0116 - The Essence of Life - 2019.12.23



Everyone's familiar with Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, yeah? I don't need to explain that? Cool.

Much of the world of Forward is defined by automation. I think the automation of many menial jobs will define the next century, and how we respond to that economic challenge will define whether we move toward utopia or dystopia.

Let's face it, as of this writing, unmanned vehicles aren't particularly safe. They've made mistakes. They've killed people. There are a wide variety of real-world scenarios that automated cars simply don't know how to handle yet, and I, for one, do not feel safe living in Elon Musk's beta testing environment... but it would appear that I don't have much of a choice.

I'm not saying unmanned vehicles will take over our streets next year, or five or ten or even twenty years from now. But fifty? If you don't think they're taking over in fifty years, you're crazy. Remember, they don't have to be perfect - they just have to be better, on average, than a human driver. That's not as hard to do as you may think.

And, once unmanned driving becomes the norm, that's going to replace every bus driver, every truck driver, every taxi - yes, even gig economy rideshare guys. It's not soon. It's not easy. It's not ideal. But it is inevitable.

I'm just using vehicles as an obvious, easy-to-parse example. Automation is already replacing workers all over the world. By the time 2167 rolls around, there are no jobs. Only careers.

You know the difference between a job and a career, don't you? A job is the bullshit you have to do to keep the lights on and put food on the table. A career is the thing you're proud of, the thing you specialize in, the thing you build on, the thing that's important.

A career is higher on Maslow's pyramid.

And, of course, the world of Forward has plenty of careers. People start new businesses. People manage collections. People make art. People pursue science. Orb is a teacher. Caleb served their country.

So what do you do when you dedicate your life to a career, you derive your self-actualization from your excellence at a task, only to one day wake up and realize that you're making the world a worse place?


0116 - 2167/07/06/12:55 - Rosenthal College, Theta building, just outside classroom
OT: Look, Mezzer Paratta, regardless of where you wind up, it's pretty obvious that you're in a period of transition. I can't tell you what is best in life, or what is best for your life, or what is best for the species. I can tell you that taking a bunch of college classes with "Intro to" in the title is a good first step, and maybe you shouldn't make any big decisions until after you've passed those classes.
CP: I just don't want to waste three months.
OT: Learning is never a waste, my friend.
OT: Personal growth is the very essence of sapient life!
CP: Um... what about compassion for others?
OT: Ah... that's the hallmark of moral life. That's different. Plenty of sapient life happens to be assholes.
OT: Now come on, I gotta take attendance and then momentarily scare some folks into thinking they've somehow accidentally wandered into an aeronautics class.
CP: What was that about plenty of sapient life?
OT: Can't hear you, too busy molding young minds.
OT: Hello, everyone! Please, take your seats! Gonna get everyone's names, first of all...