The Ultimate Fate of the Human Species
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31-08-2012, 11:04 PM
The Ultimate Fate of the Human Species
In the long term--I mean the really, really long term, geologic and cosmological and super-cosmological timescales--if humans and their descendants are to continue as an advanced civilization, we will have to move off of planet Earth. The Earth cannot sustain infinite growth. There are a finite number of resources on Earth, and the trend seems to be that as our civilization becomes more advanced, the more resources that are consumed per person; but also the more people are required to maintain the industries that enable that civilization. For instance, it was estimated (I don't have the study, sorry) that it takes a minimum population of 1.0-1.2 billion individuals to sustain one semiconductor foundry (the factories that make microchips and CPUs and the like), taking into account all the ancillary industries that surround it, the industries that surround that, the people required for those industries, the food and goods and services they require and the people and industries required to sustain those, etc. Increases in efficiency can reduce this exponential increase in required population (see farming) but cannot eliminate it entirely.

So if we want our civilization to continue to advance, we will need more people and more resources to support new industries. Since the Earth has finite resources, we will eventually have to expand beyond the Earth. That means the rest our solar system. And that means starting with the moon and asteroid belt. Mars is a red herring for the near future until we can terraform; it would be too expensive to mine it (although it is worth noting that due to lower gravity, a space elevator is actually achievable on Mars with current day technology, even without carbon nanotubes). The asteroid belt requires much less effort to mine, and can be navigated with solar sails very cheaply, and by mass drivers very quickly. You can set up a mining operation on an asteroid and use a mass driver to accelerate the asteroid out of its orbit, using the slag from refining for reaction mass. Put yourself on a trajectory that will have the asteroid captured by Earth, then ship your metal to the head of the space elevator.

In the longer term we will need to develop interstellar travel. The solar system will sustain us for millennia, but not forever. Given a million years, we will colonize the galaxy. At this point we cannot die of extinction; no known phenomenon could kill all humans on hundreds of thousands of planets at once. We would not be really human by then though; we will have evolved significantly, probably in multiple directions, with different populations on different planets evolving differently into multiple species, multiple genera, multiple orders. Some might even become wholly mechanoid or some other form. They would all be descended from humans in some way (unless there are aliens). The human chain of life would be, in a way, invincible. But not immortal. Eventually, we would deplete our galaxy; and the neighboring ones; and the ones outside of that. Eventually the heat death of the universe itself would be our biggest threat. As nebulae, the star factories of the galaxy, die the number of stars available for energy would decrease. We would have to find a way to manufacture stars, to maximize the energy left to us before entropy robs us of it.

In the longest term, consciousness must survive as energy only. The structure of the universe itself might be used as a sort of cosmological computer, sustaining our collective conscious. There are types of logic that do not result in any net loss of information or energy; this computer could last billions or trillions of years before heat death makes its existence untenable. But a computer has a finite number of states. This great collective conscious would live out every possible intellectual state, over and over and over and over and over for functionally eternity; until heat death robs the universe of its last potential energy and protons and neutrons decay to quarks that are separated by too much space to interact due to the accelerating inflation of the universe, and mind dies in the cold, empty void.








In the meantime though, I want to have sex in microgravity. So let's get busy, mkay?


.

E 2 = (mc 2)2 + (pc )2
614C → 714N + e + ̅νe
2 K(s) + 2 H2O(l) → 2 KOH(aq) + H2 (g) + 196 kJ/mol
It works, bitches.
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31-08-2012, 11:39 PM
RE: The Ultimate Fate of the Human Species
We can get virtual. Live in a box of algorithms in a shell by the shore...

But fate implies destiny. Tao is more of falling through the hole that opens before you. :/ :\

If there is no Tao, there is an infinite universe in every step. Which is Tao. Angel

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31-08-2012, 11:42 PM
RE: The Ultimate Fate of the Human Species
(31-08-2012 11:04 PM)Phaedrus Wrote:  ... and mind dies in the cold, empty void.

Ah yes!

Wedding Anniversary.

Thanks for the reminder.

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31-08-2012, 11:50 PM
RE: The Ultimate Fate of the Human Species
(31-08-2012 11:42 PM)DLJ Wrote:  
(31-08-2012 11:04 PM)Phaedrus Wrote:  ... and mind dies in the cold, empty void.

Ah yes!

Wedding Anniversary.

Thanks for the reminder.

That's, you know, kinda horrible. Evil_monster

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31-08-2012, 11:57 PM
RE: The Ultimate Fate of the Human Species
(31-08-2012 11:42 PM)DLJ Wrote:  
(31-08-2012 11:04 PM)Phaedrus Wrote:  ... and mind dies in the cold, empty void.

Ah yes!

Wedding Anniversary.

Thanks for the reminder.

lol

Well played, fine sir. Wink

E 2 = (mc 2)2 + (pc )2
614C → 714N + e + ̅νe
2 K(s) + 2 H2O(l) → 2 KOH(aq) + H2 (g) + 196 kJ/mol
It works, bitches.
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01-09-2012, 12:01 AM
RE: The Ultimate Fate of the Human Species
(31-08-2012 11:50 PM)houseofcantor Wrote:  
(31-08-2012 11:42 PM)DLJ Wrote:  Ah yes!

Wedding Anniversary.

Thanks for the reminder.

