The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Can we skip generations of technology?  (Read 1154 times)

Offline Expectant_Philosopher

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 229
    • View Profile
Can we skip generations of technology?
« on: 03/07/2013 11:39:23 »
Where is it written that we must adhere to an evolutionary path through science?  Why can't we skip through generations of technology, to get to our ultimate goals?  Today we rely on the evolution of scientific endeavors, each discovery a building block for the next stage.  Where are the leaps of faith?  Where is the science that had no prior basis? 

There are histories showing the effect of leaps in science.  When war brought new technology to backward civilizations, those backward civilizations adapted to this novel unforeseen technology, making it a part of their lives.  If technology from other worlds were to land in our backyard we would reverse engineer it and make it ours.  But this leap in technology was only accepted by the knowledge that the technology exists, prior to its introduction it was a pipedream, a crackpot idea.

It seems humans in general need to have a mask or blueprint from which to work.  It seems without a stepping stone we cannot cross the river of ignorance to get to our ultimate goals.  I applaud Science Fiction writers for allowing us to envision what technology could be, how it could integrate into our society.  Without SciFi stories to defend the crackpots, many of our technologies would never have even come into being. 

How many ideas have died on the vine that would've provided us leaps in technology, discarded because they were "too out there"?  How many inventors never birth their ideas for fear of becoming socially ostracized. We have the capacity to skip generations of technology.  Imagination, the one gift that truly defines us as human,  yet it is the quality we most suppress. I want us to harness more imagination from our people. I think we need to encourage more crackpot technology ideas.  I would like to match up more inventors with the means to test their ideas.  I would certainly like to match up the crackpots with credible SyFy writers to allow humankind to test what could be possible, to use the authors to create the stepping stones we seem to need in our path of technological development.

 
« Last Edit: 03/07/2013 11:44:45 by Expectant_Philosopher »


 

Offline CliffordK

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6321
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • Site Moderator
    • View Profile
Re: Can we skip generations of technology?
« Reply #1 on: 07/07/2013 20:41:46 »
I have no doubt that the order of scientific discoveries could have been made quite differently than have occurred with human civilization.  Certainly there are great leaps forward that have occurred because of certain individuals or groups.

Many discoveries may still require previous discoveries to build off of.

How close was Leonardo to discovering powered flight?  However, I find it doubtful that a steam powered airplane would have taken off.  But, did it have to wait for the internal combustion engine to be invented, or could we just as easily have seen rocket powered early aircraft?

Leonardo might have been close to inventing the Gatling Gun, but that would have first also required the invention of the bullet shell.
 

Offline cheryl j

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1460
  • Thanked: 1 times
    • View Profile
Re: Can we skip generations of technology?
« Reply #2 on: 08/07/2013 22:26:49 »
It's amazing how long it took both empirical measurements and practical applications to catch up with the Einstein and other physicists who were thinking about their ideas in the early 1900s. There are leaps in scientific knowledge, but technology seems to require a mass effort.
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: Can we skip generations of technology?
« Reply #2 on: 08/07/2013 22:26:49 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums
 
Login
Login with username, password and session length