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Maddad
2005-Sep-14, 04:48 PM
The history of Man is a story of innovations in technology that profoundly changed the lives of ordinary people. I placed the following list of ideas, the ones that I could think of in a few minutes, in their general chronological order:

Fire
Domestication of Animals
Development of Agriculture
Hunting Weapons
Use of Metal Implements
Invention of the Wheel
Travel by Ships
Travel by Railroad
Invention of Refrigeration
Telephone
Other Electrical Devices
Mass Production
Travel by Automobile
Travel by Flight
Computers
Internet

What is the next major technological breakthrough that will change our lives as much as these have done? The first impulse is to identify space travel. The problem though is that it will remain incredibly expensive. This means that the average person will not be vacationing on the Moon or Mars any time in the next few centuries. There is though the possibility that the world of the very small will have our immediate descendants living very differently than we do now.

Physicists classify particles as real or virtual on the basis of how long they last. If they come into existence and annihilate almost immediately with their counterpart, we call them virtual. If they hang around a while, we call them real.

In great numbers, particles come into existence and then go away again all the time, even in the supposed vacuum of space. The next innovative technology that will change how Man lives will be the discovery of a way to induce significant quantities of these particles to become real as opposed to just virtual.

While initially this would result in the creation of atomic hydrogen gas, we would soon refine the technique to make more massive collections of particles, starting with molecular hydrogen. The next jump would give us oxygen. It is a small step from there to create a particle conglomeration of ten protons, eight neutrons, and ten electrons—a molecule of water.

This particle would have come from nowhere. It would require no energy supply to fashion, just one to guide its creation. Once you have created one water molecule, you can generate a second and a third. Repeat the process and you create a visible amount of liquid water that never existed anywhere in the world, or universe, before.

The world has an insatiable need for clean, pure water. If these devices were to become commonplace and compact, the effect on the human race would be as revolutionary as any other in history.

Swift
2005-Sep-14, 05:25 PM
<snip>
The next innovative technology that will change how Man lives will be the discovery of a way to induce significant quantities of these particles to become real as opposed to just virtual.

Do you have any reason or evidence to believe such a thing is even possible? I don't know, but I would think it is not. It would seem to violate to many well established laws of physics.

Ilya
2005-Sep-14, 05:52 PM
More realistically, I think the next major technologies that will have truly profound effect on everyday life will be:

1. Medicine and nutrition tailored to individual's genes

2. Implanted brain-computer connection

antoniseb
2005-Sep-14, 05:53 PM
The next innovative technology that will change how Man lives will be the discovery of a way to induce significant quantities of these particles to become real as opposed to just virtual.

That's an interesting prediction, since it also suggests that we will develop the means to collect copius amounts of anti-matter.

I don't regard this prediction as very likely. I think that is there's anything out there likely to be the Next Major Technology, it is nanotech. Nanotech can come in many forms, and nanotech medicine and electronics are going to be the first big forms of it, but there is more to come, and I suspect you will later look back and divide the nanotech revolution into distinct technologies.

Maddad
2005-Sep-14, 06:49 PM
Do you have any reason or evidence to believe such a thing is even possible? I don't know, but I would think it is not. It would seem to violate to many well established laws of physics.No sir Swift, we do not have any such technology. I am not so sure that it violates laws of physics, and have spent quite some time speculating on results should we pass the technology hurdle.

I'm not wanting to start a fight, but what laws were you thinking of?

ToSeek
2005-Sep-14, 07:04 PM
I go along with Ilya. I think the next major breakthrough is going to be in the area of biology and/or medicine.

fossilnut2
2005-Sep-14, 07:14 PM
Technologies are an ambivalent concept. Chicken and egg.

I see the biggest changes coming in the health and genetics field. Just as some of the biggest changes in the past have been in health. The whole structure of a society changes when you can expect to live to 80 instead of 50 and 5 out of 7 children don't predecease you.

The ability to manufacture smallpox vaccine or antibiotics in mass quantities had much more impact than my ability to surf the Internet. Most of us wouldn't be around to surf the internet.

In the near term (50 years) more artificial organs. Over the same 50 years but continuous and beyond are genetic tinkering and advances through stem cell research, etc.

The chicken and egg comes into it because what infrastructure has to in place in society for new technologies to come about? Is a spacecraft the new breakthrough technology or is it the invention of the technology to produce strong lightweight composite materials that are used in the spacecraft?

Taks
2005-Sep-14, 08:33 PM
i agree with antoniseb... nanotechnology.

however, there is one caveat which may make a difference. quantum computing is in a sort of race with nanotech right now to see which hits the scene first. qc is behind as only rudimentary computing systems have been develope (10 atoms for example) whereas nanotechnology has seen plenty of little developments recently. granted, the nanomachines that have been developed are virtually useless from a practical standpoint, but they do exist nonetheless. should there be some major breakthroughs with qc, their relative positions may change.

the next 10 years should be telling.

taks

RUF
2005-Sep-14, 09:40 PM
You forgot the development of antibiotics. Before then, medicine just treated symptoms, not causes. The next development will be genetic medicine; specificially the use of RNAi to destroy the protiens that cause diseases, syndromes, cancer, ect... (That is of course, if phamecutical corporations decide they want to start curing diseases instead of making money by treating them).

Taks
2005-Sep-14, 09:44 PM
which may be discovered using new, super fast quantum computers. ;)

taks

novaderrik
2005-Sep-14, 10:09 PM
i think the original poster must have just watched an episode of Star Trek:TNG where Picard gets a cup of "tea, Earl Grey, hot" from the replicator.

