index ... stories ... essays

Visions of 2051 Outline

by Roger Bourke White Jr., started February 2017

Introduction

This is a list of collected essays I have written about what things are going to be like in the 2050's. In my upcoming Visions of 2051 book these will be mixed with stories about people living in this environment.

This is hard core Technofiction -- Roger's style of writing science fiction.

What this is about

At the core of this book is wearables and how they will change how we live and how we think. I envision three generations of wearables: First is what we are experiencing in the 2010's which is simply measuring easy-to-measure human functions such as heart beats and walking steps, Second measures more subtle activities such as blood sugar and also controls drug levels, and Third both measures and controls things as subtle as hormone levels and simple-to-detect-and-stimulate emotion controlling neurons in the brain and rest of the body. With the third generation wearables emotional thinking such as fear and love will become controllable. (Analytic and conscious thinking will still be beyond this style of control. They are too quick and subtle.)

On the social side this book will continue to explore the Total Entitlement State (TES) and how that will be changing how we live and think. At the core of the TES will be two classes of people: the Necessity class and the Ambitious class. The Necessity folk will be enjoying life fully but not having much effect on material prosperity -- cyber controlled automation will be handling that. The Ambitious folk will be working with cyber to keep improving what is included in the prosperity and how efficiently the prosperity is created. In sum, two very different styles of living.

One the big challenges I see is in forecasting what TES folk will be doing, and aspiring for, and what will keep them happy and busy. I find it easier to forecast what the ambitious folk will be doing because it is much more like "real jobs" of the 2010's. My current forecast is that for Necessity class folk it will be sports, entertainment and dilettante manufacturing -- Top 40 Jobs type stuff -- that will fill their time and aspirations.

What follows are: story notes, links to stories, essay notes and links to essays.

Stories

Let's see... What are some everyday experiences of 2050 that will make interesting stories? And then some interesting ones beyond every day...

 

Baby Club

o The Baby Club Experience -- This will be a montage of stories exploring how baby club communities function. [see outline2 and the Child Champs book for ideas I already have] Possible story format: three high school friends go through three different baby club experiences. Maybe end up at the same club in the end.

A baby club is like an HOA but with the primary goal being raising children. Like HOA's baby clubs will have themes, and inconsistencies, and lots of gossiping and arguing among members about how it should be run. When arguments happen they will be much more intense than those in an HOA.

idea: guy dates a woman because he wants her egg to fertilize and raise. He doesn't want her, just her egg. Added twist: Maybe she has some frozen already, but he wants a live one. Why her? Why not some celebrity egg? (maybe the cost, maybe respect) Or a conventional egg already available from a conventional frozen egg clinic? (should be lower cost, and quality checked) Maybe he's on an "all natural" kick? Maybe she is young, sixteen or so, he has watched her grow up and likes what he has seen? How old is he? How much trouble is extracting a live egg in these times? An afternoon in an egg clinic? DIY available?

oo How are wearables, cyber muses and pervasive surveillance going to affect baby club lifestyle? One effect will be constant monitoring of both kids and adults. The constantly discussed and constantly modified issue will be when to trigger the various warnings that become possible. Should a child simply falling be enough to trigger a warning? Bleeding after a scratch? Two kids yelling at each other? Just one kid doing the yelling? Wearables showing a child feeling sad about something? These are examples of warning possibilities coming up. (These make today's helicopter parenting look positively remote.) Once the warning is triggered what action should a parent or cyber muse take? And which parent: the closest physically, the expert on this threat, or the biological?

oo What raising practices are OK? How much do they vary from club to club? There should be a lot of variation from club to club. This will be one of the most distinctive features for each club. How is this distinctiveness advertised to prospective club shoppers? How often do parents switch clubs? How often do they switch because they don't like the current raising practices? How often because of social shaming by other club members?

Opinions of other club members about what are good raising practices are going to be strong. Members will praise some and censure others. In addition to internal judgments, there will also be opinions of the club in the eyes of its neighbors. Censure of the club by its neighbors may cause the club to move. To avoid this can a club close itself off from the community and get convent-like? Pervasive surveillance may make this hard to accomplish. If the neighbors think it has become a cult, not a convent, they will intervene. The media will love stories about clubs that have been discovered to have become evil cults -- think of Jonestown as it was just before the massacre crisis hit.

oo How do boy/girl friends get treated? Are relatives treated differently than friends? I suspect being a relative will be less important in these times than it is currently. Big issue: who is considered a moocher or molester? Are there other undesirable traits that clubs will try to keep out, such as being too party hearty, or too critical of club practices? Being accused of spying is likely to be a common accusation because it resonates with instinct. But, will the accusation have any real meaning in an environment so filled with pervasive surveillance? Who is this "spy" going to be reporting to?

