Proposals for the Future

with permission from Zach Mandeville, author of “The Future Will Be Technical”, i’d like to re-cast a spell from a Scuttlebutt post ( %E6vHN5yxrdShDtKedcB8j2dHpF5Z1re/VXj6Hr8dXts=.sha256 ) :sparkles: :seedling:

Future Guides pt. 3: Our Future

Proposals for the Future

I would like to create a document of our imagined future. I want something that people can access to better understand the world we are building towards. This document would feed our own imaginations, continually reminding us of our shared metaphorical realms. Since this is Scuttlebutt, I want to celebrate our diversity and subjectivity by asking for your help on imagining this world. What is the future you are building towards, and the tremblings of that future that inspire you today?

I’d like to ask you for your future vision in a specific way, which requires a bit of personal context. Since I am not cyberpunk, I’m not going to try to be sarcastic and cryptic. Instead, I’ma be solarpunk and vulnerable:

I get sad a lot. Sadness comes consistently, but unexpectedly, though I’ve grown to handle it better with time. Depression feels like an unpleasant childhood friend who comes to visit every now and then, who has some important thing to tell me, but phrases things so terribly.

One method that’s helped with my depression is magical thinking. Like the thought that Time exists in more ways than the one we comprehend. And in some fashion, the future me already exists, and has already moved past this sad spell. If I believe that, then maybe the past me also still exists, and is hoping for some better future. And so, in the moments when I feel the most aware, and alive, and happypowerful, I try to send back encouragement to my past self, urging him closer to where I am right now. That way, In the moments when I feel fully under a black cloud, I can seek support from my future self and ask for encouragement — an intuitive direction towards that happier future.

If I were to describe the mood of the web today (or at least the people I know within it), it would be depression. Everything gives off a feeling of melancholy, anxiety, and a persistent guilt over not getting enough done. Today, the best metaphor for being online is the feeling of being depressed in bed, trying to find the desire to face the day.

And so, I’d ask: What is the future you are building for that provides encouragement to your today? How do you see the traces of that future in our community and technology, and how would you describe it to the broader online world, to give it the encouragement to at least stand up and take a shower?

Please feel free to reply with your future vision. It can be as far-out, practical, or fantastical as the prompt inspires in you. If you’d like to reply, but not necessarily in public, you can direct message me too. I love this community for the incredible feeling of potential it inspires. I’m excited to read our collected speculative fiction.


morning routine

you wake up. :zzz:

you wonder what you want to do today. you check the latest open house tasks:

  • plant potatoes (easy)
  • clean kitchen (medium)
  • repair broken generator (hard)

you feel good today, you’ve been feeling much more awake ever since air pollution has reached low enough levels to breathe outside without a mask.

you get out of bed and head to your house’s kitchen. here you grab some fresh fruit, granola, and yogurt in a bowl, which you bring with you to your house’s garden. on the way you pick up the paper.

you sit down next to the apple trees and ponder, what’s in a seed…? :seedling:

a housemate walks by: “hey, did you hear about what happened last night?”

“no, what’s up?”

housemate: “there was a 8.5 earthquake in Wellington”


housemate: “yet everyone was fine, hardly even any structural damage.”

“so the latest open building models really are earthquake safe, huh?”

housemate: “yeah i guess so, i wonder if this will convince more people here to upgrade”

you decide to flip through the paper. another boring day in Berkeley.

you check the nearby garden data: our house is producing 5% more produce than last year.

you wonder why that might be, more clear skys, more automation, the latest genome?

you decide on your next task: plant potatoes. easy.

even though you’ve done this before, you skim through the documentation to make sure you remember everything.

you check in the shed, find the bag of potato seeds and pull out a planter. you set the planter upright and hold out the seeds.

you see the planter take the bag, analyze the seeds, and venture onward, finding open spaces suitable for growing potatoes.

the sun starts to climb over the trees and you feel the warmth against the cool breeze.

you ponder how much you want to work today.

you remember a conversation last night, about the impact the floods were having on nearby houses.

your house has been mostly unharmed, mostly due to its position within the geography.

as other houses become more impacted, you’ve appreciated the opportunity share your house’s surplus, in particular the micro-factory equipment that you diligently maintain.

you wade through the latest real-time climate analysis coming through Northern California. attached to each report are discussions on potential actions requiring regional coordination, many of these linking to documentation about new techniques made possible by the latest open research in Hawaii.

overwhelming but important, you let this sink into your subconscious. in the meantime, you decide you want to do some simple physical labor today, so you check the nearby house boards for open tasks recommended for your skills:

  • clean blocked drain pipes (easy)
  • build a barn (medium)
  • repair water pump (medium)
  • elevate house 2 meters (hard)

ah, a good barn raise! you remember contributing to the initial designs for this neighboring site, so it makes sense to join the physical party.

you grab a bike, check your hud for directions, and pedal onward towards the sun. :sunny: