What if the industrial revolution started 50 000 years ago

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by orcot, Mar 5, 2008.

  1. orcot Valued Senior Member

    I've always wonderd how the world would have turned out if industrialisation happend almost instantly.
    Let's say people invented writing and farming and metalurgy some 50500. 500 years later their rougly to our level (even the population has climbed to rougly 6 billion). How different would our society look like in the middle of a ice age.
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  3. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Can not be very confident, but with that assumed rapid rate of technology advance, I would expect that some large nuclear powered "space blimps" would be on their way to distant planets and the creatures still on Earth would be those quite tolerant of high CO2 levels and well adapted to living on and in the warm seas, which would cover more than 80% of the surface of Earth. - Probalby only "genetic rejects" not fit to colonize the other worlds, would remain on Earth.
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  5. francois Schwat? Registered Senior Member

    You don't think a people with a civilization that has interplanetary "space blimps" would have the technology to reverse some of the damage caused by excess atmospheric CO2 or have the technology to deal with such conditions?
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  7. orcot Valued Senior Member

    The real dawn of the industrial era happened in the 18th century
    Were now in the 21ste. I was merly proposing a verry short prehistory and a more long drawn industrial revolution 3 centuries VS 5.
    I wondered more if they would try to terraform their frozen world with greenhouse gasses as it was slowly craling into the last mayor ice age.

    If the people would live better together when there commen history is much closer. How would they act Vs neanderthals and if there be mayor wars for warmer lands?
  8. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    There's a similar thread on the "Intelligence & Machines" board. Except he was only asking about doing it 2,000 years ago. And he misspelled "Industial." I posted there concerning the conditions that were necessary for the Industrial Revolution to occur.

    50,000 years ago was the beginning of the diaspora out of Africa. (That date was very recently moved forward from 70,000BCE.) So the I.R. would have to have occurred in Africa, where all the people were.

    The geography of Africa did not propel technological change because of its north-south orientation. The key technology that drew us out of the Stone Age was agriculture. Animals and plants can be traded among neighboring cultures for a good distance in an east-west direction because they're in the same climate zone. It's much more difficult in a north-south direction.

    The Agricultural Revolution did indeed occur much later in Africa than elsewhere. And it occurred in North Africa, which at the time was both culturally and geographically a continuum with southern Asia rather than with sub-Saharan Africa.

    It can be hypothesized that Homo sapiens had to leave Africa before the conditions prompting the foundation of civilization could occur. Why that emigration itself happened so late in our time on Earth is a separate question, but even that answer is emerging. 50,000 years ago was a dreadful ice age. So much water was trapped in the ice caps that rainfall everywhere was very low. All of Africa had practically turned into a desert. Humans became desperate to find a place with more food and some of them managed to make the crossing into Asia Minor.

    See the "Out of Africa" thread on the Human Science board for more on this, and for citations of source material. This research is very recent and is just now making its way into the popular media.
  9. Wexler Gadfly Registered Senior Member

    Man would have figured out a quicker way to annihilate each other that's for sure...a large portion of technology in Human history has been developed or inspired by a new way to kill or do harm...

    Imagine giving a 4 year old a gun, the keys to the car and a bottle of whiskey...now think about what man has done over the past 100 years to each other with technology that it seems they weren't ready for...50,000 years later and we still are looking for new ways to do harm.
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    That's just the recent spectacular stuff like rocketry, nuclear fission and radar. Some of our most important technologies were invented long before the modern era. Not only were they not inspired by the desire to kill, they actually mitigated that desire.

    Remember that in the Mesolithic Era murder was the cause of 60% of adult deaths. This was because nomadic hunter-gatherers could just barely eke enough food out of their territory to keep themselves alive--in a good year. This required each tribe to regard every other tribe as a competitor for scarce resources. It was rational to protect its meager surplus, set aside for hard times, from theft by another tribe which had already fallen on hard times or simply wanted to build up its own meager surplus. And to protect its precious territory from encroachment. The Mesolithic skeletons we find with their hacked bones and caved-in skulls show that fighting to the death was Stone Age "morality."

    The Neolithic Revolution changed all that. The technology of agriculture--farming and animal husbandry--produced a significant surplus of food for the first time in history, so the need to protect food and food production was not so great. It also not just permitted but required larger communities of humans to live together in harmony and cooperation, in order to utilize the division of labor and enjoy the economies of scale that characterize the agricultural lifestyle. People were forced to make peace by the technology they had invented.

    The next major technological Paradigm Shift was civilization itself. Increasing division of labor allowed citizens to specialize in building sturdier houses, crafting more comfortable furniture, sewing more beautiful clothes, creating art and music, trading with other cities, brewing spirits and teaching the young. Increasing economies of scale allowed surplus labor and other resources to be devoted to those pursuits instead of food production. Again, people had to learn to live in harmony and cooperation with ever-larger communities, which now included complete strangers, in order for their new technology of city-building to work.

