Sunday, March 07, 2010

"Do You Remember Peace?" Introduction, pt. 6, 424 words

However, an open-sourcing project eventually produced and published cracked forms of the NMR software, followed by new software standards which were released and propagated across much of the Internet. News distribution and ranking sites were flooded with the technical information, and before it could hope to be suppressed (many NMR companies employing cease and desist orders and injunctions against the publishing of their proprietary software), the information flashed across social networking and filesharing systems in an unstoppable torrent. The genie was out of the bottle irrevocably, and the Post was finally to begin.

Anyone could now produce whatever they needed to survive and thrive, a state in which we exist to this day. Nanotech colonies were reproduced and shared in moments, and the unlocked software to run them was anywhere to be found. All one needed was spare matter for the colonies to work with, and that was available in abundance. Trash, dirt, even the very air could be used to manufacture high-grade electronics and gourmet cuisine, when the tools could reassemble matter at the atomic level. While there was great turmoil out of this state of affairs for most of the next century, as some explored the destructive potential of NMR assemblers – including the creation of disassemblers – the world as we now know it was seeded in those tumultuous days.

It is tempting to romanticize the turmoil of those times, but one must bear in mind the accounts of those who lived through it. It was the last war that humanity would ever have to know, and one of the worst. And yet out of it came a new peace. And so, as every great cycle begins in war, so another must end in war. But now, war is incomprehensible to the common person. What need for war in this age?

This is, after a fashion, truly the end of history, and perhaps it is a happy ending that will go on for quite a long time – an end without end. So many of our ancestors saw one age end and another begin without knowing quite what happened around them, only that it was a time ending and another birthing in pain. It is, I think, not an unreasonable hope to believe that we have broken that horrible cycle and may continue to grow and mature as a species without such catastrophes in our path.

Excerpted from Fallout: the Post and the legacy of the Atomic Age, by Doctor Sasha Yǐn; published 6 January 2372, two days before First Contact

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