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Thread: How quickly could an intelligent race go from their neolithic to the space age?

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    How quickly could an intelligent race go from their neolithic to the space age?

    If there were no wars, no competing etc, just pure co-operation?
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    What would be the impulse to go into space, to begin with?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    What would be the impulse to go into space, to begin with?
    curiosity
    the drive to propagate and survive
    a drive to help other planets in the universe
    etc
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    Part of the answer lies in the environment. Inhabitants of a high-gravity planet are assumed to be much less likely to get into space simply from power requirements. The motivation to get into space strikes me as less important than the basic power needs to do so. Two recent papers touched on this topic.

    ===========

    https://arxiv.org/abs/1804.03698

    Interstellar Escape from Proxima b is Barely Possible with Chemical Rockets

    Abraham Loeb (Harvard)
    (Submitted on 10 Apr 2018)

    A civilization in the habitable zone of a dwarf star might find it challenging to escape into interstellar space using chemical propulsion.

    ==============

    https://arxiv.org/abs/1804.04727

    Spaceflight from Super-Earths is difficult

    Michael Hippke
    (Submitted on 12 Apr 2018 (v1), last revised 18 May 2018 (this version, v2))

    Many rocky exoplanets are heavier and larger than the Earth, and have higher surface gravity. This makes space-flight on these worlds very challenging, because the required fuel mass for a given payload is an exponential function of planetary surface gravity. We find that chemical rockets still allow for escape velocities on Super-Earths up to 10x Earth mass. More massive rocky worlds, if they exist, would require other means to leave the planet, such as nuclear propulsion.

    ================

    It does strike me that social or psychological pressure to get into space must have something to do with it. Tsiolkovski and Goddard wrote about getting into space, but no one was interested. There was no "push". Perception of a major thread to remaining on a planet or a religious desire to get into space for salvation (whatever works, works) would help. It is difficult to answer the question, I think, given only our experience. Humans have built cathedrals without pressure of war, but war and competition do seem to speed things up.
    Last edited by Roger E. Moore; 2018-Aug-17 at 04:41 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    curiosity
    the drive to propagate and survive
    a drive to help other planets in the universe
    etc
    As tragic as the reality is, much of our technological development was spurred by competition for territory, resources, political/ideological supremacy, etc., and the exigency of such situations tends to compress timelines. Since the motivators you mentioned don't seem to be significant drivers—at least today—I think it reasonable to suppose that without the 'benefit' of our historical motivations, it would take (perhaps much, much) longer than the 12,000-ish years that brought us to this point.
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    Something about this issue struck me as familiar, so I entered "Stapledon" into the ArXiv system and got this, which might be relevant. Peaceful cooperation has been argued for entering space, and we can do that, but it was preparations for war that gave us the ICBM, the means to get there.


    https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1207/1207.1498.pdf

    Stapledon's Interplanetary Man: A Commonwealth of Worlds and the Ultimate Purpose of Space Colonisation

    Ian A. Crawford
    (Submitted on 6 Jul 2012)

