Upon waking up from a coma…

This time there were so many reader requests dear to my heart.  Londenio asked:

Suppose you fall into a coma. You wake up in 15 years, with your memory
and cognitive abilities intact. You hug your loved ones, you brush your
teeth and then … what would be the first thing you would like to know
about the world?

Am I allowed three questions?  They would be the level of stock prices (inflation-adjusted), whether there are new countries or old countries have disappeared, and whether nuclear weapons have been used.

And what about 300 years later, from having your head frozen?

I would simply ask: "What are the three most important questions I should be asking?"

What do you all think?

Comments

Is Jade Goody finally dead yet?

no questions - just give me the headlines from the Year in Review for each year since I went to sleep.

Tyler,

Come on, this is a no-brainer. Your first question would be:

"Where are my kids?"

The second question, however, could be a bit more difficult.

Only relevant question: have we achieved warp speed yet?

It would be more interesting to ask the same question to someone who went into coma right before the great depression or 70s crisis. What would have surprised the patient the most upon waking again? No idea about the guy from the 20s, but the other one would probably have expected greater transformations in energy usage etc.
Are we expecting radical changes (eg increased influence of socialist policies, return to more localized world) in the future because we are currently in a crisis?

"2. How low has the UWO economics department slipped in the international rankings?"

I see Prof. Palmer is anticipating that I'll be department chair sometime in the next 15 years.

Anyhow, my question - "What's new?" Boring, but I anticipate so much will have changed that I won't know what's important. Working in reverse, I'm sure if I spent from 1994 to today in a coma, there would be so much I wouldn't even think of asking.

300 years in future? First question has to be:

有人講英文嗎?

What generation iPod is currently being proffered?

Many good ones have already been mentioned, so how about some political ones:

Does Social Security still exist (in its 2009 form)?

Can someone go buy me a good Cuban cigar at the gas station?

Is the U.S. energy independent? (though I think I already know the answer to that one, but what the heck)

Why does all the money have Chinese characters?

Is this Palin's first term or second?

What's the number for pizza delivery?

1. So what happened to globing warming?

2. Does poverty exist?

3. Can we teleport yet?

> 有人講英文嗎

Actually, I think the first question reads:
010110111101101010101001101010010111110
110100110010100001011010110111011111011
01101110101101011101011010

I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.

1. Why is it so cold?
2. Why is everyone so skinny?
3. Why is all the medical equipment the same as 15 years ago?

After 300 years:
-Which one of you ladies wants to have sex with the Ice Man?
-Hey, where are you going?

For 300 years, think of someone waking up in Virginia who went to sleep in 1709. What would be the three most essential things for that person to know which happened between 1709 and 2009? Then try to come up with three questions that would get those answers.

The “which new countries were formed and which countries disappeared† question is a good one. Two others would be “what is the name and title of the current head of state?† and “what are the five largest cities in the world today?†.

You can do the same trick after 15 years, but I think someone waking up after 15 years would first want to know what happened to family and friends.

Probably true, Ed, but he would probably also be more pleased by your answers.

Question 1: Why did you revive me?

"Is the President a Republican or a Democrat?"

Intended as a yes/no question.

If yes, "can you put me back down for 300 more years?"

If no, "are things better or cheaper than 300 years ago?"

(I just got off the phone with one of those automated tech service things. That is not an improvement. The company recently went bankrupt too, so I'm not sure it's even cheaper.)

Assuming that we've gone through a Singularity, the challenge in 300 years time will be framing a question that can even be answered meaningfully. Questions about GDP and political entities might not fall into that category.

I would ask about patterns of energy usage, and what sentient beings devote their attention span to.

I would also ask about whether my revival was a rare, unique, or attention-worthy event, and if so, could I monetize my 15 minutes worth of fame? Failing that, I'd probably expect to live out a marginal existence in obscurity as a fish out of water.

1. Have they invented robots you can have sex with?
2. Are these robots affordable?
3. May I have one

I can't think of a better questions than your question "What are the three most important questions I should be asking?"

You're obviously right, but that's a cheat, like wishing for more wishes that takes the fun out of the game.

How far back in time would one need to travel for the typical 300 year sleeper to ask what no commenter has yet asked:

did jesus come back yet?

After any period in a coma, first question: "what is it currently illegal to say or think?"

as to tyler's second question - seems kind of a waste, no? since the rise of the nation-state (oh, roughly 500 years ago, give or take), has there ever been a 15 year period where new nations have not appeared/disappeared?

more info could be acheived by asking - what is the balance of political-economic power in world?

1. Is fiat money still in use?
2. What became of global warming?
3. What political parties are in power in the USA?

Me: Do women still shave?
Response: Yes.
Me: Wake me up in another 300 years and I'll try again.

There's an old joke along these lines:

A man has an accident in 1957 and is in an extended coma. 15 years later, he wakes up. The first question out of his mouth: "Nurse, how is President Eisenhower?" "I'm sorry, sir, President Eisenhower is dead." "OMG, that means that crook Nixon is President now!"

how is the interest in my bank account doing? :).

