The Year 3000.

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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby userxp » Sun Sep 05, 2010 5:06 pm UTC

Cars, by 2100 will be irrelevant. Not because of jet packs or teleporters or anything like that, but because towns and cities will have grown so much that anything you could ever need will be within walking distance, or no distance at all due to advances in Internet connection.
I disagree. The whole reason the US has such a horrible need for cars is due to the suburban sprawl post WWII, brought on in part due to the "American Dream" being a house with a quarter acre yard and a fence and blah blah blah. Stuff that you can't really do and also live in a city with a 1.6 million population. At least, not without owning a car. Even if there's fantastic public transportation, you'd still need your car to get to the station.


Three words: Personal rapid transit (aka Horizontal lifts)

EDIT: Wow, page topper.

Also Claytronics. Maybe the year 3000 is too soon, but imagine an object that can turn into everything. Like, you need to sleep and your chair turns into a bed. And when you wake up, part of your bed turns into your clothes. And there would be hundreds of applications we can't think about now.
Last edited by userxp on Sun Sep 05, 2010 5:31 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Josephine » Sun Sep 05, 2010 5:29 pm UTC

I'd like to add a note on overpopulation. It's often suggested to go to Mars. I think that's overkill for now. Deserts, tundra and glaciers, oceans (surface and underneath), they're all more hospitable than Mars. And I also like the idea of vast self-sufficient towers housing perhaps a million people each separated by underground high speed trains. You could put them in rainforests and deserts without much impact on the local environment.
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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Kang » Sun Sep 05, 2010 8:38 pm UTC

furyguitar wrote:This is not so much of a prediction as a question:
Presumably, sometime in the (hopefully) near future, we will be using some type(s) of re-usable/sustainable/non-fossil-based fuels. How will this play out on a global scale? There are countries who have little else than their fossil fuels, and often they are non-democratic in nature. What will happen to Iran, Saudi Arabia, various African nations, and Venezuela, when we and other large consumers of energy (China) do not need their fuels?
How will their regimes react?
How will their citizens, who are often oppressed by said regimes, react?

Also, continuing population growth will further stress food and drinkable water supplies. Robert Heinlein's children's book Farmer In the Sky posited sending colonists to another locale (Jupiter's Ganymede) to be completely self-sustainable, because they predicted soon the Earth's societies would collapse into self-destruction over food/water/space.

Warning, may contain complete manure...
I believe after the introduction of said fuels the countries in question will have a certain amount of time to adjust themselves while the new, probably expensive to make, sustainable fuels will slowly trickle down the technology-food-chain to the poorer communities. Speaking of poor, those regimes will be rather annoyed that they'll quickly become as poor as their serv... citizens and eventually try different things; tourism, making oil-fired stuff something chique or ol' fashioned waging war against their neighbours. Their citizens on the other hand probably not change too much. In most oil exporting countries the specialist jobs are being done by foreign advisors, contractors or guest workers, so it goes from 'doing manual labour on the oil field' to 'doing manual labour on the field' or something like that. I think eventually we'd just start to ignore those countries on the grander scale, just like they were virtually unknown until oil became of interest. If the industrialised world doesn't need oil anymore the influence of OPEC will dwindle quickly.

A much more interesting, and unfortunately more likely, scenario is what would be happening if the oil actually was expended. Major energy crises as in 1973 (or was it '74?) paralysed the western world to a complete standstill and that situation was just constructed by OPEC by closing the valve. Imagine if they opened the valve as much as they could and there still would only be drops coming through.

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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby styrofoam » Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:41 pm UTC

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't the climate everywhere go berzerk before we burnt all the oil?
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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Josephine » Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:31 pm UTC

You ninjedited me.
userxp wrote:Also Claytronics. Maybe the year 3000 is too soon, but imagine an object that can turn into everything. Like, you need to sleep and your chair turns into a bed. And when you wake up, part of your bed turns into your clothes. And there would be hundreds of applications we can't think about now.

a thousand years is too soon? A solution was first envisioned in 1964, by the name of utility fog. Basically, utility fog is made up of large numbers of dodecahedra with arms on their faces (a single 'foglet' would be a few micrometers long). The arms can extend, retract, and connect with other foglets. A house could be made entirely of the stuff, with a few exceptions, like anything that must undergo chemical changes, like food. I give it a few decades at the most.
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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Levi » Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:51 pm UTC

I'm personally hoping to be more or less immortal by the year 3000.

