stood in the way – meant that it was nearly a century before such technology reached the mainstream." -- while you're right that it's likely to take a long time for legal, ethical, and philosophical issues to be ironed out, this doesn't happen here. Instead it's inexplicably immediately accepted.
  • "Religious and conservative groups voiced their objections to what they saw as a fundamental violation of God's will." -- come on, what's with all the religion-hate here. Almost every atheist I've met online isn't content to simply not believe in God, instead they must force their views on everyone! This...this doesn't even happen that often. Like, human cloning isn't banned because of some BS about God's will, it's banned because it kills babies. Another example: I really don't like the anti-nuclear movement, but they sure as hell aren't religiously motivated. Also, many of the greatest scientists and inventors in history and even today believe in a god. And it's not like there aren't actual reasons why people--even far-lefties and atheists--might object to mind uploading. Nobody's scared of, I dunno, fucking dying during the process? Nobody's thinking about issues of identity and what happens if a bunch of "someone-elses" are wandering around society? Anything? Nah, let's just hate on religious people.
  • "With each passing year, society is becoming increasingly fractured, with an ever-widening divide between those who seek to enhance themselves, and those who prefer to eschew such technology." -- except in any realistic projection of the future, it would be a continuum, not a stark black-and-white divide.

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#2
Maximus

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Maximus sporks FTL as well:

 

If I recall correctly, there was a prediction of increasing democracy in the world (I think it may have been in the 2060s?): well democracy around the world has been declining for a decade now, and the trend will certainly not abate with all the economic uncertainty, destabilizing ideological wars, and rising authoritarian superpowers. Each generation, especially in the West, values it less and less. Your call, Will, but this increasingly looks like the shape of the future.


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If the world should blow itself up, the last audible voice would be that of an expert saying it can't be done. -Peter Ustinov
 

#3
PhoenixRu

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If I recall correctly, there was a prediction of increasing democracy in the world (I think it may have been in the 2060s?)

 

Here is it. Btw, you can't even compare just "number of democratic countries" since there were less countries in 1950 than today. "Share of democratic countries" or "share of world population living under democracy" would be more informative. Anyway, i highly doubt all the 200 (or so) modern countries will become western-style liberal democracies after just 35-40 years. I actually expect the opposite...

 

2050-demographics-prediction.jpg



#4
PhoenixRu

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To Jakob:

 

 

  • given the proliferation of real-time machine translation, are we sure that languages will continue to disappear? I mean, even if kids only speak those "obscure local dialects", they'll be able to talk to English speakers or people speaking other obscure local dialects just fine. So there's much less of an incentive to abandon native languages like that. Though I suppose it's possible that some tribal languages could disappear, but still....

 

Very true. Good machine translation will rather preserve the linguistic diversity than destroy it. Most of people will simply have no motivation to study foreign languages.

 

 

"These people will tend to be those who reject science and technology, or have purposefully chosen to isolate themselves from the rest of the world." -- no, they really won't. Just no. Also, religion is going to be a small but significant part of our culture for centuries and millennia to come. Science can never explain Creation, tell us the meaning of life, or do anything else that religions were created for. It's up to everyone to figure out what these things mean to them, and for some people religion is a great way to do that.

 

Also agree. Even though i'm an atheist myself, i don't think religious people are "dumb and ignorant" and we can turn them into atheists by giving them new and new injections of scientific facts. For them, religion serve an important purpose and anwers to question "why and what for?" while science can only answer to "how exactly?" 

 

In general, futuretimeline.net is just a site, reflecting the vision of its creator, not the actual textbook of future history :)


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#5
Jakob

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For reference.

 

The part I'm referring to is

As virtual reality advances still further, entire worlds are constructed using the smallest quantum units for building blocks. This opens up some profound opportunities in the 23rd century. For example, artificial planet Earths can have their parameters altered slightly – gravity, mass, temperature and so on – then fast-forwarded billions of years to compare the outcomes. Intelligent species evolving on these virtual worlds may be entirely unaware that they are part of a giant simulation.