@Josh,
Wow, computer translation hasn't improved in the past 15 years... The quote/question is approximately "Do y'all speak English?".

After 15 years:

1) AI or IA? (Almost certainly Artificial Intelligence rather than Intelligence Amplification, given the 15-year time period, but...)

After 300 years:

1) How the hell does it take 300 years to wake up a cryonics patient under any conceivable world-economic conditions that would let the cryonics company survive that long?

After 300 years:

- What's with the eye?

- Has your race taken over the earth?

- Is that blimp accurate?

Those were supposed to be for a 1,000-year freeze, but whatever.

300 years: Can you connect my head to a new body? If not, put me down for another 300 years.

300 years out:

1. Is there still religion?
2. What is popular?
3. What is the currently accepted definition of culture?

Did I win my office pool? I had Memphis-UNC in the finals.

1. Are they still playing Test cricket?
2. Who won last year's IPL?
3. Are India and China the new super powers?

You know, if the 2309 scenario happens, some smart-arse with an historical web database will probably answer any questions you post here before you can ask them, so you should think of some additional ones to avoid being stumped.

In 15 years:

Is it safe to walk outside?
Are wolves, grizzlies, coyotes, eagles, bison still to be seen in the wild?
Do oaks, maple, ash, pine, redwoods still survive in the US?

In 300 years:
Is it safe to walk outside?
What is the land area of the US and how large is the floating area?
Is it possible to see snow in the US?

Raivo Pommer
raimo1@hot.ee

US-Notenbank

Zur Stützung des amerikanischen Finanz- und Immobiliensektors will die US-Notenbank zusätzlich eine Billion US- Dollar (770 Mrd Euro) in die Märkte pumpen.

Wie die Federal Reserve am Mittwoch in Washington ankündigte, will sie bis zu 750 Milliarden Dollar (577 Mrd Euro) an hypothekenbesicherten Wertpapieren erwerben. Außerdem sollen bis zu 300 Milliarden Dollar an langfristigen Staatsanleihen gekauft werden, um die Zinsen auf verschiedenen Märkten zu drücken. Dadurch sollen Kreditklemme und Immobilienkrise überwunden werden. Zugleich beließ die Fed den US-Leitzins auf seinem historischen Tiefstand von knapp über null Prozent, der Mitte Dezember festgelegt worden war.

Click here to find out more!
"Die Federal Reserve wird unter den gegebenen Umständen alle verfügbaren Mittel einsetzen, um die wirtschaftliche Erholung voranzutreiben und Preisstabilität zu gewährleisten", hieß es in der Mitteilung der Notenbank nach der Sitzung des Offenmarktausschusses.

Is the recession over yet?

Only one: Can i be frozen again?

1.- Can someone bring me a toothbrush?
2.- What day is today?
3.- did we make it to mars?

yo preguntaria:
y si acabaron con las guerras?
donde esta mi hija?
sacaron la tercera parte del vídeo juego doungenon keeper?

1. Why have the cars almost not changed since his creation? They don't fly, no joysticks, no auto-drive.... Toooooo bad. :-(

2. How many world wars until today?

3. Is there rubbish-TV yet?

Is the Constitution still intact?

Are all of the free market economists in gulags?

Is it true that all bonuses over $75,000 are taxed at 90%?

Where's the bathroom!!!

are brad and angelina still together?

I do not generally care that much about the world...would be better if humanity had never existed haha....But I am curious about certain things for the sake of being curious, so would probably ask about events such as; Has there been anymore terrorist attacks? have there been anymore deadly disease outbreaks? Cures for deadly diseases? Is the third world still titled the third world instead of something fairer? Are their living conditions any better? Have the general population become less blinded to certain issues and naiveties and sugar coated media?? Thereby has the term free media' actually been activated?

Or maybe...Why the hell did I have to wake up from this darn coma?

=)

can i use the tap water to brush my teeth?
do i have any money left after hospital bills or did the US become a more caring and generous people?
and
where can i get the modern equivalent of a newspaper?

15 years:

1. Is the Simpson's still on?
2. How many versions of PhotoShop have I missed?
3. Have I got enuff money to retire?

300 years:

1. What country am I in?
2. Where can I find my family history?
3. Have I got enuff money to retire?

Where can I buy a burito ....im Hungry......

how do i use these three goddamned sea shells?

i think i'd ask for a nurse to give me a 20-minute synopsis of "the world of today". listening VERY closely as to how much she emphasizes things like the power/importance of religion; and the same for The State.

if every other paragraph includes something like "blessed be the prophet Lady Gaga" or "thanks to our Dear Leader Khan" or some such, i believe i'd be vague as hell in answering questions, and ask for a history book and an almanac ("written in the old tongue") before i went into any details about myself.

be a shame to wake up from a 300-year-coma and then get sent to a gulag, or burned as a witch, wouldn't it?

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