We are in the "Modern Age." What's next?

A few questions:
[li]Wouldn’t every Age be considered to be the “Modern Age” according to those living at the time?[/li][li]When will the current “Modern Age” end? What would the next age be called?[/li][li]What event or series of events would dictate the change in name? (As far as I can tell, age names are dictated by technology level while scientific periods are dictated by evolutionary physiology [pre-tool use] and techology [post-tool use]).[/li][li]What about the Holocene Period, which is a much more scientific name? Will this last as long as humans are physiologically and roughly technologically the same as we are today?[/li][/ol]

According to some, the Postmodern Period began at 3:32pm on July 15, 1972.

I’m serious, in that some people are serious about that.

Yes, but Postmodernism refers to a specific period or movement in art, which followed Modernism. It’s just another case of a word having a very specific meaning among academics, but a much broader (or completely different) meaning in common usage. (Like “Classical music” - in common usage it refers to all sorts of western music, but Classical period is roughly 1730-1820.)

I don’t think the term “Modern Age” has such a specific meaning though.

I would ass-u-me the next age is a post scarcity transhumanist age. I don’t know what we will call it though.

I may have misunderstood, but I’ve never taken “the modern age” to be “The Modern Age”. I’ve always seen it as a description rather than a name.

I can’t dispute you that postmodernism is far more common as a description of art rather than government, society, economics, and so on. However, since I endured considerably long lectures at my grad school on postmodern war and international relations, there are indeed some people out there who see a broader meaning of postmodernism.

Of course, there are people out there who believe in ancient astronauts, too…

Agreed. Very soon and possibly already, the times we are living through will be divided into historical periods.

Personally I don’t ever think about living in the “Modern Age” but I do reflect upon the explosion of 19th Century science which we can trace back to Edison, Bell, Hertz, and Albert Einstein et al.

I think this is better suited to IMHO than GQ.

General Questions Moderator

I’m not a mod, but I’m not sure if I agree with the move to IMHO. “When will the Holocene Period end?” was one of my questions and most certainly a GQ since there is a factual scientific answer.

No there isn’t: those divisions are conventions, not scientific fact. Those conventions may well shift over time.

I, myself, avoid “modern” because of the confusion with Modernism: I use “contemporary” as a description.

Yes, “Modern Age” maybe a convention, but Precambrian, Neolithic, Holocene and the rest of the periods are all scientifically accepted.

Seems like on Time Team I hear a lot about stone age, bronze age, and iron age. Other television viewing has led me to believe that since then we’ve moved through the steel or steam age and into the silicon age.

But they are accepted conventions: different lines were drawn for different reasons, so we can’t apply some criteria to the Holocene and predict when that criteria will be met. In fact, I’ve heard it argued that it ended in 1492 because the Columbian exchange so radically changed the global ecosystems.

“Stone Age” is just a layman’s term that combines the Paleolithic (Old Stone Age), Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age), and Neolithic (New Stone Age) ages.

The most-used term, culturally, I’ve seen for today’s “age” is the Information Age, supplanting either the Industrial Age, Nuclear Age, or Transportation Age, depending on one’s point of view. The most inportant commodity is now information, where before it was whatever thing that moved civilization along (stone, various metals, sails, etc.).

Geologically, I think mankind’s nulcear activities may leave a tracer significant enough to become a marker in the long-term record, but aren’t ages in that sense usually demarkated by extinction-level events?

Give it time :wink:

I think Agent Foxtrot’s use of the word “modern” in Modern Age should help us to
establish the beginning of “modern times.”

I think the word gained currency at least a generation after Mary Shelley used it in her
science fiction classic. A Houston newspaper of the 1840’s advertised “modern furniture
for sale.” ACW journalists used the word to describe new weapons and Civil War

The Diamond Age

A number of people have proposed Anthropocene to describe the era in which humans have made largescale impacts on the geological history of the planet. At what point this has occurred is a matter of debate - some place it with the industrial revolution (due to the measurable and geologically recorded impact on the atmosphere), others place it earlier (almost to the point where Anthropocene supplants the Holocene).

It is now unquestionable that human impacts on the environment will be measurable and datable for many millennia hence - Carbon-14 levels (~50000 years), plastic detritus layers in ocean sediments, concrete structures, surface developments, human waste disposal, human mediated extinctions will all be there. All these will have a lasting impact on the geological and biological diversity of the planet that will leave marks through the future. Whether this is defined as a new era is a matter for discussion, though.

Ages end, and new ages begin, among other circumstances, with great wars between Good and Evil, and the destruction of powerful magic rings.