    In his 1948 lecture to the British Interplanetary Society, Olaf Stapledon considered the ultimate purpose of colonising other worlds. Having examined the possible motivations arising from improved scientific knowledge and access to extraterrestrial raw materials, he concludes that the ultimate benefits of space colonisation will be the increased opportunities for developing human (and post-human) diversity, intellectual and aesthetic potential and, especially, 'spirituality'. By the latter concept he meant a striving for "sensitive and intelligent awareness of things in the universe (including persons), and of the universe as a whole." A key insight articulated by Stapledon in this lecture was that this should be the aspiration of all human development anyway, with or without space colonisation, but that the latter would greatly increase the scope for such developments. Another key aspect of his vision was the development of a diverse, but connected, 'Commonwealth of Worlds' extending throughout the Solar System, and eventually beyond, within which human potential would be maximised. In this paper I analyse Stapledon's vision of space colonisation, and will conclude that his overall conclusions remain sound. However, I will also argue that he was overly utopian in believing that human social and political unity are prerequisites for space exploration (while agreeing that they are desirable objectives in their own right), and that he unnecessarily downplayed the more prosaic scientific and economic motivations which are likely to be key drivers for space exploration (if not colonisation) in the shorter term. Finally, I draw attention to some recent developments in international space policy which, although probably not influenced by Stapledon's work, are nevertheless congruent with his overarching philosophy as outlined in 'Interplanetary Man?'
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    Something about this issue struck me as familiar, so I entered "Stapledon" into the ArXiv system and got this, which might be relevant. Peaceful cooperation has been argued for entering space, and we can do that, but it was preparations for war that gave us the ICBM, the means to get there.
    I was thinking specifically of that and the V2 when writing my post...along with the Cold War driven space race.
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    I think as long as a "push" exists, sufficient motivation to carry out the mission, it doesn't matter if it's war or competition or something else. For us, war works unfortunately well to push technological development. However, in the long run I think it comes down to the environment in which the intelligence develops.

    Giant spider-crab aliens living in a subsurface ocean on an icy satellite like Europa would have real trouble getting into space, assuming they could even figure out how to smelt metals underwater.

    On the other hand, monkey-like aliens on a low-gravity world might have an easier time getting into space. Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker presents the Other Earth, which had such low gravity as to allow artillery to fire at targets on the other side of the planet. Alas, the Other Earth inhabitants killed themselves off, but had they not they might have gotten into space faster.

    The "push" must be there, and it must be consistent and hard, but the environment has a lot to say about things too.
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    The Greeks and Romans had all they needed to make steam powered devices, perhaps even some sort of toy sized rockets and didn't. The Chinese on the other hand jumped on rockets to good effect but then never scaled them up. It isn't so much the technology or the curiosity, but a need that drives things.

    I can easily envision building a fairly large rocket, but don't have a need to do so. In fact, trying not to blow myself up or set fire to my house is a pretty big need. Curious, yes. Adventurous or needful, nope.
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    To answer the OP, the question is IMO too speculative. We spent X thousands of years as hunter-gatherers. How much shorter could that have been? We don't know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    To answer the OP, the question is IMO too speculative. We spent X thousands of years as hunter-gatherers. How much shorter could that have been? We don't know.
    yeah, |I know. I sort of see maybe some aliens having their 'renascence' much earlier. The realisation that logical thought can lead to great things; that creative genius may have no bounds...they may have had their cultural rebirth early and thence forth taken that mindset much much more seriously...
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    Let's cut to the chase and just say that it will take as long as it takes. We only have one example to analyze, and that one has been plagued by recurring wars throughout history. We don't have the benefit of multiple ETs to study and find out what would be typical.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornblower View Post
    Let's cut to the chase and just say that it will take as long as it takes. We only have one example to analyze, and that one has been plagued by recurring wars throughout history. We don't have the benefit of multiple ETs to study and find out what would be typical.
    yes, we don't know the overall effect that war would have on an ET. I don't think Newton was propelled by the need to develop weapons, or Einstein....perhaps some ETs would be hyper motivated just to discover new stuff.
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    I’m with Hornblower and Noclevername, how can we possibly speculate when we only have one example of such a civilization?
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    I’m with Hornblower and Noclevername, how can we possibly speculate when we only have one example of such a civilization?

    but that's kind of the nature of speculation.

    Maybe it is more in the realm of scifi than science, but you could sort of imagine a wide range of types of ET, eg highly intelligent, and curious, and motivated, with vision, and peacful to add to that. What is there to stop them going full steam ahead, and not mess around, like humans have inadvertently done.
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    I don't think it's unfair to assume the question involves base conditions largely similar to our planet. Maybe resources are more easily accessible though.

    So the next issue is intellectual jumps. Given the question, let's assume one of two options, either they have spectacular intellectual extrapolative and comprehensive ability, OR all the necessary theory and design was dropped on them from an outside source, either way, we can throw out time for intellectual building upon theory as negligible. They'll figure out the math and have the ah-ha moments as fast as needed.

