Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Role of Technology in my Ideal Society

Some people may have read my other posts and been confused about the lack of advanced technologies described in my last one. So allow me to explain the roles that technology would play in my idea of an ideal society. First off there would of course, be the internet or something similar, likely incorporating virtual reality and Second Life-esque virtual environments. There might even be some people who end up spending almost their entire life in Virch, either having their physical bodies hooked up to feeding tubes or eventually uploading their consciousnesses into their computers. For those who prefer to spend much of their time in rl, they could use wearable computers with VR goggles or cybernetic implants to check their e-mail anywhere.

In relation to the real world, technology would be used to improve the quality of life of most of the population. Thanks to genetic engineering, hydroponics, and vat-grown meat, food would be cheap and plentiful. Robotics and nanotechnology would cheapen manufacturing, but might put a large portion of the working class out of a job, though that would probably be less of a problem after a few generations. Of course, with advances in medical biotechnology people might be living considerably longer and hopefully working longer before retiring (if they ever retire).

Finally, enhancements, what I have been focusing on for most of my blog since I started. I stated that in my Ideal Society status would be determined solely by merit, how they acquired the skills or talents that allowed them to reach their status doesn't matter. However, due to the expenses of acquiring enhancements, they would be most common among the higher ranking members of society. Also keep in mind the risks involved with modifying any biological organism, especially the brain. For example, there could be complications with a neurological implantation and someone who could have become a superbright cyborg could instead end up in a coma or with limited mental faculties. Or a gene therapy regimen could result in a potentially fatal immune response or cancer. Even germ-line genetic engineering has risks, mostly for the embryo being modified. Basically most people who would undergo enhancements would be taking a serious risk and deserve whatever new abilities they acquired as a result. If you think that this system is unfair, it could be worse, for example genetic engineering could be used to create a hereditary caste system based on what genetic modifications one's ancestors received.

1 comment:

CeilingCthulu said...

I believe it would be a more meritocratic system if everyone had the ability to get augmentations. Under your society, yes everyone probably has a chance, but the upper class/richer segments of society have a much greater chance, due to cost. If augmentations were instead provided to all who wanted/qualified for them (which yes, would lead to an increase in costs overall), that would help create a less stratified society, rather than simply assuming that the potential risks of the technologies will keep most of the upper classes in line.