archiv~1.txt: SETI [acc-list] the next century according to ACC

SETI [acc-list] the next century according to ACC

Larry Klaes ( lklaes@bbn.com )
Tue, 16 Mar 1999 11:32:49 -0500

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>From: "Arnaud LECUYOT" <Arnaud.LECUYOT@mmsuk.co.uk>
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>Subject: [acc-list] the next century according to ACC
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>
> Hi Arthurians,
>
>Those of you who have WWW access, have you been through ACC's view of
>next 100 years ? BTW, Reinaldo maybe you ought to put that on the
>ACCIFC's Website.
>Anyway, I've been through and it left me mixed feelings. He said
>himself that such an excersise is highly riksy more than a few years
>or less than a few hundreds in advance, and he may have been not very
>serious and probably voluntarily optimistic about his prospective.
>
>Nevertheless, it left me at unease. I think the predictions he did are
>partly symbolic and fun...Sadly, one of them came to be be outdated
>lately. We all hope than 2017 will be as well !
>But as for the other ones, well, I find ACC a bit optimistic.
>He seems to think that the movement of mid 20-th century in which he
>lived most of his active ( I mean more even more active than now) life
>will continue.
>Well, I don't know. One of my friends is working on Cold Fusion in a
>huge laboratory in the South of France. They have totally overfunded
>facilities and there's a good lot of them, but they don't expect
>anything to come before 30 or 50 years, they would say. As for Space
>conquest, I expressed my views on this Hilton Hotel already.
>
>Well, looks like I'm the spoiler on this list. Maybe I've turned
>before age into an old and venerable specialist, one that can find
>hundreds of reason why "that is not possible". Oh God ! I need to go
>back reading ACC very soon, don't I ?
>
>For those who haven't got access to Web I attached the file.2001 and beyond
>
>(14 March 99)
>
>ARTHUR C CLARKE, the greatest science-fiction writer of our time, offers
his forecasts for the coming century
>
>DESPITE all claims to the contrary, no one can predict the future, and I
have always resisted all attempts to label me a prophet: I prefer
"extrapolator".
>What I have tried to do, at least in my non-fiction, is outline possible
"futures" - at the same time pointing out that totally unexpected
inventions or events can make any forecasts absurd after a very few years.
The classic example is the statement in the late '40s by the then chairman
of IBM that the world market for computers was about five (or was it six?).
I have more in my own office, and they are still breeding like rabbits . . .
>But perhaps I'm in no position to criticise Thomas Watson snr. In Transit
of Earth (1971), I put the first Mars landing in 1994; now we'll be lucky
if we make it by 2010. On the other hand, when Prelude to Space was
published in 1951, I thought I was being wildly optimistic by suggesting a
moon mission in 1978. Neil and Buzz beat me by almost a decade.
>Still, I take a modest pride in the fact that communications satellites
are placed exactly where I suggested in 1945, and that the name "Clarke
Orbit" is now often used, if only because it's easier to say than
"geostationary orbit". And the chapter "The Country Syndrome" in my 1990
novel, The Ghost from the Grand Banks, may well have been the first
account, outside technical literature, of the now-dreaded millennium bug -
its cause and its cure.
>Even so, the chronology that follows should be given with a "health
warning". Some of the events listed (particularly the space missions) are
already scheduled, and will occur on the actual dates given; I believe all
the other events could happen, although several I hope will not.
>In spite of the temptation, I have omitted many interesting and
all-too-possible disasters, because optimism about the future is always
desirable; it may help to create a self-fulfilling prophecy.
>Check me for accuracy - on December 31 2100.
>
>2001 January 1: Next millennium and century begin.
>Cassini spaceprobe (launched October 1997, arrived Saturn July 2000)
begins exploring the planet's moons and rings.
>Galileo probe (launched October 1989) continues surveying Jupiter and its
moons. Life beneath the ice-covered oceans of Europa appears increasingly
likely.
>
>2002: The first commercial device producing clean, safe power by
low-temperature nuclear reactions goes on the market, heralding the end of
the Fossil-Fuel Age. Economic and geopolitical earthquakes follow and, for
their discovery of so-called "Cold Fusion" in 1989, Pons and Fleischmann
receive the Nobel Prize for Physics.
>
>2003: The motor industry is given five years to replace all fuel-burning
engines with the new energy device. The same year, Nasa's robot Mars
Surveyor (carrying Lander and Rover) is launched.
>
>2004: First (publicly admitted) human clone.
>
>2005: First sample launched back to Earth by Mars Surveyor.
>
>2006: Last coal mine closed.
>
>2007: Nasa's Next Generation Space Telescope (successor to the Hubble)
launched.
>
>2008: On his 80th birthday, July 26, film director Stanley Kubrick, who
made 2001: A Space Odyssey, receives a special Oscar for lifetime achievement.
>
>2009: A city in a Third World country is devastated by the accidental
explosion of an A-bomb in its armoury. After a brief debate in the UN, all
nuclear weapons are destroyed.
>
>2010: The first Quantum Generators (tapping space energy) are developed.
Available in portable and household units from a few kilowatts upwards,
