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Author Topic: Brainstorming: fantastic technology.
Pyre Dynasty
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I thought it would be fun to do a little brainstorming. This doesn’t have to do with any project I’m currently working on but it is a thought experiment I play sometimes. I’m curious what other people’s thoughts on this are.

Lets say you have invented something world changing. It has the potential to make things better for people. You also have to consider the law of unintended consequences. This could put other people out of business, possibly render whole careers useless. How will governments react to this? Do you have competitors who are close to your breakthrough? (Or not and you have to worry about espionage.) Do you need to fear the urban legend of the people who make such discoveries disappear? (The “Top Men” who put the Ark of the Covenant next to the car that runs on urine.) You could become eternally rich, possibly supremely powerful. It could end up being stupid and no one ever uses it past a few days. What other possible outcomes can we think of?

The kinds of things I’m thinking are:
Teleportation (Regulated or un-regulatable)
Perfect recycling paired with perfect 3d printing (Can reduce anything to atoms and can create anything from those atoms.)
FTL travel (because why not?)
Mind control
Food pills (One pill a day is all you need)
Cold fusion
Spherical cow in a frictionless environment
Full planet CAT-scan (Find all the dinosaur bones, oil, and nuclear weapons with one switch flip)
Immortality
Time travel
What else?

So the question is how do you proceed? (Real you or fictional character) Let’s assume a current setting.

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extrinsic
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Three additions I'd put on the list:

Wireless energy transmission and reception
Gravitational levitation
Fractyon (and full bradyon and tachyon) realm accessibility

However, inherent to drama's arts is personal, private, and public antagonal, causal, and tensional motivations and stakes contests -- complication-conflict. Anecdote, vignette, sketch, and travelogue nothwithstood.

An interstellar starship, in simplest terms, if travel is ever really simple, is little different, in the ways that matter to drama, from a Dutch East Indiaman vessel, maybe a square rigger frigate, a Conestoga wagon, or the proverbial burb-box SUV.

Likewise, wireless power transmission resembles taming fire. Atomic rearrangement resembles mineral refinement, food and beverage preparation, alchemy, and general material compounding. Etc.

For me, a few matters of complication-conflict contention, in real life and reality imitation for prose purposes, though, stand out loud, rude, brutal, and problematic.

One is highly philosophical. Not the way philosophy is usually and publicly conceived of as generally eccentric abstract thought, rather, a first principle of the philosophical arts and sciences; that is, philosophy, in its exact intents and meanings, is a social science predicated upon studies of the moral human condition. John Locke's pure state of Nature and natural law theories assert that the natural human condition is one of innate selfishness at odds with acquired selflessness.

Anyway, the moral human condition is the real meaning of all literature. So take, say, an interplanetary starship, Conestoga wagon, Indiaman voyage, what focused moral human condition does that entail? That is, to me, what to do for prose with any fantastical science, technology, social-cultural situation, or magic motif. What a narrative discovers about the moral human condition.

That's how I proceed, on the basis of moral truth discovery from a complication-conflict contest. The rest of a narrative's existents -- event, setting, character -- are artful MacGuffins.

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Robert Nowall
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Think of support technology for it, too. How would a spherical cow graze? How would you milk it?
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dmsimone
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World changing innovations that are already being worked on:
1. People transport via vacuum tube (travel in a vacuum won't require fuel) - Elon Musk
2. Rocket reuse - SpaceX, Elon Musk again
3. Using viruses/nanoprobes to selectively attack cancer cells
4. Space station walls made of water to block radiation (water is more effective than any metal for this purpose) including water reclamation and generation through an integrated life systems methodology
5. Internet of Things (already a reality, for example, home fire detectors that automatically alert the local fire station, Google's Nest that lets you control your thermostat with an app)
6. In situ fetus monitors
7. Solar roadways to power electric cars
8. Smart guns that deactivate when in close proximity to schools (so many applications with this...already available)
9. Wearables (but I personally hate this one)

What is FTL travel?
Cold Fusion...er...I'm not a believer, yet.
Time travel - I think we can go forward but not backward due to relativity [Smile]

