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Quote of the Week: "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." - Will Durant, American historian (1885-1981)

Solving overpopulation with smaller humans?

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Arthur_Tuxedo
PostPosted: 2015-06-23 06:03pm 

Sith Acolyte


Joined: 2002-07-23 03:28am
Posts: 5319
Location: San Francisco, California
Going about the day's busy work, I was struck by a thought: 7 billion humans is clearly too much of a strain on the world's resources, but it can easily handle trillions upon trillions of ants. Wouldn't we vastly increase our sustainable population if we engineered ourselves to be much smaller?

Image

Jyoti Amge is an actress known for her role in American Horror Story and measures roughly 2 feet tall and weighs 11 lbs. Since she is not mentally deficient, she is proof that the human brain can retain its full function at such a reduced size. Imagine if all humans were her size, and how much fewer resources that would consume. The most obvious decrease in resources would come from food, which would suddenly be fantastic in its abundance, but it would also be trivial to build cheap and efficient aircraft if the passengers only weigh 11 lbs (even a set of artificial wings could probably do the trick). Houses could be the size of a walk-in closet, and space travel would suddenly become cheaper by orders of magnitude. When you think about it, the most major factor that makes our civilization's engineering challenges so difficult is that we're so damn big and heavy.

Aside from the need to shrink our pets (especially cats) and the question of what to do with the existing gigantic infrastructure, what would be the complications and challenges from solving overpopulation by engineering smaller people?
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Purple
PostPosted: 2015-06-23 06:08pm 

Sith Devotee


Joined: 2010-04-20 08:31am
Posts: 3421
Location: In a purple cube orbiting this planet. Hijacking satellites for an internet connection.
Forget infrastructure. Try farming when you can't reach the tip of your grains, rice paddies are a drowning hazard and that apple tree might as well be a mountain. And while we are at it try controlling pests such as rats now that they are proportionally the size of large dogs. Or you know, the large domestic dog population suddenly caught in a world of walking bite sized snacks.

The world economy would also quickly collapse as such small humans don't have the muscle power to effectively harvest the worlds resources. We would be unable to mine, cut down trees and perform other tasks efficiently. The muscle power just ain't there. So it's back to the stone age.
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Eternal_Freedom
PostPosted: 2015-06-23 06:16pm 

Castellan


Joined: 2010-03-09 03:16pm
Posts: 6521
Location: Bound in a nutshell
If we were to do such a thing, it would have to be gradual, over many generations, so that when we replace old infrastructure we can build it progressively smaller. Cutting us down to 2 feet is probably too far. but 4 foot? Maybe.
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Simon_Jester
PostPosted: 2015-06-23 07:53pm 

Emperor's Hand


Joined: 2009-05-23 07:29pm
Posts: 23716
The problem is that if this would take generations to do, then by the time we've done it, either we've already beaten overpopulation or overpopulation's beaten us. It doesn't matter what solutions we have to overpopulation in 2200; we need to address the problem by 2050 or so.
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Eternal_Freedom
PostPosted: 2015-06-23 08:11pm 

Castellan


Joined: 2010-03-09 03:16pm
Posts: 6521
Location: Bound in a nutshell
True. It;s like building a Dyson shell or figuring out how to launch satellites by catapault, by the time we can do it we don't need to.
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