Chapter Fourteen: Table

Chronology Of The 21st Century

Electricity-generating leaf demonstrated
Photo-voltaic coatings can supplement and partly replace photo-synthesis
The first sentient robot demonstrated
Sentient in that it passed the 'Turing' test of being indistinguishable in cognitive terms from a human
Demonstrations of remote cognitive control via bionic implant
A wireless transmitter connected to brain tissue can be used by the animal or human owner to control a remote device
WIPO transferred to the WTO from the UN
The WTO already provided dispute resolution for WIPO; this move tidied up the situation given the galloping importance of IP in trade terms.
Machine translation close to perfection
About 100 written and spoken languages can be translated at machine level; direct sensory input of translated language not yet possible
The International Standards Organization joins the WTO
Another obvious piece of global tidying up
Invention of magnetic gravity brake
Allowing the controlled descent from orbit of a vehicle; both the vehicle and the planet must have significant magnetic content
Planting of first commercial-scale 'electric forest'
With immense investment driven by environmental alarm, the electricity-producing leaf was very rapidly commercialized, along with other alternative energy sources, many based on nano-technology
The Washington Accord; formation of the World Environmental Agency
A global environmental treaty, at last
Formation of the World Educational Organization
Opposed by government and the teaching profession, the WEO was brought into being by students, business schools and the 'international' schools movement
The World Environmental Organization and the OECD join the WTO
The OECD now has control over all aspects of trade and commerce, from a rule-making perspective, and substantial importance in dispute resolution.
The Harbin Accord
Universal residence-based income tax introduced; all other international taxation abolished; corporation tax abolished; national taxes limited to VAT and carbon taxes
Universal adoption of KISS technology
Kontent Identification and Subscription System, used to control access to and the rewards from Intellectual Property; an Open Systems Standard
Establishment of the World Commercial Court
Alongside the WTO, but independent, the WCC (modelled on the ECJ) incorporates pre-existing WTO Dispute Resolution Panels and a range of commercial competencies taken over from national court systems.
The first bio-electronic self-replicating assembly demonstrated
This technology was to become the cornerstone of RCR development, and in time, inter-stellar expansion
The IMF and the World Bank become agencies of the WTO
The market and charities had taken over their roles in exchange rate management and developing country financing
Formation of the World Association of Professionals
The demands of international business and expatriates caused professionals to group together to lobby for supra-national standards and judicial mechanisms.
Establishment of permanent Moon and Mars bases
Nations (the USA and China) in competition for just about the last time
The 'babelfish' cochlear implant commercially available
Although machine translation was already effectively perfect, it is far more convenient to receive lexical content directly into the brain
The Iran/Israeli War
An exchange of nuclear weapons killed more than 8 million people throughout the Middle East
The Decade of the People begins
After the Iran/Israeli war finally discredited nationalism as a guiding principle of human governance, informed 'people-power' became too strong to resist
The first partial cognitive version of a human brain uploaded into a bio-electronic assembly
This development eventually allowed the 'inhabiting' of an RCR by a human; 2-way communication between the two remained imperfect for many years
Expansion of the EU to 40 members
Turkey, the Ukraine, European Russia, Belarus, Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and four north African countries join.
Primitive RCRs developed
At first humans could control remote assemblies and accept sensory input from them; only later came true 'inhabiting' of RCRs
The Rio Declaration
In another reaction to the Iran/Israeli war, the powers of national and global governance institutions were shaply delineated, much to the benefit of global organizations
Canine and feline RCRs become available
And, in due time, a bewildering variety of other types of non-human companions
The first global, universal electronic opinion poll
Something like 85% of humanity has access to the Internet, and governmental organisations, whether global or national, are increasingly influenced by electronic opinion polls
Discovery of quantum transmission
The key invention (in a Chinese laboratory) needed to allow inter-stellar travel. Certain mass-less elementary particles were discovered to exist outside the laws of relativity and can be used to transmit data instantaneously; massy receiving and transmitting devices are needed, however.
The RCR Congress; Code of Conduct agreed
RCR technology evoked strong reactions from conservative forces.
The first Non-Human Olympiad
The world of sportertainment rapidly adopted RCRs
China's GDP equals that of America
But there are still four times as many Chinese as Americans. All told, only 15% of the global population of 8 billion exists below the poverty-line, and charity-based funds, topping US$500bn, support many of them.
The first experimental RCC (Remote Cognitive Collective) demonstrated
Objections to technological advancement of humans had largely evaporated by this time; attention focused more on agreeing the protocols that would be necessary if multiple human psyches co-inhabit one collectivity
The Euro adopted as a world currency
Only because the Americans and the Chinese, still bickering after 30 years, couldn't agree to step down; the Euro was the only feasible alternative, and in point of fact had become the dominant world currency in terms of assets
RCCs enter general use
After the Human Settlement, the agreed-upon freedoms for RCC development were rapidly exploited
The Global Genetic Gathering formed as an RCC
As a delegate body with 387 members (the number of nations), RCC technology was just up to the task of holding a 387-participant discussion.
First interstellar missions launched
The hardware was still a bit clunky, so that only 40% of the speed of light could be achieved; by 2060, this had risen to 70%.
The 'Human Settlement'
The onrush of RCRs, RCCs and genetic transformation made it very necessary to agree on ground rules for permitted degrees of human and non-human variation
The first full human brain ('eclone') operates remotely in a bio-electronic assembly
The host human can transfer full cognitive operation to the eclone – but there are problems with 'maintaining state' so that eclone and host brain remain cognitively identical
The World Union formed; it became an RCC in 2060
The World Union is a democratic body, based on universal direct voting; but there still is politics, working through intermediate RCCs which crystallize points of view.
First stellar colony established
After 12 years, the first succesful colony was established at a distance of 7 light years
Eclones commercially available
From this time onwards, it was possible for people to switch back and forth at will between different representations of themselves, whether in RCRs, RCCs or just as e-clones; but back-up remained cumbersome and imperfect
Introduction of real-time, universal issue voting
RCC technology now allows an effectively infinite number of people to participate in a decision-making process based on a multi-level cognitive step sequence which agglomerates opinions and forms a consensus – usually almost instantaneously
The Japanese Earthquake
2.8 billion unbacked-up human original bodies are lost
Real-time eclone back-up perfected
People can now exist as eclones, using 'current-state' RCRs and RCCs for interaction with the world and other people
The tenth inter-stellar colony founded at 28 light years' distance
The colonies are now providing a significant outlet for people who find Terran life too insipid. Although their bodies may remain on Earth, their e-clones and RCRs 'live' in space
Global population stabilized at 20 billion
Most people spend most of their time electronically, and in many cases dispense with their original bodies altogether