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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Thesh » Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:28 am UTC

Mankind will still be waiting for our jetpacks and fucking flying cars!

I think we will be doing pretty OK, maybe a world war is on the way that will thin the population immensely, but then technological innovations will improve the quality of life dramatically. Humanity will be united at some point under either a world alliance or a confederation, and the "third world" will disappear. There will be a long period of time without wars and it will be a great time to live in. However, as things improve we will find new things to fear which will turn to discontent and polarization, which will in turn lead to war and the breakup of the alliance/confederation. Also, people will do amazing things with food and drinks, and our food today will not compare to the quality of the food in the future.
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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby SlyReaper » Tue Sep 07, 2010 9:45 am UTC

Levi wrote:I'm personally hoping to be more or less immortal by the year 3000.


Hear, hear. If we could just discard these flesh-o-poid bodies and hop into something that doesn't break or wear out so easily, we'd be set.
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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Tue Sep 07, 2010 9:58 am UTC

Thesh wrote:Humanity will be united at some point under either a world alliance or a confederation, and the "third world" will disappear. There will be a long period of time without wars and it will be a great time to live in. However, as things improve we will find new things to fear which will turn to discontent and polarization, which will in turn lead to war and the breakup of the alliance/confederation.

Although I am supportive of your optimism, what makes you think the world alliance will happen before the new forces of polarization undo the attempts at unification. For that matter, what makes you think we will undo the current forces of polarization? It's nice to imagine the future as a place where things will be fixed, in the same sense I like to imagine I'll be a millionaire by next year, but I can see any mechanism that will allow this to happen.

Kang wrote:In most oil exporting countries the specialist jobs are being done by foreign advisors, contractors or guest workers [citation needed], so it goes from 'doing manual labour on the oil field' to 'doing manual labour on the field' or something like that. I think eventually we'd just start to ignore those countries on the grander scale, just like they were virtually unknown until oil became of interest. If the industrialised world doesn't need oil anymore the influence of OPEC will dwindle quickly.

"Virtually unknown until oil became of interest"?
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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Thesh » Tue Sep 07, 2010 10:40 am UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:Although I am supportive of your optimism, what makes you think the world alliance will happen before the new forces of polarization undo the attempts at unification. For that matter, what makes you think we will undo the current forces of polarization? It's nice to imagine the future as a place where things will be fixed, in the same sense I like to imagine I'll be a millionaire by next year, but I can see any mechanism that will allow this to happen.


The amount of change in the last hundred years gives me great hope for the next thousand.

As for why I think the unification will happen at some point, with better communication and corporate globalization, people will be more accepting of each other. As communication improves, as more and more countries become developed, a union much like the EU including the capitalist countries of south east asia will form. Eventually this will expand into western asia and russia. Something similar will also happen in south america and move into north america. I believe these unions will form in the next hundred years These unions will then start to merge, and there will be a huge push to include the rest of the world, although it may take several hundred more years to do so.

Now, when people set their sights on doing something, they tend to put everything else to the wayside. With the mass communication that we will have, the people of the union will get together behind a goal of uniting the world, setting aside petty differences. Once this happens, there will be a lot of work to even out the world economy and get rid of starvation and poverty, and there will possibly be separatists that are not happy with the unity. This is where humanity will put their focus, and over time these problems will go away. This leaves humanity with nothing major to worry about, and this is when we will start looking for problems that don't exist.
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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Harperfan7 » Tue Sep 07, 2010 10:47 am UTC

The immediate future looks pretty scary. An estimated 1-5% of the entire population are psychopaths, we're heading towards a global empire and our basic freedoms are dwindling as our methods of entertainment increase (brave new world-ish), we pollute more and more every day (global warming or not, pollution will still be a problem), we keep making more nukes and we still don't know what to do with nuclear waste, and our population keeps increasing exponentially.

However, with technology we can get basically free energy, perfect health, immortality, the means to escape the planet and not have to worry about survival for another eleventy billion years (until the universe itself poops out), life long leisure, and blah blah blah.

In my current opinion, the year 3000 will be one of two things,

1. Pretty cool. We'll be basically immortal, rich, genetically perfect, and live in paradise like environments. Our only enemy will be the dangers of space and any other advanced civilizations that might exist. The singularity happened and it was great.

