THE FUTURE IS RUSHING UPON US

We're in for a wild ride. Exponentially accelerating technological, cultural, and socioeconomic evolution means that every year will see more developments than the previous one. More change will happen between now and 2050 than during all of humanity's past. Let's explore the 21st century and ride this historic wave of planetary transition with a confident open mind.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

5 Ideas for today: Modular rural home, blimp bus, gloryrights, public nuclear plant, surveillance of police


1) Blimp Bus:


The advantage of the B Bus is that it travels in an efficient straight line from point A to point B. It doesn't waste energy on friction with the ground or time from waiting in traffic. The ride is relatively more silent than a standard bus. It's also smooth as you wont be feeling jolts and bumps from road contact. The B Bus is safe as it travels just a few stories away from the ground and has its inner gas compartments compartmentalized for extra safety. It wont roll over or be hit by anything. The surface of the B Bus is coated in solar panels for extra energy and it can even partially store lightning strikes for additional power. The view of course is superior to one from land travel. The costs of B Buses drop with mass production and automation (it's easier to not have a driver on B Bus than a standard bus). At first of course, these would be used for traditionally long bus journeys to areas where MagLevs and other trains don't go.



2) High Tech Modular House for Rural Areas:


Levittown showed how military style techniques can be applied to affordable housing. A 21st century modular home is cheap to manufacture, replace, and recycle. Kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms, etc are mass produced in a factory and then driven or airlifted by an industrial blimp to their destination. Poorer families can acquire a house in one extra large module. Modules are built "off the grid ready" with solar panels and clean water from air systems. A buyer modifies a module before buying the way one does a Dell computer and its parts. Since the price of a laptop went from thousands of dollars to 35 dollars (India also produced the world's cheapest car as well), mass production stands to do the same for housing. Entertainment and furniture systems can be added, subtracted, or reconfigured within individual modules. When one's kitchen becomes obsolete, the whole thing can be sold like a used car and replaced while keeping the rest of the house. This housing is not made of wood. People buy mass produced cars, yachts, and computers and there is no reason to not do the same for homes. It's about time to apply space tech for hyper efficient land living.


3) Gloryrights instead of Copyrights:


Napoleon said that men will give up their lives for a piece of colored ribbon (medals and such). In both ancient and modern civilizations, people were often awarded with triumphs and honors to great effect. It is now apparent that copyrights often stifle technological and scientific progress by killing the traditional open exchange among scientists. Why should a scientist share his research with his peers if it is more profitable to join a corporation where this information will be secretively used to bolster the employer's profit margins?

A gloryright system gives the often introverted geeky scientists and inventors what they crave most, access to international attention (and thus feeling of empowerment) and correspondence with equals. Say a person invents such and such and is given Silver Gloryright. SG automatically allows the person who received it to appear and be interviewed on various popular programs, participate in high level panel discussions, get interviewed by famous personalities, meet high level people, etc. Sure they may miss out on being able to sell their invention to their employer but some material reward is likely to find this person within Gloryright system anyway. A Gold Gloryright brings additional perks. Here is an excellent book on how modern patents and copyrights are hurting local communities and traditional research.



4) Big cities controlling their own power supply and certain factories:


A city over a million people is a powerful unit. Its government should own a power plant and a few factories that produce needed drugs (not just generic, see gloryrights above) and other goods for the citizenry. The government of NYC, an entity more populous than Sweden, is entitled to its own small nuclear fission plant, factories that make clothing for employees and the needy, vertical farming constructs, etc. This dramatically reduces logistical chains and cuts out political middlemen, enhances the power base of the city government vis a vis the state/province, and allows self sufficiency in case things go wrong in other regions of the country. Libertarians and socialists alike will appreciate decentralization through empowering smaller political units with their own factories. A large city is also in a very good position to bargain and negotiate better for what it needs in terms of raw materials.


5) Ritualistic surveillance of the public by individual citizens:


This can be turned on all the time or get activated when a crime or legal encounter is happening. Imagine if a person's car got stopped by a police officer. Immediately the person activates micro cameras and audio listening devices in his clothing and car. These devices record, encrypt, and stream the entire encounter to the person's personal computer, his lawyer, and other places throughout the world (like youtube which then sends out alert to people who like to watch that type of stuff in real time for signs of abuse). Such a system will reduce crime and force politeness and civilization on both the users and those they encounter (whether private or public employees). If citizens are going to be watched by corporate and government entities, then they must watch them back twice as hard while sharing anything interesting in a decentralized publicly available format.

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