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The Future is Coming

Posted in eBook, Science, Scifi with tags , , , , on February 27, 2015 by oneoveralpha

As a science fiction writer, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how technology will change the way we live. I came up with these ten short essays about science fictional elements that will – almost certainly – one day become science fact as a way for people to start coming to terms with them. Since I’ve spent time thinking about clones and AIs, I feel I’ll be okay when they do finally show up whereas most people will probably freak out. The point of these essays is to get people to start thinking about the future because, no matter what we do, the future is coming.

Here’s one of the essays, which was first published as a blog post.

“Cloning Humans”

Someday – almost certainly sooner than anyone suspects – a human will be cloned. There will be protests, boycotts, marches, condemnations, congressional hearings, etc., all for this one minor event. I say minor event, and here is why.

The short term issues

The biggest problem human clones will face comes from people watching too many bad science fiction movies. In those movies, 99.9% of what they show of cloning is utter crap. In reality, clones will not be mindless automatons who will blindly follow the orders of some megalomaniac out for galactic domination. Nor will you run the risk of walking into an alley where someone will jump you, and ten minutes later a clone will walk out of the alley to steal your identity. And clones will not “remember” the lives of their donors and do … whatever. A clone will just be another human. That’s it. If they can escape the mental scaring caused by “parents” or guardians bent on making them into exact duplicates of the people who donated some DNA, they will be no more screwed up than the rest of us.

Cloning will – especially at first – be extremely expensive. That combined with the fact that we already have over seven billion humans made the old fashion way begs the question, what need is there to create clones? Seriously, what will be the point? Yes, grieving families will want to replace loved ones, and companies will take their money to give them a clone who will have the same DNA as the person they lost. But the clone – because they will have lived a different life – will not be the same person. And yes, some historical figures will be cloned as well as the best and brightest of various fields, but when the Einstein clone takes up poetry instead of physics, what will be the point of continuing?

There will be clones, but they will make up a miniscule fraction of the population. But a ton of legal and ethical questions will surround them. Will the donor of the DNA have all the rights and responsibilities of a parent? What recompense will people have if they are cloned against their wishes? Will the donor be able to abort the clone, and if so, how far into the cloning process will they be able to do that? If the donor is Canadian but the cloning is done in the United States, will the clone be Canadian, American, or have dual citizenship? Will a clone be able to become President? It’s probably a safe bet that few – if any – of these questions will be answered by the time human clones walk among us.

The long term issues

Above, I said that the fictional instaclones that are ready in a few minutes or hours you often see in movies is utter crap. In the short term, that is entirely true. The technology to rapidly copy a person may be possible, but probably not for several decades at best. As such, the day may come where you could walk into an alley and ten minutes later a clone walks out to steal your identity. That could happen, but since cloning won’t be the only technology to advance, I’d think it would be far easier for the bad guys to steal your identity by hacking into your computer implants and turning you into a puppet. That will be easier then going through the process of taking a genetic sample, growing the instaclone, and then somehow giving it enough of your memories for it to pass as you.

About the only possible reason I can think of for large scale clone production, will be for people to download themselves into younger bodies. There are two ways I can see this happening. The first is a brain transplant. Now, if the clone has to grow up so the brain will fit, that will only work if the clone can be grown without a brain. But if you could make brainless, instaclones, then that may be a viable option. The second way is some sort of electronic transfer. You make a digital copy of yourself, then install it in a clone with an undeveloped brain. Of course, if you can upload your consciousness into some electronic format, then why not keep it as that in either a virtual world or by downloading it into a mechanical body? As I said, cloning won’t be the only technology that advances.

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Basically, at some point in the not too distant future, a human will be cloned. A great deal of time will be spent demonizing that fact, but in the long run human cloning will almost certainly just be a fad.

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If you’re curious, you can find “The Future is Coming” on Kindle.

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Ebook sale!