2. Not quite as cool. We fuck up, ruin things, and have to start over, but with artifacts from the golden age. A few hard cold bastards might be similar to people from scenario #1, but they won't have hardly anything to do with the rest of us. Either we never reached the singularity, or we did and thats how we fucked up, ruined things, and why we had to start over (it may even be the hard cold bastard).

I perfectly fine with either, as long as #2 doesn't mean we all die on this planet.

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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:37 am UTC

Thesh wrote:As for why I think the unification will happen at some point, with better communication and corporate globalization, people will be more accepting of each other. As communication improves, as more and more countries become developed, a union much like the EU including the capitalist countries of south east asia will form. Eventually this will expand into western asia and russia. Something similar will also happen in south america and move into north america. I believe these unions will form in the next hundred years These unions will then start to merge, and there will be a huge push to include the rest of the world, although it may take several hundred more years to do so.

South East Asia? There we have East Timor and Papua New Guinea, and their hard-fought independence from Indonesia. Then there is Vietnam which is vehemently opposed to Chinese hegemony, having fought off the French and the US, and would oppose any such union: not to mention that, despite a shared culture, they are a separate entity from Laos and the other states of the Indochina region. If we go into North East Asia we have China, Taiwan, South Korea, North Korea, and Japan, and none of which are about to form a union any time soon. China resents the Japanese Imperialism of the past, and their denialism of the present; Japanese conservatives don't like China, hate North Korea, and are frustrated at the South Korean attempts towards NK appeasement; South Korea was invaded by China, and occupied by Japan; North Korea is wary of South Korea and threatened by Japan. On top of all this, the United States is heavily involved in the region and has an interest in the status quo (a free Taiwan and military installations based close to China in Japan and South Korea). Looking in South Asia? India, since independence in the 40s, has fractured into Sri Lanka, Pakistan (which further split into Pakistan and Bangladesh), and the Republic of India. Within the Republic of India there are significant religious (Hindu, Islam, Sikh, Buddhism) and cultural (Hindi, Bengali, Urdu, etc.) divisions which threaten the unity of the country.

Russia had a freaking union, in the USSR, and it fell apart, and then fell apart again (Yugoslavia). The EU has suffered significant turmoil over the global recession and the Greek, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese economies. Since the independence movements of 1950s African countries have sought a continental union, but so far nothing has come from it. Argentina almost went to war with Chile in the 1970s. The Middle East, need I say anything about? Your analysis of unity sweeping the globe is as ridiculous as the idea of a Communist Domino Effect taking control of the planet, and takes zero notice that nationalism has been the dominate paradigm since the late nineteenth century.
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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby SlyReaper » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:44 am UTC

But that's not to say nationalism will remain top dog forever. If people stopped identifying themselves as being from a particular country, but rather identified themselves as being from Earth, then you might realistically expect unification to occur. However, that's not going to happen any time soon unless we encounter an external threat of some kind. Humans being humans, there always has to be an "us" and a "them".
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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:57 am UTC

SlyReaper wrote:But that's not to say nationalism will remain top dog forever. If people stopped identifying themselves as being from a particular country, but rather identified themselves as being from Earth, then you might realistically expect unification to occur. However, that's not going to happen any time soon unless we encounter an external threat of some kind. Humans being humans, there always has to be an "us" and a "them".

External threat, sure. But either it ends us or it doesn't, and if it doesn't end us are Israelis and Palestinians going to hold hands and skip off into the sunset together? The French and British fought together against the Germans but they're not about to unify.
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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby SlyReaper » Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:11 pm UTC

Actually I was going to use Europe as a good example. England and France have been at each other's throats for the best part of a millenium, but now are both part of the same political and trade union. The only real animosity which remains is a bit of friendly rivalry.
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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Thesh » Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:13 pm UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:South East Asia? There we have East Timor and Papua New Guinea, and their hard-fought independence from Indonesia. Then there is Vietnam which is vehemently opposed to Chinese hegemony, having fought off the French and the US, and would oppose any such union: not to mention that, despite a shared culture, they are a separate entity from Laos and the other states of the Indochina region.