DrDave
2005-Sep-15, 12:04 AM
Genetic medicine and quantum computing (No reason why we can't have both at the same time!). But seriously, how many others think the overriding drive should be towards getting people off this planet? Get at least some of the "eggs" out of the basket?

Cheers, Dave.

Igor
2005-Sep-15, 12:49 AM
I think that affordable space tourism technology, probably based on electromagnetic
flight propulsion, could be developed in the immidiate future. Any thoughts about
that?
Igor

Ricimer
2005-Sep-15, 12:55 AM
I'm suprised the original list of revolutionary technology doesn't have writing (specifically an alphabet) on it. I'd actually put that as the biggest achievement we've ever had. Heck, look at the printing press and how it's use made such a huge impact (and it's only an outgrowth of writing in general).

Anyway...the next technology: I'm going to throw my weight behind gene therapy too.

Taks
2005-Sep-15, 02:36 AM
Get at least some of the "eggs" out of the basket?YES! i know juuuuust where to start... :)

taks

Nereid
2005-Sep-15, 01:58 PM
Well, if the internet is on the list, along with the telephone, but not the electric power grid (without which most of those 'electrical devices' wouldn't be), I'm going to go for something rather prosaic ... the fuel cell.

Once miniturised and made sufficiently robust, it'll take a few decades to work through the economy, but the changes will be revolutionary.

In medicine, health etc, I think the next revolution will include the proper application of IT and today's biochips (no need for nanotech), to dramatically increase efficiency and effectiveness. Without these revolutions, 'genetic medicine' will remain a curiosity or available only to the very rich.

There's also a quiet revolution happening already - not quite 'replicators' yet, but 3D 'printing' may have a profound impact, one which we can barely imagine now.

If we take a broad definition of technology - to include all applications of the scientific method, codifying good theories into 'engineering' - then there's been another revolution under way for a little while. It's one that I personally hope will continue. The understanding of what makes Homo saps. do what they do, both individually and collectively. This revolution has already resulted in a substantial reduction in human suffering and death (at the hands of fellow persons), and has the potential to do much more.

However, the most dramatic revolution won't happen until all (or just most?) of us are dead - downloading.

Huevos Grandes
2005-Sep-15, 02:24 PM
Teleportation.

It's already possible in the strictest rudimentary sense- being used in data transfer.

There are still many more lesser advances that will be made, just in my own lifetime: implanted electronic devices (medical ones, as well as cell phones, televisions, performance enhancers, etc.), safer power supplies (solar, nuclear fusion), and maybe even a non-white, non-Christian president !

Swift
2005-Sep-15, 03:51 PM
No sir Swift, we do not have any such technology. I am not so sure that it violates laws of physics, and have spent quite some time speculating on results should we pass the technology hurdle.

I'm not wanting to start a fight, but what laws were you thinking of?
You said,

Physicists classify particles as real or virtual on the basis of how long they last. If they come into existence and annihilate almost immediately with their counterpart, we call them virtual. If they hang around a while, we call them real.
I'm not a physicist, but as I understand it, virtual particles are created as particle/anti-particle pairs. They almost instantly recombine and annihilate each other, so there is not net increase in either matter or energy.

If one or both of them become "real" particles, as you describe, then one would be creating matter out of nothing. This would violate the conservation of matter/energy.

The only idea I can think of that is similar to yours is a Hawkins idea. Imagine that one of these pairs of virtual particles is created just outside the event horizon of a black hole. If one of the particles falls into the hole, but the other one escapes, then in effect you have created a real particle. But you "pay" for that by decreasing the mass of the black hole. I believe this is his mechanism for the "evaporation" of black holes.

Gillianren
2005-Sep-15, 07:03 PM
I'd just like to point out that hunting weapons arguably came before even fire, and definitely before agriculture. and, yes, writing belongs on the list, as does the printing press. (back in '99, A&E did a "100 most influential people of the milennium" list, and #1 was Guttenberg.)

I hope that what's coming up soon is a better way of controlling brain chemistry. then again, I just had yet another psych eval, so I'm a little focused right now.

Maddad
2005-Sep-15, 07:08 PM
Thanks for the idea about writing and printing; you're absolutely right. Somebody I was talking to in school suggested medicine, of which your psyche stuff is a part.

novaderrik
2005-Sep-15, 08:58 PM
how many of those "revolutionary" inventions were discovered hundreds or even thousands of years ago in China, and only recently "invented" in Europe or the USA in the last few hundred years?

j0seph
2005-Sep-15, 09:05 PM
Um, other than maybe gun powder which made cannons and fireworks possible... I cant think of anything

Joff
2005-Sep-15, 09:30 PM
I'm willing to play "top the list" so I suggest speech comes first.

One major change not reflected in comments so far is sewerage systems, which had probably the greatest effect on life expectancy in history. I would probably swap "steam power" in for railroads, too.

As for next technology, nanotech looks bright for a reasonably visible presence in 15 years time... I hope we'll get fusion rather before Maddad's particle creation system since I think that will be at least 200 years off, and dubious from an energetics point of view.

novaderrik
2005-Sep-15, 11:37 PM
China had the printing press a long time before a European ever "invented" it.
they had mass production of items with interchangable parts like weapons and what not around the time a guy named Jesus was walking around messing with the authorities in the middle east. they had high speed communication- well, for the day- using smoke signals. they could send a warning of an invasion at their farthest borders to the capitol in a matter of hours. i know an internet based on that would be problematic at best- just think of the amount of smoke it would take to reply to a message board like this one- but still they had it.
the point is, that not everything we "know" was invented in the last couple of centuries was actually invented in the last couple of centuries. some knowledge got lost and forgotten over time, and only recently rediscovered. who knows how advanced the technology of the world would be had the Chinese (or Romans, or whoever) not had their empires fall.
and who knows what the technology will be like 1000 years from now- especially if there is some sort of major calamity that causes most of what we know to be "lost" for a while.

