The Next 200 Years
Unless our civilization suffers a major setback, SmartTech will continue to advance in accordance with Moore’s Law. Named after Gordon E. Moore, co-founder of Intel, he simply stated that the power of technology tends to double every 18 to 24 months. At least it will, up until about 10 years from now, when integrated circuits simply cannot be made any smaller. Hopefully by then, we will be using the spin state of beryllium atoms to store information. Of course, due to quantum entanglement (Einstein called it ‘Spooky action at a distance.’), someone (or something) on the other side of the galaxy could be reading our computer traffic. And you thought the NSA was nosy (it stands for ‘No Such Agency’). What could derail the march of scientific progress? Three things come immediately to mind:
GEC – Global Economic Collapse: Ever since the 1st World has embraced socialism (as a way for the people in power to stay in power), they have been piling up debt faster than you can say ‘Bob’s Your Uncle’. Every major currency in the world is in a race to the bottom. This is on account of socialism only works until you run out of OPM (Other People’s Money). Here in the U.S., interest on the debt will equal the entire national budget in 7 to 10 years. Will the new technology bail us out? Hold on to your hat, it’s going to be a wild and bumpy ride!
EMP – ElectroMagnetic Pulse: This doesn’t have to be caused by a rouge nuke detonated above the atmosphere.
We are at risk from none other than our very own sun! Were a coronal mass ejection to hit the Earth dead on, every unprotected electronic circuit in its path will be fried to a crisp by magnetically induced voltage. During the ‘Carrington Event’ of 1859, a solar ejection hit the Earth’s magnetosphere and induced one of the largest geomagnetic storms on record. The associated “white light flare” in the solar photosphere was recorded by British astronomer Richard C. Carrington, hence the name. Electronic devices didn’t exist at the time, however, telegraph wires sputtered, sparked, and destroyed equipment. Railroad ties burst into flame due to the current induced into the rails.
If it happened today, your cell phone would quite literally burst. Power lines and their transformers, computers, cars and trucks, all gone. Except for your 1955 Chevrolet. Replace the battery (if you can find one that didn’t explode), and it will continue to run just fine. Back to an agrarian economy for us all!
ELE – Extinction Level Event: A rare and unlikely occurrence that will wipe out all life on the planet. An asteroid strike, only slightly larger than the one that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, would do the trick:
Or if an extremely large and distant star went supernova 1000 years ago, the deadly gamma radiation would only just now be reaching us.
A Type 0 civilization has no defense against any of this. Even a Type 1 would be hard pressed to survive an ELE.
Welcome to Type 1
As a type 0 civilization, we are at risk. We use precious hydrocarbons and dead plants for fuel. We split atoms to boil water (in order to spin turbines) with nuclear fission! Our citizenry, descendants of peasants for the most part, don’t understand the world around them, and believe nonsense. The good news is that in about 200 years, we will make the move to Type 1. A Type 1 civilization is global, utilizes free energy for power, and uses computers, robots, and automation to do most of the dirty work. Genetics will solve the people problem, as long as Kahn Noonian Singh and his ilk do not start the Eugenics Wars – we’re not big on ilk. Smart technology is paving the way towards this transition.
One Step Beyond
The other types of civilizations are beyond the scope of this article, but we will touch on them briefly, just to let you know what we’re in for. If a Type 1 civilization controls a planet, a Type 2 controls an entire solar system. Nanotech will be used to create a Ringworld, or a Dyson Sphere. The population will be small, in terms of scale, and virtually immortal (“But what use is livin’ when no gal will give in to no guy whats’ nine hundred years?”). This will take a number of centuries to achieve, but once Type 1 is accomplished, the singularity is a virtual certainty. And then Type 3, in short order. A Type 3 civilization will control an entire galaxy, has overcome the problem of light speed (they now travel at ludicrous speed), and can use the magnetic fields of rotating black holes for power.
Could this be why NGC 4622 is spinning backwards?
Looking at this picture, you would assume a counterclockwise spin. Guess again. This thing is winding clockwise! Maybe the inhabitants got bored, or something. Kind of like a Nascar driver who, just once, wants to race around the track in the opposite direction.
If a Type 3 can control a galaxy, a Type 4 civilization would control an entire universe. We would consider creatures like these to be godlike. Fortunately, however, our universe is far too young for this sort of being to have developed. Lucky for us. It is unlikely they would be malevolent, but consider this – did you ever step on an anthill without realizing it? And a Type 5 individual? It would be composed of pure energy – and control the entire multiverse, including the ten dimensional space that lies between. The less said about this sort of beast, the better. There’s really not much to do in 10-Space. There’s no beer or TV. What sort of mischief would it get up to if it got bored? Create sub-creatures?
Back to the Future
Back in the here and now, science marches on. We already have a Type 1 communications network, the World Wide Web. Landlines are fast becoming a thing of the past, and we can control our immediate environment wirelessly. But we still have to use hand held remotes, smartphones with apps, or primitive voice recognition technology. How many times has your cell phone hit the floor? Lots, I’ll wager. What would be more efficient?
Next: Part 2 – Implants!
In Part 2 we will examine various forms of implanted biometric technology, some of which already exist today.