First off, fuck the apocalypse and everybody who predicts it. There’s always an apocalypse somewhere, and our pop culture’s obsession with an America ruined by war/ illnes/ starvation basically boils down to, “Can you imagine if the shit that’s constantly happening in the Third World happened to us ? ” There’s somebody out there living the social breakdown of The Walking Dead right now. Merely instead of zombies, it’s some warlord’s death squads, and a crossbow won’t do shit.
No, such articles is about the future, but isn’t about the apocalypse or a dystopia — this isn’t about murderer robots( which we already have !) or a looming American police state. You’ve insured all that shit in movies. This is about the super weird changes that are coming in your lifetime that Hollywood doesn’t seem to care about.
Semi-related note: My new novel about cybernetic super-criminals and shit is out right now !
# 5. You’ll Eat Bugs( And You’ll Like It)
If you discovered a cockroach in your cereal, your whole year would be ruined. We have such a physical revulsion to glitches that the above headline probably sounds like security threats: “In the future, food will be so scarce that you’ll scarf down a grasshopper! You know, right after cooking and eating your own diiiiick ! “
“I wish my children were here to witness this, but I feed them out of desperation first.”
But I’ve already told you this isn’t about building you afraid of a nightmare future. I’m went on to say that bugs will slip seamlessly into our diets the same way high fructose corn syrup did, only this time the world is likely to be much better for it. I’m going to prove it to you in five steps. Ready?
A) You already feed glitches; you merely don’t is well aware. The strawberry flavoring in your milkshake/ yogurt/ smoothie contains crushed bugs — specifically this guy, the Dactylopius coccus 😛 TAGEND
It’s a type of beetle that creates a nice red dye when ground up, and food companies have been using it as a natural food coloring for as long as anybody can remember( note: If you insure “cochineal” on the label, that’s ground-up beetle ). You didn’t mind, because you didn’t know it was there. And in the future they’ll come up with some other name for the ground-up cricket meat in your burger. Consider, that’s the thing — when I said “eating bugs” earlier, you imagined shoving a writhing praying mantis into your mouth. But you wouldn’t feed a chicken that route — there’s a bunch of shit they do to it at the factory first. It’ll be fine. “But, ” you say, “anyone would retch the moment they ensure the cockroach farm where their ‘food’ is being grown-up! ” To which I respond: Ever been inside a slaughterhouse?
B) It’s the only route to feed the world meat without permanently ruining the environment. I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but glitches seriously don’t give a shit — they can pretty much live anywhere and feed anything. They breed like crazy even when we’re urgently trying to kill them. So, with the same sum of resources, bugs will produce about 800 percentage more meat than beef and generate a fraction of the greenhouse gases. It doesn’t seem like there’s much “meat” on an insect, but for instance 80 percent of a grasshopper is edible as opposed to only 40 percentage of a cow. They’re boneless!
And they go great in pie .
C) They’re healthier to feed. Per calorie, a cricket has 40 percentage more protein than beef and 40 percentage less fat. Your rebuttal is probably, “But what does that matter if it savours like shit? Or rather, tastes like a glitch, since most people would rather eat shit than a cricket? ” But consider that …
D) About 2 billion people already merrily eat insects. In Mexico, the only reason they don’t eat more grasshoppers ( chapulines ) is because they can’t afford them — demand is so high that grasshoppers cost more than beef or pork. They’re trying to scale up production as we are to talk( right now they don’t farm the bugs so much as try to go out and catch them — you can imagine what a pain in the ass that is, people operating round with nets and shit ).
E) Visceral disgust is something humans get over pretty easily. Recollect that these huge, disgusting insect-like monsters …
… was so revolting to people that they were fed to the poor and prisoners. Lobsters used to wash up on the beaches in big, gross, smelly heaps, the giant, red, mutant cockroaches of the ocean. Now you’ll pay $40 for that ugly bastard. This 😛 TAGEND
Is meat stuffed into a tube that used to be filled with a pig’s actual shit. And it’s fine; we rinse it out and stuff it full of ground-up entrails and spices and eat it in the parking lot of a football stadium. Someday, you’ll just as merrily feed a sausage made of mealworms. I believe 80 percent of you don’t believe me( I actually left the bug-eating bit out of my book because I thought readers would instantly treat it as a horror fiction) and that’s fine — if you can’t get over it, your children and grandkids will. That’s because humans accommodate. That’s what we’re good at.