Gillianren
2005-Sep-15, 11:51 PM
they had high speed communication- well, for the day- using smoke signals. they could send a warning of an invasion at their farthest borders to the capitol in a matter of hours

well, sure--the issue's how many hours.

or from a more serious perspective, the Chinese were hardly the only culture with a system of watch fires. see any decent book of English history, for one, especially regarding the Norman Invasion or the Spanish Armada.

dakini
2005-Sep-15, 11:54 PM
Hell, the greeks had calculus before the dark ages.

Then some monks deceided to reuse the manuscripts.

Ilya
2005-Sep-16, 12:37 AM
Hell, the greeks had calculus before the dark ages.

Then some monks deceided to reuse the manuscripts.
Do you have a cite for that?

AFAIK, not only Greeks never invented calculus, but would have found it repellent if someone handed it to them. To Greek philosophy, the ideas of infinity and inifinitesimal were anathema. They had hard enough time just accepting irrational numbers.

Joff
2005-Sep-16, 04:37 AM
the greeks had calculus before the dark ages. ... and the dinosaurs had warp drive :lol:

publiusr
2005-Sep-16, 05:18 PM
Biology--esp. this:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/3210/02.html

Hydrogen storage:
http://amminex.com/index_files/Page344.htm

Failure analysis for welds. STUNNING!!!
http://projects.battelle.org/verity/default.aspx

The carbon nanosheets and nano-rods of course.

In a word--refinement (of existing tech.)

Maddad
2005-Sep-16, 11:32 PM
Whether some group developed an advancement, such as calculus, is inconsequential to this thread unless it resulted in significant change in the life of the common man.

Taks
2005-Sep-18, 01:35 AM
btw, my guess is that space tourism will actually be done using the elevator concept built out of carbon nanotube. IEEE Spectrum had a good writeup on this a while back. very cool

taks

publiusr
2005-Sep-21, 05:13 PM
Here is to Hurricane modification--soon!

Demigrog
2005-Sep-23, 08:11 PM
According to Civ3, the next great thing is "Future Technology 1".

Gillianren
2005-Sep-23, 09:13 PM
but if you instead use Alpha Centauri, it's Transcendent Thought 1! oh, how confusing . . . .

SkepticJ
2005-Sep-25, 08:35 PM
Fire[/]b
Domestication of Animals
Development of Agriculture
[b]Hunting Weapons
Use of Metal Implements
Invention of the Wheel
Travel by Ships
Travel by Railroad
Invention of Refrigeration
Telephone
Other Electrical Devices
Mass Production
Travel by Automobile
Travel by Flight
Computers
Internet


Your list is off, it should look like this:

Hunting weapons, have been used by humans and proto-humans for millions of years.
Language, the ability to tell one's thoughts to another. The ability to pass knowledge needed for survival from one being to another, down through time.
Fire
Domestication of wolves into dogs.
Boats, not ships, probably fit here.
Domestication of other animals and plants for agriculture.
Travel by ship is probably here.
Bronze Age
Wheels
Water wheels
Glass/Iron Age
Compasses
Black powder
Glass lenses
Scientific Method
Steam engines
Railroad
Telegraph
Barbed wire
Electric lights with filaments instead of arc lamps.
Refrigeration
Telephones
Internal combustion engines and later Diesel engines
Automobiles
Diesel engines
AC current via power lines
Aircraft
Rocket engines
Jet turbines
Television
Digital computers
Transitors
Nuclear power
Communication satellites
Integrated circuits
Microprocessors
Fiber optics
First steps into genetics.
Internet

I know I must be forgeting somethings...

The next things:
Stem Cells
Brain-computer connections, being able to "will" things to happen via this.
Genetic engineering gets better./More baby steps into nanotechnology
Robotics
Next gen solar technology, Quantum Dot PV cells etc.
Human level AI
Nuclear fusion
Moon and Mars colonies
Cheap access to low Earth orbit via beanstalk or space fountain space elevators./Asteroid mining
Space habitats: O'neil Colonies, bicycle wheel-like space stations; some in the Lagrange points...........

eburacum45
2005-Sep-27, 07:02 PM
Interesting idea about converting virtual particles to water; the need for fresh water is certainly great on our planet, but I suspect that creation of mass will require an equivalent amount of energy. To make a litre of water would require about 10e17 Joules. With that amount of energy we could distill thousands of tonnes of seawater.

A more urgent technology would entail the convertion of mass to energy; we will need a new source of energy in the next hundred years or so- conversion of mass to energy would be excellent, even if it is only a few percent efficient.

hhEb09'1
2005-Sep-27, 07:57 PM
Do you have a cite for that?

AFAIK, not only Greeks never invented calculus, but would have found it repellent if someone handed it to them. To Greek philosophy, the ideas of infinity and inifinitesimal were anathema. They had hard enough time just accepting irrational numbers.dakini was joking of course, but I think you're thinking more of the early Pythagoreans, not Greeks in general. The Greeks adopted a lot of Pythagorean thought, but many Greeks dealt with problems of infinity and the infinitesimal. Archimedes had calculated a decent approx. to pi by successively smaller circumscribed and larger inscribed polygons.

