I wrote a while ago about DAOstack
and the future implications for a totally decentralised civilisation. It was a sci-fi extrapolation of how Post Industrial Society might eventually look once technology is sufficiently intelligent to look after everything better than we would / (do).
Completely By Chance
I came across this video on youtube featuring an interview with an old guy who called himself Alfred (Al) Bialik - whose original family name was Edward Cameron. He introduces himself as a person who was involved in the Philadelphia Project, The Montauk Project, (some alien aspects of that) and some other projects which remain highly classified to this day. His claims are extraordinary in that he visited and stayed in the 28th Century for a couple of years, learning all about the future, yet told with a calm, almost indifference, clarity of detail and sincerity which make it really interesting & compelling listening. The youtube version of the interview is overlaid with numerous, imaginative CGI renderings of future cities. Whether this adequately describes his vision, who knows ? but what's really interesting is how it relates to some sci-fi the ideas about future governance, not only from my humble DAOstack article but from great Sci-Fi writers like Iain M Banks and his far flung, Galaxy wide Culture Novels. How weird would it be to spend a couple of years in the far future and then come home back to pre-internet era 20th Century? (I'm guessing Al's travel was a while back). In the classic sci-fi story The Time Machine by HG Wells written over 120 years ago, our protagonist, fast forwards to a very dystopian far future and spends quite some time there, returning home after only a brief disappearance in his own time. Convenient for the story. I'd like to know how Al travelled. He doesn't reveal how they got to the year 2749 or how they got back, interestingly he doesn't mention the technology itself, whether it's a teleportation device, a stargate or in a time machine.
BlockChain Future World
Imagine for a moment how Artificial Intelligence combined with DAO principles could eventually run everything and you can begin to perhaps see where resistance to Bitcoin really may come from. The death of business and perhaps money itself and in this fascinating story, Al tells us about life in 2749AD where indeed, it seems to have come to pass. He remarks on the fact that the seemingly impossible perfect socialist society is created, no money and everything automated, yet with a spectre that it's almost too perfect and it's not really enough. (Sounds like the Matrix sequel huh ?). There are some really interesting nuggets in the story. I thought there were some interesting comparisons with the popular TV series, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and here's a few stand out pieces of information from his story.
Life in the Year 2749
There are floating cities in addition to regular cities. He describes them as 2,200 stories deep and floating at about 4,000-5,000 ft depending on what they want ? and able to float wherever they want using perfected anti-gravity techniques. I can't imagine how a floating city decides where to go other than following nice weather ? or perhaps the computers run the weather too. Would you like to live in a floating city. The views would be nice, but I get the feeling most people would want to touch ground eventually. Perhaps if you were born there you'd be used to it. SkyKids. He doesn't mention how people get around which I thought was a bit weird. Perhaps there's more to his interview somewhere else.
There is no government as such. Each city runs itself and each city is run by Synthetic Super Intelligent computers. There is law and order but it's all automated and generally speaking you are left to your own devices. There is acceptable behaviour, not acceptable behaviour or terminable activity. If you commit a misdemeanour you get an interview with the computer. Some kind of community service is required if you are found guilty. I'm guessing the computers have incredibly good BS detectors. If you do something bad you can either be rehabilitated or immediately terminated depending on the evaluation of the computer. It seems that perhaps in the future, the computers are indeed the logical extension of the DAO and they know what's best for us better than we do. But therein lies another question. If we cede control of running everyday systems, which we'd all agree would be better off without error or corruption, or just plain laziness, ignorance or lack of motivation, do we then cede all potential to guide our collective future. Does humanity somehow become obsolete ? I'm sure in this future people still have ideas, perhaps great ideas and can expand upon them with increased technology. Music, art must still feature but what about the big questions of who are we ? why are we here, etc. Do they become banal and meaningless or just lost in the noise of complacence.
He mentions that there is no military and when he asks about war they respond about potential invasion from space. Hidden deep in the cities and other places are defences capable of repelling space invaders. A bit vague, but nobody can adequately answer his questions about how it all arose in the first place. We get some insight when he eventually meets some humans who tell him that they built the computers in 2,600's and that they don't need to be maintained or repaired. They last for a couple of hundred years and are then replaced. The computers seem to take care of everything and if you don't like life in the city you can leave ! Apparently people do and Al says they live in the Boondocks. (meaning mountain, it refers to a rural location.) He doesn't know if there are self organised communities but we must assume that the natural people have their own bushcraft and way of living. If I went to the year 2749 I'd be heading straight for the Boondocks, just to get a different perpective.
