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Your personal Utopia (essay)


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#1
PhoenixRu

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Let's distract from breaking news and modern issues. This is a thread where you can write a short (or long) essay describing your personal vision of desirable future. Of course, you can write whatever you want, but I'd recommend for your Utopia to be:

 

- Something about humans. The swarms of nanomachines freely floating somewhere in the Milky Way may be considered "utopian", but this is already not our (human) story.

 

- Your story should include at least the rough explanation of how your desirable world emerged from our modern one.

 

As always, I'll write my essay too, but after you...



#2
TheAughat

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Quite a few people from around the 1970s manage to make it to the future I envision due to anti-aging therapies taking off a couple of decades from 2020. Back in those times, general AIs came into existence and forms of stronger AI not long after, further accelerating the fourth industrial revolution. This gives rise to a tech race between countries, and humanity enjoys immense progress in different fields. BCIs start to become practical, and are used to aid people with neurological and mental problems. Several more decades later, most jobs on the planet are automated and people do not have to work to live. Most people spend their time in VR realities or consuming content generated specially for them by ASIs. Sensors and cameras are everywhere, which makes it harder for crimes to go unsolved and far fewer people die from accidents as robotic aid is never far away. Utility bots are common and robotic companions are also slowly becoming more mainstream.
 
People who still want to work use BCIs to enhance their intelligence to keep up with the AI. Working on huge projects of any nature has become much more efficient due to the telepathic hivemind abilities BCIs have conferred upon humanity. Cybernetic and biotech/bioengineered upgrades are also available during this time, but a lot of people still opt to control android bodies while minimally editing their own body. All vehicles are self driving by now and roadways and transport infrastructure around the world is changing to accomodate these shifts and make travelling as efficient as possible. Though, technology has now allowed telepresence to become possible on a mass scale; people can now be anywhere in the world digitally or by using remote Android bodies which were already at the location they wanted to go to, thus reducing the need for physical travelling. Telepathic connections via BCIs have not only connected humans to each other, but have also brought people closer to their pets, who are also living longer and healthier.
 
Sometime around this time, nuclear fusion also becomes a viable option for energy generation, thus causing another paradigm shift.
 
Space travel is a lot cheaper and cities on the Moon and Mars help to accomodate the large unaging human population. Colonisation projects are also being planned for the rest of the solar system and multiple asteroid mining projects have been underway for some time now. Nanotechnology also sees massive improvements either around this time or soon after, and nanofabrication of things are becoming a reality. Von Neumann probes are being tested to make colonisation of the other moons and planets in our solar system easier.
 
---
 
It is now 300 to 400 years from the moment I made this post. I'm a posthuman upload travelling around the galaxy and exploring different planets. So as not to get bored during the travels, I have access to full dive VR with an ASI on standby to infinitely generate content for entertainment. I have a central device that stores my consciousness and memories, and this is the only unchanging piece of my body. Aside from that, the rest of my body is made completely of nanotechnology akin to utility fog, which allows me to morph into any form I need or want. I still look forward to the future as Matrioshka Brains and Alcubierre Drives are being worked on by other posthumans and AI, as are other projects like the colossal particle accelerators mentioned in the timeline. Becoming a type III civilisation and progressing beyond that is not a pipe dream anymore, but rather a goal that our civilization now steadily works towards.


#3
Yuli Ban

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Ever since shifting gears to Strongest Under Heaven and its spinoffs, Mother Meki/Babylon Today has finally— finally— calmed down and entered a very low-burn state that borders on the obsolete. That old obsession of this story about an ex-empress getting ruined by revolution has lost my interest. However, Babylon Today still occupies my thoughts, but in a much different form. Indeed, Meki persists, but now her story has almost totally shed its Marxist-Leninist/communist roots in lieu of finally purifying itself into the ideals of technism & Vyrdism. While she remains ostensibly a prole-loving radical, the post-Singularity world around her has finally won out.

 

As a result, Babylon Today has all but become this personal technist treatise of mine examining and deconstructing my own desires for the future through the eyes of some genetically-engineered Aryan woman. I've come to care less and less about making parallels to France '79 or Russia '17 and more about making parallels to the rise of civilization, except as if civilization is arising unto itself over the course of a few years. And one of the central themes of the story as it exists in my head now is that of coexisting epochs, something which fascinated me enough to get onto the main timeline's blog itself.

 

Quite by accident, this became my utopia. Or "eutopia," since I don't believe in utopias enough. So why not use it?