That's, you know, kinda horrible. Evil_monster

Yup. 14 years of horrible.

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01-09-2012, 12:01 AM
RE: The Ultimate Fate of the Human Species
Soon when can we get to the moon for the baby-making festivities? Clap

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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01-09-2012, 12:11 AM
RE: The Ultimate Fate of the Human Species
(01-09-2012 12:01 AM)ClydeLee Wrote:  Soon when can we get to the moon for the baby-making festivities? Clap

When we build the space elevator. And who said you had to be makin' babies? Wink

E 2 = (mc 2)2 + (pc )2
614C → 714N + e + ̅νe
2 K(s) + 2 H2O(l) → 2 KOH(aq) + H2 (g) + 196 kJ/mol
It works, bitches.
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01-09-2012, 12:12 AM
RE: The Ultimate Fate of the Human Species
(31-08-2012 11:04 PM)Phaedrus Wrote:  In the long term--I mean the really, really long term, geologic and cosmological and super-cosmological timescales--if humans and their descendants are to continue as an advanced civilization, we will have to move off of planet Earth. The Earth cannot sustain infinite growth. There are a finite number of resources on Earth, and the trend seems to be that as our civilization becomes more advanced, the more resources that are consumed per person; but also the more people are required to maintain the industries that enable that civilization. For instance, it was estimated (I don't have the study, sorry) that it takes a minimum population of 1.0-1.2 billion individuals to sustain one semiconductor foundry (the factories that make microchips and CPUs and the like), taking into account all the ancillary industries that surround it, the industries that surround that, the people required for those industries, the food and goods and services they require and the people and industries required to sustain those, etc. Increases in efficiency can reduce this exponential increase in required population (see farming) but cannot eliminate it entirely.

So if we want our civilization to continue to advance, we will need more people and more resources to support new industries. Since the Earth has finite resources, we will eventually have to expand beyond the Earth. That means the rest our solar system. And that means starting with the moon and asteroid belt. Mars is a red herring for the near future until we can terraform; it would be too expensive to mine it (although it is worth noting that due to lower gravity, a space elevator is actually achievable on Mars with current day technology, even without carbon nanotubes). The asteroid belt requires much less effort to mine, and can be navigated with solar sails very cheaply, and by mass drivers very quickly. You can set up a mining operation on an asteroid and use a mass driver to accelerate the asteroid out of its orbit, using the slag from refining for reaction mass. Put yourself on a trajectory that will have the asteroid captured by Earth, then ship your metal to the head of the space elevator.

In the longer term we will need to develop interstellar travel. The solar system will sustain us for millennia, but not forever. Given a million years, we will colonize the galaxy. At this point we cannot die of extinction; no known phenomenon could kill all humans on hundreds of thousands of planets at once. We would not be really human by then though; we will have evolved significantly, probably in multiple directions, with different populations on different planets evolving differently into multiple species, multiple genera, multiple orders. Some might even become wholly mechanoid or some other form. They would all be descended from humans in some way (unless there are aliens). The human chain of life would be, in a way, invincible. But not immortal. Eventually, we would deplete our galaxy; and the neighboring ones; and the ones outside of that. Eventually the heat death of the universe itself would be our biggest threat. As nebulae, the star factories of the galaxy, die the number of stars available for energy would decrease. We would have to find a way to manufacture stars, to maximize the energy left to us before entropy robs us of it.

In the longest term, consciousness must survive as energy only. The structure of the universe itself might be used as a sort of cosmological computer, sustaining our collective conscious. There are types of logic that do not result in any net loss of information or energy; this computer could last billions or trillions of years before heat death makes its existence untenable. But a computer has a finite number of states. This great collective conscious would live out every possible intellectual state, over and over and over and over and over for functionally eternity; until heat death robs the universe of its last potential energy and protons and neutrons decay to quarks that are separated by too much space to interact due to the accelerating inflation of the universe, and mind dies in the cold, empty void..

A lot of your assumptions are not true. Increasingly, it takes less energy to sustain an individual, not more, as efficiencies, and economies of scale, increase.
You also presume, that there will not be a population crash, which is inevitable. As hoc said, we will be bio-machines. (see Ray Kurzweil). Expanding beyond Earth, is not in the cards, in the foreseeable future. Maybe the universe is cosmic consciousness, already ?

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01-09-2012, 12:15 AM
RE: The Ultimate Fate of the Human Species
(01-09-2012 12:12 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  A lot of your assumptions are not true. Increasingly, it takes less energy to sustain an individual, not more, as efficiencies, and economies of scale, increase.
You also presume, that there will not be a population crash, which is inevitable. As hoc said, we will be bio-machines. (see Ray Kurzweil). Expanding beyond Earth, is not in the cards, in the foreseeable future. Maybe the universe is cosmic consciousness, already ?

I disagree. Compare more advanced parts of our global society to the less advanced. It takes more resources and energy to maintain a western standard of living that it does to maintain the standard of living in someplace like India, or more dramatically in Ethiopia or Tanzania.

On the timescales I'm talking about a population crash doesn't matter unless it takes us back to the bronze age and we never regain a technological civilization; something I find a dubious proposition itself.

E 2 = (mc 2)2 + (pc )2
614C → 714N + e + ̅νe
2 K(s) + 2 H2O(l) → 2 KOH(aq) + H2 (g) + 196 kJ/mol
It works, bitches.
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