The Accidental Time Machine & a little Sicko

Last weekend I finished reading another book that actually took me about 5 days to read: The Accidental Time Machine by by Joe Haldeman.

In general I’m not a big fan of “light sci-fi” books that you can read easily like this one, but there were two points on the book that I found interesting. But first for a short synopsis, trying not to spoil much: this student from MIT accidentally builds a time machine that only moves to the future and decides to use it to travel. That’s it.

So, what is interesting about it? Well, he goes about 200 years in the future and ends up in a corner of the US that has become deeply religious, organized by a president that invented that Jesus came back and went to speak to him. Technology was abandoned (except to make Jesus look real) and everybody stopped really studying anything except religion.

Then he moves another 2,000 years in the future and ends up in a society that has become fully immersed in technology in which they don’t do anything any more except for merchandise trading. All development and research was done by computers. Everything in the city was controlled by one major computer.

In both futures there was a common theme: humans in the future decide to stop learning. They converge into a society that has other things that decide for them: religion or technology. I found it kind of funny, but it doesn’t feel too far off. I think we will always have people thinking and inventing things. But maybe this elite will just continue to shrink worldwide until they are stuck in some island by themselves, while the whole rest of the world enjoys “eternal mental vacations”. How exciting!

Anyway, I’ve also finally watched “Sicko” yesterday. It was interesting. I’ve posted most of my concerns about how broken the US health system is, so I won’t repeat myself. However, I do think that he missed two very important points (well, most probably many of them, but I’ll cite two):

1) There is a reason why many companies in the world decided to move away from France. The social cost of having employees there is just too big to make it worth it.
2) He never mentioned my greatest pet peeve about American health culture: Americans, with poor education, go to the doctor thinking that they know better what they need than the doctor. They only go there because they can’t give themselves a prescription. And then some people complain that sometimes doctors don’t really pay attention to what patients have and only push drugs to them… Well, that’s what their patients are expecting them to do anyway.

Anyway, I think that’s all I have to say. Time to go to bed.

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