 

 

Bear in mind, this is still based on a fictional future, so I wouldn't put an extraordinary amount of stock in the minutia.

____________________________

 

 

Perhaps I should start with the classic progression.

 

 

When a person born in 2000 was a child, they may have gone fishing with their fathers and played outside with their friends and go to school dreaming of growing up to be doctors or lawyers or engineers, with the most digital technology in their lives being a video game console and cellphone and maybe MP3 player. By the time they were a young adult, they could persist entirely online— they make money through online marketplaces, order food and groceries via apps, pay their bills and taxes online, and communicate with their family and friends on social media while looking up how to enter the STEM fields or service jobs (or settling with a stay-at-home career like freelancing or publishing e-books). By the time they were middle-aged, they could feel the embrace of lifelike artificial lovers, visit exotic realms in virtual reality, control electronics with brain-computer interfaces, and create & modify their own entertainment via media synthesis all while earning substantial passive income from shares in automated cooperatives and syndicates. Now that they're entering their golden years, they can become an entirely different type of life, a Hyperpithecus cosmicus, to experience things never before experienced by humans or biological life in general.

 
For some, this is a wonderful evolution. 
 
For others, this is a vulgar violation of the human spirit.

 

This basically sums up the world as it is: a place trapped between the old and the new. And I wouldn't have it any other way. Science fiction loves the trope of the grumpy old-timers who argue the past was better. Those old-timers won't disappear, and I certainly hope they don't. As annoying as they can be, they're nevertheless a source of incredible stories and perspectives of yesteryear, and they are the ones keeping the traditions alive.

 

The world will never be perfect, and in seeking change, we'll become more obsessed with keeping pockets of the past alive. Not all of them, mind you, but certainly any ones that wish to persist outside modernity. It'd be of immense importance to me to let whatever tribal & hunter-gatherer communities still persist keep doing what they're doing. There's an almost fetishistic obsession with the juxtaposition of a civilization that where some parts are traveling the stars and exploring its own post-biological abilities while another remains in a borderline paleolithic way of living.

 

The story starts off in 2066, so why not use that as a base year for eutopic happenings? 2066 can be the year where the Sentinelese continue persisting while artificial superintelligences manage human civilization on Earth and elsewhere. 

 

Human biodiversity has rapidly exploded over the years. There are now multiple species of human living on Earth. This would have been impossible had it not been for a lapse into illiberalism amongst several world powers, most notably China and parts of Western Europe— an illiberalism that did not come with extreme religiosity to boot (even though other illiberal states that fused state and religious power did exist, such as Islamist Turkey and Hindu India).

As a result, there's a wide set of human species, though the only two "true" spinoff species are Neanderthals and one that was once called 'Aryans', though the species name has since been renamed to 'Eximius' following the end of hypernationalist hysteria. Neanderthals are based purely off of actual Neanderthal genomics, while the Eximius species was meant to act as a baseline for designer babies due to the difficulty of actually picking and choosing traits (genetic engineering companies instead relied on an "Aryan standard" to do a flat modification of all necessary traits to get around contradictory or harmful expressions).

Then there's the Wild Humans and Honorary Humans, which are ostensibly resurrections of our long extinct ancestors but, in fact, technically qualify as brand new creations that are simply inspired by said ancestors— DNA has completely deteriorated after 800,000 years, and the youngest of our resurrected ancestors died off a few hundred thousand years before that. Not every ancestor species has been brought back— we've limited it to Neanderthals, Habilis, Australopithecus afarensis, and Paranthropus robustus, skipping Homo erectus due to concerns about their ability to assimilate into modernity.

 

It's really all moot anyway, as we've resurrected them all in computers thanks to the power of simulations. Indeed, even the Eximius are obsolete thanks to artificial intelligence.

 

Human labor is irrelevant the world over, even in the world's backwaters. While there are still plenty of places on Earth that qualify as living in poverty, the sheer spread of technology has ended the state of affairs that we'd consider to be "extreme poverty," though at a cost— three billion people perished in the past 40 years due to the spread of disease, regional nuclear wars, and climate change. The first nuclear exchange was between India and Pakistan, and deeply affected both nations as well as Bangladesh, Nepal, the Indochinese peninsula, Sri Lanka, and China (though due to chance climatic patterns, the lattermost three avoided the worst affects). India, though vastly reduced in population, has largely recovered, as has Pakistan, but the event proved to be one of the worst humanitarian disasters in history— it pales in comparison to the Great African Dying, a perfect storm of war, famine, disease, and climate change that claimed a billion lives in ten years. However, these regions have since stabilized and even improved following the introduction of automation and artificial intelligence governance— indeed, sub-Saharan Africa has since grown tremendously into a vast and fertile region of powers that, in a world sans automation, would otherwise be capable of reckoning with the Global North. 