Maddad
2005-Sep-27, 08:34 PM
Interesting idea about converting virtual particles to water; the need for fresh water is certainly great on our planet, but I suspect that creation of mass will require an equivalent amount of energy. To make a litre of water would require about 10e17 Joules. With that amount of energy we could distill thousands of tonnes of seawater.

A more urgent technology would entail the convertion of mass to energy; we will need a new source of energy in the next hundred years or so- conversion of mass to energy would be excellent, even if it is only a few percent efficient.The required energy already exists. We do not have to create it or the mass; we just have to define what happens to it as it switches from one form to the other.

Part of the solution involves adjusting the definition of where the particles appear and where they go after they get here. The energy you want exists copiously in the core of the sun. Vastly more than we would ever need. If we redefine where this energy by saying that a tiny percentage of it now exists in a power plant, then we solve our power needs without ever having to convert matter into energy.

Joff
2005-Sep-29, 03:19 AM
Of course we do in fact convert mass to energy in power generation today. It would be nice to do so more efficiently of course, but nuclear fission is already easily the highest yielding energy generation method per kg of fuel.

JHotz
2005-Sep-29, 08:28 PM
This particle would have come from nowhere. It would require no energy supply to fashion, just one to guide its creation. Once you have created one water molecule, you can generate a second and a third. Repeat the process and you create a visible amount of liquid water that never existed anywhere in the world, or universe, before.

The world has an insatiable need for clean, pure water. If these devices were to become commonplace and compact, the effect on the human race would be as revolutionary as any other in history.Interesting notions. What are the limitations of such technology? Could the world be inundated with miles of water covering the surface? Could water be destroyed in a similar way? Could the entire solar system be filled with extra matter?

Monique
2005-Sep-29, 09:43 PM
I believe virtual reality (feed information to brain) next. People escape problems, not solve them.

Maddad
2005-Sep-29, 10:42 PM
Of course we do in fact convert mass to energy in power generation today. It would be nice to do so more efficiently of course, but nuclear fission is already easily the highest yielding energy generation method per kg of fuel.How efficient would you be if you were getting an equivalent amount of energy from zero kg of fuel? That's what this technology potentially offers.


Interesting notions. What are the limitations of such technology? Could the world be inundated with miles of water covering the surface? Could water be destroyed in a similar way? Could the entire solar system be filled with extra matter?Limitations? I dunno; haven't thought about that much. Innundation with miles of water? I figure you're talking about depth. The earth has 1.4 billion cubic kilometers of ocean. Could we match a similar volume? It would be one way to terraform Mars, for sure. Incidentally, I've read that the Orion nebula creates enough water from hydrogen and oxygen to fill earth's oceans once every 20 minutes.

As for destroying water, yes. If you move in one direction, then the implication is that other is available as well. If you tried to fill the entire solar system with this much water, then you'd wind up with a black hole long before you got there.

There is though another possibility. Water is not the only complex molecule out there. Consider the implicaitons to the world's economy if you created unlimited hydrocarbons.

Joff
2005-Sep-29, 11:43 PM
How efficient would you be if you were getting an equivalent amount of energy from zero kg of fuel? That's what this technology potentially offers. Well, no, it doesn't on a couple of counts.

First, it's not a technology, just a bit of speculation. Not even really a hypothesis yet. ("Not even wrong", as Wolfgang Pauli is supposed to have dismissed some student's work)

Second, this has the feel of a Maxwell's Demon type of problem. Maxwell's Demon is a sneaky chap (or device) that sits at a valve between two enclosures of gas of equal temperature. Now the gas molecules are not all moving at the same velocity; they have a range of energies. Whenever the demon sees a low-energy molecule approaching from the right, he quickly opens the valve to let it through. Similarly if a high-energy molecule approches from the left, the demon allows it into the right-hand region. The end result after much valve switching by the demon is that the gas on the right is more energetic than the gas on the left - that is , you have created a temperature difference with which to do work. Thermodynamics is rescued by information theory, which puts a minimum limit on how much energy is expended in make the valve switching decisions.

Even if some remarkable energy-transfer mechanism from the Sun allowed isolation of virtual particles, there is no way you would use this to make water. Given a thimbleful of protons and another of antiprotons (which you have to separate to make them real instead of virtual), you use this to power the needs of mankind for the foreseeable future.

eburacum45
2005-Oct-01, 01:07 PM
. Water is not the only complex molecule out there. Consider the implicaitons to the world's economy if you created unlimited hydrocarbons.

I still reckon you can't create mass in this way without expending the equivalent amount of energy. If you want to make mass from virtual particles you have to add the energy required to make them real;

this is calculated by E=mc2 and is a lot of energy as I pointed out before. If we collected all the Sun's energy we could use it to manufacture four million tonnes of mass per second.

The thing about virtual particles is that they don't have any net energy; each particle with positive energy that is created by quantum fluctuation has a balancing negative energy particle created at the same time. In order to become real this negative energy value must be cancelled out; at a black hole horizon the negative energy particle falls into the hole and negates part of the hole's mass. So you don't get something for nothing in this case.

Turning virtual particles into real particles would take at least this much energy; probably more, as the process is likely not to be 100% efficient.

There is plenty of water in this solar system; it would be cheaper to move it around than to try to manufacture it.

iron4
2005-Oct-01, 01:52 PM
What is the next major technological breakthrough that will change our lives as much as these have done?