    The wheel, written language... other important technologies were invented without causing an increase in violence. It wasn't until bronze metallurgy was invented that a Paradigm-Shifting technology was used to make war. And even then, bronze was a powerful force for peace because the two ores needed to make it, copper and tin, rarely occur in proximity. Cities had to stay on peaceful terms and trade with each other before they could even make bronze!

    If you want to pick on a technology, pick the Iron Age. Iron ore is plentiful and requires no alloying, no diplomacy with one's neighbors in order to swap raw materials. Once the people in the cities invented iron metallurgy, every tribe of barbarians copied it and became a bloodthirsty "kingdom." Iron was arguably the technology that did the most harm to human relations (nuclear fission killed only one ten-thousandth of the earth's population), yet look at everything we've achieved with it. We draw a line in history between the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. It was a Paradigm Shift, and not because of its killing power.

    Even now, a persuasive case has been mounted for calling the new Paradigm-Shifting technology, electronics, a force for peace. The internet has linked the economies of the world's major nations so tightly together that it would be risky for one to attack another. Furthermore, it has linked the people so tightly together that increasingly large numbers of us regard each other as fellow citizens rather than competitors.

    I ask each of you reading this, would you condone an attack by your country on any of the dozens of countries represented by the other SciForums members who are reading this?
    That hundred-year snapshot is an anomaly. I'm sure people said the same thing about bronze spears and steam-driven warships, without balancing them against the enormous benefit conferred by those technologies.
    Not as many of us are looking for those ways as were doing it in the past. Remember that as recently as 15,000 years ago everyone hated every member of the tribe in the next valley and was willing to kill them if they got too close. Today, in stark contrast, the government of the most powerful nation that ever existed is collapsing on itself because a huge segment of its citizens object to the rather tiny war (by historical standards) it is waging on people who are literally on the other side of the planet. People whom, frankly, a lot of American don't even like very much. We just don't think we have the right to kill them.

    You can thank electronic technology for that. Television brought the Vietnam War into our living rooms at dinner time--in COLOR.
  11. Leo Volont Registered Senior Member

    Hi Wexler,

    Yes, it is a persuasive hypothesis that a great deal of technology was advanced in order to advance War. We have only to look at where the Industrial Revolution really took off -- after the defeat of Christendom as a Civilization with the Wars of the Protestant Reformation, the European Nations splintered and what had been a Unified Civilization fell into Civil War... which isn't called that. Modern Historians PRETEND that there was no Christendom and that the European Nations -- the Warring States -- were ever as unitary as they are today. But yes, technology was pursued for its advantages for both defense and conquest.

    Oh, but there was also the matter of the America's opening up an ESCAPE for what had been CAPTIVE LABOR. With Labor being able to flee from low wages in England to go to the Colonies where land was cheap, Technology was encouraged to REPLACE Labor with various forms of Automation and Power to replace human skills and energy. Indeed, sooner or later, they will have machines and automation inexpensive enough to replace even the cheapest of labor. For instance, even now, as cheap as Labor is in China, they also are automating their processes, and now the Chinese, to find Labor even cheaper than their own Automated Processes have to resort to opening factories in Romania. Well, let me remind everybody that the Number One export good from Romania is Slave Girls... no, its not a legitimate trade, but it is practically their only trade.

    In reference to a Mature Industrial Revolution... well, we have the UFO People to tell us about that. The UFO People who had crashed at Roswell New Mexico, in the United States... well, the UFO People had arranged a Prisoner Swap, exchanging the Flight Personnel for Ambassadorial Rank Personnel. Anyway, they wrote a book detailing their Civilization. Its seems that they have been an Advanced Technological Civilization for the last several Million Years. The REASON our Western Goverments REFUSE to affirm the existence of these UFO People is because the Institutions of their Rather Successful Civilization are not based on the same Barbaric Principles as Winner Take All Capitalism, and Winner Vs Loser Democracy. Go figure.

  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Leo, I hope you're being sarcastic. This is a place of science and the scientific method requires all extraordinary claims to be accompanied by extraordinary evidence. Unless you have new evidence for the UFO claim that has not yet been tested, peer reviewed and rejected, posting it on one of our science boards is trolling and against the rules.
  13. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Leo was OK in first two paragraphs, IMHO, but then he took a "Pot / LSD or something Break" and continued in paragrph three.