Posted in eBook, Humor, Politics, Science, Scifi, Spaceflight, Stories, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 24, 2013 by The Prince of Pithy

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On December 25th and 26th, ten of my ebooks will be FREE to download to the Kindles that Santa brought you.  Together, they contain 144 short stories and 10 essays that can all be yours for the price of a click.  To learn more about each one, check out my Amazon Author Page.

Happy Holidays.

 

The Future is Coming

Posted in eBook, Science, Scifi, Spaceflight with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2013 by The Prince of Pithy

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As a science fiction writer, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how technology will change the way we live. As such, I’ve come up with ten short essays about science fictional elements that will – almost certainly – one day become science fact as a way for people to start coming to terms with them. Because I’ve spent time thinking about clones and AIs, I feel I’ll be okay when they do finally show up whereas most people will probably freak out. I hope these essays will get people to start thinking about the future because, no matter what we do, the future is coming.

It is available on Kindle for $0.99, or equivalent.   I hope you’ll check it out.

Lunar Colony vs. Martian Colony

Posted in Science, Spaceflight with tags , , , on December 19, 2012 by The Prince of Pithy

In the last few years, with the feeling we are on the verge of a golden age of space exploration, there has been a debate over whether we should return to the moon as a prelude to going to Mars (my opinion) or just go to Mars.  Some of the “just go to Mars” people feel that returning to the moon is a distraction at best and a waste at worst.  But I’ve been thinking about this lately and I’ve came to some interesting conclusions I felt like sharing, so here they are.

We will return to the moon.  Now, when I say we, I mean humans.  The next entity that puts humans on the moon could be American, Russian, Chinese, private company, or some combination.  I predict that by 2030 – at the latest – there will be a lunar base.  Research at this base will consist of studying the moon itself, setting up astronomical observatories, as well as just learning how to live in a hostile environment.  But over the decades, non-research things will also crop up.  Lunar tourism will be the natural outgrowth of space tourism.  The reduced lunar gravity will be easier on weakened bones so there will probably be a lunar retirement community.  And besides the standard reason for returning to the moon of Helium-3 mining, who knows what opportunities will develop for high-vacuum/low-gravity manufacturing.  So you will need people to clean the hotel rooms, take care of the elderly, oversee the robots in the factories, thus meaning you’ll need people to grow food for everyone, teachers to teach the children, and police to keep the peace.  A lunar economy will develop at the lunar bases and – probably within a few decades – turn them into a full-fledged lunar colonies.

And what about Mars?  We humans will go to Mars.  We will set up research bases.  And then what?  There will be Martian tourism, but I think the time needed to fly to Mars and back will vastly limit the number of people willing to go.  For the same reason I doubt there will be much of a Martian retirement community.  And what manufacturing could be done on Mars that couldn’t be done better in space or on the moon?  I don’t see much of a Martian economy developing that could turn bases into colonies.  In addition, I very much suspect that as more people go to Mars, the environmental idea of keeping Mars Martian will grow to the point where the idea of terraforming Mars will die kicking and screaming.  Especially if we discover any sort of native Martian life.  I see the future of Mars as a sort of Antarctica; there will be research bases and limit tourism and that’s about it.

But where will everyone live if we don’t terraform Mars? you ask.  Well, first off, I don’t know the numbers off the top of my head, but I think the Earth’s population grows by some 10,000 people a day, and in fifty years, only about 600 people have been in space.  So the idea of shipping our excess population to Mars is a complete flight of fancy.  And one would hope that in the centuries it would take to terraform Mars, we would be able to get the overpopulation problem under control.

So, you ask, will our future in space be limited to lunar colonies and Mars bases?  No.  There are these things called asteroids out there.  There are millions of them.  You can mine them to build spaceships, or hollow them out to create habitats.  I predict that by 2200, more people will live and work in the asteroid belt than on space stations orbiting Earth, in lunar colonies, and Mars bases combined and they will be the economic powerhouse of the solar system.

In conclusion, I think a lunar colony is a certainty, there will definitely be Martian research bases, but the real future of human spacefaring will be in the asteroid belt.  Focusing so intently on Mars may be a distraction from our ultimate goal.