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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Star Trek Vs. Babylon 5 Economic Futures (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Animated Puppets
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Inspired by the Minimum Wage thread I pondered what would the world be like in the next few hundred years.

Will it be like Star Trek where there are no homeless, poor, or hungry people in the Federation? Or, would it be like Babylon 5 where the issues we are experiencing today still apply?

Ideally living in the Star Trek future sounds great. Clean air, clean water, lush expansive landscaping, any food/drink at a push of a button, and all illnesses resolved by a simple hypo-spray.

Babylon 5 however, has homeless, poor, hungry stranded people between worlds, no money no service, and only free medical for the workers.

Seams like a no brainer, but even though Star Trek sounds far superior... it's a pipe dream.

In the Star Trek future, whenever they run into a problem due to the laws of physics/reality... they just create a new word.

For example: Inertial Dampers were created to get around Newton's laws. No explanation as to how they work, it just does. Perhaps it is like Tinkerbell and all you have to do is believe (and clap?). I have seen them use these magic words on other conflicts as well.

Here is an interesting blog about the economics of Star Trek.


We can all agree we would like to see a future where... everyone has a future, no homeless, no poor, and free (quality) health care.

Sadly, it reminds me of the South Park Underwear Gnomes where they decide on an action(step 1), ? (step 2), and profit (step 3). Lots of step 1's being tossed out, but step 2 is still a mystery...
*Yawn*
Cliffg37
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If we have enough resources, Science will tell you that eventually, anything is possible. Inertial dampers do exist. They are nowhere near as effective as those on the Enterprise, and they are really very simple. They are strong springs attached to a chair a pilot is belted into. The spring takes up some of the thrust of a high "G" take offtake off. Today they are simple and not too effective... Tomorrow?

The one thing that could happen to make Star Trek economics a bit more possible, would be the discovery of another, reachable, inhabitable world for humans to populate. That might east the economy by halving the population.
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To clarify the inertial dampers criticism was based upon light speed. IE: Jump to Warp 5 = pulverized bodies.

As far as the economics to work in the Star Trek future everybody would need to fully participate.

Human nature being what it is I don't see a way around people who choose to abuse the system and 'slack' off...

...unless of course... we give them red shirts Smile
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Jonathan Townsend
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I thought the gnomes were taking socks as prosperity offerings these days. Smile

Comparing Star Trek to Babylon 5 - things are a little slower but end with more hope in the Babylon 5 mythos. It looks like humanity has a bright future at the end of that show. Smile

Yes to Redshirts! Smile That story was fun.

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In the Star Trek mythos there's a couple of centuries of war and poverty in our projected near future. Then a rocket experiment by Zeph Cockram (Jeff Bezos??) attracts attention from those watching. Skip forward fifty years and ignore the cultural revolution administered by the Vulcans. Nobody talks about that. Then there's a century of Federation/Empire expansion. Smile Interesting that the Federation and Klingon empire are expanding at the same time with the same technology. Maybe the explorer had some help from those seemingly impartial observing Vulcans? Looking at the Klingons a moment - they might explain the "final frontier" line from Hamlet... And then...
Quote:
"Until we can find a way to counteract the warp field effect, the Council feels our best course is to slow the damage as much as possible. Therefore, areas of space found susceptible to warp fields will be restricted to essential travel only, and effective immediately, all Federation vessels will be limited to a speed of – Warp 5? – except in cases of extreme emergency."

Ouch! Thank goodness they did not confuse their replicators with transporters ... or is the idea that the TV show characters don't know they are copied from episode to episode, replicated between commercial interruptions Smile
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A bit off the subject of economics but I like this blurb from "This Book is Full of Spiders" by David Wong.

"All right, but you know Star Trek, and 'Beam me up, Scotty'? How they can teleport people around?"

"Yeah. The transporters."

"Do you know how they work?"

"Just... special effects. CGI or whatever they used."

"No, I mean within the universe of the show. They work by breaking down your molecules, zapping you over a beam, and putting you back together on the other end."

"Sure."

"That is what scares me. I can't watch it. I find it too disturbing."

I shrugged. "I don't get it."

"Well, think about it. Your body is just made of a few different types of atoms. Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and so on. So this transporter machine, there is no reason in the world to break down all of those atoms and then send those specific atoms thousands of miles away. One oxygen atom is the same as another, so what it does is send the blueprint for your body across the beam. Then it reassembles you at the destination, out of whatever atoms it has nearby. So if there is carbon and hydrogen at the planet you're beaming down to, it'll just put you together out of what it has on hand, because you get the exact same result."