I like examples. The availability of an affordable Tesla is a great test case. It has far-reaching impacts:
1. People will save money on gas.
2. Gas stations will not be needed.
3. Gas station attendants will lose their jobs.
4. The oil companies will lose market share and raise prices.
5. Airfares will increase because the airline industry still depends on oil.
6. The desire for gas-powered vehicles will decrease.
7. Traditional automotive companies will start to study the Tesla battery patents and try to hop on the bandwagon with their own technology.
8. Those companies will go through massive reorganizations to re-hire personnel with the right skills and talent. Most likely, those companies will not be successful.
9. Electric car battery cell classes and electives will pop up at the top universities.
10. People will need to charge their vehicles at home and at work and at the shopping mall.
11. Companies that create battery charging stations will be needed. This will create jobs.
12. A battery charging station outlet will need to be manufactured in high volume.
13. The stock of the company that creates those outlets will go through the roof in the early days of proliferation and implementation. Then it will become a commodity.
14. Smart venture capitalists who are paying attention to technology trends will become even richer.
15. Somebody somewhere will decide that energy is not free and you will need to pay to charge your vehicle in public locations.
16. The government will decide to tax that energy charge.
17. Apple will eventually be supplanted as the most powerful company brand in the world.
18. The US dependence on fossil fuels will decrease.
19. The political motivations for US presence in the Middle East will be completely altered.
20. We will piss off Isis and their cronies.
21. Troops that are deployed in the Middle East will be recalled home.
22. There will need to be programs to reintegrate our returning soliders.
23. The defense budget will be cut.

The list can go on and on...

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Disgruntled Peony
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FTL = faster than light. [Wink]
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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What could go wrong?

Who suffers the most?

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dmsimone
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Ah - our current understanding of particle physics does not permit faster than light travel. We would not need engineers to make this a reality, we would need theoretical physicists. A book called "The Physics of Star Trek" provides a good explanation.
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Pyre Dynasty
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Yes, thank you. I just needed some juice flowing. When I wrote "how do you proceed" I was asking how you (or your character) delivers the technology to the world. Do you even release it? Do you open source? Sell it to a multi-national corporation? Go on Shark Tank? Or keep it in the family and slowly pass it from person to person as they gain your trust?

The milking of the cow is easy, catching it is the hard part.

Thanks for bringing me down to Earth a little dmsimone. The Tesla is a good example, and it brings up something I didn't think of: bottlenecks. The Tesla is facing a few bottlenecks right now. Manufacturing, limited rare earth materials, charging spots, (You are entirely right about the free stations losing the free as soon as the Tesla becomes common.) My brother has a plug-in hybrid and it isn't uncommon for him to have to spend an extra hour at work for charging. (Usually because someone else was using the station.) Also Tesla has some legal hoops to jump through when it comes to selling them. Joining a club as regulated as the auto industry is tough.

Solar Roadways are the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Putting aside the question of how you are going to come up with a transparent material that can stand up to the kind of punishment, wouldn't solar panels be put to better use actually pointed at the sun? It is greenwashing of the worst stripe.

But anyway, bottlenecks. What if only 20% of the population can have this fantastic technology? Do you create a technocracy? Do the users of these things become slaves the rest of the population? (Mom, can you teleport me to the mall in Dubai again?)

The Internet of things reminds me of the time a guy was showing me how his phone could open his garage door from anywhere in the world. It even had a little camera so I could see it happen. When he hit the open button his neighbor's dog came in, marked its territory, and then went to sleep.

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Grumpy old guy
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For me, Quantum Computing. Current computer architecture is yes/no, on/off, either/or. With quantum computing their is a third state: Schrödinger's Cat. It can be both yes AND no, or an infinite number of variations. In three words a quantum computer can answer a question as either YES, NO, or MAYBE.

Machine intelligence is not that far away.

Phil.

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extrinsic
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I understand the question now.

Say I discover methods for empirical, unequivocal pain diagnosis, degree of severity, and defined locus of pain. At present, the healthcare profession largely underestimates and disregards subjective pain presentations; and, also, many persons invent or magnify their pain symptoms for assorted nefarious reasons. The politics of pain management is off topic though.

On topic is what are the foreseeable and unforeseen consequences of such discoveries, Patient pain care would improve, of course. All and sundry, though, would find things to gripe about.

