Monday, July 09, 2007

Great Time to Be Alive

A friend called me today and asked if I wanted to go for a cup of coffee. I did, because I have been researching the Soviet space program all day for the Cold War period. It is background for a book I am writing.

Always unpredictable, I had an iced tea instead of coffee. While we were consuming our beverages, we got to talking about modern technology. I recalled the rapid changes we humans have been going through.

In our ancient human history, mankind was said to have doubled its knowledge every thousand years. That knowledge was stored in people’s heads, for the most part. Some was on the walls of caves. Then books were invented and mankind’s knowledge doubled every hundred years. That knowledge, good and bad, was stored in libraries. The computer was invented and soon mankind’s knowledge doubled every ten years. That knowledge was stored in libraries and on tapes and CDs. Next, the Internet was created and mankind’s knowledge is said to double every year. That knowledge is stored on CDs, DVDs and on hard drives all over the world. No libraries or collection of libraries could hold it all, if it were written in books.

Then we talked about the future. I think that the really big events of the future will concern themselves with health and energy. I wrote about these things in book about time travel called Time Out of Joint. In it I emphasized the role of energy. I have the notion that when energy is more equally distributed, international tensions will ease. No, religious differences will still be important. But many “religious” differences are spurred on by economics, the battle between the haves and the have nots.

Whatever the case, some ass will first have to write a book about how awful everything is—stagflation and the disappearance of the quality of life as we know it. Several books of this type were published around 1970, just as the computer age appeared. I am waiting for the next such book, because the timing of the doom-sayers is almost universally 180 degrees out of phase.

And I will have an iced tea in the writer’s honor because something good is about to happen.

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