Our Future History

January 10, 2011

Torah Kachur

Two millions years ago the Homo species showed our immeasurable power to create, distort and imagine - we started to use tools.  Whether they are tiny stone implements designed to skin carcasses or the latest iPad, the creativity of our species is what will be our legacy for eons to come. 

Except, where will future intelligent species find that legacy?  Stone tools can survive 2 million years in the shale of the African landscape, your iPhone can't even survive a corner pinch.  In 2000 years from now, or even 200 years from now, how will those that come after us know our history? 


The Kindle is poised to revolutionize the printed word, just like the iPod did for music, and yet the Kindle will remove one of the singlemost important artifacts left by any modern civilization - the book.  The books that show our emotions, our mindset and a window into every detail of our lives.  There will be no printed word, nor will there be a stone artifact, a bone hairpin or even a leather thong left for those that come after us.  There will be no use of a Rosetta Stone because there will be no recorded language.


        Torah Kachur Future Humanity Record Artifacts Binary


The 'cloud' will dominate the future of computing with all of our pictures, love letters, ideas and record being stored as simply 1's and 0's in the 'sky' or on some massive supercomputer in the basement of Google.  Our digital memories can't even survive an OS upgrade so what will be our story that is told or even evidence of existing.  It is possible that a million years from now, the future of humanity or whatever intelligent species comes after will consider our civilization a dark ages for its lack of recorded evidence.  We will be considered a primitive culture that was based in story-telling and close-knit communities that never intermixed or commuted or even walked down the hall to communicate - after all - we have Twitter. 


Maybe there is no purpose to recording our past or our present.  It is possible that the future is what it intends to be - looking forward.  And perhaps it is not our duty to leave some message for the future generations.  Although those that do not know history are doomed to repeat it, all our history classes have proven of very little value.  Perhaps our corpses will tell the tales for us, distorted joints caused by rampant obesity, lack of muscle tone caused by a sedentary lifestyle and arthritic joints from typing these words.  Although, it is more likely with our burgeoning population we will cease to bury the dead and instead favor cremation, further destroying our story to the future.


The footprint we will leave will hopefully be fleeting and unimportant - hopefully our destruction of current Earth will not prevent future Earth from existing and thriving and being alive.  Perhaps in 1 million years from now the geologists of the future will look at sedimentary rock of ancient oceans and determine that the "Dark Ages" for humanity left one indellible imprint - massive extinction and flooding due to carbon dioxide emissions and climate change. 


There will be no future Acropolis or Terracotta Warriors to discover, after all - they don't build them like they used to.



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