Must-Read: Charlie Stross: The Present in Deep History

Must-Read: What will people in 3000 remember from the history 1700-2300? I would say:

  1. Universal literacy.
  2. Artificial birth control.
  3. The coming of the Replicator–or close enough–for foodstuffs and for things made out of metal, wood, plastic, and sound.
  4. The coming of information technology in whatever its flowering will be.
  5. The death of global distance.
  6. Plus whatever disasters lurk at the bottom of not the Pandoran but the Promethean Box of 1700-2300.

But I am an optimist…

Charlie Stross: The Present in Deep History: “Assume you are a historian in the 30th century…

…compiling a pop history text about the period 1700-2300AD… a 600 year span—around the duration of the entire mediaeval period. Events a mere 20 years apart, such as the first and second world wars, merge…. Individual people… are a jumbled mass of names with dates attached. [What are] the big issues… big enough to remember half a millennium hence, like the Black Death, the Crusades, or the conquest of the Americas[?]… Anthropogenic climate change is obviously one of the big ones, and I have a number of others in mind; I want to see if I’ve missed anything obvious…. My list of candidates are:

  1. The great fossil fuel binge
  2. The population/GDP/innovation bubble (fueled by #1)
  3. The parasite crash and social rebalancing, including the end of patriarchy (made possible by medical advances facilitated by #2)
  4. The end of [vertebrate] meat eating (side-effect of #1 and #2)
  5. The collapse of cognitive distance and the perfection of memory (side-effect of #2)

September 8, 2015

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