Archive for April 23rd, 2008
I often have fantasies. Some of them involve my travelling back into the past, using knowledge ahead of my time to benefit. Knowing to invest in Microsoft, or telling my previous self how to avoid mistakes, I do it without thinking sometimes and it’s embarrasing in its uselessness. Sometimes I think about chatting with pre-Newton scientists and advancing science by hundreds of years – becoming rich and powerful in the process. Recently, however, I’ve wondered just how well I’d be able to do such a thing. My knowledge of how the amazing technology we have today is, to be honest, rudimentry at best. I doubt I’d be able to tell Ye Olde humans how to generate electricity, let alone design microchips. What, exactly, would be gained from an average person travelling back in time to tell of the future?
My high school science education has given me a basic grounding in the general theories of how the universe works. Light waves, atoms, evolution, DNA: I grasp them. If I could find the right people (maybe Leonardo Da Vinci or Isaac Newton, depending on how far back I go), I could get those ideas fermenting in the minds of that time. I can’t see them reaping the benefits right away – the theories would need to trickle slowly from the fringe to the mainsteam to the applied.
So I imagine that I could move science forward hugely if I found the right scientists to talk to in the right time, but I wouldn’t be able to take over the world with robots or the Internet. A shame, really.