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Visions of 2051 Topics

by Roger Bourke White Jr., started February 2017

Introduction

This is a collection of thoughts on various topics 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.

 

Core themes

Wearables

Wearables are coming in a big way and they will change how we live and how we think. I envision three generations of wearables:

o 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.

o Second measures more subtle activities such as blood sugar and also controls drug levels.

o 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.)

How will instinctive thinking, such as Us versus Them and End of the World thinking, fit into this system -- controllable or not? It feels like it should be controllable because it is simple like emotional thinking, but the outcomes are more complex.

TES

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 Necessity folk will be doing, and aspiring for, and what will keep them happy and busy. And what will keep them enfranchised -- enfranchisement is an important part of avoiding property crime and other activities which are defecting against society. 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 the centers of their activities will be sports, entertainment and dilettante manufacturing -- it will be Top 40 Jobs type stuff that fills their time and aspirations.

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

Story notes

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

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? This will be a common concern for upscale clubs. 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. This problem will be addressed differently in established clubs and "boom town" clubs -- those which are new and being set up in newly created communities where life is 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 endeavor? (Current example: weight ranges in wrestling.) They will range from "all natural", ala Olympics of today, to free-for-all "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.

Well... I guess today's Olympics are "mostly natural" rather than "all natural" based on what I read in this 8 Feb 18 Economist article, The use of banned drugs is rife in sport No one seems to want to do much about it. This is about the current state of drug use and detecting as the Winter Olympics is about to begin in Pyonngchang, Korea. In sum, there is a lot of use, both overt and covert.

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 a week, sustained by wearable endurance enhancing, become an issue?

 

Getting a job with an urban legend education

o Getting jobs with with urban legend educations, and related, what to do other than a job for social status recognition? (example: sports, charity and entertainment -- Top 40 stuff)

Average schools are going to be teaching mostly urban legend. It's comfortable to teach and learn, and cyber is handling the work that requires seriously understanding harsh reality. What kind of work will be suited to this kind of education? It will be human oriented, one example being selling things to other people, another being entertaining people, yet another is charity work of the sort where people are helping other people. Yet another will be dilettante-related work -- doing things that are hobby-related and something a person becomes passionate about. A 2010's version of this is a chef showing off on a TV show.

The work 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 2050's equivalent of 2000's flipping burgers, since robots will be flipping the burgers?" What kind of companies and organizations will hire urban legend educated? Urban legend will also be a good fit for touchy-feely government work just as it is for business work.

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. A good 2010's example of this problem in action is what's happening in Venezuela. How will cyber intervene in the governing process to make the government sustainable and living within its limits even when spendthrift populists get elected? How will cyber fix a Venezuela situation? 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. The politicians will devote their attention and efforts to dilettante issues. These will be things people love to argue about, but don't effect the material economy much.

Urban legend education is going to make community panic and blundering much easier to happen. How will cyber make these social incidents milder and less damaging?

 

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? One big issue as "basement education" gets easier to accomplish is how to deal with the socializing aspects that schools currently handle? How is socializing being handled? What will replace the socializings of classrooms, recess, school sports, dances and hobby clubs?

What will high school coming of age rituals be transformed into? Learning to drive a car was one I grew up with. Graduating from high school was another. And getting into college was yet another. It didn't seem like it at the time, but summer camp was another.

And romance: How to get into romance if you're a teenage stay at home in parent's basement dweller? What kinds of socializing clubs will there be for basement educating teenagers? What kinds of experiences beyond joining clubs?

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.

Another coming of age ritual, but not a high school one, is women transitioning from Bride Age thinking to Matron Age thinking. This is partly what is behind the #MeToo issue. These women were Bride Age thinkers when they were undergoing these sexual manipulations and Matron Age thinkers now. Their thinking about what happened -- decades earlier -- is not the same as what they were thinking at the time.

 

A Soldier Story

o A soldier story. This will be one with formal soldiers covered by drones and other high tech 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, similar to what the Mideast is going through in the 2010's. Perhaps somewhere really remote and backwater, like in upland New Guinea? In New Guinea the contest could be between 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 (such as #MeToo). 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>)

 

 

Keeping the Flame Burning

This is a story about two committed people who have had a relation for a decade, but now times, and feelings are changing. How will wearables influence this "Seven Year Itch" pattern of life?

Anniversary Remembered

Ben remembered.

In these times that's pretty standard. There are the internal calendars and cyber muses to assist in that. One time he had forgotten but that was seventeen years ago now.

This time he and Clarice would get together at Golden China, their favorite restaurant in the area. The cyber muses would take care of the kids, not that they needed much taking care of these days, Jenny, the youngest, was seventeen now.

This one was a bit more significant than last year. This year it was twenty, twenty years since they had said, "I do." to each other in a wedding chapel in Las Vegas. They were necessity people then and this sort of eloping adventure seemed like a neat twist on a traditional wedding.

That was so long ago. Nowadays they were both doing well. They had worked hard at being ambitious and it had paid off for both of them. Ben ran an outdoor camping experience school while Clarice did antique restoration and appraising. They had come a long way. And, thanks to their wearables, they were both still real happy to be together.

And, yes, the wearables made a difference. There had been times when Clarice had done things that Ben deeply and sincerely wanted to walk away from. He knew that for sure, but thanks to the wearables, he had shown patience, not passion, and stayed with her. Had he done the same to her? This he didn't know. He didn't think so, but he was not inside her head to know for sure.

The driverless car brought him to Golden China and he got out. He walked in and the car drove away. Inside he sat down. He checked, Clarice was only two minutes behind him. He waited at the entrance.

Clarice walked in. He got up and they hugged and kissed, then got a table. This place was a buffet, they both liked keeping their meals simple so this place was quite comfortable. Elaborate was for youngsters. They filled their plates and sat down at the table.

 

 

"How do I really feel about you?" Ben asks this to himself as he dials down his wearable relation with Clarice, his wife. He is starting a week's vacation away from home. He does this annually, and when he goes on this vacation he dials down the wearable. Just before the vacation ends, and he returns home, he dials up the wearable again. There's no point in revealing to Clarice what his true feelings are. This is something he, and he alone, gets to know.

"If this year is going to be like last year," he mutters, "it's a good thing Mary and I are using these." While the wearable is dialed down he reminisces to Janice-531, his cyber muse, she records these musings so he can refer back to them, should he feel the need. So far, he hasn't.

 

Supporting New Kinds of Romantic Relations

These wearables are going to open up new possibilities in romantic relations. These new styles of relations are going to be surprising. This is about one of those surprises.

The Path Less Taken

"We can do this!" said Merill with great determination.

[[What is this surprising romance relation? Something beyond conventional LGTB+.]]

===

So... what's new? Currently we have all the new LGTB+ relations. What will be even newer than those?

o Relations that change fast, rather than enduring. Wearables can dial up new relations in days, even minutes. How many girl/boyfriends in a night? Why have a bunch?

o Something new besides sex, race, age and money?

o What will be different in the sex, race, age and money relations?

o One relation that comes to mind is: who is paying for the baby club? The relation with the club is long term, what will the relation with a "Sugar Daddy" be? What happens when that relation ends?

o How is personal expression going to mix in with these relations? It's going to be big in marriage, will it be small in these? Will these be for people who want to keep things simple? What will be the "flower children" of this era?

 

 

Links to stories

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)

 

Links to 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)

 

 

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