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April 8, 2004 8:57 PM   Subscribe

If the current millennium has got you down, relax and think ahead to the year 3000.

"Most of us don't know what we'll be doing a year from now; why then should we care about what our descendents will be doing a thousand years from now? It's fun to speculate, sure; but envisioning the year 3000 may be more than an idle exercise or mere amusement." [via Reality Carinval]
posted by moonbird (37 comments total)

 
What is Heaven? Heaven's a place where you can create worlds at will, and the ideal Heaven is where you run the whole thing yourself.

Wholesale, complete masturbation. Brilliant.

(Not.)
posted by namespan at 9:04 PM on April 8, 2004


i will have disappeared permanently into my holofantagen at least 60 years before we get there.
posted by quonsar at 9:05 PM on April 8, 2004


*ahem*

(falcetto)

In the year 3000. In the year 3000.

...Metafilter, now a Multi-National corporation, invents robots that will eventually DESTROY THE ENTIRE PLANET, forcing humans to live underground until they are violently dismembered by mindless mechanical drones.


posted by Quartermass at 9:09 PM on April 8, 2004


"Wow, a million years."
posted by brownpau at 9:10 PM on April 8, 2004


"Welcome to the world of tomorrow!"

Yeah, it had to be done. Sorry.
posted by elf_baby at 9:19 PM on April 8, 2004


Wholesale, complete masturbation. Brilliant.

Interesting how this ties in with his view that women will abandon men entirely. Don't get me wrong -- I see it as something within the realm of possibility. But it's just interesting to me how the "abandon men" plan is just a smaller scale version of this larger progression, where you abandon the Other entirely.

Somewhere, Martin Buber is shaking his head, I think.
posted by weston at 9:22 PM on April 8, 2004


same shit, more channels.
posted by condour75 at 9:40 PM on April 8, 2004


In the year 3535
Ain't gonna need to tell the truth, tell no lies
Everything you think, do, or say
Is in the pill you took today
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:45 PM on April 8, 2004


In 3000, our descendants will be arguing in the MetaGoogleFilterPlex about the latest atrocities in the Israel/Palestine conflict.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:31 PM on April 8, 2004


It *is* nothing but masturbation. Visions of the future can be either apocalyptic, entertainingly outrageous, novel, or realistic. This one's neither... it's just a rehash of mediocre SF plots, and they picked relatively depressing ones too.

I think condour75 wins a prize for his comment.
posted by Krrrlson at 11:47 PM on April 8, 2004


In the year 3535

i wish crash would shut up. first he reminds me how old i am by dredging up that zager & evans tune. or was it oscar and hammerstein? or maybe lennon and mccartny no wait- boyce and hart! i was really into al hirt's cover but of course all the dough got made by that herb alpert dude cuz he owned the rights to evan's rather sizeable zager.

and now he's trying to guilt me about that pill.
posted by quonsar at 12:43 AM on April 9, 2004


One of the speakers, Gregory Stock, appeared to believe that evolution moves forwards. I wonder why he holds such an odd belief. Evolution doesn't have a direction. It (crudely put) staggers around and then randomly kills off the failures, and thus appears to move forwards. I don't think there's a preprogrammed movement towards intelligence, enlightenment, and transcendence, which is what Stock appears to be saying.
posted by jkilg at 12:55 AM on April 9, 2004


Hmm... I just want to know who'll pay me to be a futurist. Sounds like an easy job.
posted by reklaw at 2:42 AM on April 9, 2004



Hmm... I just want to know who'll pay me to be a futurist. Sounds like an easy job.