    This leaves some more intractable issues still. Modern complex industry does often require previous industrial infrastructure. However, industries that required appreciable startup time and significant previous industrial manipulation of raw materials did not become common until the mid-1800's. We were capable of being in space by the 1940's. So with an all hands push and all the knowledge a given, along with sufficient numbers to manage the industry, I'd say as little as half a century. However, the ramping up in civilization numbers from a neolithic level to a 1900's level requires ideal agricultural development alongside and a prodigious birthrate and low deathrate with a seamless shift from hunter gatherer to agrarian to urban. So there are a lot of absolutely perfect conditions to make all that happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    https://arxiv.org/abs/1804.03698

    Interstellar Escape from Proxima b is Barely Possible with Chemical Rockets

    Abraham Loeb (Harvard)
    (Submitted on 10 Apr 2018)

    A civilization in the habitable zone of a dwarf star might find it challenging to escape into interstellar space using chemical propulsion.
    That addresses only interstellar flight. It does not address getting off of their planet. That is because getting off of one's planet is a first and necessary step in spaceflight.

    https://arxiv.org/abs/1804.04727

    Spaceflight from Super-Earths is difficult

    Michael Hippke
    (Submitted on 12 Apr 2018 (v1), last revised 18 May 2018 (this version, v2))

    Many rocky exoplanets are heavier and larger than the Earth, and have higher surface gravity. This makes space-flight on these worlds very challenging, because the required fuel mass for a given payload is an exponential function of planetary surface gravity. We find that chemical rockets still allow for escape velocities on Super-Earths up to 10x Earth mass. More massive rocky worlds, if they exist, would require other means to leave the planet, such as nuclear propulsion.
    Good that it addresses that problem. For getting off of a planet, one needs a high-thrust rocket engine, and the only practical ones ever flown are chemical ones. Nuclear ones may have faster exhaust velocity, but they have problems of their own.

    The best chemical ones are H2-O2 ones, with an exhaust velocity of 4.4 km/s. Kerosene-oxygen does about 3 km/s, and solid rocket engines as much as 2.5 km/s.

    A nuclear-thermal rocket may do as much as 9 km/s, with a nuclear reactor heating hydrogen.


    Once one gets off of a planet's surface, one can use a low-thrust engine, though doing so may require some very leisurely travel. One of the best of them is the NSTAR one, with an exhaust velocity of about 30 km/s. The Dawn spacecraft is propelled by three NSTAR engines, and it has flown for 11 years, with its engines running for much of that time. So such engines may be good for interstellar spaceflight from a red dwarf.

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    There is another problem: how to get from Paleolithic technology to Neolithic technology, how to go from foraging (hunting and gathering) to agriculture. Our ancestors became anatomically modern some 200,000 years ago, and behaviorally modern some 80,000 - 100,000 years ago. But during most of that time, our ancestors had Paleolithic technology, and only inventing more advanced technology in the current interglacial, the Holocene Epoch.

    Agriculture was invented several times in the Holocene; Center of origin - Wikipedia shows where. From that article,
    Approximate centers of origin of agriculture in the Neolithic revolution and its spread in prehistory as understood in 2003: the Fertile Crescent (11,000 BP), the Yangtze and Yellow River basins (9,000 BP) and the New Guinea Highlands (9,000–6,000 BP), Central Mexico (5,000–4,000 BP), Northern South America (5,000–4,000 BP), sub-Saharan Africa (5,000–4,000 BP, exact location unknown), eastern North America (4,000–3,000 BP).
    BP = Before Present, using 1950 as present.

    So for whatever weird reason, we invented agriculture several times over the last 10,000 years, but not over the 70,000 - 90,000 years or so preceding that. I've seen the theory that climate was too unstable during the glaciations of that time, the "Ice Age". For a few decades or centuries, the climate might be good enough for crop plants, then it becomes too cold or too dry. But the Holocene's climate was stable enough to let people get started.

