Wednesday, February 23, 2011

2050CE: A Fable

It is generally thought that in 1801CE the English scientist Thomas Young first performed the Double Slit experiment. In your universe, maybe...

Young set up this elegantly simple demonstration of allowing a light to pass through either one hole, or two holes that were side by side. In doing so, he attempted to see whether light was a particle, a corpuscular thing as Newton surmised, or if light was a wave traveling through some marvelous aether. The answer was both, but not at the same time. Still stranger was, the choice could be, or was, or will be made after the light had passed through the hole(s).

Richard Feynman was able to describe this, and many other fascinating things, by invoking something called the Feynman path integral. This bit of mathematical legerdemain is also referred as the "sum over histories" method, although I refer to it as the "sum over futures" method. And you should to, if you know what is good for you.

What has this to do with the year 2050CE?

Granted, that was a long time ago, but bear with me.

There are, it turns out, certain pivotal years, which, as the great physicist Mark Everett once stated, are "uchronal, they remain constant throughout all transreal states". Which is to say, certain important events occur regardless of the universe they occur in. Or more specifically, the parachronic sample space contains a very large but finite amount of alternatives, which is just as well, as having to divide everything by infinity just produces nonsense.

Mark's father, Hugh Everett (Many Worlds Interpretation) suspected as much, but could never quite get the math down. Fortunately for this correspondent (and you as well, gentle reader) living in the best of all possible worlds means the Mark postponed his lucrative rock n' roll career and finished his father's great work.

Which means we know that the years 10,380 BCE, 6,212 BCE, 512BCE, 38CE, 512CE, 1848CE, 2050CE,... just to name a few, remain temporally invariant. Interesting, that. And still not quite explained.

But I digress. Year 2050CE. In the vast majority of scenarios, Earth is not a world anymore. It is a welfare planet.

Population pegged out at 9 billion, with perhaps ten million haves, the rest a brutally suppressed permanent have-nots. Every square inch of arable land devoted to agriculture. No more wilderness. No more wild animals. China, India, Brazil, parts of North America: vast desert. Africa, a war grave. The Arctic permanently ice free. It is a miracle almost all nukes have been accounted for and stashed in Canada, which enjoys its hegemonic superpower status. After the collapse, the forward thinking United States military (who would have thought? as in who would have thought the KGB would be the enlightened element with the former Soviet Union?) turned most of their stuff over to Canada, the one bright spot in an otherwise dismal decade. Killer robots. Helper robots.

No jobs, or no skilled jobs at any rate, as the robots and computers do all that brainy stuff. Few unskilled jobs, save for environmental remediation. On the mystery front, the remains of President Palin finally located in the Cheyenne Mountain complex. The cut marks on her bones indicating she was one of the last to be eaten. Rank hath its privileges.

Within the celebrity network, Paris Hilton, Jr. is scheduled for her fifth litter (sired off of Ashton Kutcher GM SEED), to be donated to the Oil Trust for liquifaction. Oil is currently $1,250,000 a barrel (except that price is in yuan). A Vlad Teppes clone is to be resurrected for a year on Death Match. And the world's largest TV will be moved to its new home in Novo Beijing. The last known modified white tiger man hunted down, shot, and stuffed  within Bharat Forever (formerly known as Alaska).

So sad. But, hey, seeing as (thanks to Dr. Mark Everett) our wormhole technologies allows us to live in the Best of all possible worlds, I'm not so sad after all.

BTW, next week, Tuesday evening, from 7pm on, I plan to be making an appearance in Sam's Pub, 1200 W Lankhmar Street, Spiral City, Alterra, NGC6264. If you happen to be within a few million light years of me, stop by for a beer and a chat!

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