# When will mankind have these technologies?

#### I like Serena

Homework Helper
Gardening, or mass suicide! I for one, want alwasy to be learning, never "done".
I don't think these physicists will be done.
We will mostly get a shift from fundamental research to applied physics.
But I suspect that this unification theory will be complex enough that we will need all the theoretical physicists simply to apply the theory

#### nismaratwork

I don't think these physicists will be done.
We will mostly get a shift from fundamental research to applied physics.
But I suspect that this unification theory will be complex enough that we will need all the theoretical physicists simply to apply the theory
Ahhh, now that's more like it!

#### Pattonias

I don't think these physicists will be done.
We will mostly get a shift from fundamental research to applied physics.
But I suspect that this unification theory will be complex enough that we will need all the theoretical physicists simply to apply the theory
I was just about to say that. If we found a useful application of the unified theory of everything we would probably start knocking things off this list faster.

#### Ken Natton

If we found a useful application of the unified theory of everything we would probably start knocking things off this list faster.
Ah but you see I would say that is engineering not physics, so I still say that you guys could go home and leave it to us lesser mortals. We're ten-a-penny. Of course, this unified theory of everything has proved elusive so far. The garden might have to just do for a while yet...

#### Pattonias

Ah but you see I would say that is engineering not physics, so I still say that you guys could go home and leave it to us lesser mortals. We're ten-a-penny. Of course, this unified theory of everything has proved elusive so far. The garden might have to just do for a while yet...

We'll discover that the unified theory of everything will only prove applicable to gardening. Wouldn't that be a interesting turn.

#### DaveC426913

Gold Member
The problem with using stem cells is we lack the ability to control their differentiation. I'd say over the next 100 years the technology will come in dribs and drabs until it's a mature field.
Really? You think it will take a century of medicine to get that under control?You know how long a century is in medicine? A century ago, we were still coming to terms with the germ theory of disease. You see stem cell research as being that far ahead of where we are now?

#### f95toli

Gold Member
2. Quantum Computing (successful enough for wide commercial use)
"Useful" quantum computersPerhaps 20-30 years. "Wide commercial use", probably never. QC are simply not useful enough. They excel at a few very specific problems, but unless you are into code-breaking or interested in a few optimization problems a normal computer will be better and faster. So unless someone comes up with an QC algorithm for efficiently doing something very useful (such as solving non-sparse massive systems of equations) it will always be a fringe technology.

#### I like Serena

Homework Helper
"Useful" quantum computersPerhaps 20-30 years. "Wide commercial use", probably never. QC are simply not useful enough. They excel at a few very specific problems, but unless you are into code-breaking or interested in a few optimization problems a normal computer will be better and faster. So unless someone comes up with an QC algorithm for efficiently doing something very useful (such as solving non-sparse massive systems of equations) it will always be a fringe technology.
Current computing already has "problems" because of the quantum effects that occur in the microscopic chips. That is, we can't make computer chips much smaller than they already are without compensating.

So I expect future computers to incorporate quantum technology, although they do not necessarily work with qubits.

#### f95toli

Gold Member
Modern ICs already use "quantum technologies", Intel&co spend a lot of time and money on trying to use or circumvent various quantum phenomena; a trivial example is tunnelling current which are responsible for a lot of the leakage currents.
However, this has nothing to do with quantum computing, which is conceptually very different from an classical computer (a'la Turing).

The truth is that we are in serious trouble when it comes to raw "computing power"; there are several important algorithms that scale very badly when you increase the number of CPUs (meaning adding more cores etc does not help) and for these Moore's law stopped being "valid" many years ago. Quantum computing is not a solution to this problem.

#### Ryan_m_b

Staff Emeritus
Really? You think it will take a century of medicine to get that under control?You know how long a century is in medicine? A century ago, we were still coming to terms with the germ theory of disease. You see stem cell research as being that far ahead of where we are now?
Comparison of the past is not indicative of how well we will tackle the problems of the future. By a century I meant that it seems to me that over the next several decades we will get better and better with more medicines/products being developed. I stuck the century on there because I'd expect by 100 years time the field will be highly mature (as antibiotics are now).

By 100 years I'd expect stem cells to be a mostly application based science with research focusing around what novel things we can do with our well established techniques. Getting there will be a slow incremental process though.

