Sunday, November 15, 2020

Review of Deep Time: How Humanity Communicates Across Millennia by Gregory Benford

This review was written by Eugene Kernes

Book can be found in:
Genre = Science

Elaborate Description

Communication with the distant future is not as easy as anyone would like. As history shows, messages of the past can become forgotten or get destroyed or even misinterpreted. This book does an extraordinarily good job at identifying a myriad of things that could go right and wrong when making and sending messages to future generations. The communication difficulties described have a lot do to with providing warnings and storing messages. Warnings have to do with how we deal with waste sites. The warnings could take many different shapes but all have grave consequences should the future generation not interpret them properly. Given enough time, everything can see an end, even the human race. Saving information about human beings in space brings into question how the message will be interpreted as future humans or other beings may not, or will not, share our cultural values which would make it hard to understand what was sent. It is also difficult to identify a technology that can allow future generations to read as older technology becomes obsolete and have difficulty finding ways to read it, or it could be that different beings cannot read or see the way humans can. Something that needs to be stored and kept for future generations is life itself. Collecting genetic samples and with having potential in the future to resurrect extinct species is something that needs to be considered for diversity. The planet itself is a message that the past has sent us, and that current humans are sending to the future. How we alter the present deeply affects the planet we leave behind. Benford did a wonderful job with explain vastly different strategies and potential mishaps of sending messages.

Book Details

Edition ISBN:  0380975378
Pages to read:   207
Publication:     1999
1st Edition:      1999
Format:            Hardback

Ratings out of 5:
Readability     5
Content           5
Overall           5