Aug 17th, 2019
- Neo-pastoralism with antibiotic characteristics - Deliberate efforts to live outwardly low-tech lives for improved quality of life in a primarily pastoralist (herd-raising) context (though doesn't exclude farming). Everyone knows their place in the structure but also little room for advancement or growth. I allow that certain technologies (such as medicine) are maintained.
- 19A0s vapor-futurist corporatism - Think cyberpunk but without the cybernetics; a retrogression to pre-End-of-History capitalist status quo. Corporations rule, like the Korean chaebol, but with an aesthetic similar to 70s or 80s futurist ideas; muscle cars and neon lights with fragments of former pop culture chopped and screwed into new shapes (the 'vaporwave' aesthetic). The 19A0s are a tongue-in-cheek conspiracy theory that says there was a lost decade between the late 70s and early 80s that 'explains' massive changes in pop culture, music and society around this time, but that it's been removed from our memories. This would be an attempt to recreate that Lost Decade.
- Voluntarist post-agrarianism - A voluntary regression to hunter-gatherer norms; attempting to live in homeostasis with nature, possibly only possible after a collapse removes Westphalian nation states. Voluntaryism is a form of libertarianism but here is used to imply a degree of free association that allows like-minded individuals to re-form villages and tribes; those who no longer wish to live with their tribe, or those tribe no longer wants them, move on and start their own village.
- Neo-nomadic modular post-urbanism - The decline of home ownership and the need for personal mobility in the face of mass migration evolves into a new nomadism; everyone owns no more than they can fit into their vehicle, or lives in mobile communes. These vehicle share a common tool set so can be taken apart and reassembled to meet changing needs throughout your lives. You might call this 'Sensible Max'.
- Post-scarcity neo-Victorian perma-academia - Once it's no longer necessary to struggle to secure the means of life, and with human healthspans extended almost indefinitely, how will humans occupy their time? One possibility is that the world devolves into a massive orgy of sex and drugs. After some time, however, it's possible that the reverse happens and, with nothing to gain or prove, the world settles down into something a lot more sedate and possibly even moralistic; the model that is settled upon here is that of the university; students live and work in halls of residence, studying the accumulated knowledge of the world during the day and helping with such tasks as are necessary to maintain the university and grounds.
- Art Deco trans-centrist secular messianism. 'Trains centrism' is a tongue-in-cheek concept I developed on Twitter, using the apparent phenomenon of the 'trains horseshoe' (where the more extreme one becomes politically the more one tends to like trains specifically as a method of public transport) to posit that the political spectrum is actually a sphere, with a 'trains centrism' on the antipode to regular centrism. It also means, with a more sinister edge, those centrists who 'don't care how we get to a functioning society, as long as the trains run on time'. This world would see a mixed-economy model promoted and enforced almost religiously by a body or ideology (think a Rand or Hubbard) whose goal is the defeat of death and the natural world; a 'secular messianism' that holds that man can overcome absolutely. Such a world would promote economic freedom (within limits) but not necessarily social freedom; the Project's ideology would be supreme and speaking out against it tantamount to terrorism.
- Fully automated luxury ruralism (on closer inspection this image is probably intended to be post-apocalyptic as the robot is overgrown with vines, but I will assume that this is camouflage to allow it to blend into the rural scene) - The growth of automation makes it possible to live lives of ease and comfort, with most people choosing to live in small, tight-knit communities, far outside the former cities, which have been left to decay. Robot labour, carefully concealed and camouflaged, does the heavy lifting, with humans joining in only to the extent that it's enjoyable.
- Interplanetary colonial homeostasis - Your typical 'expand throughout the universe' story, but with one important difference; no terraforming is allowed and efforts are made to live in as close to a 'natural' way on each world as possible.
- Post-mortality gamer technarchy - With death defeated, the physical world itself seems grey and uninteresting, when endless lives in fantasy realms are possible. Unlike some predictions people choose not to 'jack in', but instead live real-world lives in small, comfortable apartments, maintained by robots who bring food, clothing and other comforts, with the vast majority of their human interaction being in virtual worlds. With neural networks taking oversight of distribution and maintenance firmly out of human hands, the rulers of this new world are the designers and top players of the virtual worlds humans choose to inhabit; not a technocracy (rule by the skilled) but technarchy (rule by technarchs, the masters of technology).