Dramatic increase of human lifespan (humans will be able to live for 3 hundreds years or more) using genetic modification. Also colonization of other planets and moons of the Solar System: Mars will be terraformed, and there will exist bases in Moon and Europe

electromagneticpulse
2005-Oct-01, 10:32 PM
The next things:
Stem Cells
Brain-computer connections, being able to "will" things to happen via this.
Genetic engineering gets better./More baby steps into nanotechnology
Robotics
Next gen solar technology, Quantum Dot PV cells etc.
Human level AI
Nuclear fusion
Moon and Mars colonies
Cheap access to low Earth orbit via beanstalk or space fountain space elevators./Asteroid mining
Space habitats: O'neil Colonies, bicycle wheel-like space stations; some in the Lagrange points...........

From my opinion I feel you've hit the nail on the head. Stem Cells have the potential to be the next great leap in anti-aging, like forget botox you could just get a new wrinkle free face with baby like skin. I mean the only thing in the body that can't actually be replaced by stem cells are the lenses in our eyes as they stay the same throughout our lives everything else is new every 7-8 years.

Personally I feel space habitats are way behind schedule. O'Neill Cylinders or Island Three's depending on what you want to call them are probably our best bet as they have the best protection against radiation as only the side facing the sun needs to be protected and you can make a more efficient person/mass ratio by making them longer instead of wider.

The best advance at the moment would be to use the Lagrange 4/5 points to harvest solar energy as the radius of one alone can produce something like 700 times the annual energy consumption of the entire planet. Not to mention this could be a whole lot larger if these had a large centre of mass sitting in the Lagrange point, say an asteroid processing facility.

Also space travel is presently quite high but once companies start battling over getting to space this will drop drastically. I feel that by 2050 we could have commercial spaces on the moon, especially if there is demand for He3 as companies will go there to mine He3 and the commercial spaces will be an additional part of the mining bases.

Remember that technological growth and industrial growth are exponential not linear. I mean take the time between fire and gunpowder to the time between gunpowder and fission, it isn't even 1/10th of the time. We're sat on a rock and we can create matter and anti-matter a game supposedly reserved for 'gods'.

I doubt any of the things on Skeptic's list will remain incomplete before my death and if they do happen chances are my death will be quite a long way away as once we reach a computer capable of running a human level AI brain we have computers capable of running a human level brain and this means immortality.

electromagneticpulse
2005-Oct-01, 10:35 PM
Dramatic increase of human lifespan (humans will be able to live for 3 hundreds years or more) using genetic modification. Also colonization of other planets and moons of the Solar System: Mars will be terraformed, and there will exist bases in Moon and Europe

Hey you've got to terraform Europe first, I mean only Europeans can survive in Europe. For everyone else the weather is just too depressing, hell I'm British and our weather is too depressing for me.

Maddad
2005-Oct-02, 12:42 AM
Joff
Yes, we do not yet have this technology. The entire thread is a speculation of what changes mankind would experience if we did get some new technology.

eburacum45
You still do not have to provide the energy to make the particle. All you have to do is send the negative particle somewhere else. You wind up with your real particle without having expended energy to creat it, and the total energy balance is still zero.

Z28Jerry
2005-Oct-02, 03:12 AM
I predict that the future wave of technology that will change the world (i.e. touch tha majority of human's live such as the printing press, television, the phone, etc) will be something in the field of communications and transportation.

I.E. communications being a standardized world format for high speed data networks and voice/data-over-air networks, etc.

Ant the transportation, well can you say "beam me up, Scotty" ;)

eburacum45
2005-Oct-02, 08:13 AM
You still do not have to provide the energy to make the particle. All you have to do is send the negative particle somewhere else. You wind up with your real particle without having expended energy to creat it, and the total energy balance is still zero.

If tht were possible (and I'm not saying it isn't) the negative energy particles would be more valuable than the positive mass.

Negative mass, and its partner negative energy, has a long list of bizarre properties such as anti-gravity and negative inertia which would make it very valuable in making ultra-high tech devices such as reactionless drives, wormholes and warp drives.
See
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exotic_matter
If we could winnow negative mass or negative energy out of the vacuum then interstellar spaceflight could in theory become almost easy.

This would add another layer to the Fermi Paradox, however; if it is possible to pull mass out of the vacuum, then a hypothetical alien civilisation would have developed this technology, and would have built detectable megastructures or, at the least, rings of artificial planets around their stars; with negative energy in the bag, the sky would be full of reactionless and warp driven craft and wormhole shortcuts.

We don't see that, so either virtual-real conversion is very difficult, or we are alone.

electromagneticpulse
2005-Oct-02, 01:25 PM
This would add another layer to the Fermi Paradox, however; if it is possible to pull mass out of the vacuum, then a hypothetical alien civilisation would have developed this technology, and would have built detectable megastructures or, at the least, rings of artificial planets around their stars; with negative energy in the bag, the sky would be full of reactionless and warp driven craft and wormhole shortcuts.

We don't see that, so either virtual-real conversion is very difficult, or we are alone.

Not necessarily. Dyson spheres are the first megastructure we'd ever detect as they're going to be huge infrared objects with nothing in any other spectrum except possibly leaked radio transmissions that we wouldn't have a hope of detecting at our current technology. Well supposing some alien race has already done this they will have thermoelectrics and this would render the infrared emissions negligible as the waste heat would be constantly recycled until it produces no electricity. Hence completely undetectable by simple observations.

If these civilizations did invent wormhole shortcuts I find it highly unlikely they would use warp craft as it would be more efficient to simply travel between star systems using the wormholes. These would also be undetectable as I mean if we had teleporters do you expect people would travel cross country to use one or would they want one in their own home. The same has to be expected of a megacivilization.

