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(Some Guy)   A message to those alive in 2012, from your sci-fi writers in the dim time of 1987   (writersofthefuture.com) divider line 77
    More: Silly, genetic engineering, American Industries, forms of energy, social hierarchy, energy technologies, capital good, nuclear disarmament, sci-fi  
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6581 clicks; posted to Geek » on 06 Aug 2012 at 12:26 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-08-06 09:18:03 AM  
Reading some of those reminded me of that chapter in Asimov's Foundation where the mutant superbeing invalidates the psychohistorical predictions.

Algis Budrys predicted the modern "green" ("energy star", "carbon footprint", etc.) movement for the wrong reason.

Sheldon Glashow: Japan will be the central economic power in the world, owning or controlling a significant part of European and American industries.

This was a widespread concern at the time. Then Japan's economy crashed.

Dave Wolverton's prediction was the best.

Zelazny sold out at the end and, as he predicted, would be pushing an ebook of Grandchildren of Amber had he lived.
 
2012-08-06 09:20:13 AM  
Pessimistic bunch, weren't they?
 
2012-08-06 09:31:44 AM  
I will be old, but not dead. Come by to see me, and bring a bottle.

Issac Asimov -- 1920-1992
 
2012-08-06 10:49:41 AM  

FlashHarry: I will be old, but not dead. Come by to see me, and bring a bottle.

Issac Asimov -- 1920-1992


I counter that with a Gregory Benford (1941- )
 
2012-08-06 11:04:38 AM  
I wanna try!

25 years from now:
People will still suck.
There are still no flying cars.
TF will cost 5 yuan a month.
 
2012-08-06 12:30:46 PM  
IN THE GRIM DARKNESS OF THE FAR FUTURE THERE IS ONLY WAR
 
2012-08-06 12:36:06 PM  

thisispete: Pessimistic bunch, weren't they?


Pretty much every sci-fi story written after 1945 assumed we'd be fighting the Rooskies forever
 
2012-08-06 12:39:00 PM  
 
2012-08-06 12:39:43 PM  
Pretty lame overall. Zelazny for the win though (last entry).

Most of those submitters gave the project a fairly halfhearted effort.

Also hated how Orson Scott Card HAD to use the word Hegemony in his prediction. Typical, since it pops up every other page in his writing. Screw you Card...douche.
 
2012-08-06 12:41:40 PM  

PacManDreaming: The year is 1999, there is no law.


I actually LOVE this album and still listen to it on occasion! Prior to today, I never knew another person who had heard of it. It's great for working out. It's a bit dated, but still rocks. "Did I Dream" (with the Running Man sample) is my favorite track.
 
2012-08-06 12:44:12 PM  
Eerily prescient:

"Handheld computers will be a hybrid of cameras, telephones, and music players..."

"...the countries of Central and South America will collapse into cartel driven narco-terrorism, with Mexico having an unimaginable murder rate by 2012, possibly in the tens of thousands."

"With the retirement of the space shuttle program, manned space exploration will become a footnote in American history."
 
2012-08-06 12:47:45 PM  
Apparently none of these authors knew what would constitute the dominant form of entertainment in the future, but Albert Brooks did.

ecx.images-amazon.com
 
2012-08-06 12:49:51 PM  

MorePeasPlease: Eerily prescient:


Some of the predictions are good. Most are awful or vague enough that it would apply no matter what.

See Nostrodomus
 
2012-08-06 12:51:38 PM  
GREETINGS TO 2012:

If we had a time-phone, now in 1987, we would beg you to forgive us. We have burdened you with impossible debts, wasted and polluted the planet that should have been your rich heritage, left you instead a dreadful legacy of ignorance, want, and war.

Yet, in spite of that, we have a proud faith in you. Faith that you have saved yourselves, that you are giving birth to no more children than you can love and nurture, that you have cleansed and healed your injured planet, ended hunger, conquered crime, learned to live in peace.


Reading this made me so sad.
 
