Autor Wątek: possible futures  (Przeczytany 33537 razy)

innate

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possible futures
« dnia: Listopad 01, 2005, 07:01:32 am »
A big topic, so I can keep myself entertained with it for a long time, even if nobody else participates.

What is to come? Lem gives us synsects in a few works, and Deckard recently reported that Bomba Megabitowa represents the net as being replete with danger.

There are so many dystopian futures that I can all too readily imagine.

It's hard because we tend to extrapolate a single trend, forgetting that nothing extends to infinity and that everything else shifts and reacts when one thing changes a bit.

innate

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Re: possible futures
« Odpowiedź #1 dnia: Listopad 02, 2005, 03:29:11 am »
Dystopian future #1: the mushroom cloud.

Humans have had atomic energy for some sixty years now. How we have (mostly) kept from being transformed into radioactive ash is a great mystery. There are plenty of unbalanced people in power, for one thing. There are powerful people who Truly Believe in their ideologies--if things start to look bleak for them, might they not feel that nothing remains to be lost? Also, we usually think of missiles, but I guess people can fit all sorts of things into shipping containers.

In 1983, Stanislav Petrov went with his feeling that the computer systems were in error. And so I live.

Deckert

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Re: possible futures
« Odpowiedź #2 dnia: Listopad 02, 2005, 10:17:14 am »
As usually You've touched a pretty interesting subject innate. I really like it.

Dystopian future which you assigned number 1 on your probable list of possible futures is obviously the one quite a few people consider (including me). The world stands on the edge of a global catastrophe, the balance is really gentle. Great players on political scene like the USA, Russia or China will never use their nuclear potential against each other. They realize that this is, I would say, the two-edged weapon. Moreover, each side knows the side effects of using nuclear weapon - years of radioactive contamination, black rain, mutations and so on. The worst thing is that technology boost makes things smaller and smaller and soon atomic bomb or missile will be easy to hide in a typical suitcase. Even nowadays we receive reports that many unstable little coutries want to develop their own nuclear technologies. This is indeed a big problem because these people don't want to follow rules of global nuclear disarmament, which shows their lack of responsibility for humankind. Many SF writers and SF movie directors have already created visions of a world destroyed by a global nuclear conflict (take for instance Mad Max series or The Blood of the Heros). The question is why it didn't happen? I'm not able to answer that question. I simply don't know. We can of course draw different kind of conslusions but I don't think we will finally get the answer.

As number 2 I would like to propose a completely different future. It was described in Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke. I have to confess that this book made a great impresion on me. Since I don't know if You are familiar with this story I don't know if I can say anything more in this subject (I just wouldn't like to give away a great plot of this book for those of You who haven't read it yet). So I'll wait for your acceptance if I can reveal the story of this great book.

CU
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Socrates

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Re: possible futures
« Odpowiedź #3 dnia: Listopad 02, 2005, 04:26:21 pm »
Why haven't we blown each other up yet?  Let's all thank those unsung heroes, whomever they are, who persuaded/dissuaded the then-currnent and current leaders from moving towards nuclear armageddon.  I think of the British officer (Peter Sellers) and his (admittedly fruitless in the end) attempt at defusing the upcoming war in Dr. Strangelove.  Among the madness, a cool head is the only thing between death and life.  That we don't know their names is a pity.
Cheers, Socrates

Dystopian future #1 (for me):  People spend so much time in front of the tv/computer that they forget to propagate and we die out "naturally", out of old age.

Deckert

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Re: possible futures
« Odpowiedź #4 dnia: Listopad 02, 2005, 09:02:53 pm »
 ;D Hehh Socrates you gave us the answer  to all the riddles!  ;) I forgot about this dude Peter Sellers - he's the cure for all evil on this planet... ;D

CU
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innate

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Re: possible futures
« Odpowiedź #5 dnia: Listopad 02, 2005, 09:25:18 pm »
Deckard: Sure, go ahead. I've read it.

Socrates: I think most people are still out there working hard to spread their genes. (and if the outside world were filled with people who like to think and talk about interesting things, maybe I'd join them...)

