Where will humanity be in 10,000 years?

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by Diode-Man, Oct 31, 2011.

  1. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    What descendants? You mean in the sense of our technology being ultimately responsible for whatever archailects, posthumans, or varying toposophic levels of entities are engineered or self-engineered along the way? Or our just spawning some runaway nanobots that evolve into macroscopic critters that treat outer space as an ocean, "feeding" on comets, asteroids, and other debris while soaking up the solar-power of whichever particular planetary systems these "space-whales" and other space "wildlife" spent thousands of dormant years migrating to?
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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Yes, but they always come back stronger. The advance of civilization has not been monotonic, but the trend cannot be ignored. In twelve thousand years we have gone from nomadic tribes of hunter-gatherers, to agricultural villages, to cities, to bronze technology, to iron technology, to industry (the exploitation of energy sources other than muscles and water flow), to electronics (currently manifested as computers and the internet).

    Technologies are 99% ideas rather than artifacts, so once they are learned and widely shared, they endure.
    Since this has never happened before it seems a bit presumptuous to assume that we can predict exactly how it will play out.
    Scholars keep chiding us for assuming that the Dark Ages (which BTW were about a thousand years, not five hundred, with the Renaissance generally cited as the termination) were a period of unmitigated ignorance. Scholarship (e.g. William of Ockham) and literature (e.g. Geoffrey Chaucer) progressed, if at a slower pace.

    The Roman sewers (artifacts of their civil engineering technology) fell into disrepair and the water supply was polluted, but the knowledge of the technology of civil engineering itself was not forgotten and sanitation and hygiene were restored.
    The Industrial Era turned those resources into railroads, steel mills, power plants, etc. Much of industrial technology, and much of the industrial infrastructure, is becoming obsolete in the Electronic Era. The Chinese gave every citizen a phone without having to build a network of wires. As soon as the dinosaur generation of American managers retires and a new generation takes over who were not brainwashed into believing that people have to be sitting next to each other in order to work together, 90% of us will be working at home and we won't need so many highways, bridges, gas stations and McDonalds. The need for many of these resources will plummet, as we recycle the minerals in the now-useless locomotives, office buildings and other industrial artifacts.
    We have no idea how world civilization will be organized. Since it obviously will be built largely from information technology, it will have protections in place that we can barely imagine. It will surely be modular and distributed, so that a calamity in one geographic district cannot readily propagate throughout the entire network.
    They won't need to reinvent the Industrial Era. Electronic technology is 99% knowledge like any other, and they'll quickly reconnect wirelessly.

    Arguably the worst calamity that ever befell civilization was the Bronze Age Collapse. Yet they never lost the technology of bronze metallurgy because it was all ideas; they did not revert to the Neolithic Era with its stone-age cities. By the same token, if there's an Information Age Collapse, people will not revert to the Industrial Era.

    We're lucky that we're seeing the end of the Industrial Era, which was a drain on resources, a major source of pollution, and an inspiration for competing economic models including the fairytale of communism, with its negative surplus that guaranteed failure. Although it was probably a necessary step (could an agricultural civilization have discovered and deployed electricity, much less semiconductors?), it was arguably also the most damaging phase in the development of civilization.
    How fortunate that our industrial civilization is now obsolete. Not that industry itself is obsolete, but industries are being operated by automation instead of humans toiling in miserable conditions for low wages. And the infrastructure that schlepped those humans back and forth every day need not be renewed when it begins to crumble--if it won't have already been mined for its minerals.
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  5. Diode-Man Awesome User Title Registered Senior Member

    Well you've given me some hope Fraggle Rocker!

    Rather than thinking about how civilization could fall I will think about where science will take us in the coming years. Perhaps genetic engineering will bring us MUCH longer life spans? :shrug:
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  7. Robittybob1 Banned Banned

    You are one highly connected individual. Thanking you for the insight into a very creative mind. Keep up the good work.

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  8. DRZion Theoretical Experimentalist Valued Senior Member

    Whatever they will be like, they won't be much like people today, at least culturally and ideologically. Human intellect and human values don't expand like a balloon, ie they are not cumulative. They are guided along stepping stones in particular directions by the elites and the shapers. It will be something unique and a product of the problems of that time ~ still recognizably human, but very very alien and strange upon examination.
  9. Ripley Valued Senior Member

    God I hope the middle class will be extinct.
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    You're looking forward to another feudal society? Everyone who dreams of being in ancient Rome or Greece envisions themselves as a scribe, a civil engineer, a merchant, a government official, etc. They don't understand that 99.99% of the population were either farmers (in the age before mechanization) or slaves.

    The whole point of the middle class is that in an advanced economy the vast majority of the population is in it.

