To maintain the continuation of human civilization, the wandering Earth must not only restrict birth but also encourage birth. The novel's birth policy has generated a directional error, and the appearance of this error also shows that even a wise man like Da Liu is prone to a serious underestimation of the harm inflicted by low fertility.Recently, according to Liu Cixin's film of the same name, the science fiction novel "Wandering Earth" sparked a heated debate. Many scientists point to some loopholes in the original work that have physical laws, and we find that there is an arithmetic gap in the original work, which led to a directional error in a basic policy of the novel.
Text / Liang Jianzhang, Huang Wenzheng
It is not surprising that there are gaps, because science fiction is a daring imagination and deduction of future social and economic issues, and its deductive path is often far from everyday experience.
An Arithmetic Gap
We pointed out that the loopholes are not to depreciate the original, but just let our imagination fly with the great Liu. These gaps will not diminish our incomparable admiration of Liu Cixin's imagination and logical reasoning ability. We thank you for raising the level of Chinese science fiction worldwide by yourself.
First of all, we believe that making a large spacecraft of Earth is a great idea. The plot of many previous science fiction novels is that when the earth is destroyed, humans will make a spaceship to escape. The reason the author lets humans take the land instead of flying in a spaceship may be because the spacecraft is too small to carry civilization and ecology, or it can be human to save more people.
There is a plot in the movie that the protagonist's father finally had the opportunity to get away with the space station, but he still fiercely set fire to Mars to save the people on the planet. Based on this speculation, the author must believe that the heritage of civilization requires a certain size of population.
But the author seems to think that it is necessary to implement family planning to control the population. There is such an assertion in the original work: Four centuries later, in order to economize resources, humans practice family planning, and every three couples attracts much to have a couple with reproductive rights. In fact, there is an obvious arithmetic hole here.
The original does not indicate how many children a couple with reproductive rights may have, but it is hard to imagine that a small number of women can have any number of children, and most couples do not have the right to give birth, so we assume that couples with reproductive rights can only have one child. This is also in line with the one-child policy implemented by China during the original essay.
If every three couples have only one child, then the next generation is only one-sixth of the previous generation, which means that the total population will be reduced as each generation is reduced to less than one-sixth of the previous generation.
Assuming there are 7 billion people in the beginning, after four hundred years, there are almost 13 generations, how many people are left in humans? We can estimate a simple formula: 7 billion * (1/6) ^ 13 = 0.53. Until then, there will remain only one human being.
That is, four hundred years after the implementation of this policy of family planning, that is, at the time the protagonist of the novel emerged, human beings were extinguished. Therefore, it is impossible for the wandering land to implement such a birth policy.
Wandering land really needs to encourage fertility
So what kind of birth policy should the lost land adopt?
Before answering that question, let's take a look at another interesting plot of the original book: people are under the guise of tragic psychology and are happy in time. The concept of treating marriage has become weak and even extramarital affairs are common. The protagonist's father told his mother that he fell in love with a teacher, his mother had no strong reaction, only asked when his father came back.
In wandering land society, many people find that children born are also prone to facing destruction. Many people choose not to marry or have children. The natural fertility rate should be very low.
Assuming that the natural fertility rate of people is the same as China's current fertility rate, that is, an average couple has less than 1.4 children, the next generation is at most the previous generation (1.4 / 2, 1) = 2/3. From this, we ask: maintain the current fertility rate in China when the wandering land finally reach its destination, that is, after 2,500 years or about 80 generations, how many people are left in human beings? The formula is: 7 billion * (2/3) ^ 80 = 0.00006.
That is, if you are completely free to give birth, neither restrict nor encourage, then the Earth has not yet reached its destination, for humans have long since died out because of the low fertility rate, at least the less fertile Chinese already extinguished. . Of course, humans will not stand still. Faced with this fertility trend, the coalition government will definitely introduce a policy to encourage fertility. Otherwise, why should teachers implement the Wandering Land Plan?
Some people may say that at that time it is possible to make children at any time with high technology. Techniques like the artificial uterus make discoveries in the future. But raising a child will still require parents to participate for more than a decade. This is a grueling job, so you need to find enough parents to raise a child. Therefore, the coalition government may not only cover maintenance costs, but also pay enough for parents raising their children.
Cancellation of the currency is another scenario not considered
Fees and compensation are usually paid in the form of money or money. But the film's protagonist's grandfather said when he mentioned life before the disaster, when people were looking for something called money. This detail suggests that humans abolished the currency when the Wandering Earth program was opened.
We think this is another area of the film that is not considered. There is not much in the novels and movies that mentions the economic system of the wandering land. But even with a planned economy in time of war, the abolition of money is a bad choice. Money offers great convenience for people to trade goods, even for the planned economy. China and the Soviet Union did not give up money at the height of the planned economy. Scenes that do not need money, or appear in tribes or spaceships of less than a few hundred people, or substances that are extremely rich in people who can receive them on demand, but this is obviously not a scene of lost Earth society .
How can the wandering earth continue human civilization?
Regardless of the economic system adopted, Wandering Earth must do its utmost to manufacture, renovate and maintain as many engines as possible. The energy of the engine must be nuclear energy, and nuclear energy is almost inexhaustible, so that the quantity and quality of the engine depend on the investment of the whole economy, that is, how much labor and resources can be mobilized to produce more and better engines. Humans need to build and maintain so many engines, which inevitably requires a huge industrial chain. Including energy, transportation, communications and other support industries.
Moreover, if we are to maintain the sustainable development of the lost land, education, health care, culture and the various industries can not be smaller, so we must maintain a considerable population size to sustain the economy of the Earth and sustainable flights and stable. So when the government discovers that people do not want to have children, they will soon introduce a policy to encourage birth.
In fact, human beings must finally withstand natural hazards and continue civilization, and still need to rely on continuous innovation of their own technology, innovation is not based on few scientists, it is necessary to maintain a basic education, educational institutions and government research and business systems. There is a huge population and economic system behind it.
So we believe that by being able to support more people, the plane of the Wandering Earth is much more reasonable and humane than the escape plan of the spacecraft. That is the major highlight of this novel, but the birth policy in the novel obviously comes of an obvious arithmetic Holes. To maintain the continuation of human civilization, the wandering Earth must not only restrict birth but also encourage birth. The novel's birth policy has generated a directional error, and the appearance of this error also shows that even a wise man like Da Liu is prone to a serious underestimation of the harm inflicted by low fertility.
(The author of this article: co-founder Ctrip, chairman of the executive board)