# 4. At Some Point, Lying Will Become Impossible
I have a question for any children who might be reading this: Do you still have that “Liar Kid” at your school? I and everyone I know had at least one in our class, the kid who’d merely make up grandiose bullshit for no purpose. He’d claim he found a shark swimming in the creek near his house, or that his uncle was a stunt man who played the yellow Power Ranger — merely a typeface of name-drops and fascinating anecdotes, all of which were pulled straight out of his asshole.
I ask because, well, how can that kid exist today? A trip to Google on your iPhone would disprove all of those things in five seconds.
“OK, you say your papa beat up Steven Seagal at a club in Bangkok? What was the exact date?
I’m just going to check to see if “hes in” the country at the time.”
It’s a whole personality type that would presumably be put out of business by modern technology. You know, the same as how the sleazy employed auto salesman is facing extinction for similar reasons — anyone with an Internet connection can find out what a auto is actually worth. So who else is about to see their dishonest house of cards go tumbling down?
How about sex offenders? Or merely the dude who goes on vacation and makes the clubs feigning he doesn’t have a wife and three kids back home? Sure, right now it might be considered rude to do a background check on a dude while he’s sitting on the next bar stool offering you a ride on his yacht, but soon all of this is gonna be done automatically, on the fly. Google Glass failed because it looked stupid and didn’t work, but the general concept — the ability to instantaneously build key information pop up right in front of your eyeball — is inevitable. Facial recognition will scan everyone you encounter, a little pop-up box letting you know that dude not only isn’t an Internet millionaire but is a fugitive known to the police as “The Key West Disemboweler.” If a search doesn’t create any red flags but he still seems generally dishonest, that’s OK — they’ll have software that will watch his facial motions and tone of voice to see if he’s telling the truth.
Now let’s pause for a moment to appreciate how that little advancement will utterly change interpersonal relations in a way that’s virtually too profound to comprehend.
“Now, when you say the porn on your computer must have been ‘put there by a hacker’ … ”
I mean, I don’t know if you’ve really stopped to be considered it, but lies are kind of what build civilization possible. Try to get through merely the working day without A) lying or B) intentionally withholding information and/ or spinning the truth — see how long it takes you to wrecking every relationship in your life. “Honey, you said you liked your Christmas present, but TruthApp says your eye motions indicate a 99.96 percentage chance of misrepresentation. Now tell me you love me; I want to watch your face this time … ” Oh, and just wait until your children are old enough to use it, and ask you which child is your favorite.
Some of you have already lived long enough to see how, for instance, it’s gotten route harder to lie at work. If you’re a professional driver, you don’t stop at a bar on the way and claim you got stuck in traffic — they’re employing GPS to track your vehicle and( if you have a company-issued phone in your pocket) your body at all times. Run at a warehouse and miss your quota for the working day, don’t bother claiming you got sidetracked by another project or had “equipment problems” — they’re literally tracking your every footstep; they know you’re dragging your ass. Some companies have developed sensors for employees that “identify a person’s tone of voice, motion, and even their posture when communicating with others.” Awesome! You’ve never get angry at a co-worker, right? Or gossiped behind someone’s back?
“Hi, Janet! When you get a chance would you kindly take a moment
to eat my shit? Thanks! ”
Of course, that’s not even mentioning the obvious: cameras, cameras everywhere. It’s legal for companies to record you everywhere but in the bathroom, and the law isn’t even completely settled on that . And don’t bother lying about what you did away from work, either; Facebook has developed software that can search every photo on the Internet for your face. “Steve, it’s come to corporate’s attention that you were at a party this weekend in which medications were being ingested. As you can see, you’re patently visible in the background of this Instagram photo here, between “the mens” with the bong and the chimpanzee wearing a bra. Now, as you know, the company has strict policies about employee conduct when in public … “
Yeah, those last two terms are going to come up a lot — your conception of what counts as “in public” is going to change radically over the next couple decades. But that merely brings us to the fact that …
# 3. Your Genitals Will Be For Public Consumption
And I don’t mean this in a good way. Regular readers know that I had a nude video leak to celebrity site TMZ, who has yet to publish it even though I’ve continued to “leak” it to them over email every few days since June. I’ve merely decided that this is where the world is run, so I need to get ahead of it.
