Sci-Fi can tackle the humongousest of topics. Today, we are seeing the early phases of an employment sea change. "Jobs" as they have evolved from man-pulled plows and sweating forge workers to coders and designers, are beginning to be assumed by our creations. AI and all its progeny will do the work, thank you. Even art and intuitive invention will be done for us, perhaps better than we can do it, a potentially discouraging state of things.
So how will humanity deal with this? We will be unshackled in a sense. So we must move to a different reality. Below is how this problem is addressed in A Reluctant God. One of many possible futures.
Here we discover how odd humans can get. In my day if you had no job you were thought worthless. A great many were, but they thought differently and worked to remedy the situation. In this future where I now unwillingly reside, the unemployed just go to sleep.
H.L Mencken, A.P.
Cultural Impact of The Dream Game
SociologyFet Marcus Singulus
Over 99 percent of humanity spent most of their lives in the Dream Game. Their bodies were maintained at reasonable fitness levels in their sleep pods, heads resting in induction webs. When a person died in his pod, the Dream Universe took note of his passing. Or hers. Their friends and acquaintances, typically all developed within the Game, held memorials appropriate to the deceased's status. Sometime exceptionally vivid copies were recreated as Dream Artificial Personalities (APs) in tribute.
Fertile females left the Game for several days to give birth. The centuries of pressed procreation to populate the earth and the expanding empire had faded, but some new blood was needed to replace the passing. Infants were raised by exquisitely designed mamabots that nourished their charges with cloned breast milk from the natural mothers. Almost all of the education and socialization of the children happened in the Game.
The unavoidable statistic about the population was almost ninety-eight percent of all common citizens spent at least twenty-three standard hours out of every twenty-four sleeping, fully engaged in the planet-wide Games.
Sleep had been eliminated as a necessity in the sixth century PA. That ancient inheritance from the diurnal crucible of evolution had served purposes from organizing the mind, to embedding memories to renewing libido and defining neuroses, to cleaning protein debris. Then, as the brain was more fully understood it was found that the same benefits could be derived from cleverly designed neurochemicals dispensed from embedded biochips plus programming from embedded nano computers.
Still, vast majorities of people chose sleep because as the mysteries of sleep were being solved, there were parallel advances in personal dream control. Dreaming became the superior form of virtual reality. VR, in all its verisimilitude, lacked the direct connection to the primitive brain that dreams have. Dreams to the practiced dreamer were more vivid, more real than reality. Early in life, all citizens of the Empire became expert dreamers. Above all there were the shared dreams, the Dream Game.
It was this multi-dreamer game that changed the world. It was a godsend to the emerging populations on the Empire planets because there was very little work to be done after each planet was tamed. Artificial intelligence machinery did all the work from manufacturing to distribution to construction to engineering design. Without the Dream Game, citizens would have drifted in self destructive whirlpools of frustration. But the dream universes were conceived by the most creative humans, and one and all were invited to occupy them.
These dream universes had rules and values, economies and careers, opportunities for entrepreneurs and for criminals, for saints and sadists, for scientists and sensualists, lots of warriors, artists and dilettantes. There were cliques to be formed, hierarchies to be scaled, power to be acquired, fortunes to amass. To a far greater degree than existed in the undemanding reality of most lives, these dream universes were real. The Dream Game was a game in name only. To most of the population it was the more real reality.
Just as the Fets were being developed to do more and more of the hands-on mind work in the Empire of Earth, the multi-player Dream Game was how a no-work population remained occupied. And very productive in ways not fully understood until the war with Satan.
- - - - - -
When I read the tech news today, it seems we are closer and closer to this. Those "novelists" that design today's games are as creative as any writers of fiction ever.
Update (of the 'it's already happening' kind)
Update (of the 'it's already happening' kind)