[actually, if we simply died out by neglecting to reproduce, I'm not sure that I'd regard that as dystopian]
« Ostatnia zmiana: Listopad 02, 2005, 09:35:44 pm wysłana przez innate »

Deckert

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Re: possible futures
« Odpowiedź #6 dnia: Listopad 03, 2005, 10:54:06 am »
OK then, Clarke depicts evolution of humankind into a brand new form of life. It's a little bit connected to transhumanism but in fact it's different. I wouldn't like to reveal whole story but some part of it (especially the conclusion) has to be shown. A new generation of human kind was born to be usual kids. Not more and not less similar to present children. But after some time their parents started to lose contact with them. Kids were not recognizing parents and seemed to be in a sort of trance. Regular people (their parents) were under the impression that those kids are talking to each other without making a sound. Soon they found out that those strange kids have many other gifts like telekinesis and probably a lot more. Children were becoming one global mind absolutely not related to our world. Human kind transformed itself into something new. Something beyond our imagination.

CU
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innate

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Re: possible futures
« Odpowiedź #7 dnia: Listopad 03, 2005, 08:26:27 pm »
What do you think of that future, Deckard? And what do you think of variations on it that are more realistic in detail? Considering what you had said about transhumanism and Eutyphronics, I would have guessed at first that you would disapprove, but I'm not sure.

[I just reread your first post on it, and it sounds like you regard it with approval, though the fact that you enjoyed the book doesn't necessarily mean that you bought into what happened at the end...]
« Ostatnia zmiana: Listopad 03, 2005, 08:31:01 pm wysłana przez innate »

Deckert

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Re: possible futures
« Odpowiedź #8 dnia: Listopad 03, 2005, 09:19:27 pm »
Well, I mentioned Clarke's idea as an opposition to your dark future no. 1 - the nuclear one. I don't believe that what happens in Childhood's end is a possible future, but of course I find it very interesting and even surprising. It's rather obvious that we want to see our future in good colors, while Clarke shows it in a very specific way. We lose even our own planet Earth in the sake of transformation into something new. So on one hand it's a sad story and on the other it looks like the proper course of evolution. To me the conclusion is not explicit. And this is what makes the whole story so good.

As far as transhumanism and eutyphronics are concerned I'm on the side of the second one.  ;)

CU
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innate

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Re: possible futures
« Odpowiedź #9 dnia: Listopad 03, 2005, 10:12:28 pm »
You make good sense. It's actually been long enough since I read it that I don't remember too many details.

My dystopian future #2: No more clean water.

We can get by without a lot of things, but not without water.
I thought it was bad enough that we use up  our water to have green lawns in dry places and to wash our vehicles, but sometimes one hears of the unimaginable waste of water that goes on in industry.

(A horrifying story that I heard of recently is of a coal company in the desert of the American southwest. For decades, they have been crushing coal, mixing it with precious dwindling underground water, and sending it through a huge pipe for hundreds of kilometers. The amount of water that has been contaminated and lost was large enough that it was hard to grasp.)

Oh, and we waste so much water by not being sensible with our agriculture, growing things in arid places that require heavy irrigation.

We claim to be special because we have foresight, but in practice we do what works best for us in the short term, just like bacteria given a source of sugar. First, grow rapidly until it's used up. Second, die.

With contaminated water, there's distillation or hopefully a more energetically efficient technological fix, but if you live somewhere dry and the wells go dry...

Terminus

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Re: possible futures
« Odpowiedź #10 dnia: Listopad 04, 2005, 04:15:35 am »
As for dystopian nr 1 (innate, shouldn't you call your topic 'possible dystopian futures'?), the atomic blast one; I think that nuclear armageddon is quite impossible, until at least some freak on drugs presses the red button. In my oppinion the 'fragile ballance' Deckard described, is not that fragile at all, because nuclear weapons are mainly used to frighten and threaten hostile countries than to blow things up.

I just hope, of course, that the 'cool heads' mentioned by Socrates will never fail.

As for the dystopian future which included humanity dying out thanks to neglecting breeding for the sake of computer games, I think, like innate, that this should be called utopian and considered as the only way of Heaven on Earth coming true.

About water contamination. I know quite a few things about water refinement, and am aware that there's nothing that nature wouldn't deal itrself, if we gave it time.  (Maybe besides nuclear contamination....) So if Texaco or any other companies installed multimilion dollar ecological installations, stopped pollution and so on, we would have  large amounts of drinking water anywhere.

