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CONTENTS of entire timeline

CONTENTS of 2082 AD-2183 AD: The virtual telepathy of the shush net emerges; active electro-chemical mind alteration is becoming common; heavy commercialization of space is proceeding; historical stress levels on average citizens (as well as mass species extinctions due to growing human numbers squeezing out other lifeforms) are both peaking now

This page last updated on or about 10-19-05
a - j r m o o n e y h a m . c o m - o r i g i n a l


2183 milestone: Star Trek style general purpose replication and transport technologies begin to come online

Lightspeed transmission transport for physical objects is developed; this is similar in effect to how the transporter technologies of the 20th century Star Trek television show were depicted, but with the difference that suitable equipment is required on both ends for transport, not just one, and the effective range is dependent only on the available power and size of transmission arrays.

-- Spooky teleportation study brings future closer, October 22, 1998, Reuters/CNN, http://cnn.com/

This technology also offers the promise of limitless replication of virtually any resource required, based on a scan of an original sample, and given sufficient energy and raw mass resources locally with which to generate duplicates and the requisite 'waste' energy (replication and transport technologies are not very efficient in energy usage, making them relatively expensive and 'hot' (in terms of waste heat)). The inefficient nature of these devices in early generations greatly delay their widespread deployment on Earth due to fears of superheating the biosphere beyond acceptable levels. However, subsequent generation examples of these devices do begin to contribute substantially to eliminating what remains of poverty and hunger in certain factions of humanity (as well as offering near-instant transport over terrestrial distances)-- although an awful chaos and collapse in general manufacturing endeavors in some economic sectors ensues as another consequence, forcing massive government intervention and complete destruction and rebuilding of global economies. Fortunately, existing intellectual property rights based on those developed for the world net (which was known in a much more primitive form as the internet) act as a bridge for putting together a whole new foundation for the economy, and advanced AIs help minimize the fall out from the very worst socio-economic disruptions, as the new replicators replace most previous manufacturing facilities.

It takes some time to iron out all the necessary details to satisfy everyone involved. However, this replication technology presents humanity with an extremely valuable new tool, applicable almost across the board to many problems and issues facing the civilization.

-- Futurists see an era of relentless innovation By CRAIG SAVOYE, Nando Media (http://www.nandotimes.com)/Christian Science Monitor Service (http://www.csmonitor.com), November 29, 1999

Not too long after the technology's formal introduction, popular replicator models are outfitted and work like so:

One, they possess a general purpose (and regularly updated) database of almost all the commodity foodstuffs, clothing, and obsolete tech up to now being produced routinely through government and corporate collaborations, as profits on these items are far too small for commercial concerns to produce, or else some are considered social security essentials due to knowledge and experience from past centuries. Virtually any replicator may generate any of these items on demand, provided sufficient power and raw mass is made available on site. These general purpose commodity databases on all units work in both networked and standalone mode.

Two, there are specific limitations on the creation of biological matter above a certain level of complexity, intelligence, or totality. Some such items are allowed for valid medical and/or other special requirements. But mostly there are heavy restrictions on what sorts of biomass the first wave of consumer grade replicators may produce. These biomass limitations on all units work in both networked and standalone mode, with additional security measures present where deemed necessary by unit manufacturer or user.

Three, failsafe governors are built-in to prevent creation of certain types of known machines, materials, and related items which are considered known potential hazards to the user or to others-- such as nerve gas or nuclear weapons, etc., etc. The governors of course vary in what restrictions are present, depending on the model of the replicator in question: a consumer unit's governors work differently from a medical unit's, which work differently from a military unit's. The failsafe governors on all units work in both networked and standalone mode, with additional security measures present where deemed necessary by unit manufacturer or user.