2012-08-06 12:53:28 PM  
All that's changed is it takes less energy to flip a bit than it took in 1987. We've reduced that by orders of magnitude. On the human-size physical side of things, we're at single digit percentage improvements. It took my parents 6 hours to drive to the summer place in 1987, it still does today. Even you break the speed limit, you're not improving the 1987 time by much. Maybe we save a bit of fuel.
It took 6 hours to fly to Europe in 1987. Took me six hours when I flew to Hamburg last year. Same engines, same theories, same materials, same energy sources.
We have more entertainment. That's it.
There are no new chemical elements to be found. There are no new forces to be explored.
2037 will look like today, with less cheap energy. Watch out.
 
2012-08-06 12:55:04 PM  
I like when people predict bold technological steps in small periods. Moon base in 25 years? Nevermind that we hadn't -- at that time -- been back to the moon in 15 years. It takes more than 25 years to design a fighter plane. It takes 25 years to build a 10-mile highway through an area that may or may not contain a frog.

Seriously, 25 years isn't enough time to pass the paperwork on a project of that size.
 
2012-08-06 12:56:08 PM  
Zelazny gives me a sad and a funny at the same time.
 
2012-08-06 12:58:01 PM  

FlashHarry: I will be old, but not dead. Come by to see me, and bring a bottle.

Issac Asimov -- 1920-1992


That quote was from Gregory Benford not Asimov and Benford is, according to wikipedia, is still quite alive.
 
2012-08-06 12:59:24 PM  

TsarTom: I wanna try!

25 years from now:
People will still suck.
There are still no flying cars.
TF will cost 5 yuan a month.


25 years from now there will be a beer and rye whiskey shortage caused by a worldwide drought theorized by many scientists to have been caused by severe salmon overfishing. The world population will have ballooned to 25b thus bringing new ingredients to the fermentable objects listing.
 
2012-08-06 12:59:28 PM  
It was the year of fire,
the year of destruction,
the year we took back what was ours.

It was the year of rebirth,
the year of great sadness,
the year of pain,
and the year of joy.

It was a new age.
It was the end of history.
It was the year everything changed.

The year is 2261.

...
 
2012-08-06 01:03:15 PM  

meddleRPI: I like when people predict bold technological steps in small periods. Moon base in 25 years? Nevermind that we hadn't -- at that time -- been back to the moon in 15 years. It takes more than 25 years to design a fighter plane. It takes 25 years to build a 10-mile highway through an area that may or may not contain a frog.

Seriously, 25 years isn't enough time to pass the paperwork on a project of that size.


From 1925 to 1950 technology made very significant advances especially in the field of aerospace.
 
2012-08-06 01:03:52 PM  

Quantum Apostrophe: All that's changed is it takes less energy to flip a bit than it took in 1987. We've reduced that by orders of magnitude. On the human-size physical side of things, we're at single digit percentage improvements. It took my parents 6 hours to drive to the summer place in 1987, it still does today. Even you break the speed limit, you're not improving the 1987 time by much. Maybe we save a bit of fuel.
It took 6 hours to fly to Europe in 1987. Took me six hours when I flew to Hamburg last year. Same engines, same theories, same materials, same energy sources.
We have more entertainment. That's it.
There are no new chemical elements to be found. There are no new forces to be explored.
2037 will look like today, with less cheap energy. Watch out.


Every time I think you've hit bottom, you manage to find a bigger shovel with which to dig.

You even managed to completely ignore medical science, and that one's your little pet fantasy.
 
2012-08-06 01:04:59 PM  
Even as late as 1987 people thought that the future of computing was large, faster mainframes. No one foresaw the increase in personal computing power nor the twin ills that would slow progress. With out the internet other technologies would be far more advance than they are now because we spend to much time and resources on internet porn and flash games.
 
2012-08-06 01:06:05 PM  
Yawn,

Asking Futurist would have been more fun.
 