There are a lot of countries that used to hate each other who are now allied with each other. I think the trend shows that relations between developing or developed countries in general is improving. Also, in southeast asia you already have ASEAN. It's not the EU, but I think it is evidence that many south east asian countries are willing to work together; it's not going to happen overnight, but I do believe that it will happen. The rest of asia will definitely take longer, but as time goes on people will forgive and forget.

The countries of the middle east and africa will probably be the last to join something like that, but I don't think it is impossible.
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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:29 pm UTC

SlyReaper wrote:Actually I was going to use Europe as a good example. England and France have been at each other's throats for the best part of a millenium, but now are both part of the same political and trade union. The only real animosity which remains is a bit of friendly rivalry.

They haven't been nations for a millenia, and meanwhile Britain is facing self-determination efforts from inside Wales, Scotland, and Cornwall, and an independence movement in Ireland, and France is facing similar difficulties with Brittany. They can form political and economic alliances with each other, but their own peoples aren't even unified.

Thesh wrote:There are a lot of countries that used to hate each other who are now allied with each other. I think the trend shows that relations between developing or developed countries in general is improving. Also, in southeast asia you already have ASEAN. It's not the EU, but I think it is evidence that many south east asian countries are willing to work together; it's not going to happen overnight, but I do believe that it will happen. The rest of asia will definitely take longer, but as time goes on people will forgive and forget.

The situation in the Korean peninsula has not changed in sixty years, and the South East Asians are still wary of the genocides of the 70s committed by the Javanese. And, fuck, the Greeks and Turks still hate each other over Alexander the Great. Forgive and forget? It's a fairy tale.
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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby SlyReaper » Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:45 pm UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:They haven't been nations for a millenia, and meanwhile Britain is facing self-determination efforts from inside Wales, Scotland, and Cornwall, and an independence movement in Ireland, and France is facing similar difficulties with Brittany. They can form political and economic alliances with each other, but their own peoples aren't even unified.


What does that have to do with the price of eggs? Those regions are extremely unlikely to break away to form their own nations because their independance movements do not have a great deal of support (with the possible exception of NI, I don't know much about the situation there but it does seem to have calmed down a bit since The Troubles). And even if they did they'd probably remain friendly.
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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:53 pm UTC

SlyReaper wrote:What does that have to do with the price of eggs? Those regions are extremely unlikely to break away to form their own nations because their independance movements do not have a great deal of support (with the possible exception of NI, I don't know much about the situation there but it does seem to have calmed down a bit since The Troubles). And even if they did they'd probably remain friendly.

After how many hundred years there's still growing unrest in these political unions which now want to form unions with other political unions and expect things to be dandy, and you don't see the relevance?
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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Thesh » Tue Sep 07, 2010 1:00 pm UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:The situation in the Korean peninsula has not changed in sixty years, and the South East Asians are still wary of the genocides of the 70s committed by the Javanese. And, fuck, the Greeks and Turks still hate each other over Alexander the Great. Forgive and forget? It's a fairy tale.


I tried to find information on the japanese committing genocide since WWII, but was unable to. Are you sure you didn't mean the 30's and 40's?

Just because you have resentments doesn't mean you can't be allies. Germany invaded and committed genocide in poland, and poland still resents them for that. Despite this, they are both members of the EU. As time goes on, their relations will most likely improve. I don't see any reason why in the next 100-200 years, relations can't improve dramatically between the countries of south east asia as well as the the east asian countries.
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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby SlyReaper » Tue Sep 07, 2010 1:04 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:
Pez Dispens3r wrote:The situation in the Korean peninsula has not changed in sixty years, and the South East Asians are still wary of the genocides of the 70s committed by the Javanese. And, fuck, the Greeks and Turks still hate each other over Alexander the Great. Forgive and forget? It's a fairy tale.


I tried to find information on the japanese committing genocide since WWII, but was unable to. Are you sure you didn't mean the 30's and 40's?


He said Javanese, which is even more confusing since I can't find information on them committing genocide either.
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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Thesh » Tue Sep 07, 2010 1:05 pm UTC

SlyReaper wrote:
Thesh wrote:
Pez Dispens3r wrote:The situation in the Korean peninsula has not changed in sixty years, and the South East Asians are still wary of the genocides of the 70s committed by the Javanese. And, fuck, the Greeks and Turks still hate each other over Alexander the Great. Forgive and forget? It's a fairy tale.


I tried to find information on the japanese committing genocide since WWII, but was unable to. Are you sure you didn't mean the 30's and 40's?