oo What will be the club's take on feminism: how puritan to be about looking, talking and touching? Will this be 1960's-style sexual revolution point of view (hookup culture) or 2010's-style neoPuritan (#MeToo) point of view? Will anyone be worrying about the Sacred Masculine? As in, will there be clubs with a theme of strongly supporting male confidence?

oo What to spend club money/resources on? Example: Should a thriving or declining club move? What new equipment to add? What personnel/cyber muses to add?

oo How will clubs and educational institutions interact? These kids will be going to school. What format will "school" take in this environment? Will it be traditional walk to a school house, or something more up-to-date such as walk to a room in the club and watch lots of VR lessons there? Another example: what will be the relation between a club of professors at a college and getting their kids into that college?

oo How clubs and local businesses will interact. These interactions can take on many forms, such as, is the club sponsored by a company? Is it composed of employees from a local office/facility, a "company club"? A different issue: Which local companies do business with the club? How do the promoted businesses interact with the club?

oo What will panic club members? When they panic how will they blunder? Because the clubs are so varied in memberships the panic triggers will be quite varied as well.

oo Story idea: changing clubs: moving up in clubs, as in, into a more expensive club: This takes ambition and succeeding at it. One way ambition can succeed is getting a Sugar Daddy, who then supports getting into an expensive club. If this is the route into the club, how will the new neighbors/gossips feel about this? What will they be saying? What happens if the Sugar Daddy moves on? Move out and into a cheaper club in the same neighborhood? Move somewhere completely new? The move affects kids because they lose their close friends and familiar surrogate care givers. Likewise the mother/father has to change friends and social network too. Note: this moving up in clubs is sounding like getting into a country club. How exclusive a one can you get into? If the Sugar Daddy is getting you in, what happens when he/she dumps you? If this style of up-and-down should not be an acceptable social motion, what rules/regulations/mores will make things more stable? Avoiding this in-then-dump issue can be part of the membership requirements for the club. If so, and this is part of the story, is this happening in a newly established boom town, as in, one where these in-then-dump issues have not been addressed yet? Things are still quite free-for-all?

 

Cosplay, wearables, sports and entertainment

o Using wearables for excelling at cosplay, sports and entertainment -- these will be common aspirations for urban legend educated. Big issue in sports: crossing the line. This leads to the question: how many categories of competition will there be in any particular sports endevor? (Current example: weight ranges in wrestling.) They will range from "all natural", ala Olympics of today, to "run what you brung" which will be more informal and easier to enter because with wearable and cyber help playing will be a lot easier to master. The run what you brung is likely to be something like informal MMA stuff. It is likely to change fairly rapidly over time, much as the D&D format has.

Will such an issue come up in entertainment too? What would be crossing the line in entertainment? Too much risk, as in, high wire walking with enhancement but without a net? Too much enhancement, as in, my inner robot is playing the guitar, not me? Will too many gigs, sustained by wearable endurance enhancing, become an issue?

 

Getting a job with an urban legend education

o Trying to get a job with urban legend education -- and related, what to do other than a job for social status recognition? (example: sports and entertainment -- Top 40 stuff) Average schools are going to be teaching mostly urban legend. It's comfortable to learn and cyber is handling the work that requires understanding harsh reality. What kind of work will be suited to this kind of education. It will be unskilled, in the 2010's meaning of that word, because skilled work that requires cleverly manipulating the real world will not be well suited to urban legend education. Another way of putting it is, "What will be the equivalent of flipping burgers, since robots will be flipping burgers?" What kind of companies and organizations will hire urban legend educated? Urban legend will be a good fit for touchy-feely government work, and charity work because it is also touchy-feely. Some kinds of dilettante work may also be suitable, those kinds which are mostly about selling, not those which are making things. Selling stuff in ways that are similar to Etsy and multi-level marketing of today.

Much related is: how is politics going to evolve? This will be closely related to how government decision-making is going to evolve. Urban legend educated are going to have a weakness for spendthrift populist politicians who want to create spendthrift governments. But these are expensive and unsustainable. How will cyber intervene in the governing process to make the government sustainable and living within its limits even when spendthrift populists get elected? In sum, what human-based governments are actually going to have control over is going to change dramatically, and humans are going to have less and less control over budget-oriented issues.

 

High School Romance

o High school romance -- Who is going to high school, as versus, who is staying home and doing AR/VR studies in their parent's basement? How is socializing, like dances, being handled? How about sports? What are coming of age in high school rituals? How to get into romance if you're a teenage stay at home in parent's basement dweller? Are there some kinds of nightclubs for such folk?