British Telecom have a few in house futurists; you could try ICT research outfits and perhaps consulting work with a few of the more enlightened venture capital firms but this going to require PhDs, professional kudos and an understanding of what the job actaully
posted by dmt at 3:54 AM on April 9, 2004


er, requires....
posted by dmt at 3:55 AM on April 9, 2004


Anyone who is more seriously interested in the question (or at least thinking about the question) may want to head over to The Long Now Foundation. Very cool thinking going on over there, even if a bit wacked out.
posted by louie at 5:11 AM on April 9, 2004


This was entertaining, but full of bs, I think. If you look back at the differences from 1000 to 2000, there's really not that much--except in the areas of communication, sanitation and medicine, and understanding our physical world. We're just a healthier, taller, more long-lived version of those same 1000ad people, who were a healthier, taller version of the 0ad people. We have the same concerns and desires they had for the most part, and live our lives in similar ways. I think you'd have to go 10 or 20,000 years or more ahead or back to see real differences.
posted by amberglow at 5:42 AM on April 9, 2004


I like my science fiction straight up, written by actual writers with imagination and wit. This, as Krrrlson says, is just masturbation (except without the thrill).

EDWARD:: The emphasis on machines and chips is a possibility. But there's so much more to do with what I call human software. Human language at the moment is incredibly slow and primitive. One of the things I've been working on is a language that's twenty times as fast as normal language and could go up to fifty times as fast. Human-being-to-human-being communication, with no chips involved. We're below the potential of our biological systems, way below.

Uh huh. Wipe off the drool and take your meds, pal.
posted by languagehat at 7:18 AM on April 9, 2004


If you look back at the differences from 1000 to 2000, there's really not that much--except in the areas of communication, sanitation and medicine, and understanding our physical world. We're just a healthier, taller, more long-lived version of those same 1000ad people, who were a healthier, taller version of the 0ad people. We have the same concerns and desires they had for the most part, and live our lives in similar ways. I think you'd have to go 10 or 20,000 years or more ahead or back to see real differences.

I agree.....but try telling social engineers this obvious truth.
posted by SpaceCadet at 7:23 AM on April 9, 2004


No discussion of this momentous date should be without mention of the moving lyrics of boy band Busted.

one day when i came home at lunchtime,
i heard a funny noise
went out to the back yard to find out if it was,
one of those rowdy boys.
stood there with my neighbour called peter,
and a Flux Capacitor.

he told me he built a time machine
like the one in a film i've seen,
yeah yeah... he said...

i've been to the year three thousand
not much has changed but they lived under water,
and your great great great grand daughter,
is pretty fine (is pretty fine)

he took me to the future in the flux thing and i saw everything,
boybands and another one and another one ... and another one!
triple breasted women swim around town... totally naked!

we drove round in a time machine,
like the one in the film i've seen..
yeah yeah... he said...

i've been to the year three thousand
not much has changed but they lived under water,
and your great great great grand daughter,
is pretty fine (is pretty fine)

i took a trip to the year 3 thousand
this song had gone multi platinum,
everybody bought our 7th album.
it had outsold michael jackson,
i took a trip to the year 3 thousand
this song had gone multi platinum,
everybody bought our 7th album, 7th album.

he told me he built a time machine
like the one in a film i've seen,
yeah yeah... he said...
posted by Skot at 8:05 AM on April 9, 2004


Cue Avery Brooks:
Where are my flying cars!? I was promised flying cars!
posted by blasdelf at 8:17 AM on April 9, 2004


from 1000 to 2000, there's really not that much--except in the areas of communication, sanitation and medicine, and understanding our physical world.

Yes, but aside from communication, sanitation, medicine, physics, transportation, global capitalism, the decline of the Church, the New World, the Enlightenment, democracy, electric power, microwave ovens, water purification, eyeglasses, the industrial revolution, the printing press, recorded music and video, synthetic foods and drugs, computers, genetic engineering, nuclear power, space travel, polymers, and roller-blades, ... aside from that, what has this thousand years ever done for us?
posted by sfenders at 9:43 AM on April 9, 2004


Don't mess with orbital Texas.
posted by wfrgms at 10:54 AM on April 9, 2004


aside from that, what has this thousand years ever done for us?