"Sure. "

"So it's more like sending a fax than mailing a letter. Only the transporter is a fax machine that shreds the original. Your original body, along with your brain, gets vaporized. Which means what comes out the other end isn't you. It's an exact copy that the machine made, of a man who is now dead, his atoms floating freely around the interior of the ship. Only within the universe of the show, nobody knows this. Meanwhile, you are dead. Dead for eternity. All of your memories and emotions and personality end, right there, on that platform, forever. Your wife and children and friends will never see you again. What they will see is this unnatural photocopy of you that emerged from the other end. And in fact, since transporter technology is used routinely, all of the people you see on that ship are copies of copies of copies of long-dead, vaporized crew members. And no one ever figures it out. They all continue to blithely step into this machine that kills one hundred percent of the people who use it, but nobody realizes it because each time, it spits out a perfect replacement for the victim at the other end."

― David Wong, This Book Is Full of Spiders
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Peter Frase posits four possible scenarios for the future:

https://jackshalom.net/2017/06/23/peter-......art-one/
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On Nov 19, 2018, landmark wrote:
Peter Frase posits four possible scenarios for the future:

https://jackshalom.net/2017/06/23/peter-......art-one/


Que sera, sera...

Peter admits that his book is based upon a premise of potential automation that eliminates the need issues. This is the flaw I mentioned in a Star Trek future.

The Star Trek Gnomes use replicators... that they create by...? but the end results is the end of capitalism. Smile

I added Peters book to my wish list and I'll give it a listen at the end of the month.

Listening to your interview now.
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Jonathan Townsend
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Here's a glance at one social dialog on future value/rights issues:
https://boingboing.net/2018/11/20/power-......ere.html

Some factors to fret: reliability of data/identity/scope of social contact (includes space-time proximity)/robustness under contact with hostiles
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landmark
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Quote:
On Nov 20, 2018, Mike Gainor wrote:
Quote:
On Nov 19, 2018, landmark wrote:
Peter Frase posits four possible scenarios for the future:

https://jackshalom.net/2017/06/23/peter-......art-one/


Que sera, sera...

Peter admits that his book is based upon a premise of potential automation that eliminates the need issues. This is the flaw I mentioned in a Star Trek future.

The Star Trek Gnomes use replicators... that they create by...? but the end results is the end of capitalism. Smile

I added Peters book to my wish list and I'll give it a listen at the end of the month.

Listening to your interview now.


Thanks for listening, Mike. You'll hear that in part two of the interview, Peter talks about what may happen if there is relative scarcity rather than abundance i.e. no replicators. He thinks that the outcome then may go one of two ways, depending on whether the political structures favor equality or inequality. If the former, then there will be some system of equitably sharing meager resources; if the latter, then the powerful will hoard resources leading to an extermination scenario for those without power.
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I like thought exercises so I'll get the book. Star Trek or Babylon 5 futures will come down to how the human condition plays out. Star Trek only works if everybody agrees; which is doubtful as we cannot agree on a thread in a forum...
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For continuity and reference, here is an article on Forbes about The Underpants Gnomes
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Tim Snyder
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In the year 9595
I'm kinda wondering if man is gonna be alive
He's taken everything this old earth can give
And he ain't put back nothing
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OK, let's stimulate the discussion a bit with a thought exercise:

Let's say that the Star Trek Gnomes really came through and we have replicators. Instantly we have the capability to feed and provide for everyone... heck, lets go one further and say for free.

How does this change the nature of man?
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landmark
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It doesn't. It only changes the stakes.

That is why what matters is if those without power are able to use their numbers to effect changes in the wealth distribution system.

As is true even right now, a surplus of food and energy does not mean that millions are not starving. That's why these future scenarios of plenty are meaningless without reference to the political systems in place.
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So, with that said, and since this is a though experiment... what do you see needs to change? (global sense).
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Edit: though(t)
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landmark
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What or how?
Jonathan Townsend
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TL;DR priorities

Needed? A larger purpose or goal to motivate our efforts. Preferably something more noble than finding out a giant rock is going to hit our planet in a few years. In both TV stories it's contact with others which already have means to travel. Matters of status and stasis. Smile
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Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On Nov 23, 2018, landmark wrote:
What or how?
Quote:
Theseus to Rorschach. Hello Rorschach.
Hello Theseus. Welcome to the neighborhood.

But imagine that with a little bit larger scope. Theseus to Rorschach: Did you know our radio and television programs are protected by copyright law?
Rorschach to Theseus: What are you offering in compensation for the computational efforts required to filter out your jamming signals from our deep stellar research data in your area?
Quote:
And it's coming from right about there.
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Animated Puppets
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Quote:
On Nov 23, 2018, landmark wrote:
What or how?



What or how... either way but if you say 'what' I gotta ask 'how'. Smile
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