    Agriculture made possible large-scale societies, and this in turn made it possible to specialize in various skills, like manufacturing skills and intellectual skills.

    The next steps were domestic animals, metalworking, and writing.


    Of domestic animals, only one of them was domesticated before agriculture: the dog. All the others were domesticated by people who had agriculture. Most of the more successful domestic animals were domesticated in various parts of Eurasia, for whatever odd reason. In the Americas, the main domestic animals were the llama and the turkey. Though llamas are good work animals, they did not spread out the Andes Mountains until recent centuries. Eurasia has four comparable work animals: the bovine, the horse, the camel, and the donkey. The first two, especially, have been spread over the millennia from their domestication sites to most of Eurasia, and more recently, to most of the rest of the world.

    Work animals represent the first nonhuman sources of mechanical energy that humanity has utilized, though sailboats may be close competition from their use of wind energy. Windmills and watermills were invented later, and they represented more utilizations of nonhuman mechanical energy.


    Metalworking started out on with gold and meteorite iron, because those metals did not need refining. The first refined metal was likely copper, starting some 7000 years ago in the Balkans or the northern Middle East. Mixing it with arsenic or tin made bronze, an alloy much harder than copper, starting some 5000 years ago in southeastern Europe and the Middle East. Iron followed much later, around 1200 BCE in the Middle East. Use of these metals spread all over Eurasia, with the rest of the world not going as far, if it used metals at all.

    An important derivative technology was likely the wheel, because making wooden wheels likely requires at least bronze tools. Wheeled vehicles first appear around 3500 BCE in southeastern Europe and the Middle East, and they spread over much of Eurasia over the next few millennia.


    Writing was invented from scratch in only two or three places: the southeastern Middle East, Central America, and maybe also China. But once invented, it spread widely, and awareness of its existence provoked several additional inventions of it ("stimulus diffusion").


    Note on geography: Eurasia = Europe + Asia, since the dividing line between Europe and Asia is rather arbitrary. I should include the north coast of Africa with Eurasia, since it tends to be closely associated with Eurasia rather than with most of the rest of Africa.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornblower View Post
    Let's cut to the chase and just say that it will take as long as it takes. We only have one example to analyze, and that one has been plagued by recurring wars throughout history. We don't have the benefit of multiple ETs to study and find out what would be typical.
    Sure. The issue is not to get it "right", but to get it plausible.

    As long as WR has a rational explanation that addresses the points here (whether or not they make it into the story), then he's covered.

    For example, if he can plausibly explain how they surive the first few decades before they develop sophisiticated tools and farming techniques, then - well - they did survive it. Maybe they were plopped down in a particularly fertile area, where the macro-fauna had no natural predators.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lpetrich View Post
    There is another problem: how to get from Paleolithic technology to Neolithic technology, how to go from foraging (hunting and gathering) to agriculture. Our ancestors became anatomically modern some 200,000 years ago, and behaviorally modern some 80,000 - 100,000 years ago. But during most of that time, our ancestors had Paleolithic technology, and only inventing more advanced technology in the current interglacial, the Holocene Epoch.

    Agriculture was invented several times in the Holocene; Center of origin - Wikipedia shows where. From that article,

    BP = Before Present, using 1950 as present.

    So for whatever weird reason, we invented agriculture several times over the last 10,000 years, but not over the 70,000 - 90,000 years or so preceding that. I've seen the theory that climate was too unstable during the glaciations of that time, the "Ice Age". For a few decades or centuries, the climate might be good enough for crop plants, then it becomes too cold or too dry. But the Holocene's climate was stable enough to let people get started.
    An unfortunate problem even Stephen Baxter couldn't get around in his Stone Spring trilogy (which I am in the middle of reading).

