Recreate It If We Had To
Wow, it’s been a while since I published anything on here. All is well, and I’ve been busy in the meantime. The world has changed over the last six months, but one thing that has stayed the same is that I’ve continually been following the philosophy of Dev-eryday. I may not have published any posts or released any code, but I’ve been creating and growing this entire time. Today I want to take a moment out to share something I wrote over this past weekend. It’s unrelated to software development, but I feel like it’s relevant to any problem solver out there. I hope you enjoy it.
Recreate It If We Had To
Drop yourself into the world of 500 years ago. What are some of the luxuries of today that you’d miss there? For me, there are many things. The internet, computers, modern medicine, electricity, the automobile, and flight are all things that spring to mind that I’d greatly miss. Now imagine that you’d have the potential to bring a few of these things back into the past. They wouldn’t just magically be there, but you’d know of them to at least express the possibility. What does that world look like? Would you even be able to modify that world to have the advancements that we now take for granted? What knowledge would you need to have to bring the concept from the initial idea to implementation? No matter what the advancement is, you’ve got your work cut out for you. It’s going to be a long road ahead, even with the insight of knowing the future.
- Modern Medical Practices - I think that you must start by bringing back the advances in medical practices. Washing hands, sterilization, and simple medicines like penicillin would save a fantastic amount of lives. Sharing the basic medical best practices with the global community should help move the world further. As far as how to make this happen in the world of the past, I’m not sure. There’d need to be a book written summarizing the best practices of today, and then you’d have to advocate to medical workers and the general public how valuable these techniques are.
- Electricity - You know electricity works, and you don’t even have to fly a kite in the middle of a thunderstorm to discover it. You would have to be able to explain the concept of power generation, delivery, and the components to integrate the system. This is probably something you could build out the framework for and pass off to others to work on.
- Computing - Computing enables progress. The impossible problems are solvable with enough computing power. There’s a lot to computing, but it would be possible to share the basic ideas and their application to the mathematicians of the time and be able to trust them to run with them. You could even share the high-level ideas from programming languages that come 100s of years into the future of computing.
- Assembly Line - Bring on the advances in efficiency early. The productivity gain from establishing factories and the assembly line would enable faster growth in the future. While you’re at it, make sure that there are safety standards in place to ensure the safety of everyone working on the line.
- Battery - What if we skipped the combustion engine entirely and went straight to using batteries and motors for everything? Would climate change be as advanced as it is today? Get the world all in early on batteries by bringing back the know-how for building them efficiently. Electricity would be a prerequisite for making this happen. Lots of physics and electronics knowledge would be needed here.
- Harmful Mistakes of the Last 500 Years - Having the details of how history will play out would be a huge advantage. You could potentially stop wars, end slavery, prevent plagues, and countless other things. Back in the late 1990s, there was a TV show called Early Edition, where a guy would get the newspaper a day early and would do everything he could to stop bad things from happening. That would mainly be the goal here except instead of acting a day ahead; you’d be setting up plans to prevent situations that will occur 100s of years in the future—being able to do this would require an intricate understanding of history, how to motivate people, and how to sell your vision of the future.
- Social Programs - Free education. Free healthcare. Guaranteed jobs. The earlier these ideas are talked about, the less radical they will seem. Let’s say you’ve delivered on the items that came before; people will likely be willing to try these out too.
- Commercial Farming Techniques - With all the advances in health, we’re going to need to feed more people. To do that, you’re going to have to bring the advancements in farming from the last 500 years. Irrigation, tractors, planters, pickers, grain bins, and food treatment programs will be essential to feeding the world.
- Transportation - Share the concepts of cars, trucks, and flight with the world. Elaborate on the improvements that can be made to trains and boats. Lay out the plan for global networks of airports, shipping lanes, rail, and road systems. The physical connection will push all of these items to happen faster than they would otherwise.
- Internet - Connecting the world will start the spread of ideas at a rapid pace. The more connected we are, the more likely others are to take notice of the progress that’s happening and do what they can to take advantage of it. You’d have to be able to share the concepts of networking, data transmission, and encoding, and be able to demonstrate how to present and create digital content.