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Ce forum est verrouillé; vous ne pouvez pas poster, ni répondre, ni éditer les sujets.   Ce sujet est verrouillé; vous ne pouvez pas éditer les messages ou faire de réponses.  Suffisamment avancée Index du Forum » Traductions et relectures : livre de base » Technology
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MessagePosté le: Sam 17 Oct - 15:01 (2009) Répondre en citant Back to top

Wastes of Time and Energy

One of the things that defines civilizations in the era of high technology isn’t what types they use, or even what they use it for, but what they specifically choose not to use. Examples in our modern world include Britain’s ban on firearms, the ban on human stem cell research in the US, China’s crackdown on certain words related to democracy, and Angola’s ban on genetically modified grain. Whether each of these makes sense depends heavily on your viewpoint, and that’s part of what makes countries and civilizations different.

However, there are some technologies that look good to start with, but end up being a general waste of time and energy for anyone, regardless of personal viewpoint. Modern-day examples would be using Tesla coils for power transmission (too loud and dangerous), leaving behind certain programming languages (no serious advantage over later developments), and flying cars (they’ve been built, but they’re too inefficient, hard to fly, and expensive). Difficulty in implementation, efficiency, training, and safety can all ground an otherwise interesting-sounding piece of technology.

An example in S.A. would be the epidermal nanowire mesh (or skin mesh). This nanotube construct was intended to be the successor to dermal microbots, but failed in several key ways. First, skin meshes required implantation, typically by the use of genetically fabricated microbes. Not impossible by any means, but it drives the price up. Second, the skin is not a semi-permanent organ (like, for example, the brain). It expands and shrinks, and replaces itself rather quickly with the outer layer being replaced once per month. Anything implanted in it is forced towards the surface, where the mesh loses effectiveness and becomes visible to the naked eye, looking like a grid of tiny scars. Third, nanotubes are often toxic, requiring treatment. This problem was solved by the time the neural mesh was invented, but it slowed acceptance of skin meshes. Fourth, nanowires are much stronger than the soft tissue in which they’re embedded. In the case of an accident or serious injury the mesh gets pulled through the surrounding skin and tissue, cutting into it and exacerbating the wound. In the case of a bullet wound the wires might be pulled completely through the body before snapping.

In the end, there is little that the skin mesh could do that dermal nanobots couldn’t. The skin mesh’s single major advantage was that it could act as a backup nervous system, the sort of thing that would primarily be of interest to the military. The risk of having a soldier cut into cubes by one of their own implants during a firefight was a deal-breaker. So in the end, dermal microbots won out, despite being a lower-tech solution.

Starships are another good example. With planet-to-planet wormhole travel, starships become almost unnecessary. The Stardwellers continue to make them because they don’t have to actually launch them — they build them in space. They’re expensive to upkeep, are a much slower and less efficient way of getting around, and have next to no strategic or tactical advantage. People still love them nonetheless, which is why the Stardwellers get so much tourism. The Spacers would get tourism too if they didn’t tell people to shut up and go away. Most civilizations have a few ships for deep-space work, but they’re much more like small space stations with a wormhole generator attached than true starships.

The moral: don’t be afraid to be low-tech if lowtech is all you need. Don’t be afraid to be understated if overstatement is really just a waste.
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MessagePosté le: Sam 17 Oct - 15:01 (2009) Back to top

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MessagePosté le: Sam 6 Fév - 14:11 (2010) Répondre en citant Back to top

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MessagePosté le: Aujourd’hui à 15:41 (2017) Back to top

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