#### cobalt124

Gold Member
I'm feeling pessimistic today and my ignorance may show:

1.100 years
2. Never
3. 300 years (don't know really)
4. Never
5. 200 years (wild guess but think it's possible)
6. 150 years (if ever)
7. Antimatter creation - centuries
8. Carbon nanotube technology - don't know
9. Stem-cell technology - 100 years
7. Establish a viable extra-terrestrial human colony - 200 years
8. Provide power, clean water and food to the planet's population - now but dependent on Andres first post
10. Arrive at a unified theory of everything - Never

#### DaveC426913

Gold Member
10. Arrive at a unified theory of everything - Never
Really? You do know that UToE is almost entirely complete?

Note: UToE does not need to describe every discrete event in the universe*, the UToE need do one thing and one thing only: reconcile gravity with the other three fundamental forces (already reconciled.) That's it. We do that we have have, in principle, defined the universe as it exists today.

*for that, see https://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=3209299&postcount=56" on emergent behaviour - last paragraph: "If so, then the principle can be scaled up to cosmic proportions..."

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#### nismaratwork

Really? You do know that UToE is almost entirely complete?

Note: UToE does not need to describe every discrete event in the universe*, the UToE need do one thing and one thing only: reconcile gravity with the other three fundamental forces (already reconciled.) That's it. We do that we have have, in principle, defined the universe as it exists today.

*for that, see https://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=3209299&postcount=56" on emergent behaviour - last paragraph: "If so, then the principle can be scaled up to cosmic proportions..."
Wow... don't take this the wrong way, because I like and respect you, especially your dispassion: I never would have pegged you for an optimist!

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#### DaveC426913

Gold Member
Wow... don't take this the wrong way, because I like and respect you, especially your dispassion: I never would have pegged you for an optimist!
Hey, if Microsoft can tell me that my install progress is 95% complete, even though the last 5% will take ten times longer than the entire 95% preceding it, then I can say that UToE is 75% complete, even if it takes another century for the last 25%.

#### nismaratwork

Hey, if Microsoft can tell me that my install progress is 95% complete, even though the last 5% will take ten times longer than the entire 95% preceding it, then I can say that UToE is 75% complete, even if it takes another century for the last 25%.
:rofl:

I think we have a name for this: 'Windows Installer Logic'. :tongue:

#### cobalt124

Gold Member
Really? You do know that UToE is almost entirely complete?

Note: UToE does not need to describe every discrete event in the universe*, the UToE need do one thing and one thing only: reconcile gravity with the other three fundamental forces (already reconciled.) That's it. We do that we have have, in principle, defined the universe as it exists today.

*for that, see https://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=3209299&postcount=56" on emergent behaviour - last paragraph: "If so, then the principle can be scaled up to cosmic proportions..."
Yes, I misunderstood that one. From my laymans reading of pop-sci and PF then, my understanding is that a breakthrough is needed, so I would say anytime between now and - hmmmm - 100 years. Thanks for the link, I'll give it a read.

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#### Ken Natton

You do know that UToE is almost entirely complete?

Note: UToE does not need to describe every discrete event in the universe*, the UToE need do one thing and one thing only: reconcile gravity with the other three fundamental forces (already reconciled.) That's it. We do that we have have, in principle, defined the universe as it exists today.
Hmmm. Not convinced. To my understanding, the point about the UToE is that it is the law of which all other laws are a special case. All why and how question sequences will ultimately finish with the UToE. 'Does not need to describe every discrete event in the universe' in the sense that just because we can't follow the causal chain doesn't mean that it is wrong, but the ultimate explanation for everything will lie in the UToE. That's why the physicists can all go home. And, as is also my understanding, the physics world is not exactly in broad concensus about the right direction of enquiry from here. So the idea that we are anywhere close to arriving at it seems optimisitic to say the least to me.

#### nismaratwork

15 seconds after WWIII puts an end to humanity.

#### DaveC426913

Gold Member
Hmmm. Not convinced. To my understanding, the point about the UToE is that it is the law of which all other laws are a special case. All why and how question sequences will ultimately finish with the UToE. 'Does not need to describe every discrete event in the universe' in the sense that just because we can't follow the causal chain doesn't mean that it is wrong, but the ultimate explanation for everything will lie in the UToE.
Right. Basically, the entire present universe is emergent from the 4 fundamental forces. We've reconciled 3. Reconcile the 4th, and we have our UToE.

But having the UToE does not mean we don't have aeons of work to do to understand how everything that comes out of that works.

(I think we're actually in agreement here.)

That's why the physicists can all go home. And, as is also my understanding, the physics world is not exactly in broad concensus about the right direction of enquiry from here. So the idea that we are anywhere close to arriving at it seems optimisitic to say the least to me.
I never said we were close. All I did was question cobalt's opinon that we will never have it. His "never" leads me to believe that he thinks the question is 'when will we ever have a univesal understanding of everything there is', which I agree, is essentially never. But that's not the question that was asked. The question asked was much smaller and very discrete.