Four, there's a wide range of commercially owned non-obsolete technologies and similar items and materials which require special authorization and/or information from the legal owners to be created via replicator. Typically, a user must pay such an owner a fee to produce such items with their own machine. Items in this category are usually simply unavailable to a non-networked (standalone) replicator, except for certain emergency related items which enjoy a special over-ride contingency for which the user and/or other agencies are obligated to pay for as soon as the replicator's logs can be accessed by authorities. The intelligence in the replicator itself makes most decisions in regard to classifying emergency situations and choosing suitable products to meet the circumstances, based on both its own sensor readings and interaction with citizens in close proximity. However, replicators also have built-in 'dumb' contingency modes for times when the replicator intelligence itself is damaged or unavailable, etc., in order that basic human survival during emergencies is adequately provided for under all imaginable conditions.

Included in a replicator's database among obsolete technologies are many woefully inefficient (and in some circumstances, downright dangerous) items, which themselves are restricted to availability under only particular circumstances, or for only certain kinds of purposes. For instance, some technologies are only allowed for use in increasing accuracy and realism in scenarios investigating particularly heinous unsolved crimes of past history, while others are only allowed for serious research purposes requiring dangerous old tech for a jumping off point. Replicators are capable of guiding users to the best choice of obsolete technologies for their immediate purpose, where users feel no need for fee-required non-obsoletes.

To LEFT or TOP: a small replicator. To RIGHT or BOTTOM, typical replicator feed wafers for a small unit (these are like stones in touch and heft)

Five, the basic capacity of a replicator is dictated not only by various safeguards and the intended user of the unit, but also by the unit's size. Every replicator requires two storage areas: one to contain the raw mass (feed) from which products are created, and one to hold the forming product itself. The raw mass/feed volume is usually only one fourth to one fifth the size of the product bin, as most desired items will typically be quite spare in size, shape, and density once complete, and the recommended raw mass is quite concentrated for its volume. The cheapest consumer units are about the size of a circa 1997 electric can opener, and are used mostly to generate food and drink for one person, as well as other small items. The next larger model is about the size of a 20th century bread box, and proves popular for construction workers and mechanics. Consumer replicator sizes range upwards from there into dozens of choices, with the largest usually being around the scale of a two-story 20th century two-car garage.

Six, active replicator users must cope with a never-ending need to feed their units raw mass, typically the heavy metal bars or stone wafers shaped to fit their particular size unit. Replicators larger than closet size may require special equipment to load their feed ( if the user is a high percentage biological).

Seven, replicators may also reconvert products back into generic feed bars again-- but in the process users see a vivid illustration of the inefficiency of replicators (since it can take several products to reproduce the original amount of feed used to create a single item). Most replicators have built-in blocks against converting some items and materials-- such as high order biomass. This prevents murderers from disposing of bodies, among other things. Consumer replicators have even greater restrictions, not allowing conversion of anything but recommended feed bars/wafers, and/or products which the replicator may recognize as being listed in its internal database or a remote networked archive.

Unfortunately, replicator technology suffers some significant flaws for many years. Namely, the process proves significantly inefficient-- only around 12-15% efficient in the earliest models, with the rate slowly rising to some 25% over several decades. By another several decades later the efficiency still remains stubbornly below 50%. This nagging inefficiency problem means replicators produce lots of waste heat, as well as waste materials as byproducts of their operation (when users remove a newly replicated product from the bin, there is also a certain amount of waste debris requiring disposal to be found surrounding the product). Replicator waste materials cannot be immediately reused even in military or industrial replicators, requiring a detour through special molecular repolarization processes first. All this makes replicators relatively costly for decades, both in terms of money and environmental consequences, and contributes to their delay in widespread deployment.

Eight, replicators would seem to be naturals for spacecraft, since they allow for homogeneous materials storage which may be utilized for a very wide variety of purposes and then recycled over and over again. Unfortunately, the relatively high inefficiency of replication technologies during their first century or so makes them unappealing for use in space. Although the waste heat they produce can be readily released or possibly re-used in the space environment, their considerable waste of mass cannot so easily be addressed. For this reason replicators see very limited use in spacecraft during their first century.

-- "Visions:How Science Will Revolutionize the 21st Century" (1997, Anchor/Doubleday Books) by best-selling author and physicist Dr. Michio Kaku (source: Kaku's own web site ["http://www.wbaifree.org/explorations/index.html"]).

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