2012-08-06 01:06:19 PM  

HeartBurnKid: GREETINGS TO 2012:

If we had a time-phone, now in 1987, we would beg you to forgive us. We have burdened you with impossible debts, wasted and polluted the planet that should have been your rich heritage, left you instead a dreadful legacy of ignorance, want, and war.

Yet, in spite of that, we have a proud faith in you. Faith that you have saved yourselves, that you are giving birth to no more children than you can love and nurture, that you have cleansed and healed your injured planet, ended hunger, conquered crime, learned to live in peace.

Reading this made me so sad.


Well, let's look at these items, then:

that you are giving birth to no more children than you can love and nurture, Well, with birth control and abortion as common, cheap, and safe as they are we have a huge waiting list in the United States to adopt children. So much so that there currently aren't any healthy babies, infants, or toddlers available for adoption anywhere in the US and parents in the US spend tens of thousands of dollars to adopt children from Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa.

that you have cleansed and healed your injured planet, In the US, our air and water are much, much cleaner than they were in the 80s. It's not even remotely close.

ended hunger We're worried that our poor are too fat, not that they don't have enough to eat. Death in the US from malnutrition occurs only among the very young who are mistreated by their caregivers, the really old, and the really sick. None of it is because there's no food available.

conquered crime Our crime rate is the lowest it's been since the Civil Rights movement.

learned to live in peace. In the 80s, we had hot wars all across South and Central American, Africa, and Asia. Europe was balanced on the precipice of nuclear war. Now, though, wars have dramatically diminished in scope, casualties, and total active combatants.
 
2012-08-06 01:06:23 PM  

thecpt: MorePeasPlease: Eerily prescient:

Some of the predictions are good. Most are awful or vague enough that it would apply no matter what.

See Nostrodomus


Futurism is a mugs game, but I'm sure that most of those authors already knew that. Most of them had already had long careers where they got to see most of their "predictions" come out wrong. We shouldn't read this letters as being literal predictions so much as educated guesses.

The real lesson we should take away from this is to be reminded that our own powers of prediction are just a fallible and that our estimation of the future is probably going to be as every bit off as these were.
 
2012-08-06 01:06:40 PM  

HeartBurnKid: GREETINGS TO 2012:

If we had a time-phone, now in 1987, we would beg you to forgive us. We have burdened you with impossible debts, wasted and polluted the planet that should have been your rich heritage, left you instead a dreadful legacy of ignorance, want, and war.

Reading this made me so sad.

 
2012-08-06 01:11:58 PM  

Fark Griswald: From 1925 to 1950 technology made very significant advances especially in the field of aerospace.


Global war will do that, yeah.
 
2012-08-06 01:13:18 PM  
Quantum Apostrophe:
All that's changed is it takes less energy to flip a bit than it took in 1987.

That's a bit like saying that the only thing Henry Ford did was to make a wheel spin faster. Lowering the energy of computation, as well as vastly increasing the density of that processing, has led to a pretty damned radical transformation or the way technology works. It's not as obvious as skyscrapers and zeppelins, but the impact has been just as huge (and, in fact, much larger).

There are no new chemical elements to be found. There are no new forces to be explored.

Um... huh?

I'm not sure what you mean by "chemical" elements, since most chemicals aren't elemental, but we've certainly identified quite a quite few new atomic elements. They aren't particularly stable, but what the hell do you want?

As for "new forces", I guess you haven't heard about dark energy?

You seem jaded. Yeah, there's a lot of things that suck up here in 2012, but let's not be so discouraged that we dismiss our legitimate accomplishments.
 
2012-08-06 01:16:34 PM  

Cheron: Even as late as 1987 people thought that the future of computing was large, faster mainframes. No one foresaw the increase in personal computing power nor the twin ills that would slow progress. With out the internet other technologies would be far more advance than they are now because we spend to much time and resources on internet porn and flash games.


