Vernor Vinge is optimistic about the collapse of civilization

March 22, 2012 | Source: Wired

Noted author and futurist Vernor Vinge is surprisingly optimistic when it comes to the prospect of civilization collapsing.

“I think that [civilization] coming back would actually be a very big surprise,” he says in this week’s episode of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “The difference between us and us 10,000 years ago is … we know it can be done.”

But could humanity really claw its way back after a complete collapse? Haven’t we plundered the planet’s resources in ways that would be impossible to repeat?

“I disagree with that,” says Vinge. “With one exception — fossil fuels. But the stuff that we mine otherwise? We have concentrated that. I imagine that ruins of cities are richer ore fields than most of the natural ore fields we have used historically.”

In an interview, Vernor Vinge talks about living to be 100,000, how the space program could endanger Earth, and how the Technological Singularity might unfold.