Furthermore if we're not the only civilization in the universe how do we know we're not the only civilization in the galaxy? Or how do we know if the others left the galaxy like the Puppeteers in Larry Niven's Ringworld, they left because the galaxy was in the process of destroying itself. Maybe ours is and everyone with the warp drives and wormholes used their common sense and left.

Also any megastructures capable of harvesting all the energy given off by a star wouldn’t have enough gravity to cause gravitational lensing as the chances are they’d have performed stellar lifting and the mass of their solar system would be massively distributed in an area similar in size to the outer edge of the Oort Cloud, where presumably the outer thermoelectric layer will be situated.

We predict megastructures but we’re so ignorant that we presume they will waste all there energy in latent heat for everyone to see. I mean give them a break if they can create a megastructure they aren’t going to be as wasteful as our society. Basically I’m saying SETI is wasting its time looking for any megastructures.

eburacum45
2005-Oct-02, 02:00 PM
Even if they managed to radiate their waste heat at the same temperature as the Cosmic Microwave Background you would see the megastructures in transit.

It is a law of physics that the energy produced by the local star has to be eventually irradiated away, whether you use thermoelectrics or not; if you increase the size of the irradiating surface then you lower the temperature, but that increases the size of the megastructures and the chance of observing a transit.

One way of acheiving a completely stealthy society would be to disassemble the local star, and create lots of mini dyson spheres, each with a fusion power source at its heart; these could irradiate at the CMB temperature between the stars and be essentially undetectable.

So perhaps the real civilisations are located between the stars, communicating by wormholes, irradiating gently in the dark.

electromagneticpulse
2005-Oct-02, 09:09 PM
Well if they've dismantled stars and made wormholes I doubt it would be that much of a long jump and if they don't have wormholes they may dismantle their stars and use them as stellar automobiles.

But then there’s always the time problem. It takes roughly 100,000 years to get a message to the other side and 100,000 years to get a reply. So basically an alien race could have started colonising the galaxy at just under the speed of light and we’d only discover their existence just before they come knocking on our doorstep with an eviction notice because they want to build a stellar apartment block.

Surely the easiest way to detect an alien race is to explode our sun in a supernova and then see if anyone copies. Granted it has some technical problems going with it.

Ilya
2005-Oct-02, 09:36 PM
One way of acheiving a completely stealthy society would be to disassemble the local star, and create lots of mini dyson spheres, each with a fusion power source at its heart; these could irradiate at the CMB temperature between the stars and be essentially undetectable.

So perhaps the real civilisations are located between the stars, communicating by wormholes, irradiating gently in the dark.
Which begs the question -- who or what are they hiding from?? I suspect we do not want to find out...

Taks
2005-Oct-02, 10:23 PM
i skimmed all this and did not see it mentioned, but kurzweil just did an article in new scientist about the future of technology. essentially, he said nanotech, AI and molecular computing. the nanotech was actually tied to most things biological, too, and they were all interrelated. good article if you can stomach NS's politics.

taks

Maddad
2005-Oct-03, 01:12 AM
This would add another layer to the Fermi Paradox, however; if it is possible to pull mass out of the vacuum, then a hypothetical alien civilisation would have developed this technology, and would have built detectable megastructures or, at the least, rings of artificial planets around their stars; with negative energy in the bag, the sky would be full of reactionless and warp driven craft and wormhole shortcuts.

We don't see that, so either virtual-real conversion is very difficult, or we are alone.That's an interesting thought there, eburacum. I got to wondering though, how would we, from our very distant viewpoint, look at a structure and say, "This is artificial, not natural."? What would we look for?


Surely the easiest way to detect an alien race is to explode our sun in a supernova and then see if anyone copies. Granted it has some technical problems going with it.That may not be such a big problem after all. Actually, I was concerned about a runaway effect that would do that unintentionally if we approached the four million ton per second figure in creating mass. The negative mass, left in the sun, would immediately anihialate with ordinary matter. Usually that wouldn't be a problem because the sun's in hydrostatic equilibrium. The additional energy starts to expand the sun, which slows the nuclear fusion process, which reduces energy output to the level it was before you started monkeying with it. Howsomever, once you reach the sun's nominal energy input, all of the sun's natural fusion would have to end. Exceed this figure, and the sun no longer has a size regulating safety valve. It would explosively try to expand and have no means of stopping the process. I'd recommend not being in the area when you try it out.

HenrikOlsen
2005-Oct-03, 11:16 AM
From the original list, fire should be split in two, use of fire, and the ability to light fires at will, archeological evidence suggests there was a 100.000 year gap between figuring out that fire can be a good thing and figuring out how to make it yourself.

Taks
2005-Oct-03, 03:18 PM
yeah, they waited for lightning strikes i suppose.

taks

TheBlackCat
2005-Oct-03, 03:42 PM
I would actually add calculus to the historical list. Calculus is the basis of practically all modern math. Even probablity and statistics would be impossible without it. Modern physics, chemistry, biology, and many other branches of science, not to mention all of engineering, would be impossible without it. In fact, Newton originally developed calculus for the specific purpose of solving physics problems. Not that many average people actually use it routinely, but it is the foundation for basically all modern science and engineering so it has a massive impact on our everyday life.