Note that these issues will be happening in the context of prosperous urban communities experiencing a declining population crisis, ala what Japan is facing in the 2010's. Because of this the cyber muses will be encouraging teens to get into child raising activities. Supporting more socializing is likely to be seen as supporting more child raising, so the muses will support these socializing activities in various ways.

 

Space Tourism

o Space tourism -- What will be a coming evolution of cruise ship-style tourism happening in space? Example: A domed city on the Moon, it is popular just because it is so science fictiony. It will feel like Tomorrowland did at Disneyland, and that will be the whole purpose for having it. Oh, there will be talk about supporting some science research, but that's because that is part of the Tomorrowland theme. And the Necessity Folk will be protesting for some "rights" to go there, as they have rights to go to Disneyland. Waiting in line to get such a right will feel OK, just like waiting in line feels OK at Disneyland today.

What will Mars support? What will Venus support? What will asteroids support? Asteroids will be the easist to visit because of the low gravity well. Venus the toughest because it will be a floating city, not a structure on the surface. The surface will be much rougher to visit.

Where will "hard core" ambitious class tourists go? As in, what will be an exotic vacation for them? When does visiting the Moon get "ho-hum"? To avoid that ho-humness, what can be done on the Moon that will feel exotic? What can be done outside the domed city? For those that want exotic someplace other than the Moon, what will be offered? They will want to go to Mars. Will they want to go beyond Mars? Will there be any space commerce to speak of? Related: Any reason to put in a Space Elevator on Earth? This will make sense only when heavy-weight material commerce with space becomes large-scale and profitable.

 

A Soldier Story

o A soldier story. This will be one with formal soldiers covered by drones on one side and informal terrorist-style soldiers hiding among civilians on the other. This will be the most common way of fighting. With pervasive surveillance even this style will be hard for the informal side to conduct. Having kids carry bombs into buildings or formations of soldiers isn't going to work if the bomb the kid is carrying can get spotted. Perhaps carrying disease can work?

Will there be any conflict conditions where both can act like out-and-out soldiers? It will be a strange situation and it won't last long -- a few hours to a couple days. It will be a proxy war. Perhaps somewhere really remote and backwater, like in upland New Guinea? In New Guinea it could be modernizer versus traditionalist hill people? The modernizers trying to switch to TES? The traditionalists seeing this as betrayal, getting help from whom?

Related insight: It seems that the ergonomics of combat during World War Two are the most compatible with enjoying gun-based combat. This was a time when people still personally aimed guns (on the ground and in combat aircraft) and got to shoot lots of bullets in streams, as in, machine guns in full automatic. Nowadays the military assault rifles are designed to do burst mode shooting not full automatic. The comfort of watching this shooting style is why we still see the bad guys in Hollywood action movies walking and shooting machine guns with long bursts of fire.

And the radios were comfortable too, but still thought of as exotic -- we got lots of "Roger" and "over and out" lingo. The more modern equipment is so automated there isn't as much ritual or lingo for people to engage in when using it -- use is transparent. So, what will soldier slang be like in this future environment? As in the current environment it will be related to the equipment that is complex and hard to figure out, not the transparent equipment that just gets used without thinking much about it.

 

Others

o Social shaming story. -- Social shaming will be big again. Something based on today's prescriptive and Puritan feminism trends. What else? Something tender skinned? Likely trend: Being too prescriptionist and getting away with it because of Tender Snowflakism child raising. Lots of gossipers who have sharp social-based teeth, and use them. The Town Without Pity theme is back.

o more Wise Old Man stories -- moving an experienced mind into a new, young body.

This can be a rich man's hobby. This means an early story will be of him/her inhabiting a clone of their own body. One issue: is it purely original or enhanced? Enhanced, of course, but how much and in which ways? How can this bite him back?

What benefits will he/she experience? Such as, meeting for-real new interesting girls, not cyber girls. (don't need to be young for those) Also the need for the young body when experiencing extreme party-hearty in an enjoyable way. What else? Not booze for getting drunk, wearables are doing that. Still, might choose to do so just to be authentic.

Are there situations where the community gets a lot benefit? Are the benefits obvious enough that the community pays to get the wise old man inserted? Do they sometimes do this against his/her will? What leverage do they have if they do?

How do avatars relate to wise old man stories and experiences? When will an avatar be suitable instead of a young body? The avatar can happen quickly. There is a crisis, a body is being grown, but the old man is put into an avatar in the meantime because the crisis can't wait.

Changing gender for the next young body experience. What else? Getting in some kind of animal body? Umm... hard to match human thinking with animal brain structure. How about: instead of an animal an enhanced super human body. Then the question is why an old man mind instead of a next generation cyber mind?

