The World of 2016

Exponential growth is for Luddites

I dedicate this post to my Roomba, who served me well for four and a half great years. R.I.P., 2011-2016.

Okay, maybe not. But there’s a reason why I trashed my Roomba— it’s outdated. It was outdated when I bought it and it’s worlds outdated today. Every second that passes inches it closer to the Roomba Obsoletion Singularity, the point at which all Roombas are obsolete the moment they’re created.

But I don’t mind, because I didn’t need another Roomba for half of a decade. That one served me well. The same applies to a lot of technology— I recently blogged about how I have a smartphone from 2013, and how I’ll probably keep it until I buy an iPhone 8s Plus, which I’ll then keep until 2026.

It feels good to experience exponential growth. It’s hard to experience it when you’re constantly riding the curve, so making a stop at one point and picking back up some time later is a joyride that can’t be beat.

The same will still be true 13 years from now. Imagine 13 years of exponential growth from where we’re at now. There’s a reason why the World of 2029 posts are increasingly ‘out there’— the more I consider the real nature of the future, the more I realize that I’m badly underestimating the rate of change. When I went into writing The World of 2029: Part One, I was still thinking linearly.

Imagine if this year were 2003, and I was writing about the year 2016. Yeah, there are some things I’ll get wrong, wrong and terribly wrong. But there are other things I might get partially right, except that I wasn’t being creative enough.

Back in 2003, I thought about the future a lot. I oft consider that period in 2003 to be my ‘proto-futurist’ phase of youth. The years that really interested me were 2015 and 3000. Why 2015? I dunno, it just sounded so futuristic to me. What’s more, it’s cute how little difference there was between 2015 and 3000— the year 3000 AD was brighter, taller, and had flying cars, but it was recognizable. The year 2015 had a lot of robots, jetpacks, neon, and some “primitive flying cars.” Mind you, I was 9 years old, so I wasn’t totally aware of all the great changes that had occurred and could occur.

Still, it’s interesting to return to those times and try to wrap my mind around the idea of just how much had actually changed between then and 2015.

The biggest thing was access to the Future. A lot of futurist thinking is predicated upon the idea that the Future will be mostly-evenly distributed. To an extent, this is actually correct: think of smartphones and their prevalence in society. The rich might have snazzy covers and larger storage sizes, but for the most part, a millionaire’s iPhone isn’t very different from my own.

To another extent, it’s totally wrong. Were there robots, jetpacks, and primitive flying cars in 2015? Absolutely. Did everyone have them? Not at all. In fact, only a handful of people altogether had any of the above.

Things get cheaper, as smartphones have, so I’m confident the Future will arrive in the lap of the less fortunate. It’s just that, for now, we have to watch and imagine.

The amount of exponential growth between 2003 and 2015 didn’t seem to be all that great. Towards the end, there was a noticeable curve upwards in progress, but it took a while to get going. Between 2003 and 2010, not much in my daily life changed. I had an iPhone and 7th generation video game consoles, but that was just about it. Never mind the more subtle changes, such as the rise of social media and YouTube.

Compare 2010 to 2015, and I’ll definitely say there was a change. For one, I got a Roomba. I also got a more powerful computer, a much better smartphone, a brand new video game console, and I started using Siri and Cortana. Oh, and then there was this totally nothing drone I got in 2014.

I’ll always use the drone as an example of when the Future hit me and my mother in the face. The thing’s a flying robot. I got a freaking flying robot for Christmas. In 2003, that was the solely the realm of science fiction. My mother? She still can’t get over it. It looks like a flying saucer, which just drives the point home even further.

Now it’s 2016 and I’m already impressed with what I’m seeing, whether it be autonomous manned drones or heavily expanded IoT services. I’ve become used to the overwhelming amount of change because I’ve accepted and embraced it. That makes it easier to see just how much change we’re undergoing and predict how much will occur in the future. Yet I still made the linearist mistake.

So I feel I should spend time talking about where information technology will be in 13 to 14 years. I  can talk about where it’ll be in 4 years all the same. If I use an exponential growth model, things begin making sense.

So expect the World of 2029 posts to get exponentially weirder.

