To this end, they formed a Geonet, a geodesic democratic organization which allowed them to pool their resources and start working out the development plan for the Workbot and it's manufacturing and implementation strategy. Because of the radical concepts involved, the progress was very slow, and the first Octateam of the Geonet did not come into being before 2004. After producing certain new products not conceived of by the public, allowed by the larger resources of the first Icosateam in 2007, which received international press, the Geonet started expanding at a much faster rate, until the year 2010, when the network started growing very much faster)
The new Holodecks are truly shameless! Being able to see the other members as if they stood or sat next to you definitely makes a big difference in understanding each other. It's not much like the old ST Generations Holo, since nothing is solid, but it works well for meetings. Sure beats the old keyboard and mouse, and that flat monitor I stared into most of my childhood.
Got most of my work done today in only three hours. Don't know how I'm going to get by on what they are paying me for only three hours work a day. Only thirty dollars an hour and it is definitely not enough considering that bread is $9 a loaf. I am going to have to find some kind of extra work on the net to make ends meet. With 60% of the country out of work, I'll be real lucky to find anything, but I don't want to have to quit the Geonet it's too important. But with the 50% flat tax and the 10% Geonet Share, I am barely getting enough to eat. If my girlfriend, Sandy, and Taco, her brother, weren't paying the rent, I would be on the street like millions of other people.
They say Africa is a wasteland now. AIDS pretty much wiped out the population despite the best efforts of the World Health Organization and their vaccines and the AIDS pill. They saved most of South Africa and several coastal states survived, but the inland states had as much as 90% mortality.
The war between Iran and Iraq is in it's eighth year. Iran has been using Nanite weapons against the human wave attacks from Iraq, so the casualty rate is higher this year than since the beginning of the war. Maybe it will end soon, along with the six or seven other small wars Thank goodness the Freeman Insurrection is over at least this country is at peace again. Bloody fools got what they deserved, though.
I would love to get one of those Life Recorders. Imagine having every moment of every day recorded in 3D color for my children and their children Ah, well, just another toy for the rich
I realized today that I had been working on the Workbot Project for almost six years now. I realized it when I was watching the Workbot go through testing. It was hard to realize I had designed the quantum circuits for the Inertial Battery Sensor Systems, watching the amazing thing move around with such incredible grace and speed. It is remote controlled right now, but the programming will be activated next week and it will begin learning to act on it's own, with it's human, of course. I was told today I would get Workbot 15x to take home. I can't wait but of course, my wife, Melinda, will have to get used to it too, and Wendy will probably freak out at first sight of it despite the picture I showed her in the Holoroom. I told her it would be in our house by her ninth birthday, but we are two months behind schedule. You know, watching it flow up a tree smoother than a small monkey, although it is much larger, is an incredible sight. I can see why it might scare small children it does look like a kind of giant virus with an overabundance of tentacle arms. A generalized robot needs to have a generalized shape though, to be able to meet performance specs.
The Microfactory should produce Workbot 2x next week. It will be the first Workbot built by the totally automated Microfactory. The next week, the Autofactory will be tested by producing a Microfactory, and the week after that, if everything works right, the Regional will be powered up to produce an Autofactory. Geometric manufacturing the economy of scale for this system will allow every human on Earth to have a Workbot as a personal companion, hopefully within twenty years.
The Geonet has grown geometrically also, as news of the Workbots have gotten out. Over three hundred thousand people interacted daily in the Geonet when the Project started, before the growth, but almost that number have joined since, each icosateam splitting in half to absorb the new people, growing like any organism, multiplying by division. The funds the new members added to the Workbot Project allowed us to bring all the components of the Project to the testing phase together, as was planned.
The idea that a non-profit organization could fund and bring off such a major project specifically for benefiting all humanity is rather astonishing, especially considering the economy. The government is certainly watching with a lot of interest, although they are too tied up with trying to stop the Midwestern desert from spreading and keeping Florida, what's left of it, from joining Mexico. The skin cancer rate and ultrablindness is taking its toll from the equatorial areas just like the far north and south the ozone is continuing to degrade, still accelerating, in fact. It's suppose to peak in 2032 hope so, or most of the population of the world will be blind if it doesn't starve. Plants and insects, not to mention birds and other animals, are dying out even faster than at the end of the last century.
Then again, maybe the Prez is too busy trying to stay dry. The Washington D.C. seawall is threatening to break again under the impact of the fourth hurricane this season It may well go the way of Miami, New Orleans, and San Diego ruins under the rising sea
The Dome Projects have covered every major remaining city with a geodesic now, and people, with their Workbots, are turning the buildings into giant greenhouses. With the domes blocking out the ultraviolet, it is said almost 50% of the food needed by cities are being grown under the domes. I read some of the old newspapers the other day, and I am still amazed that the people then could read of the dangers scientists projected and not do something about it sooner. It's as if everyone was too busy running to look ahead enough to see the cliff they ran towards.