    I hope you are still around and still under the influence Leo as I would like to know a little more about these superior forms of organizing societies. - Specifically, is "mind melding" required? Or is it something humans could do?
  14. Lord Hillyer Banned Banned

    I know Carl Sagan said that, but where is that codified in the 'scientific method'?
  15. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I have complained before that science has a bit too much of a guild aura about it, and this is nowhere more annoying than in its lack of terminology for effective communication with laymen. I have never found a succinct, standard definition of the scientific method. Even the Wikipedia article is 24 pages plus references. I think that as you gain a scientific education you are taught the scientific method and one of the tests of whether you're fit to be inducted into the "guild" of scientists is that you demonstrate your knowledge and practice of it. But it's not written down concisely so that you could divulge it to a layman, as though you're expected to endure various medieval tortures before committing that breach of secrecy.

    Nonetheless, Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749-1827), one of the greatest scientists in history (e.g., the Laplace transform), stated, "The weight of evidence for an extraordinary claim must be proportioned to its strangeness." This is known as the Principle of Laplace and it is often cited in scientific papers, both by name and by quotation. Google turned up 5,000 hits on just the name.

    Marcello Truzzi, co-founder of CSICOP (the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal--my wife and I were members of the L.A. chapter for years), reworded this as "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof." This may be a reasonable principle for confronting faith healers and past-life regression therapists, but it is not a proper scientific statement since science does not generally deal with proof.

    Carl Sagan, a man with a mission to bridge the communication gap between scientists and laymen, changed it to proper scientific form, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence," and popularized it.
  16. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    As a singularitarian I believe that if humans had reach our stage of technology 50K years ago there would be no humans alive today, they would have evolved cybernetically and would have started leaving this mud ball 49.8K years ago, by 49K years their either would have been no humans left or a few colonies of fundamentalist, those fundamentalist would have likely repeated the cycle of technological development (likely accelerated by all the left over technology and abandon cities from the previous civilization) and would enter a singularity them selves, eventually the cycling would stop when after the final cycle no fundamentalist are left (or allowed to live).
  17. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

    Thats rather a gigantic claim. You;re not basing it on that one study of a large extended family group in Africa in which there was one murder and then the murder got killed, are you?
  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    But where would they go? Unless they found a way around relativity AND an enormous new energy source, they would be limited to this solar system and--still requiring prodigious supplies of energy if not translight speeds--the handful of planets that may exist in nearby systems. Maybe relatively small Mars could be terraformed, but other than that we don't have evidence of another planet on which humans could live comfortably. If they had the technology for terraforming, surely they could far more cheaply and with far less social unrest solve whatever problems their earlier technologies had caused on this planet.
    In 49,000 years, even at relativistic speeds, they might be able to explore a larger portion of the galaxy and found more habitable planets. But the energy needed to transport millions or billions of people through interstellar space would bankrupt the most advanced economy. Just lifting them out of earth's gravity well would probably bankrupt ours--if we even have that much energy available. And I'm not ignoring the prospect of unimaginably efficient new technologies, I'm just looking over my shoulder at the laws of thermodynamics, which ain't goin' away.

    As for "fundamentalists"... In the 12,000 years since we began advancing out of the Stone Age, we have overcome quite a lot of our Stone Age instincts. A large enough fraction of the population has already overcome the instinct for religion that the religionists are starting to take us seriously and looking for ways to marginalize us. Don't you think that in 50,000 years the whole human race might have enough time to outgrow religion?
    No. Anthropologists have determined that 60% of the adult skeletons they find from the Mesolithic Era bear incontrovertible evidence of having died violent deaths. Crushed skulls, spear punctures, axe slashes, etc. Check the citations in the "Least Violent Times" thread.

    It fits with what the less romantic among us always suspected about the pre-agricultural Stone Age. A nomadic hunter-gatherer tribe produces no significant surplus food (or any other surplus wealth since they have to carry everything they have). So any other tribe that comes close has to be regarded as competitors for their limited hunting/gathering territory, or as outright enemies come to steal what pathetic food stores they might have socked away. During a bad year, it's likely that every tribe would be fighting every other tribe for the right to survive the famine.

    It was the technology of agriculture that produced humanity's first surplus. This gave one Neolithic tribe the leeway to trade some of its surplus food to another tribe who needed it and promised to repay them by making some of their especially nice tools, pottery or clothing.

    Then the technology of civilization introduced division of labor and economy of scale, and the surplus wealth of the population became so large that they had to invent things like money and writing just to manage it fairly. The need to kill another human being for food became so rare that 12,000 years after the first farming we look at those hacked-up skeletons from the Mesolithic Era and say, "No no no, there just has to be another explanation. I don't want to believe that my ancestors ever behaved that way."

