Welcome to the Journey that Never Ends
I am a futurist. No more capable than the next guy, what separates me from most is the tendency for my mind to go forward in time and stay there, contemplating solutions to problems and mapping an uninterrupted path back to the present. By the arrow of time, I am on a journey that never ends:
Uh Oh, the Universe is Dying
A recurring thought experiment of mine is how humanity will avoid the seemingly inevitable heat death of the universe. Yeah, I’m talking about something that won’t happen in the next googol years. One possible solution is escaping to another younger, but still compatible universe. Problem solved? No, it creates new ones.
Say we do travel to another universe. How can we ethically interact with it without depriving the existing (or future) inhabitants of their full potential? Also, if escape is indeed possible, we now have a quasi Fermi paradox whereby we wonder, “where are they now?” If they’re not here, is it because we lucked out with the infinite universe version of the Multiverse theory? Or maybe they are here and don’t care as much as I do, and the best thing for us would be to create a new universe as soon as we can.
“Why think about that?”
As an empathic organism with a fierce survival instinct, these contemplations are physically and mentally stressful. I don’t want to suffer harm, I don’t want my fellow Earth co-habitants to suffer harm, and I don’t want our future co-habitants to either. My example was about avoiding a catastrophe that will take over 10100 years to manifest, but what drives me is a desire to mitigate or eliminate bad things that will happen to us in the future.
If the impetus is a desire to mitigate harm, why ponder our universal exodus or extinction if there’s nothing we can do about it right now? Because the simple act of identifying what we can and can’t do forces me to learn new things and justify my previous conclusions. It’s the scientific process, applied to life. A thought experiment of this scale ensures the process will continue forever.
For instance, to even understand the nature of the problem (accelerating expansion of space itself) required me to delve into the field of cosmology and related areas of physics. An endeavor currently held up at the collective shrugging-of-shoulders we call dark energy. When that shrugging of shoulders someday becomes a cocking of heads, I’ll have new things to learn, to include possibly restating the original problem.
The Point of this Site?
The problems I think most about are those we face right now: poverty, hunger, environmental preservation, education, privacy, security, energy production/storage, aging, cancer, degenerative diseases, repairing physical trauma to our bodies and even asteroid/comet impacts.
My background is computer science, engineering and physics, so the solutions I see to each problem involve the application of technology; most will require an incredible interdisciplinary effort. Thus I want to include as many people as possible in my journey.
To facilitate this, I am starting a conversation with you where we:
- Identify the problems we currently face
- Analyze the possible technologies to solve them
- Explore the ethical dilemmas and new problems created by implementing the aforementioned solutions
Some entries will be highly technical and loaded with domain-specific jargon, which I will do my best to explain. Others will be light hearted or totally pie-in-the-sky. Finally, there will be conversations about ethics that may strike you as controversial. Know in advance that my intent is never to offend.
So let’s start with something controversial: The Intractability Problem.
The featured image of this page is a picture of me hugging SERENDIP, a data feed/analyzer for SETI located in Arecibo, Puerto Rico.