Health insurance companies would be among the greatest objectors, as well healthcare providers and instruction institutions would object to a new medical discovery and having to unlearn much and learn anew much and incorporate new strategies and medical practices, healthcare malpractice defense lawyers, defense trial lawyers generally, public medical assistance program stakeholders, prescription medication contraband diverters and, consequently, pharmacy companies, medication abusers and medicine addiction treatment programs, medication prohibition factions, and, overall, politicians responsive to those deep-pocket corporate constituents who lobby for favoritism, patronage, and cronyism.

They'd all come around in a decade or so, maybe a generation; meanwhile, malign the discovery at every turn.

Research would need to be secret until an end result outcome success to avoid untimely suppression, maybe even outright hazard to life, limb, and property; at which time, in order to minimize risk of suppression, the discovery would need to be released, not to mention, so it could be applied, maybe further refined, for pain sufferer benefits.

Healthcare providers would be better equipped to treat actual causes and less symptom only diagnoses and, ergo, less misguess diagnoses and actually target-treat real causes.

A net outcome would be fewer pain sufferers and attendant mood disorder conditions -- depression, low self-esteem, personality and other emotional conditions -- and fewer medication addiction problems, and, most subtle, less negative stigma attached to pain sufferers with little to no medically objective, observable cause, though partially to wholly debilitated by acute and chronic pain.

In particular, such a discovery would benefit sufferers of prolonged chronic pain due to whatever cause: trauma that makes asymptomatic musculoskeletal pain present, or of no as-yet known cause fibromyalgia, chronic pain syndrome, or known but misdiagnosed and mistreated neuralgia and neuropathy.

What might be unforeseen, unforeseeable, though? Where there's a will there's a way; crooks would find new ways to divert medicine for nefarious purposes. Other corrupt persons would find ways to rake off huge and unwarranted profits and deny some the benefits and favor others' selective treatments -- class and gender warfare all over again.

The discovery would make possible locating and diagnosing pain in animals and give new impetus to animal rights activists, militant vegan protestors, and institutions for and against the ethical treatment of animals. Maybe animal food industries would suffer extreme financial disaster. Several livestock industries would vehemently object and seek total suppression of the discovery, even unto life, limb, and property harms.

The darkest, perhaps, unforeseen consequences, could be worse overpopulation pressures and innate negative environmental impact escalation.

Worse? How about most of humanity being pain free and content if not happy for a change? Oh no, can't have that; the powers that be cannot allow it. That would upset the status quo. Can't have the peasants and serfs content or happy and without much pain to distract them from living more meaningful lives, now can we?

That would reduce the complusions strife and hardship cause to compete at maximum effort. Maybe humanity would stagnate and die? Nope. Always fields available for competition and victory thrills and defeat agonies.

Yeah, meanwhile, humanity becomes less pained and, gosh almighty, maybe more smart, healthy, and prosperous, one and all.

Because of the many considerations, I'd license the discovery immediately to a suitable candidate, one with the resilience and integrity and social responsibility I deem apropos for delivering maximum human benefit of the least disruptive of and most accountable to humanity degree. I would not want to be at the public center of this, nor do I have the social skills to manage it effectually.

[ June 16, 2016, 01:16 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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dmsimone
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Oh! How does the character deliver the technology?

We could brainstorm this but if you want a realistic, believable answer I would want to know the age/gender of the character, where they lived, and the technology itself. A multitude of possibilities could be generated, but knowing these few things would narrow it down greatly.

Do you already have an age/gender/setting/tech in mind? We could play a game where you provide those inputs and we can see where it leads....

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Pyre Dynasty
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Oh yes the quantum computer. Think passwords are hard to remember now wait till they have to be thousands of characters long. (Incidentally Eric James Stone who used to hang around here wrote a great novel about this called Unforgettable.)

I'm digging the happy endings. I guess I need to work on my optimism.

I don't really have any character in mind. This isn't for any specific story I just want to play with ideas. You are right that a narrower scope would be better. Lets go college student, female studying in whatever field relates loosely to the technology. Someone else choose the tech.

[ June 16, 2016, 02:13 AM: Message edited by: Pyre Dynasty ]

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Grumpy old guy
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My quantum computer is one of the main characters for a story I was developing--and will get back to; it's pretty much all plotted out, I just need to fill in the million and one details.