Computer Says Maybe
Al mentions later that a computer did answer some of his questions, but not all and it wasn't like he could ask for an interview with one. My thought at this point was, didn't the computer know he was from the past and gave him some advice to take back. He says at one point the computers are based on some radioactive material and another time a crystalline structure. He says they have *metaphysical * powers and could one some level manipulate matter and time. Perhaps they brought him there in the first place so we would go back with the idea and make it happen through various forms of dissemination ;)
The City has all of it's needs cared for and there is no money although there is a kind of credit system for large purchases and he says they don't really keep track of much!! nobody has to work because the computers have nailed it but you are expected to contribute something and of course it's off to the work camp if you do commit a misdemeanour. I'm supposing running a red light isn't a thing anymore and stealing may be obsolete but perhaps punching someone in the face would be frowned upon by people and the computers, while killing someone is probably a terminable crime. It all sounds very laid back and from Al's description, by and large very civilised and peaceful. He even got to know someone very well, while there; a companion. He doesn't mention whether it was a love interest but someone he trusted. He was there for a couple of years. He also mentions going to the 22nd Century and it's very different. Somewhere in between, civilisation very nearly collapsed, due to many reasons. (I'm sure you can imagine the myriad possibilities)
img src Logan's Run
They keep the population at 500m which apparently is an optimum balance with nature. Al mentions that there is a lot of agriculture and it's mostly in the cities and that there are no shortages of food but he doesn't mention if people eat differently. The 500m population cap is a very popular trope in the new world order conspiracy. Reproduction is somehow managed in the future but Al doesn't mention the mechanics of population control. I'm not sure what happens to the population in between, he doesn't say, but it intimates that not many us will be ancestors 500 years from now. 7billion people would reduce quite quickly if everyone only had 1 or 2 children per generation. This has been predicted to happen from about 2030 onwards (not in Al's story) as developing economies rapidly become fully industrialised. Let's just say that in Al's story they have worked out a way to keep the numbers optimised. Do you eventually need a licence (from the computer) to have kids?
NYC is a museum
He talks about visiting some of the old cities which have been transformed into very nice museums to show how we lived in the 20th Century. He mentions a lot of it is preserved very well and there are many tour guides to show people around. Perhaps a very worthy occupation in a future world where website designer and metal fabricator doesn't exist anymore. He does mention Queens having been destroyed, but doesn't say why. Perhaps some natural or man made disaster does wipe out massive areas of habitation. Perhaps there was an alien invasion / world war 3 / climactic upheaval in the near future. (do you like my use of the past tense there?!)
Watch it for Yourself
I'm a big fan of undisclosed technology, secret advanced military projects, time travel, aliens, the future and so this has a lot of interest for me. It's just so very sci-fi and I like Al's story. I also like listening to old people who purport to have been part of eye popping incredible projects in their past and calmly relate them like they'll be gone soon so it's ok to share the story now. I also have a skeptical side myself and although I'm open to metaphysical, interdimensional, alien laced stories (I have a fair few of my own experiences) I often wonder if some of these stories are misinformation, disinformation or just plain confusing tactics aimed at making really weird stories camouflaged among the unbelievable. implausibly undeniable. A perfect socialist society with no money, no real need to work but one which expects contribution from it's 500m citizens in exchange for being looked after. One which is in harmony with nature, run by conscious technology (which are a convenient replacement for the gods) and a society which also contains true republican values of do what you want without impediment.
img src Jim saw a UFO
There was no mention in Al's story about what people do to entertain themselves (except tours of old cities) no mention of transport, what people eat, no ethnic demographics, no analogy to VR / AR and all the other fascinating embryonic tech which would have just been ideas a generation ago (which is when we can safely assume he traveled to the future.) The military don't send old guys on their most exciting missions. Perhaps like old bees, they are expendable. There is no mention of sex, relationships or of nature outside the cities, no mention of shopping (with out without money) but then again online shopping is pretty boring already, no mention of animals, genetic engineering, space colonisation. All these omissions make me think he was making it up from a script meant as a warning lest people fancied a society in which there is no money, no traditional power cabals. The telling part was the group of humans who told him they invented the computers but were thinking that society was beginning to stagnate, lose it's way in a similar way to the TV mini series based on the book, Childhood's End when human society is saved from itself by seemingly benevolent aliens, but science is stopped in it's tracks due to the alien's advanced technology and the aliens say, yes we'll give you a perfect world, but you're not going into space, OK ! Here's a very good link to ideas about the Montauk Project and it's notional veracity
Ok here's the video