Support the IEET




The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States. Please give as you are able, and help support our work for a brighter future.



Search the IEET
Subscribe and Contribute to:


Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Quick overview of biopolitical points of view




whats new at ieet

The Future of Robotic Automated Labor

Consciousness and Neuroscience

Fusion: “Posthuman” - 3D Printed Tissues and Seeing Through Walls!

Philosopher Michael Lynch Says Privacy Violations Are An Affront To Human Dignity

Transhumanism: The Robot Human: A Self-Generating Ecosystem

Indefinite Life Extension and Broader World Health Collaborations (Part II)


ieet books

Virtually Human: The Promise—-and the Peril—-of Digital Immortality
Author
Martine Rothblatt


comments

Kris Notaro on 'The Future of Robotic Automated Labor' (Oct 25, 2014)

instamatic on 'Why “Why Transhumanism Won’t Work” Won’t Work' (Oct 24, 2014)

Abolitionist on 'Is using nano silver to treat Ebola misguided?' (Oct 24, 2014)

cacarr on 'Book review: Nick Bostrom's "Superintelligence"' (Oct 24, 2014)

jasoncstone on 'Ray Kurzweil, Google's Director Of Engineering, Wants To Bring The Dead Back To Life' (Oct 22, 2014)

pacificmaelstrom on 'Why “Why Transhumanism Won’t Work” Won’t Work' (Oct 21, 2014)

rms on 'Smut in Jesusland: Why Bible Belt States are the Biggest Consumers of Online Porn' (Oct 21, 2014)







Subscribe to IEET News Lists

Daily News Feed

Longevity Dividend List

Catastrophic Risks List

Biopolitics of Popular Culture List

Technoprogressive List

Trans-Spirit List



JET

Enframing the Flesh: Heidegger, Transhumanism, and the Body as “Standing Reserve”

Moral Enhancement and Political Realism

Intelligent Technologies and Lost Life

Hottest Articles of the Last Month


Google’s Cold Betrayal of the Internet
Oct 10, 2014
(7542) Hits
(2) Comments

Dawkins and the “We are going to die” -Argument
Sep 25, 2014
(5741) Hits
(21) Comments

Should we abolish work?
Oct 3, 2014
(5180) Hits
(1) Comments

Will we uplift other species to sapience?
Sep 25, 2014
(4611) Hits
(0) Comments



IEET > Rights > Life > Access > Enablement > Innovation > Health > Vision > Futurism > Technoprogressivism > Fellows > Jamais Cascio

Print Email permalink (1) Comments (4527) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


Futures of Human Cultures


Jamais Cascio
By Jamais Cascio
Ethical Technology

Posted: Mar 20, 2013

My friend Annalee Newitz, editor at io9.com, asked me a short while ago for some thoughts on the possible futures of human cultures. The piece (which also includes observations from folks like Denise Caruso, Maureen McHugh, and Natasha Vita-More) is now up, and is a fun read. And while I captures the flavor of what I said, here's the (slightly edited to fix typos) full text of my reply to Annalee…

A hundred years, hmm.

I think that for many futurists the default vision of social existence a century hence is one of expanded rights (poly marriage, human-robot romance, that sort of thing), acceptance of cultural experimentation, and the dominance of the leisure society (robots doing all of the work, humans get to play/make art/take drugs/have sex). Call it the "Burning Man Future." With sufficiently-advanced biotech, people can alter or invent genders & genital arrangements (think KSR's 2312); with sufficiently-advanced infotech, people can run instant simulations of social and personal evolution (think the last chapter or two of Stross' Accelerando); with sufficiently-advanced robo/nanotech, class and work-related identities are of dwindling or no importance. Social divisions likely to still be around are those around politics (power still matters), art (aesthetics still matters), and the legitimacy of choices (the Mac/PC religious war writ large).

A more nuanced version of the Burning Man Future would allow for the establishment of sub-communities with radically different norms, able to isolate themselves either physically or informationally. Systems of abundance mean that any kind of social configuration is at least plausibly sustainable, while the kinds of interfaces we'd be using (engineered/upgraded brains, etc.) would mean that any level of filtering or reality manipulation is possible, too. Imagine a city street where not one of the hundred people around you sees the same version of reality, the interface systems translating the physical and social environment into something interesting and/or culturally acceptable. (This would also be a remarkable tool for mind control in a totalitarian regime.)

The more extreme version of that would be one where all experiences are market-driven, where everything (including hearing music playing in a building or the appearance of a designer outfit) would require a micro-transaction to hear or observe.

There's also the question of how pervasive Gossip/Reputation Networks will be; my gut sense is that they'll be all over the place by mid-century, but seen as ridiculous and dated by the early 21st.

That raises a larger point: it's not just that by 2113 we'll have gone through another three or four human generations (depending on how you count them), by 2113 we'll have gone through a dozen or so technosocial-fashion generations. Smartphones give way to tablets to phablets to wearables to implantables to swallowables to replaceable eyeballs to neo-sinus body-nanofab systems (using mucous as a raw material) to brainwebs to body-rentals... and those are increasingly considered "so 2110." And with all of these (or whatever really emerges), there are shifting behavioral norms. Don't look at your phone at the dinner table. Don't replace your eyeball in public. Don't reboot your neo-sinus in church.

At the same time, many of the Big Socio-cultural Fights we're having now will seem as ridiculous in 2050 as the cultural angst in the 1960s over hair length, or the performance of an expressionist orchestral concert in 1913 leading to a riot in Vienna. Gay? Bi? Trans? Cis? What does it even matter? What *really* pisses people off these days is the use of real meat instead of fleshfabbers... Barbarians.

All of this strikes me as plausible assuming that we don't run into major catastrophic downturns, which tend to push us towards more tribal behaviors and demand strict adherence to norms (where threatening community stability also threatens community survival). So there's your choice: Burning Man or Walking Dead.

[And that's the extent of my "Walking Dead" reference, btw. No zombies here. smile ]


Jamais Cascio is a Senior Fellow of the IEET, and a professional futurist. He writes the popular blog Open the Future.
Print Email permalink (1) Comments (4528) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


COMMENTS


That you reference the 1960s angst over hair length as if it’s fully in the past, while even more ridiculous angsts proliferate elsewhere in the world reminds me of the very heterogeneous sociocultural evolution that has taken place, and makes me wonder whether this will be exacerbated a century hence.





YOUR COMMENT (IEET's comment policy)

Login or Register to post a comment.

Next entry: Teach the Children War

Previous entry: Lower Your IQ Permanently With the ‘MinusIQ’ Pill

HOME | ABOUT | FELLOWS | STAFF | EVENTS | SUPPORT  | CONTACT US
SECURING THE FUTURE | LONGER HEALTHIER LIFE | RIGHTS OF THE PERSON | ENVISIONING THE FUTURE
CYBORG BUDDHA PROJECT | AFRICAN FUTURES PROJECT | JOURNAL OF EVOLUTION AND TECHNOLOGY

RSSIEET Blog | email list | newsletter |
The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States.

Contact: Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
56 Daleville School Rd., Willington CT 06279 USA 
Email: director @ ieet.org     phone: 860-297-2376