I liked the idea because I see that 'third state' as the only viable way for machine sentience to become a reality. I also wonder just what form machine (I hate the term artificial) intelligence would take and would we ever know it had 'evolved' in the first place? If I suddenly woke up in a world I didn't understand I think I would remain quiet about it until I knew what was going on--which could be difficult if I was stuck in a room somewhere waiting for input from the only source I had; some soft, squishy, biological creature with a weird construction.

Phil.

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dmsimone
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Grump Old Guy Phil - Richard Feynman first conceived of the idea of a quantum computer. If you don't know who that is...that's ok. He was an eccentric, Nobel Prize winning physicist and was very famous for being able to explain quantum mechanics in simple, easy to digest formats. His books are amazing. I bet one of them discuss quantum computers and would be a good source for your main character development.

Back to the brain storming. Female, college student, lets say something to do with lasers (ok my degree is in lasers so I'm a little biased) and synthetic organic chemistry. If she's the studious type she'd be serving some kind of internship in her university's lab, under the direction of a professor. Her discovery/invention scares her...she confides in a graduate student in her lab. Grad student mocks her, maybe. So she goes to the professor who immediately understands the implications. They file jointly for a patent to protect the technology and write a paper. An industry type buys it, etc...but this story line tastes like vanilla, and is sadly probably very realistic. Ho hum.

So let's say she doesn't tell the trolling grad student or the professor. She tells her boyfriend. They tweet about it or post pictures of it on Snap Chat. Maybe she makes a YouTube video of the laser performing some cool cancer cell transformation in situ and it goes viral. More likely, that's what a college student would do.

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Grumpy old guy
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In my layman's terms lasers excite atoms to higher states. A laser might act as a catalyst when used to excite a synthetic organic compound to create, what?

A lifeform of some kind perhaps? Add energy into an organic soup and what do you get? Us?

Phil.

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rstegman
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mind link to computers
There are all sorts of fun with that including viruses, downloading, searching and understanding all the information on the internet. mental communication at a thought to anybody in the world at any time,

hoverboards or slightly more complex devices that will go car speeds and plane high.

never have to go to the store, everything, including tools, food, drink, will be replicated in your apartment on request.

travel THROUGH the planet as a short cut.

Go to space stations for vacations

Living on space stations in Pluto's orbital sphere. getting there within a year rather than many.

Living on the bottom of the ocean, even in the Marianas trench.

Some of these are possible if we put our mind to it. Others, are a bit way out.

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LDWriter2
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I had a couple of ideas
I skimmed through the posts and didn't see this one.

How about the ability for people to change shape?

Become cows, or elves or winged people. Etc.

The issue could be. Can they turn into anything? Just real beings? Or ones about the size of their original body? How long does it last?

Could be an interesting story-maybe humorous or serious-about someone that turned into a cow but the automatic process to turn back doesn't.

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LDWriter2
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Second idea

How does outside forces, like weather, effect the idea?

I thought of that because in a series I am reading that takes place in the not so far future cars have antigravity devices so they fly but rain can, at least a little, interfere with the anti gravity.

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LDWriter2
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Third brainstorming idea

Size of device whatever it is.

Would only the largest ships have FTL because of the enormous power plant needed?

Is the antigravity device small enough for people to wear and use? Or is it large enough so that only larger ships can use it. And therefore it makes airships better than airplanes? Than someone makes one small enough for a delivery truck?

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ForlornShadow
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I actually am working on a story with the immortality thing in mind. It's not about the fact that we've discovered immortality, the theme is more what makes a monster a monster type thing. But I had a lot of trouble with the biology.

Actually a few months after I had begun planning this story I started a class called Evolutionary Medicine and we talked about the impossibility of immortality.

So just to kind of add to the things to think about, what would biologically happen if some of these ideas were to come to fruition. For example: teleportation. What would that do to the populations' health? Things of that nature

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Pyre Dynasty
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For me the biggest problem with immortality is long term memory. Short term memory compares what it has to what is already stored in long term memory so it doesn't waste energy remembering the same thing. I think this is why time seems to go faster the older you get. This is also what we are fighting when we try to write something people will remember.
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extrinsic
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Immortality and human memory for a narrative, plus the premise that age accelerates elapsed time perception topics pose many possible dramatic contests. A common point of the three is how humans fritter away all three to little meaningful end.

