Hamorad wrote:Good news everyone! We've got a package to deliver...
*ahem* sorry for the massive dragging this from the depths of antiquity, but it suddenly made me think of this
moving on to *other*
tales of interest
inventions of importance...
Assuming no technological singularity, not because I have any real opinion on how likely it is, but because if that occurs I have no bloody clue how things will progress, then I can suggest a few things about the technology of the future:
1. It will be need/want oriented, simply because all technology is.
That is to say that, for example, we will stop using cars IF there is a need to stop. Speaking as someone who has lived in Winnipeg in winter, I can assure you that if there is an option to have my transportation RIGHT THERE rather than waiting for it after walking to a pickup point, I will choose to have the personal car rather than some ultra efficient public network. Another way of putting it is that we'll develop something that replaces the car only if the car needs replacing. More likely is that we'll find ways of reducing the car's resource consumption.
Similarly I don't forsee us becoming completely sedentary and living in pods, simply because we don't WANT to. I like excercise, and I like meeting people in person. Sure you might be able to simulate those things, but why would you? The majority of the population will certainly use advanced Virtual worlds or whatever replaces the internet, but it is unlikely to become the only method of dealing with the world.
2. It will not result in a society where rich and poor are meaningless
In many ways I live in a post scarcity environment. Every single person I know, including those that I would call "poor" (and they call themselves that) lacks for shelter. Or food. Or water, basic safety, healthcare, welfare, education, equality, etc. And yet I can distinctly tell the difference between those that are "well off" and those that are not. As an example using myself, I've been having to save more this last year. Not by any means a lot, I am not ascetic by any means. I eat a lot of meat, I live well, and I go out a fair bit. My "saving" is very limited in scope. I haven't bought new clothes in a long time, at all (I save other ways as well, but that isn't important for the point). This isn't a large issue, my clothes last and have a good deal of wear left in them. But my point is that, even with such a minor thing of near complete irrelevance amidst a life of complete satiation of all desire, people have noticed and commented
. Not rudely, not majorly, but it has been noted. My clothes aren't out of fashion per se (I don't tend to buy the latest flash in the pan brand, Ed Hardy seems to be in right now for some reason), but the fact remains that people note that I wear the same few outfits everytime I go out now, the others having gotten too much wear. Thus, even in the height of well-off amidst the well off, the note of having to save is seen.
To show something most people would think of as less petty, one of my friends is quite poor, and all their money is going towards school. They hasn't bought clothes as good as my cast offs in their life. They cannot afford to eat red meat, and wine is for special occasions (specifically it's for the occasions someone gives it to them as a gift). Certainly this is hardly deprivation, they get their calories, their school is largely paid for by scholarship and grants, and their clothing is sturdy and comfortable. Nonetheless everyone knows that my friend is quite poor. Some are rude about it, some are subconciously petty, most don't care, but everybody knows. Deprivation is solved by technological means, Poverty is not.
3. It will have a manual override, backup, fix, or all three.
This is not because we've all seen Terminator, this is for the far more mundane reason that maintenance is always important. Not every piece of equipment will have it, but most will, because things screw up on occasion, and when there's no manual override it results in very bad shit. Witness Toyota and the inccredible everlasting accelerator. Sometimes the override doesn't work (which is what occured to Toyota, the override here being that the acceleration should have been manual to begin with) sometimes they just didn't think about it until it broke (when they DID think about it but didn't include it, that's planned obselescence).
In many ways this is what medicine has always been for a very complicated system we only half understand. Your Pancreas doesn't work? Manual override! (have a needle). Heart a little over the hill? Backup! (Have a Pacemaker). Disease that gets past the bodies defenses? Build a better immune system! (Have a vaccine).
The point is that "catastrophic failure" will not normally result in Chernobyl, and likely never in Nuclear winter. The human race may well die, but you can bet it'll be because WE did it, not some rounding error.
4. It will be sleek and shiny
Because people are idiots.
I'll return another time (maybe) for more political and sociological thoughts, but I think that about sums up my thoughts on technological change. It will be new and exciting, it will change everything, but the extreme points of view are usually based on crazy assumptions.