Friday, December 10, 2010

3011 AD

The 1000-year future  -- pop: 10 trillion. That's trillion.

This began as a thought experiment to do with the so-called "carrying capacity" of the earth, which is supposed to be strained or exceeded  at current levels of population. Consider 3 orders of magnitude:

  • First, look back some 8000 years, at a global population 1/1000 of today's, or about 10 million human beings -- some roaming bands, some fishers, some early farmers perhaps, all starting to crowd against one another. An early population crisis, as the earth approaches its carrying capacity for Neolithic cultures.
  • Then look ahead 1000 years, say, and consider a population 1000 times as large as our current.
    • A single super-city covering a substantial portion of the ocean surface area, as well as extensive underground capacity. (If the ocean city floated or extended below sea-level, it would displace enough water to possibly drown the continents, to avoid which would need supports.)
    • Would also need a belt of equator-girdling space elevators to move excess population off planet in mass numbers, to enable population growth generally while keeping a steady-state population level on earth, finally.
    • Also need radiator vanes (connected to space elevators?) to dump waste heat?
Think of a classic Utopian narrative -- the sleepers awake, 1000 years hence. Or perhaps they're artificial constructs, in cloned bodies, with memories and selves built out of fragments from the past -- something they only learn at the climax.


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