A story of a wise old man becoming the body of a child living in a North Korean-style dystopia. What does he do? What if "he" takes over the body of a girl child, and experiences lots of sex abuse as well as other kinds. How can he respond cleverly, and in ways that won't get him beaten up some more, or even killed for being some kind of infiltrating traitor? What can he do to end/diminish the dystopia?

o Can I come up with another Super Spy Weekend surprise satire? Something involving Tattoos and T-Shirts style marriage? Really fancy, really showy, ritual is important. What's the objective? Who will be impressed?

o Real big challenge: an Agatha Christy-like mystery in a world of pervasive surveillance. Even more so with pervasive wearables monitoring people's health real time.

o Other ideas -- Other coming of age rituals. New frontiers: living above Venus in balloons, cyber exploring places too hostile for humans -- deep space, deep ocean. (I need to invent some space commerce ideas. <sigh>)

Written (30,452 words)

o Study Hearty or Party Hearty? -- coming of age in the college environment (2825)

o Megan's Party Time -- a TES young woman is going through her daily routine and meets an attractive older guy at her night club. What is going to keep her from getting ambitious? One inspiration is The Devil wears Prada where the protagonist gives up on ambition to keep her existing friends. (4735)

o Baby Club -- a woman decides it is time and is now picking a baby club (6137)

o Home or Club? -- a stay-at-home teenage boy impulsively falls in love and decides to have a baby (2400)

o Wise Old Man -- JC version is about Jesus being a wise old man in the 2050's sense. (1031)

o Hard Times -- more on a cyber-induced recession to stop a populist ruler from ruining the country. (6823)

o The Princess, The Fly, and City Hall -- disabled person helping around city hall (2600)

o He's the One? -- romance with wearables, deciding he is right before turning on the wearable (3726)

Essays

 

Written (29,800 words)

o Cosplay -- growing in enthusiasts and elaborateness (350)

o Robot Companions -- companionship without maintenance, mess and tragedy (600)

o Food Production -- very different in 2050 (900)

o Gaming the system in 2050 -- it will still be around, but done differently (400)

o Achieving new states of consciousness -- a surprise use of AI (410)

o Baby Clubs -- what baby clubs will be like (770)

o Wearables and Personal Performance Enhancement -- what 2nd generation wearables will be like (900)

o Health Care -- it will be real different (1020)

o Recreational Mind Altering -- it will flower in lots of new ways (880)

o Dissent and Social Shaming -- these will be steadily evolving (730)

o Coming of Age Rituals -- what will these be in TES communities? (600)

o Self-abuse in TES -- how to abuse and how to shame (500)

o Education and Ambition -- urban legend, cyber teaching and wearables (850)

o Updating hardware and software -- the ongoing crisis will continue (250)

o Social Shaming in TES -- big changes coming in how we shame and what we shame (1130)

o The Shopping Experience in TES -- thanks to smart advertising and cyber teaching home economics this is going to be real different (430)

o Ambitious class mind-tripping -- mixing wearables and exotic vacations (680)

o Politicians in TES -- what will concern them and how will taxes change? (1100)

o TES and Charity -- still lots of giving (245)

o Androgyny and Wearables -- avoiding unrequited love (490)

o Legal Systems -- dispute resolution and entertainment

o Thinking in TES -- what will thinking be like in the various TES environments? (1788)

o Classes in TES -- Necessity, Ambitious, Shaming, Nomads, others (1268)

o paycheck to paycheck living -- the paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle in TES (2749)

o Money in TES -- Necessity, Luxury, Investing money in the 2050's (1070)

o Immigration and TES -- Lots less because less economic motivation, but still the exploring instinct. (713)

o The Paralympics (or Special Olympics) evolve into the Paralympics Plus or Extra Special Olympics in which the competitors are using lots of augmenting paraphernalia. (426)

o Enfranchisement in TES -- how to keep humans invested in being good community members, not disrupters of various sorts such as gangsters. (1070)

o Wearables and Us versus Them -- using wearables to modify this instinct (904)

o Wearables and fear -- mild altering, plus airports, NIMBY, when familiar activities are transformed into strange ones. (in wearables) (1411)

o Gene editing by everyone -- Gene editing tools are getting more numerous, diverse and cheaper. (1187)

o Preppers in 2050 -- The instinct to build a place to hunker down during the coming apocalypse is strong in some people. It's not going away. (547)

o Mixing Romance and Wearables -- twist a dial to fall in love, or out of love (1776)

o Leisure time -- how this will be experienced (1145)

o Warfare -- how this will be conducted (650)

 

 

index ... stories ... essays