    His fictional village of Etxelur went from foraging to gargantuan dyke-building in a single generation (albeit with the help of a traveller from the East).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornblower View Post
    Let's cut to the chase and just say that it will take as long as it takes. We only have one example to analyze, and that one has been plagued by recurring wars throughout history. We don't have the benefit of multiple ETs to study and find out what would be typical.
    But I wasn't really after what was typical, I was really after what was optimal.

    I think there may be much better motivators for advances in technology in the Universe other than wars, and other conflicts.

    I suppose I'm thinking of an ET race who have more vision, and the moment they realise the power of making tools, just don't look back, and they go through stages like the metal ages, and renascence, and industrial revolution in a thousand years...obviously population rise is a limiting factor.
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    Theoretical science, as distinct from technology, is much younger. It got started in Greece some 2500 years ago and continued into the Roman Empire before being extinguished in the strife of the Crisis of the Third Century. It did not get restarted until a millennium later, in 1200 in western and central Europe, with the (re)discovery of the writings of those early Greek and Roman scientists. Even then, it was slow going at first, but it speeded up around 1500 - 1600.

    This was long after the invention of agriculture in the nearby Fertile Crescent, and long after the invention of writing on its southeastern end, and it only happened once. It was not continued in the Roman Empire after that third-century strife, not even in the Byzantine Empire, its eastern half. It was sort of half-restarted in the medieval Islamic world, but when the Islamic caliphates suffered setbacks, interest in science also suffered.


    Back to technology, the first step to converting heat to mechanical energy was taken some 2000 years ago in the form of a simple steam engine: a ball that gets steam injected into it, a ball that then releases it sideways to make it turn -- Heron's aeolopile. But that technology was not developed very much for nearly 2000 years. In the meantime, around 850 CE, some Chinese alchemists accidentally invented gunpowder, and around 1300, we see mention of rockets in a Chinese book on weapons that use gunpowder.

    Returning to steam engines, Britain had a problem around 1700. Its people were using lots of wood, and as trees got cut down, they turned to coal. Mining it had a problem: water getting into the mines. Pumping it out was powered by horses, but that had limits. In 1714, Thomas Newcomen developed the first practical steam engine. It was a good alternative to horses, but it was so inefficient that it was only practical for coal mines. James Watt's improved steam engine (roughly 1763 - 1775) was efficient enough to be usable outside of coal mines, and it started the Industrial Revolution. James Watt even invented a unit of energy rate (power) as a way to compare his steam engines to horses: the horsepower. In his honor, the metric-system unit of energy rate was named after him.

    James Watt's successors improved on his designs, and steam engines eventually powered ships and trains. They were not very practical for flat-road vehicles, however, and it was in the late nineteenth century that they got a practical sort of engine: the internal-combustion engine. ICE's also convert heat into mechanical energy, and they do so more conveniently than steam engines. ICE's ended up replacing steam engines in most of their applications, and even the largest ships are nowadays powered by ICE's -- giant ones. ICE's also made powered flight practical.

    Turning to rockets themselves, the first ones were solid-fuel. Liquid-fuel rockets were proposed by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky in 1903, and Robert Goddard built the first one that flew, in 1926. It was the subject of an infamous New York Times editorial that stated that rockets cannot work in a vacuum because they have nothing to push against. RG himself had tested that claim some years before, and he found that rockets do indeed work in a vacuum. The next step was taken in Nazi Germany with the development of the V-2 rocket. On its flights, the V-2's got very close to outer space. After the defeat of that nation, both the United States and the Soviet Union both recruited V-2 designers, and developed rockets capable of getting into orbit. The Soviet Union was the first, in 1957, with a small radio beeper. But it was enough to demonstrate what that nation was capable of.

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    Some other technological developments proved to be important for spacecraft.

    One was electricity. Over the nineteenth century, scientists and engineers improved their understanding of electricity and magnetism enough to be able to deliver usable amounts of energy by the late nineteenth century. Over the decades, electricity became a major energy-distribution mechanism, because of its great convenience.