Huh? In Asimov's "The Last Question" people had smaller and more powerful computers. Many people thought we would have personal connections to some sort of Internet-like creatures, although often the neural hook-ups prediced (e.g. Delany's "Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sands" and Pornelle/Niven's "Oath of Fealty") were ambitious.

Personal computing power these days is about accessing resources elsewhere anyway, not about number-crunching at home (although that has certainly skyrocketed, since my phone is more powerful than the SGI workstations I used in the mid-1990s).

Claiming that surfing porn and Fark slows human progress has yet to be proven.
 
2012-08-06 01:18:54 PM  

offmymeds: IN THE GRIM DARKNESS OF THE FAR FUTURE THERE IS ONLY WAR


THIS

/The Emprah Protects!
 
2012-08-06 01:19:17 PM  
since i am using a notsosmartphone i did not read every word of every prediction, but i was struck by one thought reading what i did:

who knew Malthus had so many pen names?
 
2012-08-06 01:20:44 PM  

Some 'Splainin' To Do: The real lesson we should take away from this is to be reminded that our own powers of prediction are just a fallible and that our estimation of the future is probably going to be as every bit off as these were.


Agreed. Sci Fi writers are good for out there concepts and applying them (well the good writers are), but they are by no means who I would considered "qualified." I wouldn't say we're hopeless at predicting, but it's easy to understand that general writings about the future are fallible yet oddly entertaining.
 
2012-08-06 01:28:08 PM  

Carousel Beast: Quantum Apostrophe: All that's changed is it takes less energy to flip a bit than it took in 1987. We've reduced that by orders of magnitude. On the human-size physical side of things, we're at single digit percentage improvements. It took my parents 6 hours to drive to the summer place in 1987, it still does today. Even you break the speed limit, you're not improving the 1987 time by much. Maybe we save a bit of fuel.
It took 6 hours to fly to Europe in 1987. Took me six hours when I flew to Hamburg last year. Same engines, same theories, same materials, same energy sources.
We have more entertainment. That's it.
There are no new chemical elements to be found. There are no new forces to be explored.
2037 will look like today, with less cheap energy. Watch out.

Every time I think you've hit bottom, you manage to find a bigger shovel with which to dig.

You even managed to completely ignore medical science, and that one's your little pet fantasy.


That's a pretty incompetent troll, that doesn't even notice when things look positive for his pet topics.
 
2012-08-06 01:28:55 PM  

Quantum Apostrophe: All that's changed is it takes less energy to flip a bit than it took in 1987. We've reduced that by orders of magnitude. On the human-size physical side of things, we're at single digit percentage improvements. It took my parents 6 hours to drive to the summer place in 1987, it still does today. Even you break the speed limit, you're not improving the 1987 time by much. Maybe we save a bit of fuel.
It took 6 hours to fly to Europe in 1987. Took me six hours when I flew to Hamburg last year. Same engines, same theories, same materials, same energy sources.
We have more entertainment. That's it.
There are no new chemical elements to be found. There are no new forces to be explored.
2037 will look like today, with less cheap energy. Watch out.


No, transportation hasn't gotten faster. But we did manage to improve cancer survival rates by 50-75% and curbed the AIDS epidemic in developed nations. This weekend I even saw a double amputee running in the Olympics instead of rotting in a wheelchair.

We also developed the Internet, so while you can't fly to Hamburg any faster, you can video call with someone in Hamburg for free instead of paying a dollar a minute for a lossy, laggy audio call.

We don't have jetpacks and flying cars, but it's not like the world has been stagnant in the last 35 years, and it won't be stagnant for the next 35 either.
 
2012-08-06 01:30:48 PM  
I was listening to an old scifi radio show that predicted by now everything you used would be nuclear powered. Your house, your car, even your typewriter.
 
2012-08-06 01:36:31 PM  
Science fiction authors always fall for the myth that progress is happening faster and faster as we go forward. It's not. These guys are predicting things that would take 50 or 100 years to come true.
 