    What class are you in now, anyway? Since you know how to read and write and have access to a computer, by the standards of much of the world you are one middle-class dude.

    Even if you're living in a tenement on government welfare and writing this on a computer in the local library, you're still middle-class by their standards. You've got plenty of food and a safe warm place to sleep, and nobody's going to come along in the middle of the night and kill you or throw you in jail.
  11. arauca Banned Banned

    Why do you hope that way ? If we assume the middle class is made out of craftsman the we will fall into slavery ?
  12. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Anatomically modern human beings seem to have appeared at least 130,000 years ago. But the (sort-of) steady growth of technology didn't really get rolling until the neolithic revolution. So a technological steady-state doesn't appear to be something that's inconsistent with human beings. That obviously doesn't mean that there will be one in the future, it just suggests that it isn't impossible, that it needs to be included among the alternative futures.

    Intellectual conditions can degenerate and knowledge can be lost. I think that literacy declined dramatically in the Mediterranean parts of western Europe during the 'dark age' period 500-1000 CE. In some areas, just about the only literate people left were church clerics. Secular teachers could no longer find positions teaching the younger generation of wealthy and middle classes that were on the brink of extinction. In those conditions, knowledge of Greek became a rarity in most of the Latin west and the Greek philosophical heritage was pretty much forgotten. Even in the Greek east, the perilous situation of Byzantium and the unsettled conditions around the rise of Islam meant that while more was preserved, much of the heritage was lost there as well. Most of the Hellenistic academic literature no longer survives. Almost none of the Presocratics do. Democritus (the atomism guy) was said to have written as copiously as Aristotle, but none of his writings exist today.

    That's just one example. There are examples, such as the Indus valley civilization, in which just about everything they created was lost. Including, for a long time, any knowledge that the civilization had even existed.

    Right. This whole thread is an exercise in speculation. None of us has an instrument that allows us to actually observe the future.

    I'm using the phrase 'dark ages' to refer to what historians call the 'early medieval' period, roughly 500-1000 CE in round numbers. It was a pretty rough time in Europe, though it's also very interesting to historians since it's when the basic form of later European culture first began to appear.

    I wouldn't refer to the 'high medieval' period (roughly 1000-1400 CE) as a 'dark age', because in those centuries the European world had already regathered itself so as to form a distinct civilization in its own right, probably just as sophisticated in some ways as Greece and Rome had been before them. The medieval universities, the very subtle philosophy, the diverse Latin and vernacular literature and the Gothic architecture soaring above it all can stand that comparison. I think that many scholars today see the renaissance of the West as having actually started centuries before the impressive 15'th century artistic and secular developments in Italy.

    But that's a topic for a different thread...

    It took more than a thousand years for anything resembling the Roman roads and aquaducts to reappear. I don't think that the problem there was lack of knowledge of how to do it, so much as it was lack of the kind of national-scale administrative and economic support infrastructure necessary to support such large-scale engineering projects. The high medieval builders displayed considerable engineering skill on projects that could be managed and funded on a smaller and more local scale, like cathedral building.

    But in the earlier 'dark age' period, we see very little stone construction of any kind in the Latin west. What little there was, was physically small and often canibalized the surrounding Roman ruins for building material. Most architecture during these years was in wood. The iconic medieval stone castles were later developments, in the earlier period castles were wooden stockades in the forest.

    Of course, constructing hundreds of millions of cell-phones, with their microchips and exotic materials, requires a tremendous amount of industrial sophistication and long supply chains that increasingly extend world-wide. Cell-phones aren't the kind of things that people can make for themselves in their own village workshops, from materials that they have available locally.

    And as everything becomes more spread out and more interdependent, everything also becomes more fragile and vulnerable. Shocks occurring in one place could easily have damaging effects that are felt half the world away.

    One of the things that we saw with the fall of Rome was the dramatic contraction of long-distance trade networks. Everything became much more local.

    Most of our computers and information devices are already being manufactured in Asia. (Think of what that means if we ever get into a war with them.) Electronic gadgets come across the Pacific physically, in huge container ships and are distributed by the useless railroads. So what happens when everyone is storing all of their collected books, data and knowledge in "the cloud", and the nukes start to fall (or whatever ultimately unravels things)? Who is still going to be maintaining the servers and the cell phone networks? Who is going to be manufacturing replacement equipment and all of the high-tech parts that they contain? How would anyone pay for it if there's no more money economy?

    Printing books on paper is a relatively easy technology that can be done on a small scale by not-so-sophisticated people with materials that they have available locally, but smart phones and tablets and cloud-computing require a whole vastly-interconnected industrial civilization to make them possible.

    I don't think that it's going to be that easy.