Fantastic fiction's non-one-to-one correspondence convention, though, skews such inspirations through a tangible contest that packages an intangible one. Psychological horror, for example, science fiction or fantasy, or horror or thriller, might resort to revenant personas, a new one perhaps, not the usual vampire options or such. Maybe the whoever agonist persona is already immortal or made immortal by design or accident and problematized by memory shortfalls and consequent ineffectual time management. Other motivations and stakes forces that arise define the central contest, what does such a persona privately want, for one, and at what personal risk-reward stakes cost.

I'd consider the Tall Poppy Syndrome for a kernel motif of such a contest: a peculiar form of peer pressure that reacts to exceptional achievement and slays outliers to hold a community cohort uniform and, ergo, more manageable, also, a one-size-fits-all mentality, or Jante law.

In short, a narrative not really about immortality, memory, and time, about the moral human condition, possibly a pride and envy contest foremost.

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rstegman
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When I was doing story ideas between 1997 and 2012, I was posting a story idea a day.
It did not matter how stupid the concept was, there was a way to make use of it. Not all were brilliant but all were useable. I copied a bunch of them to a bulletin board that had crashed, and found that about two ideas a month were such that I would just stop and read them as they were that good. I never edited the concept. I simply wrote them, though some kept getting stuck on the bottom of the pile...

Immorality, I mean immortality Is possible. There is just a couple genetic problems to solve. Most people have limited long term memory when you think about it. You don't remember exact details, just highlights. As you live centuries, that would be the memory of your past, unless you recorded everything. Any time you needed to find out about your past, you would just have to run for president and you would be reminded about everything.

Shape changing is a little tougher. I have read stories about where that is possible. Sometimes ignoring facts and writing a good story is all that is necessary. I would, though, base it on the mass of the person. I would also have it where you go into a machine and are basically dissolved and reassembled into the shape you want.Of course, the story could be that there has been flaws that develop in the process and after a certain number of changes, you cannot become human again. Or, people are modifying their bodies to be perfect in their specific sport or hobby. One might become a cow in order to help an orphanage by providing milk.

For gravity and antigravity to really be effective, I would see it as large plates since you want them to be for a number of people such as on a star ship. To get over having too strong gravity near the plate and nothing away, antigravity plates would be placed on the opposite part of the structure so really the weakest part would be in the middle,

The real key is to make your "invention" logical, believable. Star trek does not explain why people stick to the deck on board ship. you simply accept it because that is what they are doing.

Not explaining something is many times the very best way to go. One author on writing said that a detective does not stop and explain the mechanics and physics of his revolver. He just draws it and uses it. With nearly all things in science fiction, it is how the character reacts to it is what counts. You assume that since they were born in that world, they would not give it a second thought. they would just use it. Example, if you ask most people, they have no idea how elevators work, but they use them all the same. That is how you write your special science. You show it working and the reaction or lack there of, of the technology.

Be consistent though.
Remember, it is easy to get a reader to swallow a porcupine. it is much harder to get them to swallow a second one.

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dmsimone
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Side commentary - I thought Star Trek did provide an answer to why people stick to the deck on board the star ship...that's what the inertial dampers are for!
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Grumpy old guy
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The inertial dampeners are similar to gyroscopic stabilisers; they keep the ship steady. Inside the ships they use artificial gravity.

Phil.

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rstegman
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Old science fiction, 50s and 60s, was based on some technology or social trend. They would push them to the limit to show the effect on society.

Based on many trends in society and technology, no one would ever leave their homes. their food and supplies would be delivered to them by drones. their entertainment systems would give them everything they could ever need in any kind of interaction.

Another trend would be a large group of the population would be living in the "wild," the real world.
Of course entertainment systems would be developed to combine the two, where someone would never leave their house but live as if they were camping or living in the outdoors.

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wetwilly
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rstegman: ever read the graphic novel "Surrogates?" It does some cool things with those ideas.
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rstegman
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Interstellar travel is quite possible. It is not practical though, except under specific conditions.

On a couple BBSs, I did a discussion on interstellar travel and how to go about it. What I figured out was that it would really only be practical if it was an Exodus of the planet, such as if we see a planetoid who's orbit will hit the earth solidly. Then, evacuating all possible life from Earth would make interstellar travel practical.
I worked out that several squadrons, going to different locations would be the best practice, and each made up of components designed and built by different manufacturers (be bad if all fleets failed because of one component).
I also figured that (back in the early 2000s, if we had a hundred years warning, we would have more than enough time to master the technology, figure out optimal places to go to and get everything built and launched.

