Around 15,000–20,000 years ago, as the last ice age began to recede, human populations transitioned from a way of life that depended on hunting and gathering to one that favored agriculture. This time period, known as the Neolithic period, would be marked by a sharp increase in population, increased complexity of social and political interactions, and the emergence of technology as we know it today.
We're damned so survive
And so we did
The era dragged along and technology slowly evolved in response to the most basic social needs of food and shelter, until about 5000 years ago when the Urban Revolution began. Before the Urban revolution, technology had existed outside the concept of “science”, as it simply referred to manipulating our world (the elements, our environment, and so forth) to aid our continued survival.
However, as the first astronomers in Mesopotamia—the birthplace of civilization—used data from the movements of celestial bodies to establish calendars and create irrigation systems, a creative partnership between science and technology came to the fore.
Human experience builds up through time, ensuring that technology advancements grow geometrically. i.e...
...every era exists at the behest of all the eras before it and every era starts with the tools that the era before ended with.
So, armed with science, technology, and a complex psyche, the entire species inched forward, spurred on by a collective curiosity that (according to most sci-fi film scripts) will be our undoing.
A lot has happened in 5000 years. “normal” has been defined and redefined many times already. Eras have come and gone, but curiosity and imagination have stayed. And of course, where there’s curiosity and a means to attempt to satisfy it, crazy things happen.
Hearing a Black Hole Speak
The Perseus galaxy, one of the largest objects in the known universe, has a black hole at its center and since 2003 this black hole has been associated with sound. Astronomers have found, according to NASA, that the pressure waves from this blackhole have generated a ripple in the heated gasses coming from the Perseus galaxy cluster. However, the sound waves were 57 octaves below the range of human hearing.
This year, thanks to the miracle of sonification (the use of non-speech audio to convey or perceptualize data), signals from the black hole were recreated in the range of human hearing. They sound something like this:
An Adjacent Universe
Another major hallmark of contemporary technology stems from a need to rebel. Whether it’s with Blockchain technology and its silent promise to change our social, political, and economic structures, or in the cyclic way that trends come and go in every industry. Look at film, for instance, and the countless live-action remakes we’ve had in the last few years.
This drive to go against the grain has birthed the concept of the Metaverse - an adjacent reality that is still waiting to be defined. This new universe will be anchored on, virtual and augmented realities, as well as our chaotic imaginations, offering us open roads to enter and reimagine society.
While we circumvent stars in our race to mars or build devices that keep getting smarter, we seem to have neglected the vicious beast that loans us space on earth.
The Deep Blue Sea
Don’t you find it a bit odd, that people as curious, and ingenious, as us have barely scratched the surface bottom of the Ocean?
Well, it's not so strange anymore when you consider that the water pressure increases with depth and will cause practically every functional organ in our chest cavity to collapse, in addition to tearing us apart of course.
Not to worry, the folks at Standford Robotics might’ve found a way for us to touch the seabed.
OceanOneK is an underwater humanoid Robot built by the Standford Robotics Lab team, with special features that allow the Robot’s pilots to see and touch the bottom of the sea. OceanOneK is fitted with multidirectional thrusters that allow for easy maneuvering, haptic sensors (think of the feedback you get when you get shot playing Call of Duty on your Ps5) that send touch sensations as feedback, and stereoscopic vision that returns high-definition images to pilots on dry land.
“I’d never experienced anything like that in my life. I can say I’m the one who touched the Crispi at 500 m. And I did – I touched it, I felt it.” - Khatib, Director of Stanford Robotics Lab
As our curiosity continues to drive us towards the ever-looming future, it’s exciting to see that we have, once again, taken human activity to a place outside of our biological constraints.
Some believe that these constraints are warning signals that we should heed, and others believe that our limited resources should focus on ‘real’ problems.
What do YOU think? Let me know in the comments.