But then again, it won't happen.
So, if I were to guess, I think technologically developped nations will continue to devastate Earth, until some LARGE and evident dying starts. And I don't mean Africa's population dying out of hunger, which is a fact - but is not connected to ecology that much, but I mean, for example, I don't know... maybe people in US starting to die because of lack of water.

This could open some eyes.

--
Forgive my cosmic grammatics.

innate

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Re: possible futures
« Odpowiedź #11 dnia: Listopad 04, 2005, 05:31:14 am »
Cytuj
innate, shouldn't you call your topic 'possible dystopian futures'?
heheh. Well, I just haven't gotten to my non-dystopian future yet. I'll look into writing it up.

fragile balance: I do think that shipping containers and, like Deckard said, suitcase nukes are a problem. There's little downside to such aggression if nobody knows who did it.

clean water: That's true that city water is generally formerly-yucky water. Maybe I should focus more on the scenario of water no longer coming from the wells in dry places.

Cytuj
people in US starting to die because of lack of water
Even that might not help if My Dystopian Future #3 happens, in which AI and robotics advance to a point where "the rest of us" and our labor are no longer needed, where a few people own everything and the rest of us are free to die. (But if they were then completely secure and threatened by nothing, might they feel humanitarian impulses? Possibly. Once people have enough hundreds of millions of dollars, they often start giving money to universities and libraries and various institutions, after all.)

[Terminus' heaven on earth scenario: there is a site out there called The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement.]
« Ostatnia zmiana: Listopad 04, 2005, 05:39:41 am wysłana przez innate »

innate

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Re: possible futures
« Odpowiedź #12 dnia: Listopad 09, 2005, 07:31:34 am »
Another dystopian future: fundamentalist religion and general irrationality on the rise.

George Orwell wrote: "In  philosophy,  or religion, or ethics, or politics, two and two might make five, but when one was designing a gun or an aeroplane they had to make four."

The problem is that those who believe that two plus two equals five -- or particularly those who have gathered a lot of followers who can be persuaded that two plus two equals five -- are quite capable of buying guns or airplanes or whatever.

They can use the tools while denying the principles underlying their function, and my guess is that it may be getting easier.

(And then there are people who can compartmentalize their thinking such that  it equals four in their professional lives and five in their personal lives...)


But maybe that's too vague to count as one of my dystopian futures, so here's another: poisonous and mutagenic chemicals in everything.

Here it's particularly difficult to discern the truth because on one side you have corporations for which profit motive overrides all else, and on the other side you have people who really, really, really believe in the false distinction between natural and artificial. There are probably some people in the middle trying to understand things without bias, but they're never going to get the headlines.

For potential mutagens, we often give it to some E. coli (or something) that isn't supposed to be able to grow, the idea being that a mutagen will increase the rate at which a broken enzyme will mutate back to a functional state. I can't remember what they do for potential poisons -- inject them into mice or something? In any case, the state of the art is currently so primitive that we don't have a very good idea of what we're doing yet.

Deckert

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Re: possible futures
« Odpowiedź #13 dnia: Listopad 09, 2005, 12:05:19 pm »
Fundumental religion is absolutely not likely to take over our entire world - maybe a tiny part of it - like nowadays. Religious fanatics are relatively small groups of people. Their radical outlook is not acceptable by people across the world. They can of course spread their religious visions, postulates and other things but this doesn't have any future. History says that people really hold freedom in high esteem which means they will fight for freedom and against all people who want to limit that freedom.
Moreover I think that the times of religions having great impact on societies is almost over. Western Europe is hardly religious except of Scotland. In Central Europe there's only Poland very devoted to Catholicism.

And dystopian future of poisoned world. Hey we already live in such, don't we?  ;) :D

CU
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Socrates

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Re: possible futures
« Odpowiedź #14 dnia: Listopad 09, 2005, 04:47:51 pm »
1) "Possible Futures" is a pretty good movie starring Tilda Swinton and others.
2) I think Innate meant that rel fanaticism will become more relevant and lead to armageddon not because it will spread from person to person thus enveloping the entire world in one huge religious cloud, but rather that those who are religious to the point of absurdity will get their hands on some powerful devices capable, in the name of god, of enveloping the entire world in a mushroom cloud.
3) All of these scenarios are quite right.  I put my RMB on crazy people (aka Bush et al) starting too much crap with people who would be happy to go to heaven, and take as many people with them as they can.
Cheers, Socrates