The government is talking about nationalizing the Workbot System, but with the number of Workbots growing geometrically as more and more Microfactories are produced by more and more Autofactories which are being produced by more and more Regionals being turned out by the Mother Factory at the Project Labs... well, the Geonet doesn't think the rest of the world will allow a single government to control such a system to it's advantage. So far, it's been right.
Once a Regional factory is set up in the top 1000 cities of the world, it could be less than a year after that before everyone will be paired with a Workbot, from the richest to the poorest. Of course, there's always Murphy, and even comprehensive design science cannot eliminate all of Murphy's surprises.
The target date for saturation is only five years from now, and it looks like we might beat that date by a year or so. The only resistance we are meeting is religious, mostly certain sects which think Workbots are either Satin, Kali, or some particular embodiment of absolute evil. We don't mind if someone doesn't want a Workbot, of course, it's completely voluntary. But in Kansas City, the model city for the first phase, who have had total saturation for almost two years now, there is such a immense increase in production and general wealth, as well as corresponding educational and environmental gains, that where the data is believed, there is an immense demand for the Workbot System. Only the Devolves are fighting the efforts of the Geonet, and their political power base is waning quickly under the obvious benefits of the Workbot system.
I went to New York last month, accompanied by my daughter, Wendy, who is head of the Geonet Education Project, and my son, Farro, who just turned twelve. My wife went to Cassindaro, the resort in the Rockies, to undergo a new therapy for Jamison Parasites. She volunteered to try out the experimental therapy in hopes not only of becoming cleansed, but of being part of the solution for a disease found in one out of three human beings in the world.
Texas broke up into five new states last year, taking the option they have had in their state constitution since they became a state. It was either break up or have a civil war between the White Supremacists and the Chicanos. As part of the deal, the southernmost new state will be annexed by Mexico under the Florida Treaty of 2025. The Panhandle went to the White supremacists as part of a deal that allowed them their own euro-centric state, Freemanland, as long as they did not try to secede from the union or threaten their neighboring states. They gave up their weapons and explosives in return, and while they will close the new state's borders, they have agreed not to harm anyone passing through on the interstate highways, even those they hate, which is almost everyone.
Since the majority of the U.S. is of Spanish origin now, the white supremacists have become a thorn in the side of the country, from the Freeman Insurrection to the attempted coup last year in Washington, where they took Prez Alvir hostage. Giving them their own state is a reasonable experiment, even if they become the only state with closed borders. But if they don't settle down in their 'white homeland', I fear they will be wiped out the next time they provoke a fight. A similar homeland is proposed for Native Americans in Utah, breaking that state up into two states, bringing the US up to 52 states after Hawaii joined Japan and Alaska joined Canada five years ago.
We are building special Workbots for France lately, an offshoot Project that may allow that country to clean up the radiation from the waste depository explosion of 2029 which has poisoned almost three fourths of the country. We will pair the 'bots with the French refugees in Spain and Basque, and they will go back to decontaminate the land. A similar Project is setting up for Africa, to help the people there eliminate AIDS-g, which has plagued the entire continent for ten years now. The Workbot's special sensors will allow them to know exactly who has the disease and who doesn't, so the rather dangerous cure can be targeted.
When the economic system collapsed, I was woke up by my cybernews alarm, as the stock markets suddenly plunged and automatic systems stopped trading around the world. People were somewhat subdued everywhere I went, in cyberspace and in the real world, as if waiting for the worse. Those who had work glared at the homeless covering the sidewalks, yards, and parks, their fear of joining the unwashed masses twisted into hate of the barely surviving. I didn't take my daily walk for weeks after that morning, as the stock markets tried to start up over and over again, just to shut down again only moments into trading, as every stock plummeted. Banks closed as people started trying to get the old paper cash from them, feeling better about having something material in their hands than just numbers in a bank. Their debit/credit cards only worked if the information was mirrored in a bank system, but more and more banks stopped approving transactions as their overall working capitol became more and more problematical.
All the other parts of the economic system started to grind to a halt, as he economic weather caused financial institutions to withhold loans, creditors used fine print to demand full payment of people who had nothing to pay, businesses saw their profits fade into memory as people stopped buying anything but essentials, and the price of those essentials, driven up already by three decades of growing environmental extremes, doubled overnight.