Brought peace?
posted by dmt at 12:02 PM on April 9, 2004


Yes, but aside from communication, sanitation, medicine, physics, transportation, global capitalism, the decline of the Church, the New World, the Enlightenment, democracy, electric power, microwave ovens, water purification, eyeglasses, the industrial revolution, the printing press, recorded music and video, synthetic foods and drugs, computers, genetic engineering, nuclear power, space travel, polymers, and roller-blades, ... aside from that, what has this thousand years ever done for us?

Most of those things are not essential for life (or quality of life) by any means, and the vast majority are also extensions of existing ways and means of doing things (albeit that existed in much smaller and more local scope) from 1000ad --electricity/nuclear power and machines take the place of human and animal labor as well as waterpower; the printing press--copyists; roller-blades--walking or riding, etc. The New World wasn't ever new (and boats existed in 1000ad too), and Democracy is not universal by any means, and even in countries that profess to be run with it hasn't lived up to its expectations by a long shot. I think you can see the seeds of democracy in the Guild system and other loose associations of people, but documents are scarce from 1000ad. I think Socialism might have helped more people, actually, but sharing isn't a new idea either.

I'll give you the printing press as the only thing that's really changed life for the better for the vast majority of humans (literacy and the wide dissemination of info and ideas, but it's not new, just a better way to do those things from how they did it in 1000)--and eyeglasses. : >
posted by amberglow at 1:14 PM on April 9, 2004


The singularity will occur, whether you like it or not.
posted by iamck at 1:37 PM on April 9, 2004


do people think that's really going to happen? (and why is it often the same people that are helping make it happen?)
posted by amberglow at 1:47 PM on April 9, 2004


At this rate, I'm never gonna get my jet-pack.
posted by elf_baby at 2:07 PM on April 9, 2004


Actually, democracy was invented long before that, but it's a lot more common now than it was in the year 1000.

We're still human, so of course we have some things in common with our ancestors, but I think you're drastically understating the amount that's changed.

Somewhere around a thousand years ago, the concept of "employment" as we know it today didn't really exist, or at least wasn't all that common. Warfare was totally different and affected many more people (in Europe, anyway). Indentured servitude was a lot more popular. Your average peasant was genuinely afraid that if he did something wrong, God might descend from the heavens and smite him. People rarely travelled more than a few miles from home, except to go be killed in a crusade or something. The life of a typical office worker today would have been pretty much unimaginable.

Saying that mobile phones are nothing new because they just let you talk to people, and we could do that before... that strikes me as silly. Taking a tool and making it orders of magnitude more potent than before qualitatively changes how it's used by society, and therefore changes the social structure itself.

The New World wasn't ever new

I am, of course, speaking from the perspective of a cultural descendant of Western Europe. Things have changed dramatically in other parts of the world too, but in different ways. Anyway, if you compare what's going on in North America with what was around here in y1k, that just makes differences even more obvious.

Not all the changes have been for the better, but I think it's safe to say that sociologically speaking things are very different today. I think you're right in identifying the printing press as one of the biggest changes, in terms of how it affects ordinary people. I think television (I'll go with M. McLuhan on that) and the internet may be equally big.
posted by sfenders at 3:57 PM on April 9, 2004


I don't know--I may underestimate the differences (I think I'm downplaying them because I believe our lives are fundamentally the same as theirs), but I think you guys definitely underestimate the people of 1000ad...They were less informed about the world outside their village/city/kingdom (much like many people of today), but still had time for love and play (like us), and had to work for their food and shelter, (like us), and were quite powerless over their situations, like most people alive today. I think it's too easy to look down on people living a long time ago, and thinking that we're so much better off. I think we have more tools and easier ways of doing things, but we (as modern Westerners) live incredibly different lives from today's bushmen in Africa too, so you can't generalize from our standards of living to all people alive in 1000ad. I think if you're looking at humanity, and generalizing forward 1000 years, you have to take into account the commonalities to all people alive today, not just us "privileged few" (which we really are--most people on Earth today live under dictators or in repressive societies (China), with restricted information and education, etc).
posted by amberglow at 5:03 PM on April 9, 2004


I don't know if repressive government has any correlation with modern style of living. Probably. Some of the world has changed much less, that's true enough. I'd say the majority of the world is closer to my lifestyle than to that of anyone in the year 1000, but certainly not everyone.