they can produce electricity indefinitely. Central power stations close
down and the age of pylons ends as grid systems are dismantled.
>In spite of "Big Brother" protests, electronic monitoring virtually
removes professional criminals from society.
>
>2011: Largest living animal filmed: a 75m octopus in the Mariana Trench.
>By a curious coincidence, later in the year even larger marine creatures
are discovered when the first robot probes drill through the ice of Europa,
and an entire new biota is revealed.
>
>2012: Aerospace planes enter service. The history of space travel has
repeated that of aeronautics, although more slowly, because the technical
problems are so much greater. From Gagarin to commercial space flight has
taken twice as long as from the Wright Brothers to the DC3.
>
>2013: Despite the understandable apprehensions of Buckingham Palace,
Prince Harry becomes the first member of the British royal family to fly in
space.
>
>2014: Construction of Hilton Orbiter Hotel begins, by assembling and
converting the giant Shuttle tanks previously allowed to fall back to Earth.
>
>2015: An inevitable by-product of the Quantum Generator is complete
control of matter at the atomic level. Thus the old dream of alchemy is
realised on a commercial scale, often with surprising results. Within a few
years, since they are more useful, lead and copper cost twice as much as gold.
>
>2016: All existing currencies are abolished. The megawatt-hour becomes the
unit of exchange.
>
>2017 December 16: On his 100th birthday, Sir Arthur C Clarke is one of the
first guests in the Hilton Orbiter.
>
>2019: A major meteor impact occurs on the North Polar ice cap. There is no
loss of human life, but the resulting tsunamis cause considerable damage
along the coasts of Greenland and Canada. The long-discussed Project
Spaceguard, to identify and deflect any potentially dangerous comets or
asteroids, is finally activated.
>
>2020: Artificial Intelligence (AI) reaches the human level. From now
onwards there are two intelligent species on planet Earth, one evolving far
more rapidly than biology would ever permit. Interstellar probes carrying
Als are launched towards the nearer stars.
>
>2021: The first humans land on Mars, and have some unpleasant surprises.
>
>2023: Dinosaur facsimiles are cloned from computer-generated DNA. Disney's
Triassic Zoo opens in Florida. Despite some unfortunate initial accidents,
mini raptors start replacing guard dogs.
>
>2024: Infra-red signals are detected coming from the centre of the galaxy.
They are obviously the product of a technologically advanced civilisation,
but all attempts to decipher them fail.
>
>2025: Neurological research finally leads to an understanding of all the
senses, and direct inputs become possible, bypassing skin, eyes, ears and
other organs. The inevitable result is the metal "Braincap", of which the
20th century's Walkman was a primitive precursor.
>Anyone wearing this helmet, which fits tightly over the skull, can enter a
whole universe of experience, real or imaginary - and even merge in real
time with other minds.
>Apart from its use for entertainment and vicarious adventure, the Braincap
is a boon to doctors, who can now experience their patients' symptoms
(suitably attenuated.) It also revolutionises the legal profession;
deliberate lying is impossible.
>As the Braincap can function properly only on a completely bald head,
wig-making becomes a major industry.
>
>2040: The "Universal Replicator", based on nanotechnology, is perfected:
any object, however complex, can be created - given the necessary raw
material and the appropriate information matrix. Diamonds or gourmet meals
can, literally, be made from dirt. As a result, agriculture and industry
are phased out, ending that recent invention in human history - work! There
is an explosion in arts, entertainment and education.
>Hunter-gathering societies are deliberately recreated and huge areas of
the planet, no longer needed for food production, are allowed to revert to
their original state. Young people can now discharge their aggressive
instincts by using crossbows to stalk big game, which is robotic and
frequently dangerous.
>
>2045: The totally self-contained, recycling, mobile home (envisaged almost
a century earlier by Buckminster Fuller) is perfected. Any additional
carbon needed for food synthesis is obtained by extracting carbon dioxide
from the atmosphere.
>
>2050: Escape from Utopia. Bored by life in this peaceful and unexciting
era, millions decide to use cryonic suspension to emigrate into the future
in search of adventure. Vast "hibernacular" are established in the
Antarctic and in the regions of perpetual night at the lunar poles.
>
>2057 October 4: Centennial of Sputnik 1. The dawn of the space age is
celebrated by humans not only on Earth, but on the moon, Mars, Europa,
Ganymede and Titan - and in orbit round Venus, Neptune and Pluto.
>
>2061: The return of Halley's Comet; first landing on nucleus by humans.
The sensational discovery of both dormant and active life forms vindicates
Hoyle and Wickramasinghe's century-old hypothesis that life is omnipresent
throughout space.
>
>2090: Large-scale burning of fossil fuels is resumed to replace carbon
dioxide "Mined" from the air and, hopefully, postpone the next Ice Age by
promoting global warming.
>
>2095: The development of a true "Space Drive", a propulsion system
reacting against the structure of spacetime, makes the rocket obsolete and
permits velocities close to that of light. The first human explorers set
off to nearby star systems that robot probes have already found promising.
>
>2100: History begins . . .