He said Javanese, which is even more confusing since I can't find information on them committing genocide either.


Ah, my mistake.
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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Tue Sep 07, 2010 1:16 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:Just because you have resentments doesn't mean you can't be allies. Germany invaded and committed genocide in poland, and poland still resents them for that. Despite this, they are both members of the EU. As time goes on, their relations will most likely improve. I don't see any reason why in the next 100-200 years, relations can't improve dramatically between the countries of south east asia as well as the the east asian countries.

You're overstating the significance of the EU. They're not united in the same sense the US is, and the EU is rampant with national and cultural difference, which extend down into the individual countries which make up the union (and which have different levels of commitment to the structure). You're optimistic about overcoming differences, and that's fine, but you're being blind to the differences which are still present and belittling their significance.

SlyReaper wrote:He said Javanese, which is even more confusing since I can't find information on them committing genocide either.

60s, sorry, not 70s.
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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Sharlos » Tue Sep 07, 2010 1:27 pm UTC

I think it would be useful to distinguish between economic and political union honestly.

Additionally, it is perfectly reasonable for nations to continue balkanising all the while maintaining supranational unions for mutual benefit.

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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Thesh » Tue Sep 07, 2010 1:37 pm UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:You're overstating the significance of the EU. They're not united in the same sense the US is, and the EU is rampant with national and cultural difference, which extend down into the individual countries which make up the union (and which have different levels of commitment to the structure).


I'm not even sure where you are getting the idea that I believe the EU is like a country.

Pez Dispens3r wrote:You're optimistic about overcoming differences, and that's fine, but you're being blind to the differences which are still present and belittling their significance.


Almost everything you have mentioned are things that have happened in the last 100 years, and we talk less and less about them as time goes on. I don't think they are going to be fully united with no hostilities in my lifetime, but I don't think it's unreasonable for most of the countries of east/southeast asia to be on good terms with each other within the next few hundred years. I think the improved communications that the world has seen in the last 20 years is going to be what really allows them to move past their differences.
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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Zamfir » Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:01 pm UTC

Sharlos wrote:I think it would be useful to distinguish between economic and political union honestly.

The EU shows how hard that distinction is. Every step of economic integration has gone together with substantial political integration.

For example, free movement of goods meant that the EU became the main setter of standards and quality norms.

EU laws are binding for member states, and the European Court of Justice can overide national laws.

Competition laws meant that countries are limited in giving special treatment to their own industry.

Free movement of labour within the borders of the EU meant that EU countries have to treat EU citizens from other countries in many ways the same as their own citizens. You can't deny them presence, you have to provide services to them, they pay taxes like normal citizens and even join social security systems (this last is still clunky). They can bring their own driver's license, they can't be asked to pay higher prices for things, etc.

Also, free movement of people required a tighter cooperation between police forces. There is an extensive "framework on the European Arrest Warrant" to facilitate easier extradition of citizens, including countries' own citizens.This is not yet adopted everywhere, but the movement is in that direction.

Tax regimes across the EU are more and more comparable, because otherwise companies and people can shop around for favourable conditions. Still an ongoing process, but for example every country in the EU is required to have a VAT of a least 15%, with exception for clearly defined categories only.

You can go on and on, in more and more detail. A tight economic union is largely impossible without giving up large amounts of sovereignity to the union.

And then, there is of course the Euro. Giving up the ability to set your own macroeconomic policy is a big step, combining economic and political union in one. From the looks of it, the Euro will require even more political integration between its members in the future.

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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:09 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:I'm not even sure where you are getting the idea that I believe the EU is like a country.

What is a country, to you? The US was not always a country. The USSR was arguably a country, as was India and Yugoslavia. You were implying there would be a worldwide "confederation" that would minimize internal differences. How am I supposed to read you?

Thesh wrote:Almost everything you have mentioned are things that have happened in the last 100 years, and we talk less and less about them as time goes on. I don't think they are going to be fully united with no hostilities in my lifetime, but I don't think it's unreasonable for most of the countries of east/southeast asia to be on good terms with each other within the next few hundred years. I think the improved communications that the world has seen in the last 20 years is going to be what really allows them to move past their differences.