I did a quick scan of some entries on the mefi front page. I figure about a third of them would be comprehensible to people a thousand years ago, if translated into the language of the time. You have to wonder what they'd make of things like:

Sky Ear will be a one-night event in which a glowing "cloud" of mobile phones and helium balloons is released into the air so that people can dial into the cloud and listen to the sounds of the sky. The cloud will be made of one thousand large helium balloons each responding to the electromagnetic environment (created by distant storms, mobile phones, police and ambulance radios, television broadcasts, etc.) with coloured blue, red and yellow lights.

But perhaps metafilter is not exactly representative of the state of the world in general.
posted by sfenders at 5:38 PM on April 9, 2004


A light show with sounds, in the sky, would be comprehensible to them (and that's at its most basic what that post is about).

Amd on that note, would we understand more than a third of MeFi posts from 3000? (and would it matter? Most posts here involve technology in one way or another, and most aren't of vital importance in any sense. It's us sitting around a virtual campfire, talking to each other and sharing things--an age-old human custom.)
posted by amberglow at 5:49 PM on April 9, 2004


It's amazing how many people are overlooking the fact that technology has grown at an exponential rate. Thirty years in the early first millennia wasn't a very big difference - socially, culturally, etc. - but at the present, thirty years represents quite a lot of change.

I'm actually discouraged at all this disregard for these predictions, all done in some strange guise of supposed "cultural insensitivity" to our ancestors. Does anyone have any comments on why these wont become a reality, besides "1000 years isn't that long?"
posted by iamck at 7:54 PM on April 9, 2004


I think that our advances of the present are mostly technology in service to something (communication and medicine/genetics mostly)...what will be the somethings of importance to the people of 3000? I didn't get a good sense that they had any clue.
posted by amberglow at 8:05 PM on April 9, 2004


Does anyone have any comments on why these wont become a reality, besides "1000 years isn't that long?"

It has nothing to do with the time not being long, it's a little matter of being unable to predict even ten years ahead, let alone a thousand. If you don't believe me, go back and read as many books of prediction as you can find and get back to me if any of them panned out. "Predicting the future" is all about the present and its hopes and fears; the actual future depends on so many variables it's insane to imagine it can be foreseen (cf chaos theory). But then mankind is insane.
posted by languagehat at 6:40 AM on April 10, 2004


technology has grown at an exponential rate

Predicting a thousand years out is obviously impossible, but we can try and guess how long this exponential growth will continue in the same direction. Either it continues far enough that everything will be totally different, or it doesn't. I strongly suspect it will not.

Imagining real possibilities a mere century or two away by extrapolating present developments is a little more possible. Jules Verne got much of it approximately right. The world of Gattaca is plausible enough. Brave New World might prove still more prescient than it already has been. I could name any number of science fiction writers who have imagined futures more likely than any that these extreme technological futurists describe.

"Well, maybe we'll fly in balloons, the cut of jackets will be different, we'll have discovered a sixth sense, maybe even developed it -- I don't know. But life will be the same -- difficult, full of unknowns, and happy. In a thousand years, just like today, people will sigh and say, oh, how hard it is to be alive. They'll still be scared of death, and won't want to die."
posted by sfenders at 8:40 AM on April 10, 2004


One more comment about these people's idea of Heaven:
"...every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing into a Heaven creature or into a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is Heaven: that is, it is joy, and peace, and knowledge, and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other."
–C.S. Lewis
I don't think you have to be a Christian or even necessarily a thiest for these ideas to resonate. Lewis is saying that unless you become a certain kind of person, no external conditions can possibly make a heaven for you. Our friends in the article are saying that heaven is just total climate control.
posted by weston at 11:55 PM on April 11, 2004


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