 

National Networked Federation of Worker Cooperatives

It’s a staple of Vyrdist philosophy— that we need a national network of worker cooperatives.

Why do we need them? Because as a Vyrdist, I believe that owning automation will be more fruitful than simply getting a check every month, ala universal basic income.

This is Vyrd’s best idea, IMO. According to him, one reason why income inequality is so dangerously high is because workers have so little power. It’s at the point that workers are relying on hope that bourgeois bureaucrats will tax themselves to pay for welfare to ease their pain.

Thanks to Conservative Leftism, the liberalist ideals embodied by the Democrats, the worker has been bamboozled into thinking reliance on bourgeois welfare is empowerment. So complete is this brainwashing, some workers who wish for expanded welfare actually oppose programs dedicated toward cooperativization.

The nuvo-left knows better. The only way to empower the workers is through empowerment. This sounds nonsensical and silly, but think about it for a second: what does “empowerment” really mean? Economically, it means owning the means of production, being business leaders, and controlling the distribution of wealth at personal enterprises.

Vyrd was smart. He realized that a decentralized market is the best way to allocate resources in a technostist society. Centralized planning has failed both socialism and capitalism. To those confused by the latter, recognize that a traditional capitalist enterprise involves workers creating wealth and a central authority distributing that wealth. It is beholden to market realities, yes, but this is the gist of any business.

Decentralized State power coupled with decentralized economic power is the best way forward. The only way to decentralize economic power is to create a national networked federation of worker cooperatives. Vyrd said that the best way to establish technostism is to create a mixed economy. Not one in the traditional sense, but an economy that features a number of worker cooperatives and traditional enterprises. He then bet on labor flight, where low-skilled and mid-skilled workers at traditional enterprises fled to the worker cooperatives for their vastly higher wages, leaving the high-skilled with the capitalists and spurring capitalists to invest heavily in automation to make up for their lost labor base. The worker cooperatives will profit from this automation along with them as the cost of automation plummets. Ownership is extended to whole communities via helotism, until eventually all enterprises— worker or capitalist owned— are automated and ownership of automation is either fully or quasi common.

A strong worker federation means an empowered working class.

Cyberkinesis

Cyberkinesis: The manipulation of digital and robotic apparatuses through one’s mind. Also known as technokinesistechnopathy, and psychotronics.

Which one is technically correct? I don’t believe it matters, though I have heard more use ‘technopathy’ to describe a superpower where one literally controls machines with their native mind while ‘cyberkinesis’ is used to describe augmentation that allows a person to do such. Thus, I tend towards ‘cyberkinesis.’

Cyberkinesis is a fun little thing; I remember a cyberkinetic toy I played with back in 2010.

 

There are also other cyberkinetic products one can purchase right now, such as Emotiv’s Insight.

So it’s not science fiction, but the applications are still rather fleeting. Fast forward a decade, when algorithms will be much more capable of deciphering our brain waves, and you’ll begin to notice that our phones have become ‘telepathy machines.’

2026 Smartphones

I remember when I first saw a smartphone. The year was 2006, and I was a relatively normal elementary school kid who had just entered 6th grade. One of my classmates was bragging about her flashy new status symbol— a BlackBerry Pearl. She was talking about how she could access this website called ‘MySpace’ and how this phone could hold about two hundred (compressed) songs.

“God Christ! Two hundred songs on a phone? Unbelievable!” I thought. At this point in my life, I was still using CD players and I owned maybe four or five CDs. This idea of having hundreds of songs at my fingertips was beyond me— let alone also being able to access the Internet in the palm of my hand.

Fast forward ten years and such a thing barely barely warrants a “meh” from me. Two hundred songs? I have over a hundred playlists, and each one averages roughly double that. But that’s a sign of the times, isn’t it? The phone I have dates from 2013, so it’s still outdated, but it’s also an order of magnitude greater than that spoiled 6th grader’s “unbelievable” phone.

But it’s still a cheap phone, all things considering. Compared to the 6th grader’s, whose parents spent a pretty penny on it, I barely gave a crap when choosing this one out. It gets things done, so I don’t care too much. However, in the future, I plan to dig into my wallet to pay for quality.

What’s my ideal smartphone?