The Geonet Self-Education week meetings became a gathering of data on the conditions and resources available and where the requirements of survival might be found. The Decision week became the integration of the data into possible local networking strategies. The normal Face meetings chose the option of passing the task on to higher sized frequency meeting, and within a month, two cycles, the whole Geonet was integrated on the emergency, the first time since the meetings that started the Workbot Project that the whole organization was involved together on the same subject. However, the Geonet is very much bigger than the last time. It is global now, with over two billion members, a number that still grows rapidly daily.
It quickly became apparent that food was the first major concern. Farmers and food warehouse proprietors on the Geonet had enough food to feed the people for two years, and Geonet members in the transportation businesses agreed to haul the food to the cities, and both small store chains and several large chains whose members where overwhelmingly part of the Geonet agreed to pass the food out. However, fuel for transportation was a problem, since multinational corporations controlled the entire energy/fuel system. The global energy grid had never stopped flowing, and since almost all the workers and management of the grid were in the Geonet, it hadn't even thought about it despite the threats of stockholders and others who put money ahead of human life.
But all corporations are made of people, and Geonet members in the Oil industry globally started the fuel flowing again, much to the ranting and raving of corporate officers, who filed charges against everyone they could find and the Geonet as a whole. As stock brokers worldwide realized their wealth was really just little numbers in computers, and now didn't exist, jumped from skyscrapers and shot themselves, the governments stepped in and proclaimed national emergencies or martial law. In the ten countries which where the governments demanded the Geonet cease and desist, the Geonet stopped it's organizational process, and people started to starve. In the others, including the United States, Britain, Russia, and China, the governments realized the Geonet was doing exactly what the government would have to do, and simply assigned authorizations giving the Geonet permission to continue, pending approval by government boards and hastily formed oversight committees. The Geonet, thanks to the benefits of the Workbots that almost everyone had use of, was very popular throughout the world, and with food, power, luxuries, and safety now provided for by the Geonet, the sudden lack of money, or the need for money, became somehow irrelevant. It wasn't missed.
People followed their daily routines, worked at their jobs as if they were being paid, but when their usual payday came, the vast majority didn't miss the paycheck because they could still go to the store and get what they wanted, or needed, and the only difference consisted of not having to pull a debit or credit card from their purse or pocket. A tiny percentage worried that without the money, they could be suddenly either restricted from getting goods or services or lose an advantage of some kind by not getting money to put into some kind of savings or investment. However, for most of them, the sudden collapse of the stock market and the other investment markets had shaken their faith in the whole system. Still, many started hauling home everything they could, which simply meant they filled their living space with un-necessary foodstuffs. Other people took items and goods they had always wanted but never had the money to buy, but through the much expanded manufacturing ability of the Workbot system, there was little scarcity of even particular items.
Businesses became teams in a new sense, no longer oriented towards higher profits, but oriented towards accomplishing great projects or services for the pleasure of the members and their 'customers'. People no longer felt they had to put up with bosses which abused them emotionally or verbally, so the teams were far more mature and those chosen as leaders by a team, or the originator of a team, would treat each member as an adult and work out the differences. Some dissolved quickly, not much different than 'moneyed' times, but many more grew as people who liked the basic concept or goal joined them and participated.
As the weeks became months, people started either quitting their jobs or changing them to occupations they really wanted. Since the realization that wealth had little to do with human sweat or labor, since the machines made all they needed, anything they wanted, and did all the labor, many jobs just disappeared. Many people started just sitting around on their porches or spending all day every day in cyberspace, playing intricate games. But the Workbot system was not without agreements and a few rules agreed to before receiving the device, like the rule that every Workbot had to be used for one hour each day cleaning up the environment in some way agreed to by an Icosateam. Many people started using the Workbots to clean up the environment every day for periods far longer than a single hour.
Since a basic fact of Workbots, known and agreed to by everyone who had one, was that they were ultimately controlled by the Geonet, and each I-team had veto power over any particular use of a Workbot except theirs, which some other Icosateam had veto over. A few grumbled that this infringed upon their individual rights, although they had greater freedom than anytime in history, but this rule prevented people from ordering their Workbots to do something really ecologically stupid, like destroying a delicate habitat or tearing down someone else's house. Since contacting the Icosateam involved could be done either though personal cyberlinks or through the Workbot itself, it was not a difficult requirement. If someone didn't like the decision of the responsible Icosateam, the subject could be appealed to the Octateam organizational size or even higher. But the governance of the Icosateams was very light, with most people never asking their Workbots to do something that needed oversight. Most things a Workbot was ordered to do did not require contacting anyone, like sweeping a floor or diapering a baby or any of a million daily tasks.