 

Which is physically a lot harder to do than I think you realize. The thing is, to simulate the Earth at maximum detail in real time would require at least one Earth mass in computronium. Why? Several reasons. As outlined here, "A computer made up of n (finite) particles will not be able to simulate all the states of a larger system. This is known as the Pigeon hole principle." Additionally, if it were possible to fully simulate some number of particles with a smaller number of particles, then what if, instead of simulating Earth, you simulated one or more simulators, which were in turn simulating simulators. The end result would be infinite information density, which I assume you would agree is impossible--as per the Berkenstein Bound, it would require infinite energy, if we take a finite radius as a given. The fact that you have simulations running billions of times faster than real time probably makes it even worse.

 

It is physically possible to simulate the Earth, at least in real-time, but as I said, that would require multiple Earths worth of computronium, and there's no way that could be procured from anywhere given the available tech--and if there were, there would surely be more pressing things they'd be using it for.


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#6
Jakob

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More from 2150-2199.

 

 

Crime is almost non-existent in these hi-tech cities. Surveillance is everywhere: recording every footstep of your journey in perfect detail and identifying who you are, from the moment you enter a public area. Even your internal biological state can be monitored – such as neural activity and pulse – giving clues as to your immediate intentions. Police can be summoned instantly, with robotic officers appearing to 'grow' out of the ground through the use of blended claytronics and nanobots, embedded into the buildings and roads. This is so much faster and more efficient that in most cities, having law enforcement drive or fly to a crime area (in physical vehicles) has become obsolete.

As technology gives us ways to catch criminals, it'll also give criminals ways to hide. Monitoring people's biological states is all very good and well, but what if they are just sitting inside their homes remotely controlling robots and drones? I've considered this several times. Criminals adapt, and crime will always be with us. Law enforcement will forever be devising new methods in an eternal game of cat-and-mouse. And what about white-collar crimes? Fraud, computer hacking, mindhacking, data theft, that sort of thing. This doesn't help with that.

 

Not saying crime won't be lower, especially violent crime, but "virtually non-existent" is an extreme claim. 300 years ago, I'm sure that if people saw modern forensic techniques, they'd be baffled by the idea that criminals still exist and get away with things. And yet here we are.

 

 

Certain people who were born in the 1960s are still alive and well in today's world. Life expectancy had been increasing at a rate of 0.2 years, per year, at the turn of the 21st century. This incremental progress meant that by the time they were 80, these people could expect to live an additional decade on top of their original lifespan.

However, the rate of increase itself had been accelerating, due to major breakthroughs in medicine and healthcare, combined with better education and lifestyle choices. This created a "stepping stone", allowing people to buy time for the treatments available later in the century – which included being able to halt the aging process altogether.*

There is absolutely no sign of any of this in existing trends. Life expectancy has been steadily increasing at 0.2 years per year for a century or two. Not saying current anti-aging methods will necessarily fail, just that they'll push back death rather than eliminating it. You simply can't apply Moore's Law to every conceivable situation.

 

YMMV of course, you're not alone in believing this. Perhaps because I'm only 17 and still have 80+ years left, I'm not particularly scared of death, so I tend to be more skeptical about "longevity escape velocity" and other such nonsense.

 

 

Antimatter power plants are widespread

I've already mentioned that this makes no sense unless you can find a large-scale naturally occurring source of antimatter. And there isn't any in the Solar System, we would certainly know if there were.

 

However, this paper discusses the use of micro black holes for power, which would be nearly as efficient if we could find a way to "feed" said micro black holes. And antimatter is still useful for batteries, bombs, and rockets.


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#7
Maximus

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More from 2150-2199.

 

Certain people who were born in the 1960s are still alive and well in today's world. Life expectancy had been increasing at a rate of 0.2 years, per year, at the turn of the 21st century. This incremental progress meant that by the time they were 80, these people could expect to live an additional decade on top of their original lifespan.