After all, these days when an Internet privacy issue surfaces, it’s satisfied largely with a few alarmist blog posts and then a collective yawn — like when it came out that Windows 10 literally logs your every keystroke and sends the data back to headquarters. “Eh, I’m sure it’ll be fine.” The only way these violates build headlines is if they include A) photos/ video of a famous naked person or B) a famous person saying something racist.
And when nude photos of a bunch of celebrities leaked recently, it was interesting to see the sharp divide in the reactions. Anyone older than, tell, 25 seemed to be in incredulity that these people would have ever taken a naked photo of themselves, on any device, ever. Among those younger than 25, well, somewhere between 70 percentage and 90 percent have themselves sent a lewd photo or message of some kind. In merely a few years that practice went from “Clearly the work of a depraved exhibitionist who needs some kind of therapy” to “Standard rule of dating for everyone but prudish weirdos.” That means that at some phase we will hit what experts don’t call the Dick Pic Singularity: the phase at which everyone will have nude photos or video of themselves on the Internet, and it merely won’t be seen as a big deal. We will all be nudists.
Are you repulsed by that? As repulsed as you were by the concept of eating glitches earlier? Because it’s the same deal — either you’ll get over it or your children will.
“Huh, back in his day Grandpa was quite the fuckboi.”
I can tell you firsthand that I’ve insured just as big a change in my lifetime. I grew up route back in the working day when your teenage verse, gossip, and horrible guess went in a locked diary that you kept concealed under your mattress. These days, it goes on Tumblr or YouTube for 3 billion Internet users to view if they so desire. Growing up, I was trained to be self-conscious on camera; today, my computer, phone, and television all have cameras that watch me back while I use them. We’re all “in public, ” all the time, and that’s just the way it is.
And you know how they’re pushing to put body cameras on police, to make sure they’re not shooting dudes just for the hell of it? Don’t be surprised when they put body cameras on servers at restaurants, to make sure they’re being polite to clients, and soon after that, body cameras on everyone. In that book that I keep linking to, I speculate that these will become standard, everyday gear , not because some oppressive government is building us but because we want to. Just, creek it all — stream everything. Whatever need for privacy we once had, we’ve chose the need for the approval of an audience is greater.
“I’m leaving you. It’s not you or me; my viewers just think you’re boring.”
So, these days when someone gets fired because they were secretly recorded saying something nasty in the privacy rights of their own home( as Hulk Hogan was ), we don’t worry about the “secret recording” aspect at all. “Hey, if they didn’t want their employer hearing them say it, then they shouldn’t have said it! Even in private, at home! ” But are you sure you want that to be the rule, that everything you do is for public consumption? If you’re read this as a defense of telling racist jokes, let me ask you 😛 TAGEND
Do you like your job?
If not, do you ever vent about it?
Because you can say goodbye to that — no employer is going to keep you on the payroll if you complain about what a shitty company it is in public( where “in public” now entails “in your own home, near a microphone you didn’t know was recording” ). Now think about the secretly atheist kid in a religious household who now has to self-censor every dialogue for anxiety of it getting out. Or the closeted gay/ trans teenager, or the secret revolutionary in an iron-fisted tyranny. Even if you rid your own life of cameras and microphones( which itself will tag you as a reclusive weirdo ), you’ll be surrounded by strangers who have their own.
And if you complain about how back in your day children weren’t obsessed with documenting
their lives, everyone will know .