2012-08-06 01:37:54 PM  

odinsposse: I was listening to an old scifi radio show that predicted by now everything you used would be nuclear powered. Your house, your car, even your typewriter.


I for one am saddened and ashamed that I do not have immediate access to consumer grade plutonium with which to run my electronic typewriter/computing machine.

/and by saddened I mean "cancer-free"
//and by ashamed I mean "have fingers instead of flippers"
///the 50s were a quaint old time, weren't they
 
2012-08-06 01:40:48 PM  

bingethinker: Science fiction authors always fall for the myth that progress is happening faster and faster as we go forward. It's not.


You don't think so? Ever since the steam engine and patent law, our societies have made huge collective strides. Each "break though" technology or innovation isn't predictable, but there have been more in the past 150 years than all of existence.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-08-06 01:40:51 PM  
Many people thought we would have personal connections to some sort of Internet-like creatures, although often the neural hook-ups prediced (e.g. Delany's "Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sands" and Pornelle/Niven's "Oath of Fealty") were ambitious.

Neural connections were the thing to predict c. 1950-1990.

Nivel and Pournelle got computing right in The Mote In God's Eye (1974). People used smartphones to access data storage in the cloud.
 
2012-08-06 01:41:40 PM  

Some 'Splainin' To Do: I'm not sure what you mean by "chemical" elements, since most chemicals aren't elemental, but we've certainly identified quite a quite few new atomic elements. They aren't particularly stable, but what the hell do you want?


So can you build anything out of Buttfarkinium 289? No? So that element won't change a thing to our engineering. Yes, it might make for tons of papers and measurements. That's not going to help building actual, real physical things.

Some 'Splainin' To Do: I'm not sure what you mean by "chemical" elements,


Uh oh, hair-splitting detected.
www.ptable.com
Happy? Are there any elements missing? Can you squeeze in new ones between the old ones? Behind them? Yes? No?

Some 'Splainin' To Do: You seem jaded.


Actually I think that's right. Not so much "jaded" as realistic. Isn't that what Farkers keep talking about? How aging makes you wise and shiat? I'm wise and shiat.

I no longer drool over the over-optimistic 1960s Space Age propaganda. Let's face it, that's all it ever was.

I know there's no other energy sources out there, no other physical forces to be found. Do you think there's like a fifth force out there? The fact that we haven't found it yet suggest that it has very little effect on the everyday world. I mean all our engineering basically uses EM and gravity. That's it. Nuclear reactors and nuclear bombs are about the only things I can think of that work with nuclear forces. Everything else around us is mediated by EM and gravity.

We've hit peak oil, peak materials, peak energy source, peak everything.

The future will innovate society itself. Maybe we won't look down on the unemployed anymore. Maybe we'll finally use our technology to usher in an ecological leisure society.

I'm not holding my breath for moon colonies and condos on Mars. Never, ever going to happen. And on the odd chance that some combination of billions of dollars and mental illness succeeds in putting a person or two on Mars in decades,how does that change anything for the billions here?

Some 'Splainin' To Do: As for "new forces", I guess you haven't heard about dark energy?


Like I said, if it took this long to hypothesize this (sorry, it's certainly not confirmed and it's nothing you can replicate or measure in a lab in the same way X-rays were a hundred years ago) force, it has no effect at our scale. It won't change a thing to our technology or energy sources.

Nada. Come back to me in 25 years, I guarantee it. In 25 years you'll still wear clothes made of spun plant fibers, you'll eat food grown on a farm, you'll watch entertainment on a box you can't explain.

There will be more electrical energy coming from solar and wind.

All I'm saying is that the great age of physical technological innovation is behind us. Talk to any engineer in the civil or mechanical fields. We are just re-hashing stuff invented decades ago.

This isn't about denigrating what people do now. It's about looking at reality and saying we're in an era of incremental improvements, not revolutions like coal-> oil, horse -> car, car ->plane.

