Ideology of technological solutions

or how to look in the future in a right way

Any technological solution contains a lot of details to consider when implementing it. The technology of making a Stone Axe is relatively complex one and tricky enough and need a certain level of expertise, a certain degree of knowledge about material selection and techniques suitable for the material given the tools available for the making a product out of the material.

There are different types of Stone Axe’s made out of different materials, with different available techniques which were used to produce them. Each of them offers different levels of practicality and have their cons and pros. But more or less they do the same thing, used in a similar manner.

Same is true for any technology since then. Now we know that bronze knife/axe is better than stone knife/axe in some aspects of use and handling it, for a variety of reasons. However, they still do the same thing, but we do pay for those better properties by increasing complexity of technologies involved in the production of bronze tools and the production requires a wider variety of technologies and approaches. It still easy for us to keep the track of used approaches and technologies. However, it might be a bit more complex than you would probably expect from that “primitive” technology and it has things to surprise you and it has a lot of places to where things can go wrong.

Iron knife/axe is a better and more durable tool as we know it now, and in comparison with production its bronze brothers and sisters it is a probably easier process to work with. One of the problems of bronze that its additives like to burn on the air. There are different varieties of bronze containing different additives in different proportions, and burning those additives alters properties of the bronze.

In that regard Iron is a better material to work with, it also burns(oxidizes) on air, but because it is more or less consistent material it does not alter the properties of it too much. But before you can work with it, you should solve the technological problem of it having a significantly higher melting point than bronze.
It also demands to alter the ways to work with it, instead of casting, to move to hammering the thing in shape and form you wish to have.

But when you overcome that potential barrier then you can earn the fruits of it being a better material for certain types of application to work with and to use.

However, it is not the best material for everything, because of limitations of available techniques to work with it, and properties of it and you can choose between all sorts of available technologies stone, bronze, iron – according to what is available to you, what better fits your needs and different sorts of conditions.

It is a pleasure to be able to choose between technologies, to choose a better technology, but still, all those Axe’s do basically the same.

Space survival of technologies

Each technology has its unique sets of limitations, unique set of constraint, unique picture of applicability.

And in fact, the title a better technology is a vague term if we think about that. It is not always true for Earth, different situations may require different approaches, have different sets of available tools to solve a particular problem. And when we state goals to solve some problem we consider what we have on our hands to solve The Problem and achieve The Goal by tools and materials and knowledge available to us. And in that regard, the recent state of art technologies is not always the answer for our situation and problem.

There is no silver bullet in terms of solutions, but there different ways to solve a particular problem. All those ways form a graph/mesh of solutions. Those ways like giant ant hill carved by ants – like scientists, engineers, enthusiasts, and just ordinary people. And since that last 1.5 million years we carved a lot of different solutions – social and technological. Some are forgotten, some are still in use and improving since then. But it is important to do not forget that there are different ways to solve problems, even if we are not using some of them now because in our situation on Earth some other solutions seem to us better than old ones.

We made a lot of progress in last 500 years, especially in last 200, especially in last 100, especially in last 50, especially in last 20 years. But all our decisions about which is a better technology were dictated by conditions on Earth, by our social constructs and all that.

When we first come to space we discovered that the materials we have used on earth as best for the applications aren’t the best for space, because of effects which have no effect or a little effect on earth in earth conditions, but those effects in space became important factors to consider and forced us to find bug fixes for our systems, or seek for different solutions for the problems of cold welding, microgravity, radiation affecting fine electronics and other issues.

Space is different enough to create some problems for us, for our tools for our technologies for our solutions. It forces us to search new ways for to solve those new problems. I admit it is a stretch, but ceramics which we found to be useful in space applications is essentially the specially made artificial rock. And it shifted your perception of metals to be the best for everything to materials our stone ancestors used before. Again it is a stretch but for easy understanding the point which follows.

Changing conditions from Earth to space, and different constraints like the price to launch in space of a kg of payload, it changed the weight and importance of different ways in our Solution-anthill, resurrecting some of the approaches we have used long ago but on a different level. It created a lot of new ways, and not only that created these new ways, our demands on earth also created a lot of different ways which also are applicable to space.

