Friday, March 19, 2010

Imagine If You Will

Imagine if you will...

You wake up on a Monday, living somewhere in the central United States (could be anywhere, but I'm using my local reference for the sake of discussion). When you wake up doesn't really matter. If you're a night owl, who functions better in the dark, maybe that's around noon. If you're a morning person, it could be at the crack of dawn. It really doesn't matter since you dictate your own schedule like everyone else does anyway, but let’s just say it was at 8am.

You stroll yourself to the kitchen, noticing that you're a bit low on some groceries. You make your way over to the kitchen wall computer, access your local food distribution center, and select what you need. The system says your goods will arrive in an hour via the automated cargo transport system. That works. This gives you time to eat breakfast and then take a shower. Good thing money is gone, because the high level of technology now implemented in agriculture has made food plentiful for everyone around the world, and the advances in robotic transportation are no longer hamstrung by costs or profit margins.

Breakfast is uneventful as you watch television, uninterrupted by commercials since there’s no such thing as “selling” products anymore. Now what used to take 30 minutes to watch (like the morning news), takes only about 15, and it’s nice that the majority of the news is about technical developments, the budding space exploration programs around the world, fun social events in the city and the past months efficiency ratings on key city systems. Always nice to see those numbers creep up, and numbers like the global crime rate continue to decrease.

Anyway, the shower is typical, and with a few minutes until the groceries arrive you check email and video chat with a friend in England, who you might visit today. The computer calls out indicating your groceries are about to arrive, so you grab your holding cart and walk out to the front yard. The cargo transport pulls up, the on board computer (with GPS and built in radar systems) knowing where you live just like the old post office people did when sending mail. You pull out the full cart with your groceries and replace it with your empty one, so that it can be returned, cleaned and used many times over throughout the city by the people. You press a button on the transport and it zips off back to the distribution center. A few moments later, your groceries are put away and it’s only 9:30am.

Well, what to do now? Last week was your only real work week for the year, as a volunteer technical expert on the automated hydroponic greenhouse building in your area. If something goes screwy, your volunteer team would be called in, much like how volunteer fire fighters used to operate, well, until we started building things out of fireproof materials. Anyway, with over 300 of you living in the area, it’s easy to rotate 5 to 6 person teams so that you’re “on call” for a week, but off for the next 51 weeks of the year. Of course, personal projects are what drives you, like the one you’re working on with about a thousand other people around the world on a new improvement to the international transportation grid system, but you don’t need to do that every day. That’s just interesting for you. And last week was uneventful, with no calls, so you spent your time researching on your project, and you did try to paint something...but we won’t talk about that endeavor. It’s nice to be able to work on what you like, instead of behaving like a rat in a maze doing something you “need” to do just to survive.

Take this house for example as a necessity for survival...shelter. After living in an apartment for a while, you decided a few years ago that a little place of your own away from everything would be nice, if just for a little while. It’s not like you have to lug furniture or many things around, since everything is always furnished how you like anyway. So you went downtown to the residential development building, selected an open plot of land, and started telling the computer what kind of house you wanted. Man you love voice recognition software. Those software people are amazing. Of course with millions of them working collaboratively around the world, it’s no wonder we always have the most amazing capabilities. After an hour or so, you’ve put together the exact house you like, including a nice virtual walk though in the VR room, complete with your personal landscaping touch and all the best furniture you enjoy.

Of course, everything produced these days is of the best possible quality, designed to last as long as possible. Good thing too. It was getting ridiculous with the amount of waste that went into making a bunch of redundant, second rate products. People used to complain that we didn’t have enough resources. It had nothing to do with availability, it had everything to do with waste and misuse. Anyway, your house was ready in less than a week, constructed by the automated robotic systems that build virtually everything these days (bye bye pointless human labor), complete with its own power system, independent of the grid. Although there is a grid system as backup, provided by the geothermal/solar hybrid plant in the center of the city, but it’s mainly used for powering city systems like the transport conveyors and automated subways. Anyway, the move was a piece of cake, since it’s not like you have to schedule everything in your life around a soul sucking job requirement, or bills, or costs, or what you can afford to do.

So, you decide you would like to visit your friend in England and call them up to make sure it’s all good. Sounds good to them, especially since you’ll be there in just under 4 hours and will be able to hit the clubs later that evening, no problem. 45 minutes from your house to the station, and the bullet train leaves at 11am and arrives around 7pm London time. Man you love those 2,000mph Maglev trains! Why did we ever use those loud, inefficient, gravity competing, pollution contributing airplanes that could only hold 400 people at a time anyway...and go only about 400mph?

