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 Post subject: Vision for old people 2050
PostPosted: Fri, 01 Apr 2011, 23:58 
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Joined: Fri, 07 Aug 2009, 22:22
Posts: 275
The following is how I see life for one imaginary old person in 2050 - Ian's last day on Earth - he's happy enough to go, it's his time. Work in progress please feel free to edit it as you please lets see what comes out!

It's recycled from bits of borrowed ideas. Unfortunately, while I'm broadly happy with it as a first stab I forgot to account for about half of the Uk's expected population of (say) 70 million in 2050. (

What could have happened to them? Several million could have emigrated, like Ian's son, to the City of Dreams, but there's still a few more million unaccounted for. Any ideas?

Story follows:

Ian had not felt so nostalgic since the the day in 2040 that cannobots had entered into his body to repair the cancerous cells. There had been times after the autodoc had sugggested treatment and before the insertion when he'd thought about the past, but today was that rare midwinter day, the sun was shining. Ian rarely bothered to talk to humans, these days unless across the Thoughtweb. You were never alone with the web.

Few could have forseen at the turn of the Century that Global Warming would result in such rain. Winters were a monsoon, while the coming, his 105th summer was expected to reach 40 degrees plus or minus 2 degrees with a 95% confidence.

He turned the corner into the Carfax, and noticed rust at the base of the pillar where the constant rain had dripped and splashed, wearing away the toughest paint and spattering into the raw metal. A small pool had been worn into the ancient paving slabs.

The Thoughtweb sang his own thoughts about decay back to him in a sad, mossy rythmn of dark and splendid feelings In its own compelling universal language ideas and images from all over the world were there resonating in his mind, taking his feelings in turn and transmitting them silently for the world to share. One conscious thought - command could articulate this dark pool of emotion into a brilliant spike of auto-poetry, but not today.

Today it was sunny. He had decided to be alone today, disconnected from the web and its solid buttress of human comfort - he closed his eyelids for a fraction of a second to thought-switch off the AI module.

Overwhelmed by the immediate and overpowering feeling of isolation, he was shocked. As the colours and sounds of the town came flooding home to him in raw experience; a shrill cacophony for his own tiny, now isolated, tired mind; he felt his will collapse; his leg muscles slackening, and he fell.

In the old days it would have been dangerous....before the oil had run out the square was full of cars, and then there had only been the electric cycles to contend with. After 2017, electricity had become seen as too valuable to squander on transportation, and thankfully, wheels were things you only saw on emergency vehicles or farm machinery these days.

The ambulance was too far away at an incident at the Gatwick Windfarm so a passing First-aider saw to him. A Poor Man was briskly called over to assist, and was instructed to carry Ian to a safe place. They decided on the Oxfam shop on the North side of the Square

Irritated, the Firstaider reflected that if the old fellow hadnt switched off his Thoughtweb he could have saved everybody's time. The Poor Man was irritated too because the old man didn't carry a wallet or anything else conveniently removable or edible. The Oxfam lady smiled and handed the Poor Man an apple. She was not irritated with the Old Man (who she did not know to be her father or even that his name was Ian) or the First-aider, or even the Poor Man. But although she didnt show it, she was mightliy angry with the ChinaColaCo corporation who were feeding tonnes of grain to pigs at their African farms while those outside the razorwire fences were literally starving.

By coincidence, it was ChinaColaCo who had funded Ian's pension. There were few smaller corporations left, those that remained were mainly Charities, Farms, and various maintenance and repair companies. New manufacture was concentrated in the HiTech sector, and the sector was distributed over millions of smaller plant worldwide. Horsham was lucky to have one of the few remaining thoughtweb implant component printing plants, and despite, or perhpas becasue of, being owned by ChinaColaco it was a good place to work. Even from from the outlying areas like Billingshurst you could cycle there in an hour, and in fact Wing Chow the CEO was known for his weekly regular 55 minute spin in to the office.

Wing Chow was also locally famous as dab a hand with the scythe, and his subtle achievements of ecological engineering had earnt him a mean reputaion as a grower of beans and corn. Just three short generations before his Gradfather had been knee deep in the Paddy water when he died of a sudden heart attack. Wing have been a farmer had not his potential been spotted by ChinaColaCo scan as a toddler. Now Wing lived with the security of knowing when his heart attack was most likely to happen in one of the better regulated Lost West communities. Backwater it may be, but better here than in London at the main Plant where the only light was recycled.

Ian had not paid for the luxury of knowing when to expect the end - he preferred not to know. He preferred dreaming. He dreamt of his old work. He was a a real old timer. He'd seen the whole progression, from silicon chips and a keyboard to quantum implants. In his youth he's learnt math from Jack who'd learnt his Math in turn while working with Radio Valves. Incredible to think that the same ancient radio technology that powered morse code now powered the Thoughtweb. At two in the morning his eyelids would flicker as his dreaming mind conjured up images of components being printed from raw Fullerene.

After retiring four years ago, he's missed the place so much he'd turned up one morning just out of habit. They were cheerful and kind, but his loneliness was apparent to all. That was when he decided to have the implant fitted, he'd been making bits for them for long enough after all. It was his personal implant, and he alone had the means to switch it off, and back on. One conscious thought would suffice, but the dreamer knows not of Now. Ian dreamt of his old life, his wife, of his emigrant son in India, struggling for a foothold in the City of Dreams, radiating waves in a tiny pool of water rippling and glinting in the wintery sunshine.

The First-aider knew the signs. All the resources of Mediweb were at his command, at the speed of thought. Yet the relentless pace of Old Death could still not be stopped nor hurried. As he watched his patient slipping away, hope crumbled into resignation. Four billion human minds fell into into mourning for a millisecond. Another six billion human minds, unconnected to thoughweb, and focussed only on the day to day scramble for protein, did not notice.

The Poor Man had climbed the ivy to the steeple of on St Marks Tower to make the most of his apple, the first meal of the day, actually two days. He could see across the roof of the MoregrubCCC hydroponics unit and above even across the treetops of Albion Boulevard. Glinting in the north was the New London tower, half finished when the ChinaColaco triage decisions had been made in the mid twenties. It had already collected wild seeds from the summer breezes, and in this bright winter sunshine, well watered by the Monsoon, they were starting to sprout. The New London Tower was too high. the cost of pumping water to the top was too high. Yet miraculously, over the last few years vegetation had started to appear between the steel floors unaided by the complex hydroponics systems which riddled the formar Capital's buildings.

The Poor Man decided. He would go there, climb the tower and plant the last apple seed, which now rested on his tongue. He would take with him a bag of compost, and start walking today.

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