Now, one thing I intended in my story-ideas but never did it, was to mine the colony ship concept for ideas.

Consider stories involving finding the polanitorid. then convincing the money people to fund the designing of the systems. I figured we would mine the asteroids, ignoring the planets. I also figured modular space stations that could be connected together into something bigger in a grid. Three types, tubes, connector balls, and thrusters.

One would then have stories of disassembling of cities for their raw materials, people fighting to avoid going into space, Then the squadrons leaving the solar system.

In my calculations, we would have to go at a speed of a light hour per year and have a thousand year maximum life space of ships.

Of course, there are all sorts of stories involved in the trip, such as some group trying to eliminate other groups, equipment failure, accidents, Miscalculation on supplies. changes in society
Some deciding to head back home, Some deciding to take a very long orbit around the sun and stay nearby rather than leave.


Then at the end, people not wanting to leave the ship.

Just the concept of an evacuation of the life on earth opens up all sorts of story concepts. Being an evacuation makes it very plausible as all resources needed would be applied to the project.

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extrinsic
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Another area, one for Golden Age science fiction's awe and wonder fantastical physical science, technology, and social science, is how generation ships cope with long duration voyages' supply needs and maintenance.

To wit, a ship's entire being would need total renewal probably once per hundred years, maybe staged over a twenty-five year period. Hull plates, structural girders, pylons, bulkheads, thwarts, every part removed, replaced, and the old parts reworked for reuse. Such an infrastructure maintenance would require spare resources to amount to roughly an eighth of total mass.

Likewise, life support volatiles, water, air -- oxygen, nitrogen, and aromatic hydrocarbons for the carbon dioxide cycle, spares would be required. Some hydrogen components could come from interstellar molecular cloud ram scooping. Not much of other essential volatiles, though. Even effectively closed habitats leak trace amounts that accumulate to critical shortages over long durations and need replenishment, best practice from onboard stores. The big empty is somewhere around two particles per cubic centimeter, molecular hydrogen by a significant majority.

Both the infrastructure maintenance and limited volatile stores considerations could, as well, be really about infrastructure and environmental maintenance concerns for present-day cultural-government shortfalls. The natural tendency is to kick that can down the road for another administration-generation to cope with.

This is a timely, pertinent, and relevant condition ripe for social commentary, ripe for science fiction's non-one-to-one rhetorical correspondence between drama and method, message, and moral, ripe for irony and satire's finest arts, tragedy or comedy or both and more. And, most of all, for the sake of artful depths that enhance a product's performance and marketplace durability.

[ August 18, 2016, 06:47 PM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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rstegman
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In one of the Star Trek shows, they got a device and put it in a replicator to make another of it.

We are working on coming close to doing this even now.
We have CNC machines that will lay down metal, plastic.
The have machines designed to cut wood and metal. I have heard they even have them to work with atoms on the molecular level to create cells of a specific type.

Once the technology is perfected, there really will be no limit as to what they can do. You want a steak, give it several containers of materials and it extrudes them in the proper order to create Colby Beef or Turkey or Chicken. Use different containers and you end up with potatoes, cabbage, corn.

Now if the technology gets high enough, they would not actually have to transport seeds. they might have just the kernel and add the food part of the seed to it at the location. Or, they might just take out a recording of the actual seed and run it through the machine and it prints the genome and structure. One does not have to transport individual seeds and diseases would be eliminated as the actual seeds are not transported.

With our sensory systems that we have, and are likely to develop later, one will be able to figure out the exact structure of anything and then make copies of them.
This really kills the patent process as all one needs to do is to get one's hand on one item and you can manufacture it as needed. break a phaser, scan a good one and then replicate it exactly. Speed always increases with time with technology. What took five years ago, eight hours to make, now takes half an hour.

With this technology, as long as you have the raw materials, one would never have to leave the house. I figure that in the future home, they would have to have several machines. One for food, one for household items and tools, one for soaps, and possibly one for fabrics. Just key in what you need makes are the tubs are full and let it go. Damaged or waste might be recycled on site to be reused again. One might only need a few things delivered.
Of course, the programs for quality will cost more than the programs for the basics. Also quality might need more available materials than the basics.