We got better at making small transistors. We don't even have Concorde anymore! That's a great example of how predictions completely missed the mark. We don't HAVE the cheap energy to toss people around at Mach 2. We DO have the WWW now. See how that works? It takes less energy to do so, and no new materials or forces were required to do so. Just a lot of math running on transistors that take millions of times less energy to switch states than the transistors I have in my vintage digital oscilloscope from 1964.

You read sci-fi from the '60s and '70s, it's all about the faster than light spaceships, the incredible materials, the magical energy sources, and computers the size of rooms in the basement!

There are precious few golden age sci-fi stories I can think of that accurately predicted the inverse of the Space Age dreams. That we'd stay here and our computers would get better.

Even Neuromancer had stuff in orbit. Come on.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-08-06 01:45:17 PM  
Each "break though" technology or innovation isn't predictable, but there have been more in the past 150 years than all of existence.

John Barnes wrote an essay on predicting the future. It is called "How To Build a Future" if Google serves me. He said on top of the predictable trends (better/faster/cheaper) each generation gets something unimaginable to the one before.
 
2012-08-06 01:45:52 PM  
GENE WOLFE

MORE THAN HALF OF YOU CAN'T READ THIS

[snip]

• The Index Finger-Learning: Vestiges of reading, writing, and spelling remain in the curricula of the public schools. Those who can read a few hundred common words are counted literate. The schools train their students for employment-how to report to computers and follow instructions. (Called interaction.) Fifty million adult Americans are less than fluent in English.


Looking at Facebook, texting, lolcats, poignant 'something witty/sentimental in a Helvetica font on a heavily-filtered Instagram photo' tripe, and actual literacy levels of kids these days, he hit this nail right on the farking head. Even "kids" less than ten years younger than me usually force me to copy/paste their correspondences in Word to let F7 attempt to help me decipher what the fark they were trying to say.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2012-08-06 01:47:39 PM  
We don't HAVE the cheap energy to toss people around at Mach 2. We DO have the WWW now. See how that works?

A standard predictive failure of 20th century SF was moving people instead of information. Clarke thought meteorologists would go into space stations. Instead we brought the pictures down to Earth. Niven thought people would teleport to where the action was. Instead flash crowds formed in cyberspace.
 
2012-08-06 01:48:47 PM  
Looks like Zelazny got it pretty right...

"It is good to see that a cashless, checkless society has just about come to pass..."

And, just as predicted, everyone is broke.
 
2012-08-06 01:53:32 PM  
2) Men's Rights-We will see a reaction to the women's movement. Men will demand to be portrayed by the media as the sensitive, caring creatures that they are. They will also demand equal rights in custody battles where children are seldom awarded to a father because our society chooses to believe a mother is a better care-taker by nature.

HAH! One of the most unrealistic predictions of them all. The (usually white) male is the last group that can be openly portrayed negatively with zero repercussions. Don't bet on the media or all of the other groups letting that change any time soon.
 
2012-08-06 02:14:26 PM  
If America is to recover, we must stop pretending to be what we were in 1950, and reorder our values away from pursuit of privilege.

THIS
 
2012-08-06 02:14:33 PM  
1.bp.blogspot.com
 
2012-08-06 02:15:36 PM  

Quantum Apostrophe: Some 'Splainin' To Do: I'm not sure what you mean by "chemical" elements, since most chemicals aren't elemental, but we've certainly identified quite a quite few new atomic elements. They aren't particularly stable, but what the hell do you want?

So can you build anything out of Buttfarkinium 289? No? So that element won't change a thing to our engineering. Yes, it might make for tons of papers and measurements. That's not going to help building actual, real physical things.

Some 'Splainin' To Do: I'm not sure what you mean by "chemical" elements,

Uh oh, hair-splitting detected.
[www.ptable.com image 850x637]


I wasn't trying to split hairs. I really wasn't sure if you meant chemicals or elements.

Happy? Are there any elements missing? Can you squeeze in new ones between the old ones? Behind them? Yes? No?