See?

#### I like Serena

Homework Helper
Really? You do know that UToE is almost entirely complete?

Note: UToE does not need to describe every discrete event in the universe*, the UToE need do one thing and one thing only: reconcile gravity with the other three fundamental forces (already reconciled.) That's it. We do that we have have, in principle, defined the universe as it exists today.

*for that, see https://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=3209299&postcount=56" on emergent behaviour - last paragraph: "If so, then the principle can be scaled up to cosmic proportions..."
I have a new one.

10a. A complete list of all fundamental particles plus an explanation why it is so long.

As I understand it the list of fundamental particles used to be 3 long in 1900 (proton, neutron, electron), but it is currently 28 long and presumable the graviton has yet to be added.
Afaik no one really understands why the Standard Model works. The foundations are the fact that it looks mathematically nice and that we have empirical confirmations.

But as wikipedia states it: "Because of its success in explaining a wide variety of experimental results, the standard model is sometimes regarded as a theory of almost everything."

Note the use of "a" theory, and of "almost" everything.[/edit]

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#### I like Serena

Homework Helper
Really? You do know that UToE is almost entirely complete?

Note: UToE does not need to describe every discrete event in the universe*, the UToE need do one thing and one thing only: reconcile gravity with the other three fundamental forces (already reconciled.) That's it. We do that we have have, in principle, defined the universe as it exists today.

*for that, see https://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=3209299&postcount=56" on emergent behaviour - last paragraph: "If so, then the principle can be scaled up to cosmic proportions..."
Btw, I was just looking it up on wikipedia, but I can't find a Unified Theory of Everything (UToE).
I can find:
• Unified Theory of Interactions (UToI I guess), which redirects to GUT
• Grand Unifying Theory (GUT)
• Theory of Everything (TOE)

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#### White Noise

Is humanity capable of surviving to reach a period of Space Colonisation?

Question being: Are we necessarily capable of reaching this stage of humanity? What kind of massive catastrophes and collapses would prevent us? What technology would we need?

First off, I would like to just clarify - I'm not a doom-monger claiming 2012 is coming and the end is nigh. (Well, I am claiming 2012 is coming, but y'know)

This is a question I've been chewing on for a while now, and I really think it has some good scientific ground for thought, rather than just being a sensationalist title. What I'm really hoping for, I suppose, is to have my understanding of all the plethora of topics covered here expanded, in the company of much better minds than I. I would honestly be fascinated by the opinions of scientists from every field, as well as other people knowledgeable in fields such as history, or politics, or psychology.

So - is that level of technology reachable? Is it desirable?

Physicists and Engineers - What kind of technology will we need for a venture like this? How soon would this be available - how far is our current science from the required level? What planet would be the first to colonise? What effects will the apparently changing Sun have on us and our planet? And so on.

Chemists/Biologists/Environmental Scientists - How are we going to need to adapt ourselves to both a resource depleted world and to a foreign planet? How could we establish a sustainable colony?

Geologists/Geographers/Environmental Scientists - Exactly what threats is humanity facing as a whole from the earth? How much potential for catastrophe do the likes of Global Warming, earthquakes, and possible ice ages have for humanity?

Historians and possibly Psychologists - Looking to the fall of past empires and civilisations - are we immune to these kind of collapses? What initiated these collapses, and is it simply human nature to repeat these actions and events?

Absolutely everyone ever - More questions or comments or opinions would be wonderful. Explode my head with cleverness. It would be a noble death.

These are the kind of questions I am thinking of, but have very little real knowledge about. No doubt there are questions I should be asking, but am unaware of. Please point these ones out, with as much ridicule as you see fit.

I am genuinely interested in having a reasoned debate on this, and would absolutely love if you could humour me in this.

Apologies if this is in the wrong forum.

#### Tangent87

Re: Is humanity capable of surviving to reach a period of Space Colonisation?

I also think about this question a lot. I think for humanity to have any chance of some day being masters of the universe we will have to first develop a technology that allows us to travel faster than the speed of light (like slipstream space travel in Halo: http://halo.wikia.com/wiki/Slipspace) as our nearest star Alpha Centauri is about 4 light years away so even travelling at the speed of light it would take us 4 YEARS to get there! And there's no guarantee we'll be able to sustain life on any of the planets there, the nearest planet that would be sustainable for human life could be thousands of light years away for all we know, so faster than light travel is going to be essential.

#### nismaratwork

I don't think UToE is really Wikipedia-friendly...

#### Thetom

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