20 August 2013

Cities of the Future

I've made many predictions, many of which are completely off the mark. One of them however is almost guaranteed in my opinion: massive, modular, 3D printed mega-buildings.

In the not too distant future we will all be living in self sufficient mega-buildings. One structure will contain city sized populations along with all the businesses, utilities and recreational facilities one would expect in a city and they will be able to be built, repaired and expanded relatively quickly and easily. These advanced construction processes will lay the foundations for a very bright future indeed.

Now for the idealistic (yet probable) speculation. These structures will eventually generate and recycle energy and will be almost entirely environmentally neutral. They will have efficient internal transportation networks for both humans and goods, as well as veins and arteries distributing water and nutrients from processing facilities to residents and industries. Additionally they will have a decentralised neural network with free flowing information including universally accessible statistical and analytical data. For all intents and purposes, they will be living cells.

Every human being will have free accommodation (housing), free nourishment (food), and free access to information and democratic collaboration (education). These cells will be entirely decentralised in terms of governance and property ownership. The high level of individual physical and mental health will allow communism to prevail over materialism. For that reason crime and social status will be almost non-existent and any antisocial behavior will be seen as a plea for help rather than something that begs punishment and revenge.

Any person is free to passively take advantage of what the cell provides (traditionally seen as "freeloading" in materialistic societies), they are free to actively contribute to the cell's growth should they be inclined to do so and lastly, they are free to completely opt out and find another cell that caters to their requirements. Cells will operate with direct democracy so each cell will differ slightly in what it offers and how it operates. However, differences will likely not be dramatic since artificial intelligence will inevitably make similar suggestions for optimum efficiency.

Everything we need will be efficiently produced and distributed in an automated manner. Food will be synthetically produced and will be optimally nutritious and flavourful. Human input in the production and distribution processes will be largely unnecessary and eventually even the designing and upgrading of systems will be handled by artificial intelligence.

Complete transparency and the use of intelligent warning systems means that potentially hazardous situations can be mostly avoided or at least be quickly neutralised. "Terrorism" is a minor problem especially in an efficient and supportive social system, "hazards" will primarily be environmental such as diseases, natural disasters or perhaps dangerous animals.

Now i'm going to stretch my predictions further and discuss a hopeful but possible situation. Plants and animals will not be seen as commodities but as equal residents of the planet. They will not be caged into conservation areas but will be allowed to populate the planet naturally. There will be protocols in place to keep dangerous animals away from the cells and we'll be accustomed to being cautious when venturing outside of our cells. We will have the necessary vehicles to freely explore the Earth without putting ourselves in direct danger. We will not own pets but rather, certain animals will live among us in our cells. We will adapt to their instinctive behaviour rather than clashing with them.

Finally, we will re-engineer our biology in order explore the galaxy and adapt to extreme environments on other planets. Ultimately, we will merge with the artificial intelligence we create and we will re-engineer our minds which will subsequently re-engineer them further which will result in an explosion of intellect known as the singularity.