I want something that holds 512 GB of storage and has 4 GB of RAM. The iPhone 7s Plus sounds like it’ll come very close to my ideal, so that’s why I will probably buy one. However, I might also hold out until the iPhone 8s Plus. When that happens, I’ll keep it close for roughly 7 more iPhone iterations, until about 2026.

What do I expect there to be in 2026?

Let me start by saying I expect my current ‘high end’ to be the standard. If that, of course. It would be better if there were phones that could hold upwards of 3 TB and have 32 GB of RAM.

In fact, by 2026, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if phones could hold 64 to 128 TB. What’s the use of all this space? We always ask that question.

In 2026, it’ll be common for phones to do several things

  • Holographic displays. iPhone 7 is allegedly going to achieve this this year. So holograms? A given for 2026 phones.
  • Virtual reality. Again, there are already VR-capable phones on the market (Gear VR), but if we want phones that can withstand the power of higher-end VR systems (like the Rift or Vive), we’re going to need exponentially more powerful hardware.
  • Cyberkinesis. Phones of the 2020s will be expected to have the ability to utilize texting via thinking software. I can only imagine the hardware necessary. Cyberkinesis will be highly important for several other features to work, I tell you.
  • Virtual assistants. Artificial intelligences that help you out with your every day life. This, I bet will be largely left to the Cloud, except for a few programs. The AI VAs of 2026 will seem like actual AI, rather than the glorified chat bot answering machines that are today’s VAs, and will be capable of holding whole conversations and having personalities. Think of all the basic apps you currently have, such as reminders, news, weather, calendars, etc. AI VAs will replace all of them.
  • Augmented reality. I largely doubt phones of the future will resemble the phones of today— much like the phones of today largely don’t resemble the phones of decades past. Phones will most likely transition into being terminals for augmented/hybrid reality glasses and contact lenses, rather than the multimedia machines they are today. This is actually more likely for the lenses than glasses, as some of today’s glasses (like the HoloLens) are entirely self-powered. AR glasses and lenses will benefit greatly from cyberkinesis technology.
  • 5G and 6G capabilities. 5G is set to begin around 2020, and has already been teased in several East Asian cities. The same will be true in 2026, except one generation ahead. Standard phones will be based upon the 4G network (the “slow” option), while higher end phones will casually access 5G networks, and the highest end in the most futuristic cities will play with 6G features.

These are just some of the things I expect. Mainly the bigger things, of course. 6G phones will be the shiny new toys, and I can’t even begin to imagine what they’ll be like. I strongly doubt they’ll resemble phones as we know them to be. 6G networks, however, will be mandatory for the worlds of data we’ll be sending each other.

The World of 2029: Oliver’s Workplace

The future of work is bleak— for workers. Owners, on the other hand…

Lower Manhattan, New York. Friday, November 16th, 2029.


 

Oliver’s Model N Tesla pulls into a parking lot and he steps out. He walks into a restaurant, 야끼만두 (Yakimandu) and heads into his office. Along the way, he says “Hi” to co-worker and good friend, Hyun Ryu.

“Sup, man?”

Ryu waves and says, “Just got another couple’a orders. There’s $800 an hour we’re on roll to get.”

“Falkener’s?”

“Stuart Bentley, the guy over at ULF’s. He’s sending a droid over to pick it up for us.”

“How are our’s doing?”

“Pretty good. Dawn’s got the updates, so just check in with her when you get the chance.”

“Alright, cool.”

Ryu fades away, and Oliver sits in his swivel chair. He taps his desk, which lights up and sends a holographic display to his eyes. It’s not actually there, it’s his own bionic lenses that lets him see this wonderful magic.

He thinks out, “Dawn, what’s the situation with the workforce?”

Dawn replies, “All units are working properly. Your enterprise is ready to open for the day.”

“Alright, hit the lights.”

And with that, the signs on the outside shine bright. The sun is screaming for a good day, and the city is alive. Patrons come and go across the day, and the place fills to peak by the evening.

This is what Oliver loves most about the job: hearing all these voices, all the laughter, all the drama, just the general sense of humanity among the crowd.

