Fright Futures – Bright Futures
8 June 2019
To continue with my series of what it would look like to imagine a bright future (rather than a dystopian one) I offer another story starter called Animal Wisdom. Imagine a world where wisdom was EVERYWHERE and our living, breathing friends in the animal kingdom had a special ability to share the deepest secrets of the universe to help us find our way.
The ability to communicate with animals had been something that Jessica had kept as a closely guarded secret for the first few years of her life. From her earliest memories she knew what her dog, Rusty, was thinking. From protecting her from traffic as a toddler to the unease she read from Rusty’s demeanor toward untrustworthy people, Jessica seemed to have a natural animal connection that extended way beyond her pets. Jessica remembered the first time she communicated an intention to a spider that had inadvertently bungie jumped from the ceiling, to dangle in front of her face. Rather than panic, she calmly set the intention to assist the spider in finding a more appropriate venue to spin a web. Quick compliance and cooperation between the two resulted in a violence free encounter and a spider-free home.
Animals trusted her partly because Jessica was able to respect the animals for their inherent nature and needs. Jessica became the bridge to communicate the intentions of the humans who were frustrated with the inability to make their needs known to the animal kingdom. As Jessica developed her abilities and shared her insights, people of all persuasions sought her out to ‘solve’ animal conflicts ranging from ground hogs digging up gardens, to an agitated and confused orca that threatened tourist boats.
Jessica was not the only one who woke up to latent gift of hearing the subtle voices of the natural world just outside the urban jungle. The new discipline of ‘Human/Animal Mediation’ turn out to be the biggest field of study for the incoming class of 2045 in Liberal Arts Colleges . . .
Fright Futures – Bright Futures
25 May 2019
To continue with my series of what it would look like to imagine a bright future (rather than a dystopian one) I offer a story starter called Quantum Connections. Thinking about how all things are unified at the atomic level, I imagine what it would be like for human consciousness to be fully immersed in knowing that love is the space between the atoms. So, here are the first paragraphs in that story . . .
All things are connected. By mid century this truism had worked its way into the psyche of most people on the planet. Something known by every other living thing, the bipeds with supposed higher order thinking had finally come to accept what every other physical manifestation – from the rocks to trees to warm blooded creatures – had known and embodied from the core of their molecular structure . . . everything is one.
As homo sapiens began to re-order their existence (political, social and economic) around the reality that all things are intimately interconnected, happiness began to become a ubiquitous byproduct. The realization that, even at the level of the quark, each thing is intertwined with every other in the universe…as with a spider web in jiggling one thread resonates throughout the whole net . . . brought a sense of responsibility and agency to humanity as never before.
In his lab, Matt a quantum physicist, accepted this reality as he pondered the next iteration of interconnection. He had recently discovered that it was possible to impress a field of gratitude upon a crystalline structure and have that temper every digital bit that passed through the clock circuit of microprocessors. The result? Artificial Intelligence (AI) with timing from these care modulated networks now embodied a level of compassion that insured their decisions were based on the greatest golden path for the highest common good. Matt begin to dream about how compassionate AI might be possible to heal the planet from the excesses of industrialization and domination systems of the past centuries . . .
The human race is the only species (that we know of) that is capable of imaging its own frightening demise in such technicolor detail. In fact, looking at most science fiction produced today, a dystopian future where the world has been shredded by war, scorched by nukes and/or dominated by cruel and vicious despots is the norm. Science fiction tells us what the future will look like in some jolting ways. Author Arthur C. Clarke predicted satellites in geo-sync orbit decades before that became reality(1). Isaac Asmov wrote about the 3 laws of robotics as ways to keep robots (think AI) serving humanity instead of the other way around. (2) Kim Stanley Robinson wrote of how mars was colonized with the cycle of power, domination and war predictably following. (3) This last one has yet to play out although it is clear we will colonize mars . . .
Does it have to be this way? What I suggest is that sci-fi writers have a huge role to play in helping humanity imagine that we will ‘get it right’ in terms of bright, happy futures filled with dignity for ALL. In this blog series I will suggest paragraph book starts with ideas that could be expanded upon to imagine a bright future on this planet. Here goes with my first Bright Future sci-fi starter. . .
The Cost of Denial
By the mid-2020s it became clear that the political cost of climate change denying made running untenable. In fact, in the 2024 presidential elections, not a single candidate in any of the 6 parties who fielded a congressional candidate had a record of silence, if not outright denial, of the so called ‘climate debate’ at the turn of the century. Such was the tsunami of unanimous demand from the populace for leadership to act!
Image from Wikimedia commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Robot-clip-art-book-covers-feJCV3-clipart.png