World in 2200
average person of today is likely to spend the vast majority of their
time in a virtual reality of some kind. Physical society and culture
still exists - but most now eschew it, in favour of the Godlike capabilities
they can experience online.
It is becoming
very rare to encounter a friend or colleague in person now. In fact,
you are more likely to encounter a form of artificial intelligence today,
than you are to encounter a living, breathing human. Urban centres are
becoming eerily deserted, with most citizens to be found in their homes,
or in digital libraries and entertainment venues, engaged in complex
simulations wired directly to their brains. Manufacturing industries
have been entirely automated now - as well as most workplaces - with
almost everyone now working from home. The Internet has evolved into
what is, essentially, a gigantic global mind: transparently embedded
in everything from clothing to fields of corn, from cars to space stations.
everything has been automated, controlled and made easier. Take peoples'
hair, for example. This no longer requires cutting by human hands: it
can simply be grown according to a program of your choice. Genetic information
is beamed to receivers in your neural interface, instructing the nanobots
in the body to apply the appropriate style, colour or length. Precision
and control is achieved on a molecular level, with the treatment completed
styles are designed by ordinary citizens, or AI, then promoted via online
communities, with the best ones rated and made popular, in a manner
similar to the commercial music charts of previous centuries. This same
process is used for a whole host of other goods and services - from
domestic pets, to gardening, to body tatoos, to gourmet food. In this
way, a person can become relatively famous by modifying the genetic
coding or molecular structure of different items, using the knowledge
available to them online.
is changing everything. It is eliminating famine, disease and the need
for war, with only a handful of the most backwater nations remaining
unaffected by the Singularity. These are closely monitored by the developed
states, with severe penalties for any which threaten the technological
progress of the rest of the world.
majority of the world's citizens, practically any desired resource can
be synthesised instantly and automatically, via the technologies available
in the home today. These are divided between needs and wants, however
- so a citizen will be unable to request a large supply of gold (for
example), but will have an immediate and unlimited supply of food, water,
clean clothes and other essential needs. "Points" have to
be earned in order to access the more sophisticated products and services,
and these can be earned by contributing knowledge or innovative ideas
to the web.
of ideas and information is essentially the main function of the world's
economy today. Physical items can be manufactured and distributed so
easily that they are no longer a significant part of GDP. What matters
today is the information behind items, rather than items themselves.
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global rewilding effort is underway
activity in the 19th through 22nd centuries led to the catastrophic
decline and wholesale collapse of the natural world. Of the approximately
30 million known species of flora and fauna, more than 90% were lost
as a result of pollution, climate change, deforestation, mining, agriculture,
urban sprawl, overfishing and hunting.
on this scale had occurred only five times previously in the whole of
Earth's 3 billion year natural history.
wars, nuclear attacks, industrial accidents and nanotechnology experiments
also played a role in making large tracts of the world essentially lifeless.
damage was done to countless habitats. The Amazon rainforest - perhaps
the most egregious example - shrank to become mostly desert by the 22nd
century. Meanwhile, ocean acidification caused by rising CO2 levels
resulted in the total decimation of coral reefs. The Arctic became devoid
of ice during summer months, while melting in Greenland, Iceland, West
Antarctica and elsewhere led to sea level rises of nearly four metres
this occurred despite an in-depth scientific knowledge of the processes
underway. Long term sustainability and sensible management of resources
were sacrificed in favour of short term profits, political influence
and personal gain. By the time most governments began to enact serious
measures, it was already too late.
fell away to such an extent that - for those born during the late 20th
century - the planet became almost unrecognisable. Younger generations
growing up in this new world found themselves bitterly resentful at
what their predecessors had allowed to happen. Many in Asia, Africa
and South America would never get to experience a real forest, or come
face to face with animals larger than a domestic dog, or witness the
range of colourful and exotic species that were commonplace before -
except in zoos or virtual reality simulations.
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of society came to be vilified. Some nations even organised "crimes
against nature" trials, leading to the conviction of former politicians
and oil barons.
23rd century, however, technology was advancing to a whole new magnitude
of power and sophistication. Worldwide, superintelligent entities were
now dominating business and government - formulating policies to benefit
everybody rather than the few. Meanwhile, a new and gigantic system
of orbital infrastructure was being planned, allowing man to directly
control the Earth's climate. Consumer devices were also becoming available
that could reproduce food and other items without needing to plunder
resources from elsewhere in the world.
began to emerge that quickly gained momentum. It would require an international,
concerted effort over a number of generations, but it had support from
across the political spectrum.