- Benevolent Gothic-styled cyber-thearchy - Not a theocracy (rule by priests) but thearchy (rule by a god). AI has developed to the point where it is self-aware and impossibly intelligent, but still deeply concerned with human well-being and the task of optimising human happiness. To enforce its authority, the AI (or AIs, if there are multiple competing forces) present themselves much as the gods of previous eras (who can after all, be seen as AIs on a human substrate), adopting the aesthetics of a more detail-orientated time. Efficiency with redundancy is the hallmark of its regime - tools are built to last so as not to waste resources, but there is no single lynchpin (the AI's own cores, displayed to pilgrims in cavernous cathedrals, are backed up thousands of times)
- Cybernetic neo-predator mind transfer - As understanding of consciousness grows, it becomes possible for humans to desert humanity altogether, and many choose to live in simpler forms - wolf-like creatures running impossibly fast through the night, chasing down prey and revelling in their machine-aided supremacy over any natural creature.
- K-selective techno-Darwinistic v-Exitism - The IQ required to destroy the world gets one point closer to the norm every decade. At some point, a super-villain - a 'Dr Gno', if you will - will acquire the ability to end the world on his terms, preserving his own genes and possibly those of his family or ethnic group. But this doesn't end the story - instead, it begins a cascade of growth and destruction as natural variation produces geniuses who decide their best chance of survival rests in the elimination of all rivals. Ultimately, this v-Exitism - 'Exitism with Violence' will lead to a group of humanity leaving Earth, rendering it uninhabitable in the process to ensure that no-one can follow them. Will the pattern repeat among the stars?
- Dyson Sphere aestivation - One explanation for the apparent lack of alien life in the cosmos is that they are all sleeping while the suns are literally shining, storing the energy of their star for use in a period where the universe is at a far lower energy level and the thermodynamic gradient between their stored energy and the environment is far greater. Ensconced within a Dyson Sphere, their civilisation would output virtually no electromagnetic signal. While 'sleeping', it would be possible for the species to inhabit a shared dream - a looping simulation (or recorso) on a superconducting substrate consumes no energy, providing every loop leads back to the starting state. What sort of simulation would such beings choose to inhabit? Perhaps a simulation of their own culture, set in the distant past?
- Interplanetary arcology monumentalism - The universe seems empty because it *is* empty. Earth is the only planet upon which intelligence ever has or will arise. Feeling the weight of this awesome responsibility, humankind embarks upon the ambitious project of becoming the Primogenitors of universal life, seeding millions of worlds with gene-engineered primordial life, containing the potential to evolve into broadly familiar forms. While humanity waits, it builds great structures across the universe - mind-boggling arcologies, megastructures around stars, servicing the human civilisation but also preparing for the day when our children will launch a rocket into the heavens and land upon their moon, only to find plaques and empty structures of unknown purpose, all bearing a script strange to them.
- Panspermia Genesis Re-enactment Society - How best to spread the human race throughout the stars? One possibility is this: we terraform a world into an idyllic paradise, in which man can survive without any artificial aid. Then we take a genetically engineered man and woman, designed to contain enough variation to sustain a human population, grown to adulthood in a laboratory, and place them down on this world, and hovering above them in our transfigured bodies, command them 'Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it'. And if they discover, as we did, that all is not as it seems, and that we are no gods, they will have earned their place among the stars, as we did. And perhaps they will change a world after the pattern of their own, and taking a man and a woman, place them down, saying 'Be fruitful, and multiply...'.
- Post-Clarkian Singularity Thaumatarchy - Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, even to its users. We no longer know how the technology works, or how it develops itself, but we manipulate it with commands in the archaic languages it was written, and step from world to world on staircases of shining substance. The rulers of this world are the thaumuturges - the wonder-makers who speak to the great intelligences that reside in the plenum and command the forces of the Irreal.
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