Ryu calls back again, reappearing as a hologram. It hasn’t been five years since Oliver got the hologram system installed, and he still can only barely believe it works. What creeps him out the most is how ‘unhologramish’ holograms actually are— when he was growing up, holograms were usually portrayed as staticy, monocolored images suspended in the air. Real holograms never flicker, and are so finely colored that it aches the brain to understand the image isn’t really there.

After Oliver answers the call, he goes back to checking on his workers.

None of them are human.

Yakimandu is a breed of service that’s become increasingly common— automated enterprises, but not ‘too’ automated. Some locations like McDonalds made the transition well enough, acting more as an automat than a robotic restaurant. But it didn’t work everywhere because older people’s Luddite sensibilities were overpowering. Yakimandu and such types found a happy medium, adopting a shokkenki model of business.

Automats and shokkenki technically describe the same thing: a fully/near-fully automated eatery. However, automats have become known as ‘McVending Machines’, as most of their services come from selecting your order from a screen. Shokkenki eateries, however, maintain the traditional roles of servers and waiters, with the exception than said servers and waiters are robots.

It surprised Oliver as it did everyone that shokkenkibecame as popular as they did.

When asked about his opinion on it, Oliver said to his wife, “The world isn’t ready for automats. The kids, they’re okay with it, but you have the older generations who still value human interaction, even on such a fleeting and insignificant level.”

Yet Oliver works at Yakimandu knowing that very few of his patrons are workers. Sure, it’s a sort of trendy line of club-esque restaurants, but even those tend to be populated by the middle class.

Whatever happened to the middle class?

Every day, Oliver relearns this truth. Just across the street is another restaurant, Double V’s, and it wears a similar trendster veneer. Though they compete for patrons, Yakimandu and Double V’s seem to be different themes for the same business.

Except Double V’s is more successful, more well known, and has a larger number of restaurants in construction.

Oliver knows why.

“They’re Vyrdists.”

Don’t get him wrong, Oliver’s a staunch Democrat. He pays his taxes, and his taxes help fund the state’s guaranteed basic income, something he supported a decade ago. But the Vyrdist movement feels too radical for him, and he fears the potential consequences of being targeted for ‘Vyrdist expropriation.’

A basic income is an amount of money paid out just for being a citizen. When Oliver first heard of the concept in the 2010’s, he asked why no one ever thought to try it before. When he went into business, the world had already changed greatly and he was one of many millions across the globe who successfully petitioned for their respective nations to, at the very least, consider implementing a basic income system. This was because, as he managed to construct a successful shokkenki business, he felt concerned about those that couldn’t adapt to the changes in time.

The argument against this was that people should learn new marketable skills if they want money so badly. Perhaps it was because Oliver’s a Democrat, or perhaps it’s because some small part of him knew, but Oliver thought this counterargument to be insanely short-sighted.

“Pay a basic income so people can actually survive to learn new skills,” he said. “If they can’t find a job to begin with, how on Earth are they gonna afford the education in the first place?” To him, basic income was the best idea in the world. Those displaced by automation should be granted some way to survive, and the government should provide it.

Not everyone agreed. Some time around his senior year in uni, right when he met his sweetheart Samantha, Oliver’s unshakable optimism in a basic income was disturbed when he first heard news of a radical new movement popping up on college campuses and industrial fields across America and China— people who rejected the idea of a basic income on the basis that it created dependency upon the ‘bourgeois-run government.’

According to these people, who called themselves ‘Vyrdists’, after an elusive and potentially mythical man known as John Henry Vyrd, the only true solution to technological unemployment was for the workers to obtain ownership of automation, and that anything less was tantamount to slavery— basic income included.

Though it remained underground throughout the decade, Vyrdism seemed to explode this past year.

Double V’is a worker cooperative, a sort of enterprise owned and managed by the people who work it. Except it’s not a traditional worker enterprise. Vyrdists use the term ‘technate’ to describe a fully-automated business run in a cooperative fashion. As they do everything, they appropriated the term from the old technocracy movement.

On the surface, it seems radical. Workers owning the means of production? Where have we heard that one before?