Um... the fact that there aren't gaps in the table is a good thing. I means that we've done a very good job of identifying and synthesizing the elements on the table.

And, once again, I have no idea what you mean "behind them".


Some 'Splainin' To Do: You seem jaded.

Actually I think that's right. Not so much "jaded" as realistic. Isn't that what Farkers keep talking about? How aging makes you wise and shiat? I'm wise and shiat.


Jaded is not always the same as realistic. And, honestly, as cynical as I sometimes feel, I don't understand how you can be jaded when you're, literally, living through the biggest golden age of science and technology that the human species has ever witnessed, and which is still very much going on.

I no longer drool over the over-optimistic 1960s Space Age propaganda. Let's face it, that's all it ever was.

People really need to get over the fact that our naive visions from the 60's failed to predict the actual world we'd be living in up here in the 21st century. Listen, flying cars and lunar tourism were never realistic goals. People just assumed that rocketry would keep getting cheaper and more efficient even though they knew, damned well, that they were starting to hit some very solid physical limits.

I'm sorry to say this, but until and unless we get a work space elevator, all of those orbital dreams are going to remain over the horizon.

I know there's no other energy sources out there, no other physical forces to be found. Do you think there's like a fifth force out there?

Once again: dark energy. We don't know what it is, but it sure as hell doesn't act like any of the other forces. All we can say is that it resembles a cosmological constant and that it may have some relationship with gravity. There's still a lot of work to be done before we can declare ourselves done with fundamental physics.

The fact that we haven't found it yet suggest that it has very little effect on the everyday world. I mean all our engineering basically uses EM and gravity. That's it. Nuclear reactors and nuclear bombs are about the only things I can think of that work with nuclear forces. Everything else around us is mediated by EM and gravity.

Is that what's bothering you? EM, gravity, and the two nuclear forces (which, as you, yourself noted, we do exploit, and not just for power but for things like medical imaging) cover a hell of a lot of technology. If you're hoping for some kind of science-fictional anti-gravity ray or something then, yeah, that's probably never going to happen, nor was it ever in the cards. But if the four fundamental forces aren't enough for you, I'm not sure that I can help you.

It's like you're scoffing at fire because all it can do is burn things.

We've hit peak oil, peak materials, peak energy source, peak everything.

Peak oil is definitely a concern, unless we really can find a way to efficiently process shale, in which case, not so much, but there's a lot of other materials that are nowhere near peaking. We have been foolish to just burn through our petroleum supplies like they were inexhaustible, but we're also seeing a lot of innovation in the renewable energy markets. The tech still needs to mature, but there's a lot of room for improvement.

Some 'Splainin' To Do: As for "new forces", I guess you haven't heard about dark energy?

Like I said, if it took this long to hypothesize this (sorry, it's certainly not confirmed and it's nothing you can replicate or measure in a lab in the same way X-rays were a hundred years ago) force, it has no effect at our scale. It won't change a thing to our technology or energy sources.

There's nothing hypothetical about it's existence. We can measure it's effect at the cosmological scale quite easily and to a fairly high degree of precision. We don't understand what it is, but that's the way new things are. You can't complain that there are no new forces, and then turn around and complain that this new force isn't well understood. One could have said the same about electricity several centuries back. It's in the realm of the poorly understood where science happens.

But, again, if you're expecting some kind of Star Trek techno-beam, then, yeah, there's nothing like that on the horizon, but the design space of what we could potentially do with the forces at our disposal is Vast. It's like saying writing is so utterly limited by the fact that we only have 26 characters (and a pocketful of symbols) in the alphabet.

99% of technology, going back to the very dawn of time, is simply figuring out what you can do with the toolkit you already have. Fretting about an end of innovation because we haven't yet synthesized element 150, or because we don't have any new fundamental forces that we can easily manipulate, doesn't seem especially reasonable to me.
 
2012-08-06 02:16:22 PM  
I like how no one has noticed that this is a Scientology link. Bow before your lord Zenu, and give him more hit-counts!
 
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