Could Twitter Save Rome? | J@N | 10.5.10

Could Twitter Save Rome? | J@N | 10.5.10
inevitably crumbled under their own weight.  What if Persians had cell phones?  Could Google have saved Rome?  Could the Aztecs have ruled the world with the power of Twitter?

Obviously, due to the lack of microprocessor technology and the harnessing of electricity, these tools could never have existed in these ancient periods.  But what about the future of human civilization?  Are our “empires” of today destined to reign for eternity because of our ability to communicate?

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Tonight’s Show Notes & Download Below:

Map of Persian Empire

  • Established in ~500 BC, the Persian Empire only lasted until about 330 BC when it was invaded and divided by Alexander the Great.
  • If they had phones/internet/email, would he have succeeded?
  • Alternately, the tactical teachings of Alexander the Great are still studied today.  What if, instead of a single great general of his time, entire classrooms or armies were created of talented tacticians just as badass?

Map of the Roman Empire (117 AD)

  • Established in 27 BC and fell in 395 AD when it split into Eastern & Western Roman Empires over political disputes.
  • In 476 AD, the last Emperor of Western Rome abdicated his rule.
  • The Dark Ages followed
    • lasted for more than 1000 years
    • characterized by great uncertainty, and barbarian incursions
    • very little centralized progression of humanity — civilization de-urbanized and isolated itself

Civilization 5 — Why it reflects this lesson

In this game, there is no delay in receiving information from one end of your empire and relaying it to the other.  You are a godlike omnipotence, and able to react instantly to threats across any distance.  If France comes knocking on your Western front, it’s usually only a matter of seconds to mobilize the armies you have stationed across the entirety of your Empire.

In real Historical times, people on Persians western front (Greece) would conceivably not known about a major military incursion on their eastern front (India) for many months, perhaps even YEARS!  Depending on the infrastructure around individual communities, it’s possible that isolated villages and townships may have never heard the news.

Modern Day and THE FUTURE!

Information Availability:

  • Kids of the current generation (Dylan) will grow up in a world where Google has always existed, Facebook has always thrived, and cell phones & email are a simple fact of life.
  • As little as 30 years ago, letters were exchanged exclusively via a postal service that would physically move your written words on a piece of paper, from one location to another, around the world.
  • If we go back 150 years, those same postal services had troubles sending mail across a single country.
  • If we look back 500 years, we enter a time where the very act of writing the letter was beyond a huge portion of the population’s capacity.  And basic literacy was uncommon.

Spreading of Ideas and Knowledge

  • During ancient times, and even up through much of the Middle Ages, education was only for the wealthy or privileged males.  Common folks (and women) would only be allowed to learn what they needed to get by in life.
  • In the modern world, education is not only available for nearly everyone, but frequently enforced.
  • How much different is the world we are creating, by changing something as fundamental as this?

Theoretical Wars and Falling Empires

  • In the First World Nations of the modern world, we have already seen the fall of major nations (the USSR and Czechoslovakia).
  • Some theorize that the USA is not far from another Civil War – that our internal political bickering will eventually lead to a disaster for our “empire.”
  • Can information technology and the widespread availability of information, spreading of ideas, and communication among the people of the world, STOP these events from occurring?  Or will they actually reinforce the splintering of “nations” into “communities?”
  • What about once we reach out to space and begin off-world colonization? (Moon, asteroids, Zarmina, etc).

Closing thoughts:

When you look back over history, HUMANITY has changed very little.  We still build houses, work, provide for our families, and try to contribute positively to society.  Until widespread mobility came around (trains, cars, planes), we were mostly isolated to the area we grew up in.

Social technology, and the integration of a world-wide consciousness via the modern internet, may be the biggest evolutionary leap that humanity has taken since it first learned agriculture.  It will allow the concept of ‘nations’ to spread beyond geographical borders, and into the hearts and minds of people.  Building communities around thoughts and ideas, instead of borders and resources.

The world of tomorrow could be made of Empires that exist only virtually.  That were born of thought, and exist purely within the non-physical world of the internet, yet are more powerful and populous than any Empire that has ever previously existed.


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