    But electricity does not have much use unless it can be controlled. The first controls of it were mechanical switches, and we still use them today. One could make electricity control electricity with an electromechanical relay: make a magnetic field and move a magnet with a switch attached to it. In 1906, Lee De Forest invented a vacuum-tube electrical switch. It could switch much faster than an electromechanical relay, making it useful for audio and video applications. In 1947, William Shockley demonstrated a transistor, a solid-state electrical switch. Transistors could be made very low-power and very small.

    Printed circuits were developed over the early 20th century. They made it unnecessary to put in a lot of wiring by hand. All that was necessary was to insert components into a printed-circuit board and solder them into place. With the development of transistors, printed circuits could be taken a step further, by printing transistors in addition to wires. This gave us integrated circuits, and integrated-circuit technology gradually advanced to the point where a single integrated-circuit chip can contain several billion transistors.


    Improved understanding of electricity and magnetism led to James Clerk Maxwell discovering electromagnetic-wave solutions, and visible light was soon recognized as an electromagnetic wave, though a very high-frequency one. In 1887, Heinrich Hertz made electromagnetic waves using macroscopic electric currents, and in 1895, Gugliemo Marconi broadcast a Morse-code signal. Audio broadcasts were started experimentally in 1906 and commercially in 1920. Video broadcasts were started experimentally in the 1930's and commercially in the 1940's.


    Another important technology was automated computing. This goes back to antiquity, where the Antikythera Machine was an astronomical calculator that used lots of gears -- clockwork. But such mechanisms did not become common again until the late Middle Ages, and in early modern times, clocks were designed that used pendulums to make their timekeeping precise. This was followed by using springs for that purpose, making watches possible.

    Clockwork was very evidently being used to do arithmetic, and in 1642, Blaise Pascal and William Schickard invented the first adding machines, using lots of gears in them. The next advance was in the late 1880's, when Herman Hollerith invented an adding machine that could read punched cards with holes in them representing numbers. This tabulating machine's first big use was in the 1890 US Census, adding up the numbers much faster than for the previous census. Tabulating machines became widely used until electronic computers came along.

    Another approach to automating adding-machine operation was to do several operations in sequence. This was the principle of Charles Babbage's Difference Engine, developed by him in the early 19th century. CB went on to design a much more ambitious machine, his Analytical Engine. It would receive data values on punched cards, and also instructions. It could move back and forth in its instructions, and write intermediate results in an internal scratchpad memory. It could also run a printer and punch cards and ring a bell. Only a few parts of this machine were ever built.

    Late in World War II, electronic machines were built that worked much like the Analytical Engine -- the first electronic digital computers. These and other early computers used vacuum tubes, but their successors used first discrete transistors, and then integrated circuits with more and more components.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    I suppose I'm thinking of an ET race who have more vision, and the moment they realise the power of making tools, just don't look back, and they go through stages like the metal ages, and renascence, and industrial revolution in a thousand years...obviously population rise is a limiting factor.
    Another limiting factor may be experience with technologies. Early versions of technologies usually do not work very well, and it may take several years of trial and error to get some technology into good shape. However, many technologies seem to have taken longer to invent and develop that what one might expect for that, especially premodern ones.

    Let us not forget about technology dependence. I mentioned a little bit of that, and to go into more detail would be to get more long-winded than I have been in recent posts. The numerous dependencies among technologies are what inspired the technology trees of the Civilization series of games and similar ones.

    So a combination of technology maturation and technology dependency can easily produce a sizable amount of time.

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    I'll look at the prospects for paralleling humanity's development of technology.

    Development of agriculture.

    The climate-stability theory raises the question of how stable the climates of Earthlike planets are likely to be. Are the Pleistocene glaciations unusually unstable? Or is the Holocene interglacial unusually stable? How stable was the climate before the Pleistocene? Climate History at scotese.com shows overall variation over the last 750 million years, and the last few million years have been very cold by the standards of most of the Phanerozoic. So extrapolating from the Pleistocene and Holocene may be difficult. My guess is that since the glaciers were relatively small over most of that time, the climate was relatively stable -- much like the Holocene's climate.

