Helping people from the past

By | 2007-10-01

Some time ago I was wondering how we would help the past civilizations if we had a time machine, and could travel to the past to help them. It’s just fantasy, but I daydreamed some ideas…

Imagine revealing gunpowder to the Greeks. Or showing a way to create and store electricity to the Roman Empire. Actually they didn’t have copper cables, so it wouldn’t be interesting at all. The good part of electricity is that it can be transported easily, with cables. But there are other methods to produce energy, like the water wheel. You can build a big water wheel near a river, and using some belts and axles to transport the energy to a factory, where you can convert this rotating movement into different kinds of processes. In the 19th century they used this method in real shotgun factories, for example. In fact, there were water wheels working alongside steam engines in the industrial revolution. Of course, a steam engine is a more interesting thing than a water wheel, but in a poor-tech civilization they can’t build an effective one.

Actually you don’t need a time machine to visit a poor-tech civilization, you can just have a look at the 3rd world. They don’t have modern technology, and they need to improve their lives.

I was happy to read that the people at MIT, are trying to invent cheap solutions to 3rd world problems. As it’s written in the article:

“Nearly 90 percent of research and development dollars are spent on creating technologies that serve the wealthiest 10 percent of the world’s population… The point of the design revolution is to switch that.”


One thought on “Helping people from the past

  1. Rubén

    La carrera de la reina encarnada, de Asimov (no sé de qué maneras puede haber sido traducido… es un cuento corto que se puede encontrar en Cuentos Completos X, X\in \{I,II\}).

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