dragonmaster_us@hotmail.com
2005-Oct-04, 02:42 AM
It's already here. Whenever the question, "What Next" is asked, it's too late for original thought. How about medicine and vacines in natural food? Already done. the downside is that more people will live longer with no improvement in living conditions. They wont get sick and die from this disease or that one, but they will still starve to death. How about a universal energy supply? That's done too. Hydrogen catalist systems are still too expensive, and no government is going to give them away. Basically free electricity after the initial investment in the convertor and hydrogen producer, but you can just imagine what the world would be with the energy companies hawking their goods with no buyers. Plentiful food for all? That too can be done with a home production unit. Artificial meat, or vegitable, or organ: any organic, including hydrocarbon. That would be a real problem. Why go to work? "I have power, food, and I'm healthy." I just know that these things will not be widely available as long as there are people who need to grow their wealth, and need drones to do the labor and buying. So, any "Next Great Thing" will be something to create a new industry and increase the status quo. Just like the Roman Empire: Keep the plebes entertained and power will always be in the hands of the people providing the entertainment. Think about this when you buy your 3-D virtual reality full immersion suit and game package. It will be so great that you will forget everyone else and why you have it, instead of asking why you still have to struggle for food and gas and electricity and insurance. Just so you can make the monthly payments to make the "Next Best Thing" interface to the Net, nothing else will matter.

Joff
2005-Oct-04, 04:16 AM
Hydrogen catalist systems are still too expensive, and no government is going to give them away. Basically free electricity after the initial investment in the convertor and hydrogen producer, but you can just imagine what the world would be with the energy companies hawking their goods with no buyers.
:hand: Again with the hydrogen fantasy. It's an energy storage mechanism, not a magical source of energy. The energy has to come from somewhere else. :wall:

TheBlackCat
2005-Oct-04, 06:18 PM
Artificial meat, or vegitable, or organ: any organic, including hydrocarbon.
We are still a LONG way from artificial organs. Anyone who could make an artificial organ that is anywhere near as good as the original, even a simple one like skin, or make synthetic food cheaper or tastier than the natural alternative, would be a millionaire practically overnight. There is no motive for withholding this technology.

galacsi
2005-Oct-04, 06:42 PM
Don't believe in genetic therapy . You can't reverse time , you can't fight entropy.

Believe in fiields . machines like IRS or ultrasonic scaners but able to work at the cell level. Like a new PRIORE machine.

Believe in new production systemes able to materialize ideas directly in parts and machines. Like the matter compiler or solid printer.

Believe in new energy system like Free energy . This a true revolution !

Believe in magnetic levitation ! So fast and so economic !

believe in sustainable industrial process !
Smarter,cheaper,faster !

Ilya : Why you vant to connect your brain to a computer ? It scares me !

TheBlackCat
2005-Oct-04, 10:12 PM
You do realize that free energy fights entropy, right? Genetic therapy, on the other hand, has nothing to do with reversing time or fighting entropy. And free energy is not new, like all perpetual motion machines it was proven not to work a long time ago.

If you are a quadrapalegic and can't move any muscle, hooking your brain up to a computer that then stimulates your leg muscles so you can walk will sound like a pretty good idea.

Ultrasonic scanners cannot work at the cullular level because their wavelengths are too long. And what is an "IRS", I have never heard of a medical device by that name.


Pretty much the only thing on that list that has been demonstrated to be possibly effective are magnetic levitation and genetic therapy, one of which you says doesn't work.

Joff
2005-Oct-04, 11:15 PM
Solid printers are available for form building. I don't think they can produce working parts within that form yet but that looks like an imminent prospect.

publiusr
2005-Oct-05, 05:27 PM
The Rapid Prototype devices turn out layer cake looking parts. I wonder if smoother alternatives can be found. Otherwise we still rely on robotic machine tools.

galacsi
2005-Oct-05, 07:42 PM
You do realize that free energy fights entropy, right? Genetic therapy, on the other hand, has nothing to do with reversing time or fighting entropy. And free energy is not new, like all perpetual motion machines it was proven not to work a long time ago.

Genetic therapy must correct a body organisation build along a life from conception to the age of treatement. Bad genes construct a body exactly like good genes , so you have to reverse this "bad" evolution . It seems to me it is a very neguentropic thing to do.And i don't know of any succes with gene therapy , much hype yes but results ?

Then about free energy , excuse me but i don't realize nothing . And in my opinion it has nothing to do with perpetual motion machines. I thing you just want to say there is no free lunch , it is a completely different thing.
(In fact there are proven perpetual motion machines , aka the Earth turning around the sun , electrons in a superconductor , it is well proven they can circulate a loop without end)


If you are a quadrapalegic and can't move any muscle, hooking your brain up to a computer that then stimulates your leg muscles so you can walk will sound like a pretty good idea.

Who is a quadrapalegic ? Not me , not you i am sure , how many on earth ?

I use machines and i dont want to be mixed with them , but i undestand many people are ready to be robotized . It scares me.

[QUOTE=And what is an "IRS", I have never heard of a medical device by that name.[/QUOTE]

My mistake ; i made a bad confusion with a french acronyme IRM, Imagerie à Résonance Magnétique , i Think it is MRI in english.

rysa
2005-Oct-08, 02:35 AM
China had the printing press a long time before a European ever "invented" it.
....and who knows what the technology will be like 1000 years from now- especially if there is some sort of major calamity that causes most of what we know to be "lost" for a while.

I think that I'm right in saying that the Romans invented cast concrete which was then "lost" until the 20th.century when the Germans started making steel reinforced beams.

SkepticJ
2005-Oct-09, 08:04 PM
We don't see that, so either virtual-real conversion is very difficult, or we are alone.

