Of all the ruins I’ve seen around the world in my travels, there are countless things in common amongst them. One of which that strikes me every time I visit a site: they sure don’t build things like they used to. When the Romans built a city, it was built to last a thousand years. That is indisputable. I wonder what their reasoning for it was?
Whatever it was, we suuuure don’t have that now. The ruins we’ve been seeing here on the Lycian coast of Turkey date back as far as the 12th century BC. And obviously there are ruins that go further back than that. And much of it still stands! It seems the only thing powerful enough to beat them is Mother Nature and her below-the-belt earthquakes.
Anytime I’m looking at ruins I can’t help but to think ahead to the year 4000AD. What will the people of then think of us? Well, if they know anything at all, I sure hope its not the extraordinary level of wastefulness we’ve managed to attain. But in all honesty, I’d be surprised if they knew anything about us at all. What do we build that might last that long? Well, for starters, the concrete we now build buildings with is only designed to last around 70 years. So nothing using that crap. Glass? Only takes one earthquake to fix that. Wood? Nope.
“But we’re in the Information Age, they’ll have a record of everything!” (I’ve actually heard someone say that). Bits of data are anything but permanent. Unless humans are continuously refreshing every bit they want to keep, they will all be lost in a very short amount of time. Not to mention changes in format: will anything in 2000 years have any idea what a jpeg file is? Or ASCII for that matter? Certainly not.
I think in the year 4000, they will know little to nothing about our society of today. I suspect they will be able to deduce from the massive amounts of garbage and the massive holes in the availability of resources we will have left a thing or two about who we were (probably fairly accurately), but the stupid iPhone I’m typing this on will be pretty much wiped from the record.