July ’22: Yesterday’s Solutions and Tomorrow’s Problems
You know, sometimes, I really do like humans. Our species seems to be hardwired to have a hard time with perspective. And yet, people expand their perspectives all the time and it is just so damn awesome to see.
And my adoration for our species goes all the way back to our progenitors. You know how frustrating it can be when you can’t find the words for something? Like, it’s on the tip of your tongue but you just can’t lock into it? Imagine that but for multiple generations. And our ancestors kept going until our bodies caught up to our minds.
I find beauty in the warts and scars of our silly little hominid species. Projects like these fill me with hope and despair at the same time. Hope that we will find a way, despair that even if we do, we’ll just ignore it because small minds think short term and small scales 
This adoration, this deep love of the good and the bad of Homo sapiens, is what fuels the frothing rage that consumes me when ever I encounter the argument that people are the problem and not the solution.
Something happened in my neck of the global woods and it got me to thinking about the future. See, for most of the totality of our species, trash just kinda laid there and didn’t explode. And soon we’ll have to start cleaning up those dumps because ‘SPLOSIONS!
We have to start solving the problems of the future while dealing with those of us who refuse to address the problems of the the past. Even, and especially, those problems that are still happening.
For example, the idea of feeding the ground up bodies of fish TO other fish is, well, horrific. That said, it’s a logical result of old-style thinking. Fish with short life cycles and rapid reproduction cycles are fed to the ones that take longer to replenish themselves. I can live with that, but the idea that we can’t replace that charnel house with microalgae without debate and discussion reduces me to incoherent screaming.
We could double food production by creating a 24 hour growing cycle. But will that result in fewer starving people? Only in a fairytale. We’ve long past blown past the production level that would result in every last human on the planet having enough food to get chubby with ease. And it’s only the inherent greed and weakness of people with power that allows some to starve while others struggle with their weight.
But most, if not all of that power, resides in history and the past. Colonialism, slavery, and good old fashioned crime is the foundation of most of the most powerful people and systems on the planet. Elon Musk’s empire only exists because his family’s emerald mines horrifically exploited workers in South Africa. And America wouldn’t be the economic juggernaut it is today without some of the most nightmarish campaigns of genocide and slavery the world has ever seen.
The old ways developed when the world was a simpler place. Those espousing a return to Roman-style governance in the United States forget that the population of the whole Roman empire was 70 million on the high end. The US? More than 4 times that size at about 330 million. Scale matters.
But we, as a species have the ability to reframe the past and make the past about as fluid as the future. We exist in a Permanent Now and the inevitable spiral towards a new future is littered with scientific facts that seem like downright sorcery.
Each day brings more and more crossovers that herald massive tech leaps. We used to knap flint and think ourselves the pinnacle of adaptability. And now we are doing it on an atomic scale. For every municipality that argues that they “can’t find money in the budget for infrastructure”, there will be a glowing bridge.
There are deeply weird signs that point towards the darker side of a squishyFuture and how we get there in the midst of the constant drumbeat of nightmarish consequences. And in the natural chaos of it all, we face death by robotic lawn dart or a thousand cuts and nano-tennas that make even the most hardcore sci-if geek look like a Luddite.
We live in a time when photovolatics and optical computing are on the ends of a spectrum where we use light as circuitry and a mechanical tool. And once we start using entropy as an energy source , what fresh strangeness will become commonplace?
(One potential is something I call intrinsic tech. Something less like robotics, and more like smartfluids and perma-color radiative cooling where the very fabric of the material performs tasks on a cellular scale.)
And what will we hear when we open a dialogue with other species on the planet? Given our somewhat dubious track record, I suspect the first thing they say might be, “Oh, it’s you jerks”
And I want to be able to say “Hey! we’re getting better, you dumb fish!”
a quick view into what my semi-daily newsletter looks like
“Eudamonic” always sounded like a 80’s synth band to me
we were so ready for an AI that would hate or kill or ignore that we never considered and AI that wants to make art
maybe I’m underthinking it but did y’all math out personal space?
spintronics is getting closer to commercial application and having cooler, thermally at least, tech is gonna be … cool
i hope I get to live long enough to see this shit become take two and call me when the gills grow in, kinda thing
multiple time dimensions is not where I thought quantum computation would go, and I am here for this madness