But Vyrdists rarely describe themselves as Marxists. If anything, they’re ascribe to the phrase “free market socialism,” saying that they don’t want a fully cooperative-run society, only one where workers have a choice and a chance at ownership. And it makes sense— if workers owned automation directly, they wouldn’t have to worry about a government middleman and would have much more power over their lives.

Maybe Oliver could’ve supported something like this if he weren’t a business owner himself. Vyrdists have not been afforded much power to start their own businesses, so they’ve been forced to expropriate them from other, failed businesses and worked from there. Right as the recession hit was when this Great Expropriation began.

“I can’t hate them,” Oliver said to Ryu. “They’re where I get most of my money from.”

“That’s  the whole point of Vyrdism. Basic income relies on wealth redistribution. Vyrdism relies on egalitarian wealth creation. Haven’t you heard the Word of Vyrd?” Ryu laughs.

“Yeah, yeah.” Oliver can’t quite explain what it is about Vyrdism that gets to him. The recession’s over, and the dollar is stronger than it’s ever been. On top of this, millions of Americans have become Vyrdists and have joined the National Worker’s Federation, and have seen their wages rise by extreme amounts because of it. This means they have more money to spend, which should mean people like Oliver benefit.

Yet all it’s caused are tensions between business and labor.

“I can’t say I’m too mad,” Ryu adds. Oliver knows Ryu is a Vyrdist. God, it’s ridiculous how sci-fi Ryu’s life reads. He’s a cyborg— fully cybernetic arms and legs— who’s being beamed into his office space via hologram. Ryu is careful about these things, too. South Korea has surpassed China and Dubai in recent years in terms of notoriety.

“That’s because you come from a corporate hellhole.”

“If they had Vyrdism in Korea, the place would be a thousand times better. At least the States aren’t so bad.” With that, he sounds pained. Both men know what South Korea’s like. Once upon a time, it was seen as being the antithesis of North Korea: a capitalist oasis opposed to a communist dystopia. Nowadays, it seems like four legs are good and two legs are better.
If cyberpunk ever existed anywhere, it exists in Korea. Seoul is a glittering cyberscape filled with mile-high neon-lined skyscrapers, but this shiny glory came with the cost of a near totalitarian corporate dictatorship, one that does not tolerate dissent or complaining. One that thrives on the division of classes. Ryu only escaped because he sold his soul to fight the devil, becoming part of the business class.

To him, it’s shocking how far America has moved in the other direction. Vyrdism is just the latest in an extended trend of greater power in the hands of the People. The idea that a nation as conservative as America, oft seen as 50 years behind the rest of the first world, has such a powerful labor movement seems unbelievable.

To Oliver, maybe he feels unease because of his father.

“You know, my dad is probably why I feel this way. I told you about ‘im, right? That bastard was the most classist asshole around. He tried raising me to believe that, if you can’t work for any reason, you deserve to rot, and if you’re poor, you deserve to be poor.”

Ryu laughs, “Sounds Korean!”

“I know, right? He was just really mean about it, though. Like, if you got rich in a way he didn’t approve, he’d still say you’re poor. So all these co-ops and technates? He’d just call ’em all commies and say they should be forced outta business.”

“But they’re capitalists!”

“Yeah? So? They still ‘share.’ And a lotta them only work the bare minimum and let robots do all the rest. Oh man, if he ever heard of that? Hoo boy.”

“So what I’m hearing is ‘your father is a hypocrite’, is that it?”

“Probably. He’d probably be very happy letting robots work for him, but damn you if you tried it yourself. He’d call you a lazy leech who should actively have your money taken away from you.”

Both of them start laughing. “So wait, wait, wait. He supported wealth redistribution?”

“Don’t call it that, and only if it’s from the poor to the rich. If the government takes from the poor and gives to the rich, that’s just the free market working the way it should. But if it’s the opposite, it’s Stalinism. So I never got him, really. I still liked him as a father, but I’m almost relieved, if that’s the right word, that he passed away before things got to this point. His veins couldn’t take the blood pressure if he read half a page of today’s news.”

Oliver and Ryu walk through the restaurant and interact with the many patrons. No one bats an eye when Ryu passes through them or the robot workers.

The robots are generally humanoid, though some take different and more generalized forms. Each and every one is powered by the Dawn system.