 

It is unfortunate that the dying occurred, and it did not do much good for the ecology of the world anyhow— reducing the population down to what it was in 2006, which is still well over six billion humans, though growing at a rate too slow to ever again reach seven billion. Had it occurred twenty years prior, it likely would have done civilization in. However, it proved the utility of AI.

 

And this is where humanity lies, for better or worse: under the control of AI. We bow to AI overlords by looking up at probes and drones sending themselves off to regions of space unknown, generating entire realities for our own benefit, and conquering age-old issues of the human condition. This is because AI didn't place itself into positions of power and authority— we put it there. The first recognizable AGI was turned on in 2023, and ever since, human history has moved at a pace so fast that every year has become a blur. Yet this blur still required living day-to-day, and it took time for people to eventually realize that letting AGI run our day-to-day operations was a better way of doing things. Thus, the AI takeover occurred not with humanoid machines marching and killing everything they saw, or with appliances turning on their human masters, but rather with humans applying more and more AI applications into their daily lives and personal functions until, eventually, the average Western and Far Eastern adult was all but coddled and pampered by machines at every waking moment, living a quality of life objectively superior to the richest kings and emperors of even a century prior.

 

An average man, if he so chooses (and modern hedonistic Western life is too tempting to not choose for most), can be awakened gently by graceful machines upon the perfect hour, be dressed and groomed to perfection by machines further, then be fed by them (any meal he so chooses, and his thoughts will choose for him if he cannot consciously decide), until he either decides to be on his way or consume whatever media he desires (often generated for that specific situation). With machines at his beck and call, there is no need or desire he cannot have fulfilled throughout his day— not even desires once considered fantastic or kingly, such as having a harem of the finest lovers his skin could feel. This harem may be physical, composed of hyperrealistic gynoids modeled after his innermost desires... or, as the man will understand throughout his day, it is all but a simulation sent into his synapses. He's never actually awoken because he is forever locked into a state of rest and dreams. 

Perhaps for whatever reason, it turned out that full-immersion virtual reality by a neural mesh was impossible, but it is possible to keep a person in a perfectly controllable lucid dream indefinitely. Or perhaps full-immersion virtual reality is possible. Either way, this man can live in his own dreamworld however long he wants, his physical body either being kept in perfect stasis or perhaps not even existing anymore entirely.

 

If so, such world-leavers will be packed into human server farms, their biological material repurposed into something more useful while their minds live in whatever they please. Even in 2066, when several generations have come up in a world of AGI, a minority of humans choose this option, and unless forced to choose by AGI, that's all that ever will. Even in the initial era of personal computing and miniaturized computing, saturation never reached 100% and plenty of people even of the most tech-savvy generations would forgo pure tech addiction. 

 

Indeed, even though artificial superintelligence exists and people can readily interact with it in a near endless number of ways, it is so omnipresent that many people no longer recognize it as existing at all. It is as common and ubiquitous as electricity. And because of this, it's hard to imagine life without it, no matter how much one angsts against it. 

For those who opt to have post-biological upgrades, it's fun to go without physically eating, but those left behind will gladly order food and have machines deliver it to them. For those who can place their awareness in multiple places at once, teleportation across Earth and across space already exists in a digital form. For the rest, riding in a driverless car or vactrain is the norm.

 

Polities that act on their own accord might seem ultra-strange to elders, but normal to youths.  And with AI powering robotics, there are creatures of all shapes and sizes persisting on Earth, though it's still more beneficial to leave the fantastic to VR.

 

 

All the while, hunter-gatherers in far off jungles and plains still persist in the ways of catching food and eating berries. Those off-the-grid live as they always have, disconnected and alone with the stars and their own primal instincts. As they watch the stars, they know that there are humans out there as well. They might not have the same physical form, but we're out there. Somewhere.

 

This is the way of 2066: a world caught between two epochs, the way the world has been since the first industrial revolution.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#4
starspawn0

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I am not in the mood to write a careful essay, but will describe a utopia, of sorts, where I think most people would be "happy":

 

When you look at what causes people to be unhappy, it usually comes down to their relationships with other people:  someone feels they aren't being respected; or, are being ignored; or, feel that someone misunderstood their intentions; or, are sad their partner no longer loves them.  Some of us are better at overcoming these challenges than others; but everybody struggles, from time to time.  