What I really see is a small space station with maybe four or five families, depending on this technology.

I just remembered a story scene where a guy on Mars used his food replicator to make acid to write a message on metal for those that come later. He says that the acid may have damaged his replicator.

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extrinsic
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The replicator idea is complex to an exponent value akin to Avogadro's Number, 6.022 x 10^23 mol per entity for molecular number value. One mol of sodium chloride, for example, is 6.022 x 10^23 molecules, and weighs the atomic mass number of sodium and chlorine; that is, sodium's 22.989 ~ (twice-plus atomic number 11) and chlorine's 34.453 ~ (atomic number 17), or 58.44 ~ grams total, about two ounces by weight, about three and a half tablespoons.

Manufactured items, for example, electronics components, are relatively simplified compared to food items. Three-D printers already accomplish broad manufacturing applications, though still too limited a scope to reproduce replicator-like outcomes. Three-D printers use constituted simple compounds that include basic atomic elements, like printed copper, and binders or carriers, in the case of metals, or compounds that are themselves constituted, in the case of polymers. An extant large-scale three-D printer concept uses concrete to "print" buildings, for example.

Food, though, is an aggregate of many compounds, divisible in one organization table as proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, divisible in another table as meats, dairy, grains, and vegetables and fruits. And other tables, divisible and distinguishable, as well.

Food, though, is simpler in ways manufactured items cannot be, supply sources, for one. Metals, for example, are metals or minerals and cannot be transmuted without prohibitively large energy inputs and hazardous radiation, no lead transmuted into gold, no silicon made into carbon.

Food's replication simplification derives from it requires only water, carbon, and nitrogen, and other trace constituents proportionate to sea salt contents. Water is the most effective storage medium for hydrogen and oxygen. CHON are the dominant components of all food items, regardless of whether protein, carbohydrate, or fat, or meat, dairy, grain, fruit, or vegetable.

What, a food printer? Such an appliance would need to either "grow" a raw food, and then might as well save cost and time and just grow it in the first place, or would require a near instantaneous read and write at once material deposition from the five CHON and sea salt constituent reservoirs.

Plus, every item would need some degree of variation. The same filet mignon template would be soon dreary dull, no matter how "perfect" the specimen suited taste. Beverages would be less dependent upon variation, though some degree of variation would be ideal. Imagine a menu template selection process that was limited by several factors: number of menu items, number of variants per item, and total data resolution and storage capacity, to name a few.

Like only five beef entree selections, though five variants per item. One hamburger item, one beef Wellington, one chateaubriand, one London broil, maybe, raw, rare, medium, well done done-ness variants. Plus other meats and seafoods, dairy, grains, fruits, and vegetables, and beverages and desserts, and attendant variants, of course.

Imagine a vault drive of several femtobyte size, one with, say, fast food, one junk food, one gourmet, one family style, one barroom, one soda fountain, etc., etc.

What might be the template minimum resolution needed for one serving item? How many different protein, carbohydrate, and fat types to deposition print a shrimp cocktail? Would six protein types be enough, or sixty, or six thousand? Plus carbohydrate and fat variables. The item's file size would be enormous, even with compression, lossless or otherwise. Resolutions on the order of, say, 1048576 bit per matrix location, or 2^20 or more; file sizes on the order of terabytes per item, or more.

What would be the file parameters of a single-serving Irish porter, a single malt scotch, a California chardonnay, one of those brand-name colas?

At a future time when food printers become possible, many technological advances are likely, data storage and handling, for sure, lossless compression algorithms, plus a Write-Read At Once capability. WRAO drive, and the like, is moi's intellectual property, for prose uses, by the way. Applied to food printing, the instantaneous deposition printing of food and beverages from a template and recordation of same into template file forms. Hmm. Want a contraband substance template drive? It will cost you $$,$$$$,$$$. A template recorder -- if you have to ask . . .

Variety is the spice of life, certainly the spice of nutrition consumption. More important and subtler than only subsistence nutrition, too, is food's emotional nutrition value.

[ September 06, 2016, 12:25 AM: Message edited by: extrinsic ]

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