    Then what makes a good crop plant. Large seeds and roots are good for eating, because they give relatively large amounts of food for their harvesting effort. However, what makes them large is variable climate. Plants with large roots would grow those roots during wet seasons and then live off of those roots during dry seasons -- and grow back with those roots in following wet seasons. Regular wet and dry seasons would require a sizable axial tilt, sort of like what the Earth has. The ET's would likely be members of a large and varied biota, and this may include plant species that may make good crops.

    Large work animals.

    They may be a good steppingstone to industrialization, because they can supply much more mechanical energy than their masters can. One can expect them to be herbivores, living off of low-quality vegetation, because that is the most abundant kind of food. They are also very likely to be herd animals. This is evident from present-day animals and also from dinosaurs. Being herd animals may make them easier to handle, since they may prefer to stick together, and since one may exploit some dominance hierarchy to act as the top herd member. As with crop plants, a large and varied biota may include large herbivores that make good work animals.

    Metals.

    Ore genesis - Wikipedia describes a variety of mechanisms. Most of them require geological activity and some of them are made easier by plate tectonics, if not made possible. So plate tectonics elsewhere may lead to a variety of ore bodies.

    Writing.

    How easy it is to invent and copy will depend on the ET's' psychology, like how easily its visual processing might get connected to its language abilities. By cosmic standards, was it too hard for us to invent writing? Or too easy?

    Abstract science.

    Here also, was it too hard for us or too easy?

    Fossil fuels.

    Very likely, at least with plate tectonics.

    Industrialism and lots of other stuff -- I'm unwilling to speculate much further.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    What is there to stop them going full steam ahead, and not mess around, like humans have inadvertently done.
    But that seems to presume that they know and understand what they're working "towards" even before they develop science or industry. I think that's asking a bit much.


    That "messing around" is what most people who've ever lived would call, "living our lives".
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    But that seems to presume that they know and understand what they're working "towards" even before they develop science or industry. I think that's asking a bit much.


    That "messing around" is what most people who've ever lived would call, "living our lives".
    yes, you're right to question the target thing....but like I said these ETs have more vission. Who is to say they have a target, only they realise the potential of tools, and philosophy.

    People 'living their lives' include having to live under serfdom, building useless giant pyramids etc.....there could be other ways.
    Formerly Frog march.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    yes, you're right to question the target thing....but like I said these ETs have more vission. Who is to say they have a target, only they realise the potential of tools, and philosophy.

    People 'living their lives' include having to live under serfdom, building useless giant pyramids etc.....there could be other ways.

    Not every civilized society had serfdom or equivalent. That was mostly a European thing. In ancient China, for instance, farming was a valued profession. So we already followed different pathways here on Earth.

    Those "giant useless pyramids" required developing mathematics and engineering. Knowledge that would later contribute to the very tools that led to industrialization.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Not every civilized society had serfdom or equivalent. That was mostly a European thing. In ancient China, for instance, farming was a valued profession. So we already followed different pathways here on Earth.

    Those "giant useless pyramids" required developing mathematics and engineering. Knowledge that would later contribute to the very tools that led to industrialization.
    yes, that was mankind's vector, but I don't see that we have to build such things in order to to develop the maths.
    Formerly Frog march.

    Newscaster: ... But I've just had a report that a representative of Disaster Area met with the environmentalists this morning and had them all shot, so now nothing stands in the way of the concert going ahead this afternoon on this beautiful sunny day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WaxRubiks View Post
    yes, that was mankind's vector, but I don't see that we have to build such things in order to to develop the maths.
    We also developed some from calendar and sky calculations, but constructing things needs a different mathematical and physical skillset. We developed by a multitude of intersecting pathways, and ubiquitous pyramid calculations were part of that. Look at Egypt and the Americas, the most prolific pyramid builders also had the most advanced mathematical systems among their peers.

    It's all interrelated, you cannot isolate one element and say "we could have skipped that".
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

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