[ExI] Terraforming Earth

Tara Maya tara at taramayastales.com
Thu Sep 7 18:09:26 UTC 2017

> On Sep 7, 2017, at 12:53 AM, Stuart LaForge <avant at sollegro.com> wrote:
>> As part of my research for my novels, I watch a lot of YouTube videos
> about >“bushcraft” and survival skills, and other fun topics like how to
> build a >house for $6000.  While I am very pro-technology, I am leery of
> any form of >“Cyber Socialism,” a future in which only a few geniuses
> will have any >genuine work to do and everyone else will live off of
> “Universal Income” >(as serfs lived off the “charity” of their feudal
> masters in the Dark >Ages), distracted by the bread and circuses of
> Virtual playgrounds. I don’t >want to live on the charity of a global
> cyber-ruling class, and I doubt >that the majority of humanity does
> either.
> Do you consider running Linux on your computer as accepting charity? What
> if you were paid for your performance in the virtual circus instead of
> meat space? Would you consider battling virtual orcs for real money?

I don’t object to accepting charity or the freely offered work of others; only charity that comes with hidden strings of control from a centralized, non-democratic authority. 

I also don’t object to virtual realities, or even living inside a world of changing “skins” (as long as the disconnect from the real world is not dangerous to ultimate survival). 

I saw an advertisement for a game recently that said it used real money as the currency inside the game. Playing the game was a way to directly earn money. I think this will indeed be a huge economic sector in the future. Already, I know of people who play game characters/worlds up to a certain level in popular games so they can sell the character/world for bitcoin. So it’s already happening, definitely. I don’t have a problem with that at all.

> How about a cyber-Spartan society? Where the machines are like the Healots
> of society and supply all the necessities of life while the citizens are
> warriors who do nothing but fight wars for control of land and the
> machines of production?

If the machines are conscious and feeling oppressed, that would be okay. It would be nice if we could just wage all wars in cyberspace as well, so people wouldn’t have to get killed, but I don’t see anyway to do that without inviting cheaters into the system. What I mean is that let’s say every nation in the world agreed that instead of waging real war, they’d have a virtual war instead and accept the outcome. Or they would just attack each other’s machines and send each other back into the Twentieth Century level of tech by knocking out networks. Either way, what’s to stop Islamicist type fanatics from simply bypassing all that by killing citizens with machetes?  Your scenario, where the humans end up spending all their time fighting other humans while the machines do the rest actually sounds distressingly possible.

>> I’d rather see technology used to empower individuals, and not just the
>> super geniuses, but the ordinary people, even—dare I say it—the kind of
>> people who may have voted for Trump. Or Jill Stein. Or whoever you hate,
>> but who wouldn’t matter as much if the government combined with huge
>> conglomerates didn’t have such power of our lives. People who want to be
>> independent and useful, on their own terms.
> I agree with you but the elite will deny that anything is actually
> preventing ordinary people from empowering themselves using the tech. How
> would you answer them?

If large corporations use money to influence governments to over-regulate industries and censor free speech — which is what they are currently doing both in the EU and in the US and even more in China — then this keeps out competition. The competition is the ordinary people, who cannot make the leap past the regulations and restrictions to create competitive products with the big corporations. Furthermore, if most “ordinary people” actually only survive day to day because of Universal Income, which I imagine would keep them feed, maybe even fat, but not be enough to enable them to start a company in a highly regulated environment, then it’s an even bigger psychological leap for them to give up that money and risk starting their own business.

If people are raised by working parents who teach them how to work hard and take risks, they will know that they can work hard and take risks. If they are raised by parents — or, worse,  a single parent — who has never worked either, then who is to raise them with the values of courage and self-reliance needed to create something new and daring?

Meanwhile, the children of the elites, despite having hardworking parents themselves, also may become lazy and spoiled, because with no competition, they don’t need to work hard either. 

This is the way an entire culture becomes apathetic and stagnant once the divide between rich and poor becomes too large. I believe that most people who propose a Universal Income see this danger, actually, and don’t want a huge divide between a few wealthy oligarchs and a mass of ordinary people, but think that a Universal Income can stop this. That’s why I just wanted to say that I think the exact opposite is true, because a Universal Income can never bridge the gap in a way that true market freedom can. 

I should admit, however, that in a true free market, you’d still have a huge divide between super-rich and super poor, so on the surface, it wouldn’t be obviously better. It’s only better if you look at the society over several generations, because that’s when you’d see that in a free society, the composition of “rich” and “poor” is constantly changing, whereas in a stagnant society, you’d have the same 200 families ruling for a thousand years.

>> A century of practice reclaiming deserts and tundras, creating dispersed
>> energy grids and autonomous urban farms, would be great practice for the
>> skills needed to actually colonize other planets or to live in space.
> Not >to mention a bit of elbow room would help quite a bit to ease our
> current >problems.
> This is a great idea, Tara. I like your vision. ;-)
> \

I forgot to add — is there a way we can make the tropics a healthy place for dense human habitation, in a way that actually preserves or even increases biodivisity in the ecology? Rather than cut down rainforests, can we find a way to build around and with rainforests? Could we even create hothouse skyscrappers that create islands of rainforest in other parts of the world, even the tundra? Imagine if you walked into a skyscrapper in the middle of a big city, and instead of floors and offices, you saw tropical trees, monkeys, parrots? Or redwoods, ferns and owls?

Ecologically, we humans are making a new Pangea by connecting all the ecosystems of the world by our own travel. Creatures that would normally never compete, end up as invasive species in each other’s regions, diving native species extinct, and decreasing biodiversity world wide. But I think we have it in our power to reverse that trend by creating what are effectively “island” ecologies inside parks--or even buildings. If would be a new thing in the history of the earth to enable a dome filled with penguins and ice to survive in Brazil and a skyscraper filled with tropical trees and spider monkeys in Toronto. It would be nice if our niche, as a species, could be one of enabling greater biodiversity, rather than our current role, of instigating the sixth great extinction.


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