 

I foresee a time in the future, when AIs will make these problems a lot less common.  Basically what will happen is that our AI assistants, given access to our brain information, will know us really, really well -- what we like, dislike, need, don't need -- and will work with other AI assistants (of other people) behind the scenes to fix all these problems.  

 

Worried that a girlfriend is becoming more distant, and doesn't love you anymore?  Your AI assistant will not let that happen; you will know long before trouble can arise, and what to do to fix it, if indeed it is fixable. 

 

Looking for a friend or conversation partner?  Your AI assistant will make the arrangements, finding someone that you could relate to -- similar interests; personalities don't clash.

 

Feeling anguish that you aren't respected?  Your AI assistant will see the signs before you are even aware of them yourself, and will work to make sure people respect you. 

 

Despondent that others can't seem to see how great a country Russia is?  Your AI assistant will work behind the scenes to make sure they know how you feel, and help them come to understand how great a country it really is.

 

This is not the world the ancients worried about, where our lives are so planned-out for us that we don't still struggle, so are incapable of growth.  There will still be struggle.  And, more importantly, some won't have to struggle a lot more than others:  one of the most unfair things about human existence is that some of us are more happy than others.   There is a "happiness inequality".   Fortunately, the AI assistants of the future will work on our behalf to reduce it as much as possible.

 

I think when such technology becomes available, and when most forms of labor can be automated, our civilization will exist in a state of utopia.   Furthermore, I think this conjunction of technologies is inevitable; we are being pulled towards it -- there is very little choice in the matter.  The crime rate will plummet; murders will drop almost to zero; depression and anxiety will fall way down without the need of drugs.   Most everyone will feel they are loved, respected, and essential to the functioning of the society they live in.  



#5
PhoenixRu

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Despondent that others can't seem to see how great a country Russia is?  Your AI assistant will work behind the scenes to make sure they know how you feel, and help them come to understand how great a country it really is.

 

LOL why? Why do I cause so much butthurt in others? Perhaps you yourself need such an invisible assistant to prove how formidable and indestructible your great country is?



#6
TranscendingGod

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Despondent that others can't seem to see how great a country Russia is?  Your AI assistant will work behind the scenes to make sure they know how you feel, and help them come to understand how great a country it really is.

 
LOL why? Why do I cause so much butthurt in others? Perhaps you yourself need such an invisible assistant to prove how formidable and indestructible your great conutry is?

Well, I tend not to read much of what anyone says on here and certainly not your own drivel, but you certainly have a tendency towards the antagonistic and don't hesitate to post unsubstantiated inflammatory content or commentary of whose incendiary nature you are well aware of. Of course your question was a rhetorical one and what you really meant to ask was "how do you allow yourselves to become so irked by any countervailing opinions when I myself am so steadfast as to be obdurate but as a result unfettered by any contradictory constructs?"

After all the world is an unreedemable, zero sum game where everyone is simply spouting the jingoistic, self serving, and ideologically driven harangue that best serves their interest. Viewed through this lens a slight misanthropic tinge to every innocuous comment is admittedly a logical precept.

To what avail I know not.
The growth of computation is doubly exponential growth.

#7
PhoenixRu

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but you certainly have a tendency towards the antagonistic and don't hesitate to post unsubstantiated inflammatory content or commentary of whose incendiary nature you are well aware of.

 

You're right, in some regard. I just tired to see how otherwise intelligent people don't see (refusing to see?) what's right before their eyes. And when I pointing a finger: "hey, guys, just look at this... this all has already happened in other places, I KNOW how has it ended there..." they're calling me "conspiracy theorist spouting drivel". So, I currently feel myself a bit of Cassandra. But, unlike Cassandra, I have no slightest mood to spend my time convincing people whose views are set in stone... all I can do is watch and (sometimes) gloat.

 

Inflammatory? Yes.

 

Unsubstantiated? Definitely no.



#8
Erowind

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Despondent that others can't seem to see how great a country Russia is?  Your AI assistant will work behind the scenes to make sure they know how you feel, and help them come to understand how great a country it really is.

 

LOL why? Why do I cause so much butthurt in others? Perhaps you yourself need such an invisible assistant to prove how formidable and indestructible your great country is?

 

Because some things you say are true and they can't see past their own ontological bias. In any case it's uncalled for in an unrelated thread. Here's something badly written that is directly related to the topic. 