However, the rate of increase itself had been accelerating, due to major breakthroughs in medicine and healthcare, combined with better education and lifestyle choices. This created a "stepping stone", allowing people to buy time for the treatments available later in the century – which included being able to halt the aging process altogether.*

 

There is absolutely no sign of any of this in existing trends. Life expectancy has been steadily increasing at 0.2 years per year for a century or two. Not saying current anti-aging methods will necessarily fail, just that they'll push back death rather than eliminating it. You simply can't apply Moore's Law to every conceivable situation.

 

YMMV of course, you're not alone in believing this. Perhaps because I'm only 17 and still have 80+ years left, I'm not particularly scared of death, so I tend to be more skeptical about "longevity escape velocity" and other such nonsense.

 

 

It's not exactly non-sense; we're already seeing progress in halting and reversing aging in animals. We're on the edge of a revolution in biotechnology, with the first human CRISPR trials coming this year. I agree that things like Moore's Law can't be applied to everything, but declaring something to be impossible because current technology won't allow it sort of defeats the purpose of futurology. We're supposed to take developments in technology into account when making predictions, and going by the studies being published now, the fields of genetics and biotechnology are going to revolutionize medicine during the coming decades. We're not talking about making anyone immortal here, but barring any major conflict or upheaval, reaching "longevity escape velocity" via effective treatments for most diseases/conditions isn't that far fetched.


If the world should blow itself up, the last audible voice would be that of an expert saying it can't be done. -Peter Ustinov
 

#8
Yuli Ban

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I've already mentioned that this makes no sense unless you can find a large-scale naturally occurring source of antimatter. And there isn't any in the Solar System, we would certainly know if there were.

Saying this is the equivalent of an agrarian society discussing if it were possible to create nuclear power.

The technology needed to mass-produce antimatter is beyond us, and it requires vastly greater amounts of power than we can possibly generate. We have enough solar power hitting Earth to get us started, but we're simply decades from creating enough solar panels to do the job. We need fusion.

 

But truth be told, of course we do. As I said, an agrarian society that burns wood and whale oil would think it's impossible to achieve nuclear power. Once we progressed to burning coal en masse and refined our sci-tech so greatly that we were finally playing with atoms, however, that all changed.

 

Same deal with antimatter and kugelblitzes. Once we have a sufficient amount of energy and efficient technology, producing antimatter might be something more akin to what fusion is like today. It's still beyond our grasp, but only ever so slightly. 


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#9
Jakob

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I've already mentioned that this makes no sense unless you can find a large-scale naturally occurring source of antimatter. And there isn't any in the Solar System, we would certainly know if there were.

Saying this is the equivalent of an agrarian society discussing if it were possible to create nuclear power.

The technology needed to mass-produce antimatter is beyond us, and it requires vastly greater amounts of power than we can possibly generate. We have enough solar power hitting Earth to get us started, but we're simply decades from creating enough solar panels to do the job. We need fusion.

 

But truth be told, of course we do. As I said, an agrarian society that burns wood and whale oil would think it's impossible to achieve nuclear power. Once we progressed to burning coal en masse and refined our sci-tech so greatly that we were finally playing with atoms, however, that all changed.

 

Same deal with antimatter and kugelblitzes. Once we have a sufficient amount of energy and efficient technology, producing antimatter might be something more akin to what fusion is like today. It's still beyond our grasp, but only ever so slightly.

What I'm saying is, it doesn't matter how much antimatter we produce because producing it takes more energy than you get out by the nature of antimatter production.

 

I'll grant you one thing: there's one razor-thin path to efficient antimatter production within the known laws of physics. Unsurprisingly, it comes from Orion's Arm, though I looked it up and it seems to be a real thing. So if you take a Q-ball and bounce baryons off it, said baryons might turn into their antiparticles. But this is only useful if we can find a way to capture and contain Q-balls and can use them to produce antimatter in meaningful quantities and an efficient fashion. And it has to be more economical than any other option, which seems unlikely. Fusion doesn't require fiddling with exotic space-time constructs, after all.

 

So the best we can say is "the laws of physics might allow for it" which is different from "it will be available in 2180". It'd be fine for a fictional timeline, but I thought this one wanted to confine itself to strictly realistic events that could be referenced.


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