We don't talk less and less about the Korean conflict, or Israel/Palestine. We're not seeing the settlement of conflict between India and Pakistan, or Iran and Iraq. And the improved communications have the largest penetration in the countries that were already at peace with each other, and have the smallest influence where the conflicts are at their hottest.
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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Adacore » Tue Sep 07, 2010 3:11 pm UTC

Sharlos wrote:Additionally, it is perfectly reasonable for nations to continue balkanising all the while maintaining supranational unions for mutual benefit.

Indeed, in anything like the forseeable future the only way I can see a 'global' government working would be along an ultra-federalist model - a loose union type arrangement at the top level, then nations at the sub-level, then perhaps smaller regions/states below that. Most countries already have some kind of structure along these lines, with local governance below the national level, this concept merely extends that.

Anyway, more generally, a thousand years is a really, really long time. In just the last hundred years we've gone from manual labour, industrial age, using horses and steam engines for transport to using mass production, in the information age with personal vehicles, aeroplanes and (early) space travel. Current technology was almost predictable a hundred years ago (try reading Wells), but in the 11th century it would've been like magic. Even Da Vinci was only 500 years ago. And progress is speeding up - I think we might have a shot at decent 100-year forecasts, but literally anything could've happened by year 3000.

Having said that, barring catastrophe we'll probably develop some kind of AI, and that may well lead to a singularity event. Even if this doesn't happen, a large part of the near/mid-term future development is likely to be informatics and software/hardware improvements. There's still a lot to be done in the area of intelligent search (apps that actually seek out information far more cleverly with more reference to context and automatically compile a report, rather than just giving you a list of 'maybe-kinda-useful' sites).

We'll either get fusion going or switch over to some kind of solar power. That should mean we won't have a major energy crisis in the mid-term, although the short term is more problematic. We'll still run out of oil eventually, as polymer use continues to increase, but with enough energy that shouldn't be a problem - we can manufacture polymers from CO2 and water, so long as we've got the energy to rip the molecules apart. Our main concern, I suspect, is most likely to be material resources (especially if we get self-replicating solar cells going: some kind of technology, nano- or otherwise, that can transform an asteroid into a huge solar power plant). Intrastellar colonisation will be a reality (if only to avoid the 'eggs in one basket' reality of all living on Earth), interstellar travel is probable but by no means certain unless we find an FTL solution. I can't see any reason why we wouldn't do either near-c ships (Orion project based, perhaps), or generational asteroid-ships.

Unless we all die somehow, which is entirely possible.

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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Zamfir » Tue Sep 07, 2010 3:37 pm UTC

Adacore wrote: And progress is speeding up -

Is this really true? The big social movements of the moment are developing countries catching up with industrialized nations, not big changes within industrialized countries.

The big changes here seemed to have been mostly in the life of my grandmother, even before my parents were adults. Things like electric power at home, hot tap water, a telephone, a car, a television became available to the masses in my grandmother's life. To her, a smartphone is a minor improvement compared to the things she has but her parents had not.

In her youth, starving was still a possibility if you had bad luck, like becoming a widow at the wrong age. Her parents in turn were the first geenration in the family to have the right to vote. I would say that progress has slowed down a lot since those days.

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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Adacore » Tue Sep 07, 2010 4:48 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
Adacore wrote: And progress is speeding up -

Is this really true? The big social movements of the moment are developing countries catching up with industrialized nations, not big changes within industrialized countries.

It's a very interesting question, and the answer is 'probably, but we don't really know', as far as I can tell. I actually spent about an hour reading about technological singularity and conflicting theories of accelerating change when I posted that. Common wisdom would certainly have you believe that progress is still accelerating, but there seem to be a fair few theories that say the rate of change peaked in the 70s/80s and we're heading for a plateau now.

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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Zamfir » Wed Sep 08, 2010 6:57 am UTC

a lot of current singularity theories take their inspiration from Moore's law,but i feel this might be a bit of a numbers game. An exponential increase in transistor count, or some other measure of performance, does not translate in what we would call exponential improvement in any other business. If a computer can do something now, it can do it trivially fast 10 or 20 Moore-years later, but the big step is usually doing it in the first place.

The measure of useful tasks an affordable computer can do is rising steadily, but not in any way 'exponentially'. I have worked in numerical aerodynamics, a field that has been profiting very directly from increased raw computing power since the late 1960s.