Now as in the time of transiting from the bronze age to Iron age we are standing before a significant challenge. The challenge is the access to space. The current situation is that access to space isn’t cheap. There are companies which do work on the problems and SpaceX is one of most well known in that direction, as it is the essential keystone for the make the vision of Elon Musk to come true, Mars settlement. So one of the ways it to make that eye of the needle bigger, to be able to transport the solutions we are used into space and operate them in the way we are used to.

Is access to space the only problem we face on the way of industrializing the space? The answer is clearly not, it is not the only problem. The same way as making space stations and satellites changed our ways to make out construction to work in space, it will change technologies which required to make tools and devices in space. Not only because of different environmental conditions but because new possibilities which space provides us to implement different solutions.

So even if we will make the eye of the needle bigger it does not free us from the need to change our technologies. It is important to understand that we should keep eye on all the possible solutions because it opens broader opportunities for implementation and allows us to approach more flexible to the problem. It is important to notice that we have a whole anthill of solutions, not just the corner we dug recently in few year. Relay not only of the corner we expect us to dig in the future.

Everything which minimizes the need for our efforts and makes potential barrier lower – makes the possibility of realizing the solution bigger.

Mindset

There are several problems which people usually face when trying to think about technologies in space. Some of them can’t get themselves out of the currently used ways of doing things on earth or in space, they usually stick to a high price of different solutions in the current situation. And it is a big stone for them, and they do not see the ways around them. Most of them do not see it because it is not their field of knowledge and there is basically not a lot of people which they may listen and which could talk in different terms to show them a way around that big stone.

Another type is people which do neglect any constraints completely, sometimes they do come with interesting ideas and some times just fantasies. The problem with them both is that there is no way to validate the ideas they have because they skipped that growing the idea from the ground up and jumped from the cliff hoping for a miracle. For some the miracle will happen, for most of them, the miracle won’t happen anytime soon. However, it is a weakness of their way of doing things, which we should be aware of, but it does not deny some usefulness of their bravery.

There is a small number of people, which is somewhat known to smaller circles of general public and which do speak about different possibilities in a different fashion than we hear generally. Maybe they aren’t that exciting in their vision because they are bound by the community where they operate by rules and obligations of the community they are in, but they do try to raise our understanding of possibilities.

Right mindset would be to dream big enough, why one should dream small, but do not forget about roots. There should be a connection between where we are now at, to the goal we would like to achieve. And if we can find even no optimal way through the solution anthill from the place where we are to the place where we would like us to be it means there is the way(Captain obvious here). There is no need to search optimal way, because a small group does not have enough resources to do that properly, but also because we expect some unexpected problems. In that sense, we also do a jump from a cliff in hope for miracles of humanity being good at solving unexpected problems, but we can make sure that while we grow the solutions we do not leave too much of big cliffs or even do not have big cliffs at all. And we certainly can survive small jumps.

Solutions.

One of the ways to keep the integrity and to not lose the perspective and be able to check general picture is to operate with simplest possible solutions and propositions. Another important factor is to check solutions for energy wise perspective.

From the perspective, there is no such thing as old technologies. There are technologies which do achieve the goal and do that sufficiently good enough, no matter how odd looking they are as long as we can see that they may work with high enough certainty.

The goal is to build a bridge from the ground to the sky. It does not matter are there better solutions or not. In most cases, it might be not the optimal solutions and there are possibly better solutions, especially if enough people will manage to join their efforts in figuring those better solutions or applying current technologies.

Another benefit of the approach is that technological seed required to support those solutions may be smaller than supporting the state of art technologies. And that is an important factor and one of the difficulties to solve. But needs to remember that everything we have today was made by steam and iron 150 years ago, and even if we have low-tech solutions the way can be repeated fast enough, because we know what we wish and what needs to do. Relevant to some degree – How far away are we from a 14mt clanking replicator architecture?

So simple low-tech solutions help us to keep track of things and need lesser technology seed, easier to model, and do not constrain us in the end result.

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