After the Second Renaissance: 2022

I watched the video, The Visible College: Four Futures for Higher Education by Bryan Alexander, and decided to write about my prediction (not quite a prediction really–just a guess) of the future–society as it would be if the Renaissance scenario that Alexander discusses does occur. The Renaissance scenario is his idea of a future in which society becomes increasingly involved in and influenced by games and gaming technology. But enough introduction–

The year is 2022; I am 31. Technology has improved to such an extent that it’s funny–and a bit nostalgic–to look back on my university days. Remembering physical textbooks and desktop computers (and especially handheld cellphones!) is always enough to make me or any of my old friends chuckle. Of course, by 2022 everything can be controlled by gesture–no need for an unwieldy computer “mouse,” or keyboard typing–and with the advancement of microwave innovation most technology doesn’t require the old-fashioned idea of a “device” anymore.

This has come at no small price. The dangerous lack of protection from radio-waves in the 2000s is becoming visible now–it’s like lead paint was before the 1970s–hard to believe that people didn’t pay attention to early reports of the dangers of microwave radiation and electromagnetic sensitivity, but I guess that’s human nature. If it’s convenient, use it–and don’t look too closely. Children born in the early 1990s are suffering the most as a result of this, and I am one of them. I survived a brain tumor three years ago, but two of my best friends didn’t. My husband has a slow-acting cancer, and I am infertile–this is normal for couples of our age-group. Today, in 2022, one out of every three men and women in America, the UK, Japan, and Korea (as well as most other “developed” countries of the 2000-2015 era) is completely infertile because of overexposure to electromagnetic frequencies. Although some consider this a kind of ultimate evil, I feel that maybe it’s proof that nature regulates–population has actually decreased since 2020. Technology is safer today then it was then though–or rather, we know to use protection now, because everyone knows that electromagnetic pollution is everywhere.

Anyway, back to technology. Gaming is life for most people–and the only form of life for some. Most gaming since the inventions following the “2020 Renaissance”  take place directly in the brain–complex chemical injections, implantable “game chips,” and  attachable head-devices.I can’t condemn it, but humanity’s obsession with games makes me a little bit sad. “Applications” no longer refer to crude files we download to computers or cellphones, but directly into our brains. However, there is one application that I love–the Dream Share application is one that I was involved in the development of, and I consider it my most significant project. Downloaded directly into the deep back half of the brain (where dream activity takes place), the Dream Share application allows users to record dreams, and share them with anyone that they want to. It turns out that dreaming is almost like any other art, and now there are Dream Authors–some celebrities even–who make a living of recording any selling their original dreams. This has lead to a whole new level of “piracy” and other malware that has caused scattered cases of extreme mental trauma–we’re still developing the legal system around such applications.

Naturally, the education system has been drastically effected by the advancment of gaming. Classroom education is almost extinct, wildly expensive–attended by only the the top 1% of the financial tier. Although some testing has been done on direct chip-imbed learning (“no study needed” learning), most learning is still just done online in virtual classrooms, not essentially so different from the physical classroom learning style of the early 2000s. The main difference in educational theory is the the growth of educational gaming instead of study. Learning games are popular, and generally much more effective than their old-fashioned counterpart “study,” because gaming penetrates deeper in the brain than reading or listening to lectures. The social element of education is a big concern for some people, but the cost of going to a physical school is too great for most to fight for.

There are people who literally live their whole lives in the virtual reality of their choice–cocoons with drip-tubes supplying vital nutrients to them so that they never have to come out. Some call it endlessly surfing on sunshine, but I think someday soon no one will remember what sunshine is.

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One thought on “After the Second Renaissance: 2022

  1. Wow, this is amazing. I love your DreamShare invention. The idea of dream becoming an art form is a totally new idea to me. I’ve never even considered such a possibility. I think I like it but will need to think about it (or sleep on it). I can imagine how really cool dreams become traded collectibles. I wonder if these digital dreams would be the subject of pirating or if the whole copyright / intellectual property mumbo jumbo will have been solved by then.

    Another very intriguing idea/metaphor that blew me away was your comparison to society’s ignorance of the dangers of electromagnetic radiation to lead paint before the 70’s. I actually have memories of peeling flakes of paint off the floorboards of my grandmother’s house.

    This was a wonderfully written speculative piece. I hope you find time to continue writing – you certainly have a flair for it.

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