At my first task out of college, the guideline was, “Never put anything into an email you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of the New York Times.” You are, “theyre saying”, creating an electronic record of your words, and the mere existence of that record devotes anyone an automatic right to publish it. Well, in an epoch when every dialogue makes an electronic record, you can amend the rule: Instead of, “Never put anything too controversial into an email, ” it’ll be, “Never say anything too controversial out loud.” Unless, of course, we stand up and demand the right to not automatically lose our subsistence just because we got upset and said some stupid shit one time.
In other terms, this doesn’t have to be part of our future unless we let it. Which merely results me to the fact that …
# 2. Our Conception Of Employment Is About To Radically Change
It’s easy to shrug when you insure a headline screaming that about half of our current undertakings will soon be to be undertaken by robots, or that there’s a factory in China that needs no workers at all. That whole “robots are taking our undertakings! ” bit has been around since before they devised robots. In the 1800 s they told cautionary tales of a great human stimulated obsolete by a steam engine; today we’re depicted videos of hotels staffed by robot dinosaurs 😛 TAGEND
And yet … the trend is pretty clear.
A hundred years ago, the average American worked about 60 hours a week; it’s about 34 hours now. The percentage of American adults either working or trying to find jobs has been dropping since the ‘9 0s , now matching the lowest point in 40 years, and of the ones who are working, more of them are part-time. So this prediction of a future “job-free” economy isn’t some crazy Nostradamus prophecy, it’s the direction we’ve been heading for a while now — each time there’s an economic accident, the jobs never quite come back to where they were before.
But when/ if this jobless future arrives, the problem won’t be the robots taking over( how can it be a bad thing that we’re be permitted to build more stuff with less attempt ?). No, the issue is how much we humans detest each other.
Spoiler: a lot .
See, the idea is that soon the only undertakings left is likely to be the ones that computers can’t do — tasks that take imagination, or people abilities, or that are just plain too complicated( it’s actually hard to imagine a robot plumber doing all the steps needed to find and fix a leak inside your wall ). So there will be a certain class of people who have those complex abilities, and then there will be everybody else( and feel free to speculate on what percentage will be in each group ).
Now, it doesn’t make sense that everyone but the most talented will be left to starve( as so many pessimistic articles seem to imply) — the corporations buying those expensive robots need customers to buy the shit they’re construction, and the evil billionaires and politicians who run the world need happy consumers. This is where ideas like a guaranteed basic income come into play — basically the governmental forces devotes everyone a paycheck just for being alive. The idea is that if we don’t need humans to do the work, we do still need them to make and create children, to not riot in the streets, and to consume things so that the economic Circle of Life keeps running.
They’re going to start opening the stock market by holding out small children, with a dollar sign
drawn on its head, Simba-style .
And at the mere suggestion of that, a whole bunch of you merely felt a sense of physical disgust . “You mean 200 million people is likely to be on welfare ?!? ” You’ll spit that last word like an accusation, in the same way you’d holler “TRAITOR! ” or “WHORE! ” That’s because most of us have been raised from birth to detest the able-bodied poor, and I mean Hate with a capital H. To insure them as leeches, as a cancer in the system. As thieves . That guaranteed income will be taken out of the pocket of the robot repair guy who still has a task; what is his reaction going to be when he’s strolling home, exhausted after a double shift, and watches your jobless ass hanging out at a coffee shop and spending your government check on robot-made Frappuccinos? It doesn’t matter that his task attains him 10 times more than you get, because that doesn’t change the fact that his paycheck would be 50 percentage bigger if he wasn’t having to support your lazy ass.
We don’t have to guess his reaction, of course — go to any Fox News comment section. Listen to Mitt Romney.
Unemployment, they say, is immoral. Sinful. Here’s a tale about someone defining a homeless human on fire. Here’s another one. We’re as repulsed by them as we are by, I don’t know, a glitch we found in our food or something.
“It’s period we start eating the real bugs in our society. Vote for Smith. Vote for cannibalism.”