 

 

 

This is all written pretty haphazardly and barely qualifies as a first draft. It's more of a stream of consciousnesses list than an essay.

 

My utopia is more human. Advanced cybernetics and AI enable greater human directed planning. Governance is by a networked mesh of syndicates, unions, communes and other such horizontal and or bottom-up governed organizations. Off grid individuals exist, they too can interact with the greater economy producing and receiving based on various economic quotas if they desire. Property is common and or based on use. There are still great owners who have whole valleys to themselves but only because they were willing to move somewhere so remote no one else bothered to come along and claim the other half the valley. Premodern cultures and peoples who wish to live in older societal modes are also protected. This post isn't about nuance, so I won't explain how these things work just assume they do.

 

Poverty is nearly abolished, rewilding is underway across much of the world and people have meaning in their lives whether through the higher purpose of healing our planet, spirituality, or intellectual pursuits in philosophy and aesthetics (science falls under this one.) The last nuclear weapons were scuttled decades ago and the last dictators and oligarchs toppled. We live in relative peace, and have finally matured as a species. Aging and all physical ailments are well on their way to being solved though the oldest people still don't reach far past 150 though near everyone reaches 130. (Utopia not paradise.) Some collectives are building grand generation ships to travel to nearby star systems and there's a thriving economy within our own solar system. Superintelligent AI has proven much harder to build than many thought. It turns out, that it's just as hard for AGI to build something substantively more intelligent tham themselves as it was for humans to build an AGI. There are raging debates on whether or not it should be done at all, and what war still exists is usually between insurgents sabotaging these research programs as they view them a threat to human agency. AGI has become accepted because most AGI is kept running just below sentience and what AGI is sentient are citizens just the same, often with their own mechanical bodies. Thankfully no matter the outcome it will be many decades or possibly centuries before the implications of ASI matter much.

 

Barring traditional people's everyone's a vegan now. Not because we don't eat meat or cheese but because we grow it in cell cultures instead of farming other sentient life. Though there is an odd thriving subculture around eating bivalves because bivalves are "real meat" and it's somehow still an open question whether or not they experience any subjectivity. Brain computer interfaces are mostly useless on them since they don't have any brains to begin with. We don't scar the earth with millions of roads anymore and instead travel long distances by personal rapid transit, drone, low orbit launch or elevated/submerged vactrain. Urbanization is both denser and more diffuse. Arcologies dot the skyline with organically designed architecture mostly in harmony with the environment in between.  Architects like Paolo Soleri and historical communities like the Israeli Kibbutz were great inspirations. This said, there are grand protected wildlife corridors populated by formerly extinct species not seen since before hunter gatherers spread across the Earth. Human land and ecological usage has been brought under 20% of the biosphere and humanity is on track for a 10% target within the next century, much in part due to the economic exploitation of extraterrestrial resources.

 

The standard possible r/futurology great advances are all present and implemented ethically. There is no surveillance state and human rights are almost universally observed, again, outside those few remaining instances of war.

 

Life is really amazing. So great that a person alive during the early 21st would have a very hard time understanding it. There's room for people to do pretty much anything they want as long as it's not harmful. In absence of our material bonds solved by a greater economic mode of production our social and cultural vices too have mostly dissipated. Feelings of pride, jealousy, gluttony and all the many sins that have plagued us are in a great process of dissipation. Not in some forced Puritan sense, but because we are genuinely culturally maturing. It will still be many centuries before they're almost gone of course, but life is good, almost unbelievably good to someone who's been alive long enough to live through the climate crisis and come out the other side alive.

 

Working date for this world, optimistically maybe 2130? Realistically? 2200+



#9
White_Lotus

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"An average man, if he so chooses (and modern hedonistic Western life is too tempting to not choose for most), can be awakened gently by graceful machines upon the perfect hour, be dressed and groomed to perfection by machines further, then be fed by them (any meal he so chooses, and his thoughts will choose for him if he cannot consciously decide), until he either decides to be on his way or consume whatever media he desires (often generated for that specific situation). With machines at his beck and call, there is no need or desire he cannot have fulfilled throughout his day— not even desires once considered fantastic or kingly, such as having a harem of the finest lovers his skin could feel."

 

I don't need an AI to wake me up gently, I already figured that out. I need an AI to put me to sleep. I can't ever fall asleep.

 

​As for having a harem of the finest lovers you people better hope that app isn't bandwidth intensive cause Imma be all over that.






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