What you see there are 'steps', such including an extra physical effect, or going from an approximate method to a more exact method, or going from 2-d to 3-d, or from evaluation to optimization, or shifting a problem from supercomputers to your desktop . But each such step requires an exponential increase in power.

It's a fun fact that my home pc now can solve an important problem from 1970 a hundred thousand times an hour, but that is not really relevant progress. The relevant progress is between the best result now with the best results from the past, and there progress is not in way 'exponential'.

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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Adacore » Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:16 am UTC

Well, from what I understand the big thing with a (computational) singularity is a software rather than hardware issue, at least assuming something vaguely like current hardware. Once/if we design an AI which is 'cleverer' than any human then it's possible that AI could then self-optimise to be much smarter in a very short timescale. This could, of course, in turn lead to further hardware improvements by the AI which would then mean it gets even smarter. We have no way of knowing if that is possible and, if it is, how far it could go. There is, presumably, an upper limit, but nobody has any real idea what it is.

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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Zamfir » Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:31 am UTC

I am not sure how useful AI-singularity theories are. They claim that we had human-like AI, there would be enormous changes afterwards.

But it's a bit like claiming that if I had 10 million dollar, I would use it to get rich beyond my wildest dreams. Perhaps it's true, perhaps it's not true. But either way it doesn't really tell me much about my earning potential at this moment.

Sure, strong AI would be a technological development with enormous impact. But it is in no way a likely development. Extrapolating current trends doesn't lead to AI,the last 50 years of AI research have mostly shown that human-like intelligence is even more difficult to understand than we previously assumed. The next 50 years might change that, or they might just show that it is yet even more difficult than we now assume.

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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Sharlos » Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:18 pm UTC

Yeah, every breakthrough people have made in AI research has only shown how much further we have to go to developing anything approaching human intelligence.

Although as a side note, an AI wouldn't need to be as smart or smarter than a human to self-optimise.

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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Zamfir » Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:24 pm UTC

Although as a side note, an AI wouldn't need to be as smart or smarter than a human to self-optimise.

Given that humans are the closest to AI we have, and humans cannot self-optimize their intelligence, I would even say that intellignece and self-optimizing systems are completely unrelated. You can have either without the other.

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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby userxp » Wed Sep 08, 2010 3:09 pm UTC

This seems like a good place to mention the law of futurology

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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Adacore » Wed Sep 08, 2010 4:28 pm UTC

Also I suppose it may be of interest, regarding futurology in general, to mention HG Wells' Anticipations, which is a very interesting read - it's surprising just how much he gets right (and some of the stuff he gets wrong). I'd link it, but I can't access Project Gutenburg from work. EDIT: I note that I mentioned Wells offhand earlier, but no harm in an explicit reference.
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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby She » Wed Sep 08, 2010 4:40 pm UTC

I'm not saying the AI singularity is near, or that it will revolutionise absolutely everything, but I think it's a bit more valid than the "10 million dollars gets you all money in the world" argument. It's a bit like induction (in proofs): If we manage to build an AI that's exactly as smart as ours, and then manage to build one that's a bit smarter, then the only limit to how smart it can be is physical limits - how fast computers we can build, how big computers we can afford to build, or something like that.

Maybe there's some magic limit to how intelligent something can get. And I can also imagine that there's a limit to the intelligence that can be achieved through a certain way of constructing the brain, say if we try to emulate our own neuron-based brains. There might be a point where adding neurons and connections doesn't help any more, and then I don't know what to do. But up to that point, it's proof by induction once we've built the first smarter-than-human brain.

Just when that's going to happen, I'll leave to the people who know stuff about human-level intelligence and current AI progress.
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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Mumpy » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:44 pm UTC

Quantum Sunshine wrote:
Cars, by 2100 will be irrelevant. Not because of jet packs or teleporters or anything like that, but because towns and cities will have grown so much that anything you could ever need will be within walking distance, or no distance at all due to advances in Internet connection.


Really? No visiting family or anything like that? Come on, transport like cars fills a niche now that I don't reckon will become uneeded.

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Re: The Year 3000.

Postby Adacore » Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:17 pm UTC

I don't think personal transportation will ever be unnecessary, but private transportation may become so. If the public transport system consists of a fleet of automated luxurious taxi-type hover-vehicles, why would you want to own a car yourself? It'd be like living in a major city (eg London) - future public transport may well be nicer, faster and cheaper than any private transport you'd be able to get anyway.


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