    Physically, in terms of their mode of life, I'd guess that much of the world would probably revert to something like the medieval era. Similar technology and governmental arrangements. Technology based on what people can still produce for themselves in their own workshops from locally available materials. Rulers defended by the strong right arms of (hopefully) loyal warriors. There's plenty of 'post-apocalyptic' movies and novels that depict versions of it. Eventually, it would start to seem normal and everyone would kind of settle into it. Violence would decrease, ideals of chivalry would appear and things would kind of be institutionalized in the new mode. That's pretty much what happened in medieval Europe after Rome fell.

    If that kind of civilization is going to advance tecnologically, it might have trouble doing it if there aren't any easily exploitable oil or metal deposits that they can access with their technology. So I'm guessing that they would never rebuild a contemporary-style machine civilization. That's my main point.

    It's conceivable that they might advance in a totally different direction, into biotechnology for example. Though it's hard to imagine how they could do things like DNA sequencing, without computers and without the civilization that makes computers possible.

    It's possible to imagine a far-future world in which metal is a precious rarety, where instead of machines life itself is engineered into artifacts. People might grow their homes from bio-engineered trees, might breed their transport from genetically engineered animals, and might even have something analogous to computers if they can do something useful with engineered nervous systems. (Kind of a creepy thought.)

    That's possible. But whatever, I think that it's unlikely that anything like a machine civilization will exist in 12,000 CE. I don't see electronics as being there either.
  13. Robittybob1 Banned Banned

    An amazing piece of work and originality "grow their homes from bio-engineered trees" and "breed their transport from genetically engineered animals".
    Surprising stuff!

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  14. DiMiTri Registered Senior Member

    hyperspace ; )
  15. convivial Registered Senior Member

    I think they'll be such a thing as domed towns or cities. The most practical application I think would likely be for expansion to extreme weather locations.

    I'd guess that transportation will eventually become faster, cleaner, and cheaper. The ramifications would include being able to travel to the farthest reaches of the world as if you would drive somewhere today, and that technology will evolve green enough to allow most nature destroyed by man in recent history to return.

    I'd think humanity will eventually have great mastery over weather and climate. I've envisioned technology that enables much reshaping of geography, such as cheaply destroying and removing great amounts of land to create new bodies of water inland and transporting large intact chunks of land from one area to another.

    The realm of virtual reality should develop appreciably more. I like the idea of a virtual chamber or pad where your physical movements, including running, affect where you move accordingly in the alternate universe while you otherwise relatively stay in place physically. I've seen at least one primitive form of this, in the form of a big metal hallow ball that rolls as you walk. Real-live avatars should one day exist, comparable to what's seen in science fiction.

    Religion and spirituality are going to at least mostly die out as people become more educated and science further advances.

    I've envisioned technology enabling the movement of planets and moons.

    Is there anything going on in science right now to suggest that traveling near the speed of light stands a good chance of one day being possible or is that still in the realm of pipe dreams?

    I'd like to get feedback, whether you think a point's interesting or have an idea about how possible something is. I'll probably post again with more possibilities/predictions, and with a reply to an earlier response to me.
  16. Budmangt2 Registered Member

    I hope in 10,000 years our population will be rid of all subhumans with all one pure intelligent race using Login instead of emotions!
  17. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    No projection 10,000 years is possible - any would be just a WAG. It is far from certain, given the more than 24 positive feed backs known amplifying the direct global warming of CO2, and the rapid and still annually growing release of their CO2 driver, that there will be any human still living on Earth in say 150 years.

    If aliens stop by earth in 100,000 years from now, they will have little evidence humans once lived here. Mainly some ceramic toilet bowls etc. - Their scientist will write speculative papers about why so many exist and what use they had.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2015
  18. Budmangt2 Registered Member

  19. origin In a democracy you deserve the leaders you elect. Valued Senior Member

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  20. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

  21. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    I expect English to be the dominant published language of the human race for as long as the race survives. Publications in English (both fiction & nonfiction) exceed the number of publications in any other language. They probably exceed the number of publications in the next two most published languages. Due to the amount of publications in English, both Russia & China teach English to almost all students.

    While not a racist, I prefer to live in culture in which the majority are those of my own ethnic, language, & culture. I believe this is the preference of people of all cultures, except for those living in cultures which are poverty stricken and/or dominated by tyrants.

    While Caucasians & English speakers are a small minority world wide, I expect American & English cultures to survive & prosper, but perhaps not be as successful compared to others as they now are.
  22. river

    In 10,000yrs, the Brain and the body will have long been our focus.

    Electronics will have long ago been put in its place as a supplement rather than the thing , as it is now.

    Robots will be eliminated.

    And spirituallity will be Humam based.
  23. river

    We will have space ships as common as we have cars.

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