The cruel irony is that if this automated future is to be implemented, we’ll have all the makings of what sci-fi writers used to describe as a utopia — we’ll be growing the food and build the houses just fine. The obstacle won’t be a lack of resources; the obstacle is likely to be us , and the fact that we have been learned how to motivate ourselves with the loathing of the “lazy” lower class. And when we start kicking them around, what can they do about it? Run on ten-strike? They don’t have undertakings. Refuse to buy anything? Then they’ll starve. Riot in the streets? We’ll roll in with tanks. And notice how I’m saying “we” like I won’t be one of the ones left out? How many of you are doing the same thing? No wonder I’m pushing this book shit so hard.
But that merely brings me to the final point …
# 1. There Will Be A Fundamental Shift In Power — We Just Have To Decide What It Looks Like
Raise your hand if you rent your home, rather than own it. Now create your other hand if your landlord has ever done something that would get a person fucking shot if they’d done it to a homeowner — like let themselves in to check your fire alarm while you were asleep in the next room. There is a fundamental change in power between renting and owning — “your” home is literally not yours. They decide if you have a pet, or smoking, or repaint the place. Oh, and guess what — home-ownership is at its lowest phase in half a century. Everything is heading that direction — the entire conception of owning things is slowly going away. This is a bigger bargain than you think.
You gamers out there already know what I’m talking about; once upon a time you would go to the store and buy a physical object called a video game, which you fully owned, eternally, to do with as you pleased. Now, you’re merely renting, irrespective of what they call it. A few years ago a Steam user detected this out the hard way when Valve banned him from employing any of the 250 games on his own computer due to a misunderstanding that was eventually cleared up. I bet until that day he actually supposed those were “his” games. Today, more and more non-game software is being sold via a monthly subscription so that you lose access to it the moment you stop paying.
“Look who’s come creeping back” -MS Paint when your Adobe subscription starts to equal your rent
Meanwhile, the biggest competitor to Ford and Toyota isn’t Tesla — it’s Uber — the future will most likely be a swarm of cars, all networked together, probably driverless, conveniently picking you up and dropping you off on command. No need for you to get a auto loan or pay for gas and repairs( renting is always more convenient than buying ). And then the working day, when you’re running late for work, you’re going to try to order a ride on your phone and the app will tell you that you’ve been banned from Uber. And only then will you realize that, as in all of the above situations, you traded power for convenience.
I mean, what’s to stop them from shutting you out if, tell, you were heard insulting the company in public? They can merely add it to the provisions contained of service you didn’t read before tapping the “Accept” button. You know, the same as how PayPal can freeze access to your own money if they believe you’ve broken their words of service and can lock out your access to your money for six months while they investigate.
“It’s cool; I’ll just tell my colon cancer to chill.”
“So? I’ll merely use some other company! ” Well, here’s the thing: For whatever reason, this new economy seems to favor monopolies. Amazon dwarfs the next biggest e-commerce site, and can you even name an auction site other than eBay? When’s the last time you used a search engine other than Google? PayPal is 80 percent of the online pay market; Steam utterly dominates PC game marketings …
That means we’re move forward towards a future in which you rent the things you have to have, from the only game in township. The future is Comcast.
Now think about the entry above, about the jobs. Having your own unique skill and source of income also comes with power; you have something the world wants, and as long as you do, you “own” your subsistence. But if the government is simply giving you a check, then you are at their mercy — like how they’re constantly threatening to cut off welfare recipients for doing medications. Now you’re “renting” — you can find yourself completely locked out of the system because you contravened somebody’s words of service. So you’d better damned well fall in line . You will build that power-for-convenience trade until your life is full of convenience and devoid of power. It will be very nice and comfortable, right up until you do something They don’t like.
“That’s the last period QueefMaster4 20 bellows my company Fartcast.”
Now, I wasn’t lying when I said this article wouldn’t be scare-mongering about a coming dystopia. That’s because it doesn’t have to happen. We will have to reclaim that power. I’m not talking about ceasing society to go live in the wilderness or forming mobs to burn down the banks. We will instead have to come together as a people and guarantee the fundamental rights of even the most unprofitable human beings. Getting over our dislike of areas outside the economy will be no different from getting over our dislike of glitches — we’ll do it because it’s what we need to do, as most of us will eventually be in that same bug-eating boat.
We won’t let our own pettiness destroy society. I’m … virtually sure of it.