Towards the end of the first year after the Great Collapse, another trend started; people started moving around. People traveled all over the world, assured that they would be safe and would have what they needed where ever they went. Ships were built according to the desire of the individuals who would use them, and other people, with sea knowledge, set up Ocean Rescue Teams to pluck foolish landlubbers from their folly. Because lives were being lost in ocean storms despite Rescue teams and Workbots, a specialized ocean-oriented Workbot was developed for these would-be sea travelers, which dropped the death rate considerably.
Five years after the GC, the Geonet had another global meeting, and for the first time, it decided to act as a global government to prevent certain kinds of environmental damage. Only Freemanland objected, calling the Geonet the 'one world government' they said was predicted in the Bible but few listened and even fewer cared. Freemanland was a nightmare to live in, and everyone knew it.
Although King James proclaimed the raid a victory, pointing to the food as tribute taken by 'right of conquest', he has not attempted any more raids. The Workbots can move much faster, are much stronger, and have senses far beyond human, and while they cannot harm a human physically, they are programmed to disassemble any weapon pointed at them or another human, doing so without harming the human holding the weapon. Attacking a 'bot with bare hands simply causes frustration, since the 'bot will redirect all force to the side gently, careful not to harm the attacker, while broadcasting through the Workbot System what is going on.
There hasn't been a violent rape anywhere in the world where people are twinned with 'bots for almost four years now. The feeling of safety everyone feels is amazing.
Humans love to work at what fires their imagination, and for the first time, an individual can try out an idea without having money to limit and control their efforts. The Geonet may look over your shoulder, but it seldom intervenes. Funny thing is, those who start Projects have inherited the title of 'entrepreneurs' from the old system. The amount of new Livingry technology appearing on the 'warehouse' inventory database is astounding. With the ability of the Workbot factory system to manufacture individual items quickly out of common materials, anyone can sit down and describe something they wish to have and it will be manufactured for them in minutes. Plus, by design, everything is recyclable simply by adding it to the machine's materials hopper.
For example, in Northern California, a man who wanted to build a new kind of space vehicle formed a team of people to help him. Some liked experimenting with alloys, or inventing new kinds of quantronics, or integrating life support systems, etc. Each time they needed someone to work out a problem they could not figure out themselves, they found someone who loved solving that kind of problem, and with omniprosperity assured, the new individuals often traveled to the team location to work on the project.
In three years, with the Geonet overseeing safety and helping as needed, the Star Seed took off into orbit to try out a radical new concept in space flight. Two years later, radio signals arrived from Pluto as the group of three hundred men and women, complete with Workbots and a Microfactory, reached there on their way out of the solar system, on their way to find other inhabitable planets.
Of course, there are a few who feel oppressed by the System, mostly because the concept of 'land ownership' no longer has force of law behind it, (it had always been an illusion anyway,) or because the militaries around the world are dwindling away for lack of interest or becoming a major emergency rescue service for whole countries. Some are disgruntled because they don't know what to do with their time, now that they can live wealthy without work, but there are hundreds of thousands of Projects to join, if they would choose, or they could join the Geonet and/or start a Project of their own. They complain that they don't have the power to run a Project if they are part of the Geonet, but even in the past, a Board of Directors or a Bank would have veto power over an enterprise, so they are actually only making up excuses. The facts are that in the spirit of R. Buckminster Fuller's concept of Projects, the originator is the main designer of a Project, and has more power in a Project than most leaders in the past.
The fact that the old governments were taking away vast amount of land only a decade ago in order to farm it, or move extremists onto it to prevent blood baths, does not seem to be remembered. That not a single person has been forced off any land by the Geonet also does not seem to matter either to these rabid individuals. They are incensed by the reality that three fourths of the world's population can now have anything (anything not specifically designed for violence, that is,) they want just by asking for it, with the generalized factories once producing Workbots now configured to make Livingry upon demand. Poverty no longer exists except in Freemanland and a few other pockets of those who reject the Workbot System.
The changes over the last decade are astounding, without doubt. Major cities emptied out as people moved to small dometowns or created new dometowns or domefarms on land once 'owned' by people who did nothing with it. In every case, the individuals who once 'owned' the land were part of the Geonet and gave up the land voluntarily, realizing that their now enhanced standard of living far exceeded their standard of living when they were the rich surrounded by the poor. With no danger to their families anymore, with more access to technology and the ability to accomplish whatever they set out to do, with better medical care through the Workbots than the old medical system provided, they realized the new system was better, and easily accepted the new paradigm that land not directly used by someone is common to everyone, and governed by the Geonet itself.
