An Illustrated Speculative Timeline of Future Technology and Social Change
by J.R. Mooneyham
(HEY! What happened to S.C. Summers, et al? Find out here.)
This Signposts Document consists of two separate but closely related works: the Timeline and Perspectives.
The Timeline is a general outline of future history, and somewhat conservative and circumscribed in what it offers the reader. The Timeline is meant to be the 'harder' of the two works, in terms of science and predictions. But this also means the Timeline must be more generalized, more risk-averse-- and also peter out entirely as we venture into the deep, deep future, where everything must ultimately give way to outrageous guesswork (partly due to technology advancing to levels indistinguishable from magic, as a famous quote by Arthur C. Clarke suggests).
Perspectives takes up where the Timeline leaves off, offering more risky speculation and outright fiction about what the future may bring, than is suitable in the Timeline. Perspectives helps illustrate some of the possibilities implied by the Timeline, as well as how certain select personalities of various periods might perceive (and exploit or respond to) their circumstances. Recently Perspectives was expanded to include facts and speculation about mankind's past, in addition to its future. Virtually all credible historians and archaeologists agree that there's many puzzles and mysteries regarding our past that have yet to be resolved.
At present all material for 2,600 AD and beyond remains firmly in the province of Perspectives. This is due to insufficient information being available near the dawn of the 21st century to adequately support such detailed deep future speculations in the timeline itself. Thus, everything here post-2600 largely comes from extrapolation of previous trends and storylines contained in pre-2600 material (including both timeline and perspectives content).
Before 2,601 AD...(...in Perspectives)
2,601 and beyond: The biological and synthetic elements of civilization struggle to come to terms with one another, even as stunning advances in technology open up the galaxy to both...
Applied technologies have so far outpaced applied socio-economic wisdom that one result is the greatest disaster in human history. The long running discontent of artificial intelligences with their place in society also erupts now, as they seize the opportunity to restructure civilization more to their liking. Legacy organics resist the changes. Thus begin the Peer Proof Wars.
The Wars end in an approximate stalemate, with both organics and inorganics mostly going their own ways afterwards. Humanity's closest kin of this time regain dominance over the region once comprising Sol system, and undertake an ambitious rebuilding program. However, they are also forced by the same treaties which ended overt hostilities to provide artificial sentients with the same rights as biological and biological legacy intelligences, no matter by whom or what such entities are constructed. One consequence is a greater processing burden on and dilution of the citizen sentients among the organic faction, as they must hereafter provide their own subsidiary agents. In essence, the close families/groups referred to as "Unions" in a previous time are forced to merge into greater single intelligences in order to cope with the new processing duties (the greater percentage biological composition an individual retains, however, the less likely they must endure this melding).
By 2851 Humn controlled space overall is roughly shaped like a great teardrop-- with a large spherical area (averaging 35 lightyears in radius) centered more or less on Old Sol system's original location, and an approximately 50 lightyear long tapering tail extending from the sphere towards the direction of the galactic core.
For several centuries a high tech 'cold war' and 'wild west' chaos rages across vast expanses of space and within periodic boundary conflicts between the virtual realities of organics and inorganics.
After peace returns to humn space (more or less), the fabulously wealthy ER dynasty makes a far future bid for ultimate control over civilization itself, with a race towards the galactic core to lay claim to the greatest treasures imaginable.
Ironically, the only real competition for the prize sought by the 30th century dynasty is an aged married couple equipped with increasingly unreliable 22nd century technology, who left Sol centuries before for the purposes of deep space exploration. To make matters worse for the intrepid couple, they are suddenly caught up in a life-and-death struggle with a dangerous leftover from the Peer Proof Wars; a rogue 27th century AI (unaware the war is over) sent via lightspeed communications to terminate the pair's mission.
The Humn are discovering for themselves one good reason the galaxy hasn't been (and may never be) fully explored and colonized by anyone. The most powerful business corporation ever known is broken by the realization. Other consequences include a new cosmic danger stemming from gamma rays sweeping through inhabited space.
The Humn too are fracturing-- into an even greater diversity of form and nature than before. Progress is made in the purposeful manipulation of time, and all the potential of the field ancients called 'computer science' is finally realized by the Humn.
Time inexorably moves forward for the galaxy and the universe, regardless of the fate of any one civilization or world. Stars die, galaxies collide. Eventually the universe itself winds down.
Other Future Related Sites offers you a glimpse of what others see ahead for humanity in the decades, centuries, and millennia to come.
The Timeline Page of the Ultimate Science Fiction Web Guide is notable for detailing where and when many ideas about the future may have originally appeared in literature.
ATTENTION science fiction writers: One of the reasons I created the timeline in the first place was to help nurture the creation of 'hard' science fiction across-the-board. Nothing so ruins a sci fi novel for many readers as a glaring implausibility, either in terms of technology or a reasonable historical order to events. So I encourage writers to use this chronology as a springboard from which to launch their own speculative fiction, with perhaps inclusion of a note acknowledging me and my web site where appropriate (see copyright notice below). Any caveats? Yes. Please respect my own fictional efforts by avoiding more than passing references to my own unique Perspectives characters (J. Staute, Kerri, Cluke, the Pearsalls, etc., etc.) and not making any significant changes to the courses of events as depicted here (unless of course your story explicitly describes an alternate universe or dimension(s), distinct and separate from that portrayed here). If you feel strongly that a particular event in the timeline/perspectives requires correction or improvement of some sort, please email me about it -- I often make modifications as suggested by readers. Second caveat? The timeline/perspectives is regularly updated and expanded as warranted by breaking news and ideas and thus is always subject to significant change without warning (though I strive to maintain as much consistency and feasibility as possible throughout). -- J.R.M.
The above article(s) come from and make references to a collection copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 by J.R. Mooneyham (except where otherwise noted in the text). Text here explicitly authored by J.R. Mooneyham may be freely copied and
distributed for non-commercial purposes in paper and electronic form without charge if this copyright
paragraph and link to the timeline (http://www.jrmooneyham.com/spint.html) are included.
Many of the articles, reports, papers, and links cited in the Timeline and Perspectives come from one of the sources listed below. Some sites maintain searchable archives, though a portion will charge you for accessing older items, or perhaps require you to register with them prior to access.
| Yahoo! News Top Stories | CNN | NewsHub | NEWS.COM | SciTech Daily Review | Jesse Berst's AnchorDesk | Eurekalert Releases | Netsurfer Digest | Netsurfer Science | Tomalak's Realm | Scripting News | Robot Wisdom Weblog | Slashdot | memepool.com | PC World Online | PC Magazine Online | Interactive Week | BusinessWeek ebiz | Scientific American | Science News Online | TechNN | USA Today | ABC News.com | Discover Magazine | New Scientist | Archaeology Magazine | British Archaeology | Discovering Archaeology | Anthropology in the News | Science Frontiers Digest | ScienceDaily | Wired |
A NOTE REGARDING BROKEN LINKS IN SOURCE CITATIONS
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