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Stone age to modern age in less than 10,000 years

  1. Mar 20, 2016 #1
    On Kepler B#, humanoids have survived every mass extinction as a species for millions of years.

    On Kepler Bb humanoids haven't been there as long. Only tens of years instead of millions.

    In my story about Kepler Bb I have Robin and Lisa in a stone age type civilization when they are young, making their own tools(baskets, bows and arrows, spears etc.)

    21 years later they go through a fast transition(15 years) from stone age to modern age with people on Kepler B# transporting an interplanetary communicator and modern materials.

    Now is this feasible or is it just impossible, even in fiction?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 20, 2016 #2
    There is no definite line between science fiction and fantasy. Sci-fi typically expands off of actual science, with plausible technology. Fantasy fiction is anything you can dream up. :smile:
     
  4. Mar 20, 2016 #3

    Ryan_m_b

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    I posted a reply but misread your question. To clarify:

    There are two planets; one high tech, one Stone Age. The high tech world sends a supply of modern tools and communicators to the Stone Age planet. And presumably convinces the locals to stick around and follow instructions?

    Even in this case 15 years is far too quick, likely impossible. For a few reasons:

    1) Workforce size. Industrialised nations require a lot of workers, hundreds of thousands to millions. A Stone Age tribe would be lucky to consist of a thousand people, nowhere near enough to meet the labour demand. The first set of instructions will have to be on better agricultural techniques, antibiotics, hygiene etc so that perhaps in a century or two there would be a cities worth of people and not a tribe.

    2) Education. Stone Age people were illiterate and the only skills they possessed were that of basic tools, hunting, artwork etc. The learning curve to understand how to properly and safely use modern technology would be incredibly steep, even with instructors on real time video chat (which they wouldn't be due to light speed lag). It's not just that they haven't been trained it's that they have grown up in a completely different world and lack none of the basic skills even required to start learning how to use high tech equipment. It would likely take the high tech instructors years, even decades, to train a few up to the required level. Remember that IRL workers in a high tech economy often require a dozen years kid schooling followed by several years at university just to earn the rank of "department intern"

    3) Some things take time no matter how many people you have. Unless the equipment they're shipped is on the order of semi-autonomous robot (which would beg the question of why they didn't bother just getting the robots to do all the work) it's going to take a long time to build the basic infrastructure to even get started. Farms have to be laid down, mines and quarries dug, refineries and factories built, long distance transport networks of roads to link all together etcetera. In the modern world nations like Russia, China and Japan took decades to go from agrarian societies to modern superpowers and they could only achieve that Herculean feat because they had large populations, natural resources, access to trade and the option to follow in others footsteps.

    Given this set up I can see two possible solutions:

    1) Increase the timescale. Have the Stone Age civilisation spend a couple of centuries following the instructions (perhaps even building a religion around it)

    2) Increase the amount of help given. Have the high tech society send not just equipment and knowledge but workers, robots, regular supplies etc. Have them do most of the work.
     
  5. Mar 20, 2016 #4
    It would be highly unlikely, that type of change is not just technological, it'd be cultural. Culture evolves at a generational speed, you'd need several generations to adapt to using the new technology and the societal changes. Intelligence might lead to religious behavior because intelligence means pattern recognition, which leads to false patterns and superstitions. It'd be a bad idea to give tribal people with conflicting dogmas modern weaponry.
     
  6. Mar 20, 2016 #5

    mfb

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    With sufficient external help, you don't have to try to adapt slowly. Go for a full cultural shock, educate the children in "modern" ways with external help, and find some way to keep the older people happy without contributing much. Modern humans have nearly the same genetics as stone age humans, so the differences are aquired over the lifetime. If you start early enough...

    If you just drop books, videos and whatever and wait for the stone age tribes to build up an advanced civilization: even if you get the reading/language barrier solved somehow, that would take really long.
     
  7. Mar 20, 2016 #6

    Ryan_m_b

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    True, imperialism would be faster. Albeit brutal.
     
  8. Mar 20, 2016 #7

    Vanadium 50

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    Very important point. It takes two orders of magnitude more people to support a modern society than the population during the stone-age. You can't produce that many people (much less workers) in 15 years.
     
  9. Mar 20, 2016 #8
    Aztec Empire were Stone Age (they imported a small quantity of copper tools from their enemies Tarascans, but could not cast copper, and silver and gold were not tools to make tools - meanwhile Aztecs were large scale exporters of stone...) and ruled several millions of people.

    Quite a lot changed in 15 years, too - 1519 to 1534.
     