The bell curves of conceptual thought still exist. Not everyone is enamored by the new systems. Some even yearn for the days of Capitalism, when a few lived lives of great luxury, surrounded by their private armies of guards, as others, just as worthy of wealth but not so talented in the gathering of wealth in that system, starved in quiet desperation. Even the system of self-government, the geodesic democracy embodied by the Geonet, is hated or feared by some, who call it 'communism' despite it's lack of intimidation or state control of people's lives. But none are rejected by the Geonet, none go hungry or homeless, or are punished by violence.
The system of prisons was abolished two years ago, with each prisoner allowed to go and do anything they wished, but each has a Workbot assigned to it, to keep that individual from harming anyone. Some take their frustration out by breaking 'things', or by running through the streets screaming, but none can hurt anyone because their assigned 'bot will gently prevent it.
There are even those who WANT to be able to harm others, saying that the Workbots oppress them by keeping them from violent acts. They claim that 'Liberty' gives them the right to decide to kill or harm others, (especially 'their' families, which they seem to think they 'own' like slaves,) or for revenge or satisfaction, but if they do try to harm another, even someone like them who has rejected having a personal Workbot, they will find themselves with a 'bot companion in short order. Better that than a prison or execution by a government. An individual's rights end where another individual's rights begin. Do two men have the right to kill each other, or at least try? No, of course not. They could fight, of course, with their bare hands, and if both told their Workbots to leave them alone, the machines obeyed. This was the compromise worked out by those within the Geonet who considered hand to hand combat a matter of liberty however, if one or the other wished to end it, the Workbots intervened, and neither man was allowed to use a killing blow. The speed and senses of the Workbot would prevent such a blow by deflecting it, and end the battle right then.
The main problems came up where some people's cultures thought they ought to be able to control or punish others, like Muslim men wanting to be able to beat their wives, or Hindu men demanding the 'right' to burn their wives and children to death, or Christian's wanting to impose their values or morality upon others by law or where people thought 'property' rights concerning land were infringed upon and threatened other people with guns only to find themselves disarmed and their weapons disassembled.
Hunting was still a sport, and the Workbots didn't interfere with it, but pointing a weapon at another human being always produced sudden, if painless, disarming, and the disassembly of the weapon. At first, Hunters often left their Workbots behind, but after awhile, since having the Workbots increased their safety, few left them behind. Since the Workbot gave far better protection than a gun, there was no good reason to point a gun at anyone. The paranoid, of course, saw this action as proof that the Geonet and the Workbot system was just disarming everyone in order to enslave them eventually, but as they realized they were far better off living in the prosperity and greater freedom the Geonet and the Workbot System had brought into existence, the majority who believed this way accepted the status quo, leaving only a few hard core fanatics. Most moved to Freemanland, where there was poverty and total lack of freedom under King David despite the 'high minded principles' advocated there.
In the last few years, several more enclaves like Freemanland have been created and populated by those who simply were not happy in omniprosperity. Some had simply liked the game of money, while others wanted to practice their religions or political systems in isolation, without the Geonet and the Workbot System. Some, like Ecoland, wanted to live without much technology, and using their Workbots and the System to make primitive tools, they asked for and received their own homeland and went off to live much like the Amish. The majority of humanity either took on the task of cleaning up the planet and re-establishing the ecosystem, joined Projects to solve problems or create new technologies, or simply settled down doing what made them feel fulfilled, usually some kind of service work. Sports and adventures became major attractions, either to participate in, often in Cyberspace, or to watch, and millions went out into space, moving into the new frontier.
Huge balloons are now generating massive amounts of ozone in the upper atmosphere while filtering out the chemicals that destroyed the layer. On the surface, Workbots are going through various high radiation areas, dirt particle by dirt particle, picking out radioactive material down to a depth of a foot. Projects are using gene reconstruction to bring back species long killed off, as well as cleaning bad genes out of the human gene pool. Generations are being born and raised by parents and extended families who now have time for them, and with the educational abilities of the Workbots they are given at birth, they are the most educated generations in history, magnitudes beyond their parents, their learning integrated into their daily lives without schools or Universities, most of which have changed into lab facilities for Project research.
By the way, I may be going up to Avalon next week. I have always wanted to visit a floating city. However, access to the six atmosphere supported cities are on a first come, first serve basis. It is rare to find any limit on what someone wants to do, but like hiking the Grand Canyon, or walking on the surface of the Moon, limits are created by necessity. As long as access is not arbitrarily passed out by people who seek control of others with such favors, everyone agrees and cooperates where such limits exist. Without VIPS to force themselves into the front of the lists, first come, first served seems the norm for such situations. I can hardly wait to look back at Earth from so high a viewpoint. It will