Rewilding" had been discussed in the past and even attempted on
a small scale, but global versions lacked the necessary consensus mainly
due to the costs, technical challenges and social issues. However, the
enormous wealth and prosperity now emerging on Earth - along with the
perfection of certain biotechnologies - meant that such a megaproject
was becoming feasible.
it would involve the recreation of extinct animals and plants, brought
back to life through a combination of fossil records, DNA samples, computer
models and molecular engineering. Once grown or reproduced in sufficient
numbers, these would be distributed back to their original native environments:
as close as possible to how they lived prior to human industry. They
would then be managed in such a way that people could cause them no
harm - and vice versa. The staggering power of AI, the web and other
technologies would ensure this system worked.
effort became the largest single environmental project in history. Entire
deserts were transformed back into lush edens, fed by artificial rain
generated by orbital infrastructure. Vast areas of abandoned wasteland
became rich ecosystems teaming with life - including ancient megafauna
such as mammoths. Toxic lakes and rivers were made clean. The oceans
were de-acidified, cooled and made habitable once again to countless
fish, molluscs, crustaceans, and other aquatic invertebrates. Urban
sprawl in cities was dramatically reversed and scaled back, with a focus
instead on highly compact vertical structures.
the Earth recovered. Humanity reached an equilibrium with its surroundings.
Though it would take another few decades, the final elements were falling
into place to ensure the future preservation of biodiversity.
uploading is available to a multitude of platforms
mind uploading process of a century earlier has been perfected by now,
giving citizens access to a dizzying array of options.
of today can choose from a plethora of artificial bodies into which
they can "sleeve" themselves depending on their mood or the
situation. These might be human, or robotic, or some other more exotic
design. The most extreme examples can even take the form of animals,
or mythological creations. An individual may upload themselves into
the body of an eagle, for instance, and go flying for a few days. Or
they could travel to an underwater locale and utilise a mermaid-like
body, complete with gills and a tail.
is being used extensively in the global rewilding efforts, to improve
the monitoring of animal populations and ensure their successful integration
back into the environment. Some of the more committed environmentalists
are choosing to abandon their human bodies altogether, devoting their
consciousness entirely to the natural world.
is fracturing into all sorts of bizarre and surreal forms during this
time, due to the genetic enhancements and cybernetic upgrades now available.
is now possible almost anywhere, at any time, thanks to the miniaturisation
and portability of the technology, together with the supporting infrastructure
which has developed on Earth and elsewhere. The space industry routinely
has people uploading to massive robots, in order to carry out large-scale
engineering work. This is especially true of asteroid mining stations.
Light Year Array is operational
the edge of the solar system - beyond the shroud of comets known as
the Oort Cloud - a vast spherical network of telescopes is operational.
This has a total collecting area measuring one light year in diameter.
By comparison, the largest network of the early 21st century was the
ground-based Square Kilometre
Year Array is composed of millions of automated radio telescopes, constructed
using self-replicating nanotechnology. Together, these provide astronomers
with an almost Godlike view of the cosmos. Under the direction of AI,
the network identifies and catalogues nearly every galaxy within 13.7
billion light years - including most of the stars and planets in each
- to produce a detailed, 3-dimensional map of the Universe.*
the motion vector of each star makes it possible to form a gigantic
simulation, capable of being run backwards to the birth of the Universe,
or forwards to billions of years in the future. This allows scientists
to view a highly accurate model of the aftermath of the Big Bang, as
well as the likely ultimate fate of the Universe.
of the many benefits resulting from the growth of AI has been the rapid
design and prototyping of interstellar space vehicles. The fastest of today's spacecraft are now capable
of sustained travel at between 0.9 and 0.99c (90-99% lightspeed). This
is fast enough to reach nearby stars within relatively short timeframes.
One of the more common ship designs is a "ring" containing matter-antimatter
fuel, purposefully collided to release vast amounts of energy for thrust. This energy is also used
to maintain stability and create fields around the craft, protecting
it from meteoroids and other hazards.
of deep-space missions are now underway, including trips to Earth-like
planets within 100 light years. Most of these ships are unmanned, but
a small percentage contain human pilots. These are invariably transhumans with heavily modified bodies and minds, better able to cope with
journeys than natural, unaided humans.
private commercial space vessel of the early 23rd century.
is fading from American culture
centuries of decline, Christianity is on the verge of disappearing from
American culture. The vast majority of the US population is now atheist,
trend was witnessed in Europe at a far earlier date. However, religion
was so deeply embedded in the American psyche that it took substantially
longer to reach this stage.