  10. Mar 20, 2016 #9

    ogg

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    I'm definitely no expert, but it seems to me that the modern (aka Western) world is post-industrial and some of the answers seem to be rooted in Industrial Age notions of work-force. I'm US, and our current Presidential Election seems to be about the failure of our economy to "lift all boats", meaning more and more people are finding themselves without meaningful employment. Currently, AI is undergoing near-revolutionary advances, and the number of "real" jobs necessary to maintain our "standard of living" is rapidly diminishing. You've been well answered: there is a hierarchy of needs (Maslov) which must be met (more or less) for any transition to be successful. If, for instance, you look at the way white settlers treated Australian natives (their children were taken away), and how successful that was (or was not), you'd get some idea of the problems involved. I'd guess that the most likely chance of success would be confiscation of all children under the age of 10, followed by a evaluation of older inhabitants for openness to change, IQ, etc. (and extermination of those who fail). Then forced education, along with establishment of the new culture (and language), including concepts of truth, duty, honor, property rights, law, money, etc. Anyone doing this wouldn't be doing it for altruistic purposes, as already said it would be brutal and genocidal. Possible in 15 years? No, I don't think so: modern society relies on 50-70 year olds (like it or not) as well as 20-40 year olds. So, I'd expect this to take about 60 years, as a minimum.
     
  11. Mar 20, 2016 #10

    ogg

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    And the society you had after just 60 years would pretty much mirror the brutality of the one imposed, transitioning that into one based on human rights would, I expect take many, many generations - unless another genocide were employed...
     
  12. Mar 20, 2016 #11

    mfb

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    The number of people needed for the same things is going down. The number of different jobs with different qualifications is increasing, as many jobs get more and more specialized. To produce medieval tools, you need a smith (and mining industry). To produce a modern computer, you need that guy specialized on assembling pipes for ultrapure water leading some particular machines in a semiconductor factory (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klaiber's_law]Klaiber's[/PLAIN] [Broken] law) - but also thousands of other similar narrow jobs.
     
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  13. Mar 20, 2016 #12
    Did the Australian children become successful enough in modern society to produce a fiscal return for educating them?
    Would it have been cheaper for Australia to leave the children illiterate in desert?
     
  14. Mar 20, 2016 #13
    They can produce static electricity to stabilize chambers and tunnels. This means that they can dig, even in fine sand no problem. They can even dig through arctic permafrost.

    Their civilization is mostly underground with shelters at the surface(so their floors would be like 0(ground floor), -1, -2, etc.

    They also know what things like quiver, pregnancy, and other words mean(which isn't surprising considering that the stone age lasted about 3.5 million years and ended in 3000 BC) so they aren't illiterate. Some of them like Robin(my main male character) know about the genetics of their species.

    And there is at least 1(probably more) wild fruit garden and at least 1 wild vegetable garden. The reason I call them wild gardens is because people like Lisa's great-great-grandfather(Lisa is one of the characters in my story) started them as gardens and over the years they became balanced by wild animals such as deer that eat apples and birds that eat berries.

    Some of the australian aborigines lived underground like these humanoids do.

    So those are why I thought that a transition from stone age to modern age in 15 years would be feasible.
     
  15. Mar 20, 2016 #14
    Um? Plenty of Iron Age people were illiterate.
    Maya were unusual in being Stone Age people who had true writing.
     
  16. Mar 20, 2016 #15

    Ryan_m_b

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    Who is this? The stone age people? Why would stone age societies live in tunnels underground? Perhaps you should clarify exactly what you mean by stone age; neolithic hunter gatherers? Aztec type nations etc.

    The stone age may have lasted millions of years but for the most part homo sapiens weren't a part of it. True writing only dates back to the end of the stone age (and just because the society as a whole has writing doesn't mean your average person is litterate). How is Robin educated in genetics?

    So they are an agrarian people?

    Do you have a source for that? Other than some records of cave paintings and a sketchy report of digging for water I can't find anything to suggest living underground was common.

    I can't say I follow your logic...
     
  17. Mar 20, 2016 #16

    mfb

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    That does not work.
     
  18. Mar 20, 2016 #17

    Vanadium 50

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    It's your story, but it might be worth pointing out that getting from the Stone Age to Gregor Mendel took 5000 years.
     
  19. Mar 24, 2016 #18
    I don't think it is imossible. I remember an interview with an Papuan in New Guinea who tried to shoot helicopters with bow and arrow when he was a child because his tribe had no contact with modern civilization before and assumed airplanes and helicopters to be big birds. Less than 20 years later he was helicopter pilot himself. If something like that is possible as the result of the activities of a single mining company on Earth I do not see a fundamental problem with a similar transformation of the whole population of an alien planet supported by another planet.
     
  20. Apr 22, 2016 #19
    First contact of peoples of different social evolution have not gone well with the lower evolved. It is fiction so if you want to ignore disease, prejudices, and self interest of the higher evolved you are going to need to have one heck of a plot.

    Also, Robin may be able to get away with being a carrier of his genealogy and a history of his forebears for the last 300 years if you make it a religious type knowledge passed from father to son but not genetics. No way. Robin can't explain photosynthesis and he does not know he has genes.

    Stone age to the Jetsons. Why? Is the story of how an altruistic alien may have changed world history? It has to be the story right? What could've happened? Reply #3 had it right. You'd still need a few generations to bring the barbarians up to snuff.
     
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