Or they are good at hiding, or they are far enough away that light from them hasn't gotten to us yet, or, or, or.....

silylene
2005-Oct-11, 12:43 AM
I think the list of key inventions should have included:
pottery
paper
wireless communication (incl. television)

Future inventions to come which others have not discussed are:
1. Multistate digital electronics...this is a type of digital electronics relying on multiple discrete states in memory and logic (not just 0 and 1). Simply having eight states would allow for much faster and complex computers. After Moore's Law peters out around 30 nm (because cost/bit will begin to increase greatly, not because of any hard physical barrier), this is where the future of semiconductors needs to move towards.
2. Bioelectronic devices. These are electronic device which can connect directly into our central nervous system and allow full interaction and communication.
3. Function-programmable gene synthesis. This is a concept wherein the user identifies a general function, and the synthesis machine delivers genes which can accomplish the specified task (chemical synthesis). This is applicable to both microscopic synthesis within a cell, and industrial scale synthesis via use of genetically-modified yeasts.
4. Turnkey artificial synthesis of oocytes and zygotes. Along with #3 above, this will allow expression of function-programmable genes into living plants and animals.
5. Intelligence and memory drugs. These are drugs which vastly increase our brain processing speed, our memory retention, and our learning rate.
6. Allele repair treatments. These are retroviruses which enter cells and cause the allele to self-repair; and/or cause telomers to lengthen via additional duplication of chain sequence. This will extend lifetimes and reduce cancer rates.
7. Artifical organs

Ilya
2005-Oct-12, 12:33 AM
(In fact there are proven perpetual motion machines , aka the Earth turning around the sun , electrons in a superconductor , it is well proven they can circulate a loop without end)
Electrons in a superconductor retain energy indefinitely, they do not produce. If you draw that energy off to power some device, they will stop pretty soon.

Likewise, Earth turning around the Sun merely retains its energy. Again, if you find a way to use Earth's kinetic energy to power something, Earth will slowly spiral toward the Sun. Of course, the amount of energy thus retained is so enormous that from today's human point of view it might as well be infinite. However, it is not REALLY infinite/perpetual.

TheBlackCat
2005-Oct-12, 01:47 AM
I think one of the up-and-coming technologies that will have an significant impact on our daily lives before too long (i.e. probably 5-15 years) will be costum-made proteins, and espacially enzymes. If we can model exactly how proteins fold based on their amino acid structure and exactly how folded proteins behave (especially in catalyzing reactions), it will be nothing short of a revolution in the medical, chemical, power, and transportation industries. We are currently severely limited by our normal chemical synthesis techniques which are extremely wasteful, being able to create synthetic enzymes to catalyze whatever reaction we could boost yields to unheard-of levels. Plus it could play a huge part in clean power technologies, or making "dirty" power technologies cleaner. Not to mention how useful custom proteins would be for structural purposes, as actuators, as sensors, as signal transducers. It is currently being targetted mostly by pharmaceutical companies and molecular biologists, but it would likely have an impact on many other industries.

galacsi
2005-Oct-16, 03:02 PM
Electrons in a superconductor retain energy indefinitely, they do not produce. If you draw that energy off to power some device, they will stop pretty soon.

Likewise, Earth turning around the Sun merely retains its energy. Again, if you find a way to use Earth's kinetic energy to power something, Earth will slowly spiral toward the Sun. Of course, the amount of energy thus retained is so enormous that from today's human point of view it might as well be infinite. However, it is not REALLY infinite/perpetual.

Ilya : What you say is true . And may be , i am just splitting hairs in four. Litteraly a perpetual motion machine is not necessary an energy producing device , it just keep on moving and moving on its inertia. And "free energy" devices in my opinion are not "free". They take their output energy from somewhere. (If they exist).

It is a common answer about new energy or free energy to dismiss it immédiately without any further discussion , saying it is just a perpetual motion machine so an impossibility.

TheBlackCat
2005-Oct-16, 04:10 PM
There are two types of perpetual motion machines. The ones you are talking about (ones that work forever without running down) are called "type 1 perpetual motion machines" or "perpetual motion machines of the first kind" because they violate the first law of thermodynamics. This is the most common usage for the term "perpetual motion machine", but it is by no means the only one.

What you are talking about, a free energy machine, is what is called a "type 2 perpetual motion machine" because it violates the second law of thermodynamics. The second law says (among other things) that energy cannot flow from a low-energy environment to a high-energy enviornment without a corresponding loss in entropy. A free energy machine does just that, it takes energy from a low-energy system (the environment) and moves it into a high-energy environment (whatever you want to power). This is prohibited based on the second law of thermodynamics. It is technically a perpetual motion, but it is not the same as the type 1 that people normally think about when they hear the term "perpetual motion".

dgoodpasture2005
2005-Oct-17, 01:58 PM
Do you have any reason or evidence to believe such a thing is even possible? I don't know, but I would think it is not. It would seem to violate to many well established laws of physics.

laws of physics may well be established... but many aren't. AND there are many ways to bypass them, or cause a disruption in frequencies, allowing us to manipulate the current understanding of physics.

Fram
2005-Oct-17, 02:07 PM
laws of physics may well be established... but many aren't. AND there are many ways to bypass them, or cause a disruption in frequencies, allowing us to manipulate the current understanding of physics.

Can you give an example of what you mean by "bypass the laws of physics"?

dgoodpasture2005
2005-Oct-17, 02:35 PM
to bypass only the laws we currently understand... by manipulating with forces we don't understand... i.e. electromagnetic frequencies, super heated plasmas... just a few among other things that cause unexplainable effects. I take that back.. i'll leave my post as i originally posted it... since humans do make mistakes and it is our nature... i'm sure someone somewhere on Earth understands much more than we think we know... governments scientists etc.

Argos
2005-Oct-18, 02:12 PM
The next major technology will be holographic TV. I know how to do it, but I won´t tell you, yet.