on August 6, 2011
So here we are, in the normal 24th century postapocalyptic dystopia....
***Hey! Wait! You must not have read that book. Postapocalyptic, yes. But utopia, not dystopia. Everyone in my future is Happy, Clean, Prosperous, and Intelligent. And they get their own robot sidekicks!***
Um, yeah, utopia. The kind of utopia where the coercive government manages to successfully, and without exception, enforce a one-child policy for multiple centuries. I didn't see any old people, so maybe you've avoided a demographic V by killing them off.
***There is no coercive government! In fact, no one even mentions the government. Enlightened people of the future only desire one child per family. And we Do Not Kill Old People! There are no demographic concerns in the future other than overpopulation. And we've solved overpopulation. Do not impose your pre-apocalyptic preconceptions on our Wonderful Future.***
Anyhow, in the Wonderful Future, there are only 300 million people on the entire planet, and the largest population center is a town of 30,000. Purely coincidentally, this approximates the populations of 14th century Earth and 14th century Verona, Italy. Indeed, everyone in the future is clean, prosperous, and intelligent. So clean that an instantly-healed skinned knee is the worst hurt most people will feel in their lives, and everyone has an immunization implant that protects them against diseases not seen on Earth in thousands of years. So prosperous that tweenage hackers can procure a grain-of-rice sized gizmo containing every scrap of information committed to writing over the history of mankind (I hope they aren't reading my childhood diary!), put it together with an artificial intelligence program powerful enough to actually make use of that knowledge base and use it to come up with nefarious plots, and wrap the whole thing up in a package small enough to hide unnoticed in the hem of a scarf - which they then casually give away to friends, because, you know, it wasn't hard to do, or even expensive. So they must be intelligent, right? But happy? Even in the most perfect of societies, there will always be the occasional malcontent. So what does the future do with the rebellious child who sasses his elders, ignores his schoolwork, and otherwise acts up?
Do they send him to the countryside, where he toils in the fields, along with the vast mass of the population, because robots and administrators don't just feed themselves? ***No! In the future, no one works in the fields. There are no manual laborers in the future. Everyone is upper middle class. Um, the robots do all the fieldwork.***
Do they send him to the robot production line, where he toils in the mines / factories / programming labs, because robots don't just create themselves? ***No! In the future, no one works in mines or factories. I guess the robots do all that, too.***
OK, so the robots produce all the food - and everything else - and raise the kids, and teach the kids, and drive the transport, and are sentient enough that they can choose their own shapes, have distinctive personalities, and cry when separated from loved ones. So, robot uprising it is, then? ***Argh. No robot uprising. The robots of the future are very happy to work tirelessly, unappreciated by their owners. Robots just love to serve Whitey, um, I mean, the multiracial brownskinned human inhabitants of the future.***
Well, what do they do with the kid, then? ***Oh, they send him to Re-education Camp!***
Re-education, huh? That sounds promising. Sleep deprivation, protein-deficiency, brainwashing, all that? 1,000 kids being alternately brutalized and ignored by one Cruel-Because-He-Cares sadist? ***What sort of violence-loving monster are you! No, nothing like that! Thousands of adults, who could otherwise be productive members of society, choose to live in little mock-historic villages, living mock-historic lives, making products with so little value to the rest of the Glorious Future that no one has ever even heard of them. We built special mock-historic villages far away from actual historical sites, because the actual historical sites are used for educational tours for good kids. The mockups look just like the real thing, but are only used for troublemakers. We send the kids there, and let them live mock-historic style until they learn their lessons!***
Whoa. You must have an awful lot of troublemakers, to go to that much trouble. ***No, not really. A couple dozen a year, maybe, planet-wide.***
Oooookay. But there's still sleep deprivation, protein deficiency, and beatings? Like it really was back then? ***How barbaric. No. A good night's sleep, balanced diet, and a sound scolding. Or sometimes we ignore them until they break. One time, someone really got yelled at, but it was only because he'd intentionally broken mock-valuable items, more than once. And he got an apology and an extra-good meal as soon as everyone calmed down.***
So how's the re-education working for you? ***Couldn't say. The last 3 kids we sent over disappeared in a shower of gold sparks. I wonder where they went.***