    It was technology--including the technology of city building--not religion or philosophy, that gave us peace. And don't for a minute doubt that even at its worst, civilization has always been a more peaceful time than the Mesolithic.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2008
  19. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    Fraggle Rocker,

    You fail to understand the nature of a technological singularity and transhumanism. There is no need for terraforming, there is not need to move millions and billions of humans bodies off the planet, there is no need for oxygen, food, water, lifespans, or limitations of the human mind and body. Time is of no concern when you have the technology to make your self immortal and to exist in any form you can download in. Want to travel to the stars? Just upload your self into a fully robotic ship and travel there, you can take your time, hundreds, thousands of years it does not matter, you can put your self in sleep mode or in constant orgasm mode, or you can dedicate a couple of cycles to existentialism, and if you get bored on the journey just deactivate your ability to get bored. Better yet, have some other transhuman get there and build a receiver you can upload your self their at the speed of light.
  20. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    I certainly do, even after skiming Wiki's entry (and reading section 5.3 of it carefully). Does the Transhuman have a material body? Or does the transhuman exist only as information flow in some yet to exist "computer"? If the first, Where will the energy come from to make this matter after you are "teleported" or "re-materialized" at some distant loctions? If the later, and that "computer" is "swiched off" are you dead? or just some static "bits" on a storage device?

    Please clarify what you mean by "transhuman."
    (I am assuming you do have some meaning to your words, but at present not very sure of that.)
  21. MetaKron Registered Senior Member

    As long as the physical resources exist that can be used to build spaceships I don't see how the effort can bankrupt a halfway decent civilization like, say, the United States. The money goes out, the money comes back in. People earn wages, feed and care for themselves, spend the money, and the money is recycled. All that we can bankrupt is physical resources and instead of decreasing those we seem to keep increasing them.
  22. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    When ever I come onto a word I don't understand I Google it, why is that so hard for others?

    Teleported? Materialized? You and I both know thats going to cost allot of energy, transhumanist believe that your mind, your personality and memories are purely information limited to this reality (no metaphysical soul), that your consciousness could be continued "in some yet to exist computer" (the exact from is debated amount transhumanist) as such there is no teleportation of matter, only information which you and I both know can be transmitted cheaply and as fast at light or can be recorded and stored, not dead, and can be uploaded and booted up in any form imaginable and likely uploaded in forms we can't even imagine today.
  23. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Ok, Now I know how you use the term. Many years ago, I suggested (in a published paper) the probably existence of a "biological uncertainty principle" at least for brains/minds approaching human complexity.

    While, I think it possible conceptually, but far beyond any yet conceived approach or capacity to accurately determine all the functional neural synaptic connections, what "strength" they have, even their particular neuron- transmitters concentration and gradients in the pre-synaptic neuron, in the synaptic clef, etc. (and the extent to which each of their selective post synaptic target site structures is already occupied, etc. - I.e. lets assume it is conceptual possible to obtain a total measurement and description the physical state of a brain at the molecular level at least for molecules comparable to most neurotransmitters in size. (Probably not for one of considerable important, NO)

    Surely this knowledge is obtained by some "disassembly process," which requires the "owner" of that frozen brain to be dead or killed in the process. It would need to be a "frozen brain" as the brain is very dynamic in these neurotransmitter fluxes, etc. Sort of a maximally detailed "snap shot" of most of "you" at some instant in time may be conceptually possible. "Most" as there are a lot of dynamic two-way interaction with the peripheral nervous system also occurring every instant, most of which is totally unavailable to you, (or anyone else) such as H2O content and Ph of the material passing thru various sections of your gut and a thousand other “house-keeping” things that occupy most of your brain activity.)

    This conceptual, nearly complete, information about the physical state of your brain is very far from a complete description of you. (Here, I too am not postulating any "soul" etc.) I am only noting that the velocity of each neurotransmitter is a major part of what makes you be you. That velocity would be essentially zero in the frozen brain or significantly disturbed by any observation technique as we are entering the realm where the well established "quantum uncertainty principle" applies. Also in addition to this very important set of synapse fluxes etc, your thoughts depend highly upon the motion of sodium and potassium ions. (In the depolarization of the -70mV resting potential of EVERY active nerve's axon.) The velocity of these ionic motions is fully unknowable because of the quantum uncertainty principle.

    For example, suppose that Einstein's brain were perfectly physically preserved. It is still impossible In Principle to reconstruct his thoughts as to do that you would need to know these ionic fluxes that constitute the "firing of every nerve." Surely you must think that the firing of every nerve, being in principle unknowable, makes “recording of you” for “up-loading” into this very-powerful, highly-speculative non –existent computer impossible now and for all future times until those nasty “quantum uncertainty limitations” are disposed of.

    Hence your version of Transhumans is nonsense, not possible, in principle.

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