Monday, August 4, 2014

Protopia - Envisioning an Improving Future

As part of the movement to return to optimistic science fiction, Kevin Kelly proposed a writing project on the web magazine The prompt was to write in 100 words or less, a description of a compelling future 100 years hence that is neither horrible dystopia (machines harvesting our energy, vast squatter cities picking through the garbage of the rich) or boring utopia (free food, no work, sybaritic decadence).

By promoting optimistic and appealing future scenarios, we may be able to inspire young people to become technologists and scientists that work to create such a future. (More on the Optimistic SciFi movement at Neal Stephenson's Project Hieroglyph page

Below is my humble submission:

Small scale fusion and distributed solar cells make energy cheap enough to ignore.

Radical transparency reduces inequality to tolerable background levels. Prediction markets and algorithms inform policy making.

New perennial food crops, restore tilth and sequester carbon in healthy, biodiverse soils. Small scale attempts at deextinction lead to increasingly ambitious rewilding projects.

Human population voluntarily split between dense cities and distributed villages. All are connected by high speed networks. There are no hinterlands.

Automation renders most human work unnecessary, liberating people to engage in creative and analytic pursuits. Code and algorithm auditing are major sources of employment.