Aug 2, 2013

The future in 100…1,000…10,000…etc. years

Posted by in categories: futurism, lifeboat

A full view of the future has to consider a huge range of time scales. Freeman Dyson pointed this out (as D. Hutchinson alerted me). I borrowed his idea in the following passage from my book, The Human Race to the Future, published by the Lifeboat Foundation.

Our journey into the future begins by asking what the next hundred years will be like. Call that century-long time frame the “first generation” of future history. After a baker’s dozen or so chapters we then move to the second generation — the next order of magnitude after a hundred — the next thousand years. The seventh generation then has a ten million year horizon, the very distant future. Beyond the seventh generation are time horizons above even ten million years. This “powers of ten” scaling of future history was used by well-known physicist Freeman Dyson in chapter 4 of his 1997 book, Imagined Worlds.

Technical update on the ebook edition: Many Kindle devices and reader software systems have a menu item for jumping to the table of contents, and another menu item for jumping to the “beginning” of a book, however that is defined. I found out how to build an ebook that defines these locations so that the menu items work. You can use basic html commands. To define the location of the table of contents, you can insert into the html code of the book, right where the table of contents begins, the following html command:

<a name="toc"></a>

And now the user can click on the device or reader software’s “table of contents” menu item and they go straight to the table of contents!

To define the “beginning” of the book where you, as the author, want users to go when they click the “beginning” menu item (title page? Chapter 1? You decide), just put the following html command at that location in the ebook’s html source:

<a name="start"></a>

…and now that works too!

Of course you can use MS Word, Dreamweaver, etc., instead of editing the raw html, but ultimately those editors do it by inserting the same html commands.

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