The Future and the Past

We can’t really predict the future. People like to pretend to know the future of 200 – 1000 years, but we can’t predict the rain.

The calving front of Thwaites Ice Shelf looking at the ice below the water's surface as seen from the NASA DC-8 on Oct. 16, 2012. Note how the water acts as a blue filter.

Sometimes we act by the preventative principle – IF IT IS NEW IT IS SCARY!  By this principle, Europe bans GMO products. But frankly, banning stuff that is a small relative cost is easy. How about banning hard stuff, like cars or Killer Robots.

Killer robots

Ok, should be easy to kill this off – I mean, who hasn’t watched Terminator? But lets look at them more reasonably.
Do we want people to go kill people?
1) first off, we have to designate people 1 as good people and people 2 as bad people. If we consider all those people with guns as bad people, then it is no loss to have them kill each other, but honestly, we don’t.

2) good people have to kill. This isn’t easy for the good people and often leaves them with a lifetime of problems.

3) good people might get killed. The bad people don’t lie down and die, they fight back. The people who are willing to shoulder this burden for their communities are some of the best people in society.

4) SO, we should save our good people, design some controllable “Bad” robots, and send them to kill bad people.

Despite the fear-mongers, these are no easier to build than nuclear bombs. But, maybe we are just marking time till the inevitable Cylon war. We don’t know much about this year, we can hardly predict next year, and 100 years is just plain crazy talk.

We can’t predict the future and we don’t know much about the past. As an example, we always KNEW that stonehenge was about 2000 years old and build by immigrants to England from Europe. The earliest inhabitants that were well considered dated from only 2500 bc. The problem I always had was that the structure was too primitive for the civilization that they believed to have built it. By 2000 bc., there was interaction between the immigrant population of England/Ireland and the Grecian Isles. So I don’t see a long term neolithic civilization surviving and prospering. Since it clearly did, there must have been a separate – well founded – civilization which controlled the central parts of England.

A new study drops the date of English habitation to before 8000 bc. A long-term society had a meeting place at Stonehenge for thousands of years. The evidence suggests that they built a wooden structure first, then the outer stones, then the inner stones. There may have been a structure before they planted the posts, but they didn’t dig it into the ground before 3000 bc. The society there lasted nearly 2000 years. You can’t say they didn’t leave any trace, but it sure is hard to read it.

What do you think, in 4,000 years our great^100th grandchildren will say the same about us. “Sure, there are lots of artifacts, like this rusted piece of iron with chairs in it. But what could they possible have used it for? If only they had left proper memory crystals we’d know something about what they thought!” Remember, whatever stenohaline was before they planted posts – that structure predated writing. For all I know, Writing is a flash in the pan, 3000 bc – 3000 ad. Used for 6,000 years out of 60,000 years of language and we’ll never use it again.

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