Getting to the train station is no big deal, and the ride is just as relaxing as all 1,500 people on the train have their own suite (well, families have their suites as families). Might as well fit a workout in today by hitting the gym on the train. A good workout and a nap later and you’re notified by the lovely voice computer that you’ll be arriving in London shortly. Your friend greets you, and hoping you had not eaten yet, wants to take you to a nice restaurant in town with the newest meals programmed using the latest cooking techniques employed by an amazing up and coming chef. You knew they’d do that, so you held off dinner until now. The restaurant ambiance is amazing, as all restaurants are these days, since they all reflect what used to be called 5 star ratings. Some have people serving the food and some have robotic waiters or conveyor systems that serve the food. Either way is fine by you, but your friend is nostalgic, and this restaurant has a service staff of good old flesh and blood people.

The best thing, in your mind, is that the people are always nice and happy, always. It’s not like they’re working to pay bills anymore, or pay for college, or any other old world cost reasoning that would drive up their stress level and sour their mood, but they’re working this kind of job because they simply love interacting with people, serving food, having pleasant discussions and making people happy. In fact, the stress level of the whole planet has dropped significantly, including you, save for when your annoying sister calls, but that’s family. In general, people are now free to pursue their intellectual or artistic passions, no matter what they are, because nothing is holding them back.

The robots in the back kitchen, programmed to mimic the cooking styles of the most world renowned chefs on the planet, have just been upgraded to reflect the newest style of chef Antonio Misconi. Italian food never tasted so good, and no matter where you go in the world, the robots make it exactly as he would make it. It’s beautiful, and tasty.

The conversation is great, the food wonderful, and the nightlife just as enjoyable and fun. While out, you have a flash of brilliance, or so you think anyway, and you use your phone to add a suggestion to the global central database where that project is that you’re working on with others around the world. Your friend mocks you for always “working”, then you both bust out laughing and enjoy the nightlife of the city. You’ll get back on the details of that idea later when you get home in a few days, if you don't decide to take a trip to the Moon Base you've been thinking about, and maybe by then someone else in the world would have taken that idea and expanded it to arrive at a solution. Who knows, but right now, life is for living. And the best thing about this day is that never once did you have to worry about the old world notion of cost. You just live.

Note: If you’re a married person in this scenario with a family, it’s really no different.

Every single aspect of this mental exercise is possible in today’s world. The question remains, do you want to continue living in the world we have now, or be part of the solution that drives humanity to the next step in our social evolution, on Earth and among the stars?


Stryse said...

Its interesting to me how these notions are finally picking up steam in the imaginations of people, at least. Many of the things in this scenario are stuff I've been patiently awaiting for a good decade now. We've had the capability for awhile now, and it irks me a bit that it still isn't being implemented. We're even more capable of making this a reality today than we were ten years ago.

Earth has more than adequate resources that no human being should have to go without basics like food, clothing, and shelter.

Yet greed prevents society from working towards that end. Resources are hoarded, and poorly managed at that, thus we have people starving and homeless when there is no real reason they should be.

My only critique... it doesn't matter how fire-retardant we get our buildings too, nothing will ever be fire-proof so long as we continue to put combustable materials into those buildings. That doesn't necessarily mean we can't build buildings that would survive their contents going up in flame, but I don't think we'll be toally rid of fire departments anytime in the forseeable future.

On the other hand, if we adjusted our fire-fighting resources into more proactive approaches to preventing fires, detecting fires when they do break out, and put the systems in place so that buildings are capable of controlling the fire on their own while they wait for help to arrive... we'd be able to make our cities safer and reduce the number of actual fire fighters needed.

Douglas Mallette said...

lol. Of all that I talked about, you focused on the fireproof house? I'm pleased. That means the rest of the story must be sound. lol.

Yes, some things will burn, but the house itself can be resistant, and also be able to put the fire out itself. We put sprinkler systems in buildings...can do in homes too.

There are a lot of ways to tackle that such that we significantly reduce or even eliminate the need for firefighters, but that will be developed over time.

Anonymous said...

You need to change the name of your blog to TheZeitgeistAdvocate.

Ever since you glommed onto this, you've spouted it in almost every post.

I've enjoyed your posts advocating space but this other stuff is just so much drivel. Sad.


Douglas Mallette said...

David - What you call drivel, I consider to be the ultimate key in MAJOR space exploration and development. I'm pretty much sick of politics and money screwing up technological advancement and more importantly, human exploration of space.

And besides, I do post plenty of stuff regarding space, but over the past few months, nothing major has happened.

The next main thing will be Obama's speech next month in Florida. That will be interesting. I don't consider a 3 second test fire of Falcon 9 to be a headliner worthy of a post, but the launch will be.

So how about this...I'll run my blog how I like. If you don't like a topic, don't read it, but I generally tie everything back to space exploration and development anyway.

Oh...and to call this drivel indicates you actually have no idea what it's about, and if you do, maybe you'd debate it instead of making offhand snide comments. :)

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be nice if we could live together and put all the BS behind us and live the life we deserve. Why can't we all just get along? There is so much to life that is missing when we fight to survive, the war is over if you want it to.

Kevin said...

Finally, Dreams that I have had since childhood are shared with rest of the world, and the best thing about it is I didn't have to explain it to anyone. These ideas are just obvious, and any rational person can arrive at them.
Who wouldn't want to live a world like this?