The people are generally chatting, though some do not speak. Instead, these seem to be entranced and detached. Detached, they are not— in fact, they are engaging in telepathic communication.

Oliver wears the same technology to talk to Dawn and his phone contacts. All it takes is a little headband, one that reads brain signals and translates them into words and symbols.

It was the Apple iMind that brought it into the mainstream. When that product was announced in 2023, it was hailed as an invention on par with the discovery of fire and the wheel. This despite psychotronics and cyberkinesis being developed for well over a decade prior.

Actually, for Oliver, that was the moment he realized just how futuristic the world was becoming. He was one of the early adopters, and was amazed by the features. These days, it’s just like texting.

That’s the nature of the game these days, isn’t it? You’re given something unbelievably amazing and futuristic, and yet you’re not given time to take it for granted before something even more amazing comes along.

This past decade has been one big ‘How on Earth did scientists create this’ sort of festival of technology. For a man like Oliver, it’s been a game changer. When he started the decade as an intern, it was still a given that people had to work for a living, that robots were decades away, that telepathy is impossible.

Now here he is, wearing cybernetic contact lenses he controls with his mind, talking to a hologram of his cyborg friend, owner of a business that exclusively employs robots.

What a difference a decade makes.

And he gets to enjoy the fruits of technology because he made the right choices in life. When he was in college, his father was brutally hard on him, telling him that unless he became an electrical engineer, he would never succeed in life. In fact, in the late 2010s and early 2020s, the media kept hyping up how the STEM field was the only place to go if you wanted to make any money. His decision to major in Business seemed to be shortsighted. He watched with great concern as all his friends became STEMgineers and seemed to be set up with 6 figure jobs upon graduation.

And yet guess who makes the most money these days. Somewhere along the line, middle of the decade, the STEM bubble burst. It didn’t burst because it got too big. No.

It burst because something popped it. And that something was the very same thing the STEMgineers were being paid to create— artificial intelligence. No one knows when the ‘spark’ flew, other than that the world hasn’t been the same since. Indeed, the early 2020s seemed to be such a simpler time, but maybe this is just his rosy memory of the days before he had to become so involved with AI.

And it’s this reason why the issue of basic income and Vyrdism are so prominent now. It’s this reason why Oliver has been arguing with Samantha over the future of their 3-year-old daughter, Miranda. AI has become capable of STEM tasks, even the creative ones. The belief that the STEM field would supply humanity with jobs for hundreds of years repairing and maintaining automation collapsed before it started getting entrenched, and the only ones fielding this argument are those most out of touch with the reality on the ground.

Now his STEM-educated friends are desperate for jobs. His degree in Business paid off because he wasn’t being paid to fix automation— he was being paid because he owned it.

It’s tragic, actually, how little prepared the workforce was. But one can’t blame them. In less than a generation, the very nature of labor and business has undergone multiple otherwise century-defining shifts. The children of the 2000s were taught like the children of earlier decades. Then the STEM field became of chief importance in the 2010s, so the children of the 2010s and early 2020s were taught almost exclusively in either the STEM field or the arts. Then artificial intelligence steamrolled employment at a rate faster than anyone could have possibly predicted (or, perhaps, wanted to predict).

This is what Oliver respects about the Vyrdist movement— that they are attacking the problem at its source. But the means at which the Vyrdists are going about it trouble him.

Capitalists support basic income. Without consumers, they become subject to expropriation by masses of former workers. Maybe that’s why… Maybe he’s scared of being expropriated, and it’s in his best interest to see a concession like basic income become the standard.

God Christ, 10 years ago, this wasn’t even a nonissue. How has so much happened to the world in so little time?

It’s that damned quote he keeps on his desk. It’s a curse.

“May you live in interesting times.”

iGeneration

Who are we? The West has been defined by a variety of generational monikers over the ages, and we are seeing the effects of these generations in our every day lives. The Silent Generation has almost completely passed away. The Baby Boomers have become society’s elderly, with the oldest being 70+ years old. Generation X is middle aged and cranky— or, to use the Voice himself, “teenage angst has paid off well; now we’re bored and old.”

The Millennials are adults and have discovered that, despite all the thick-rimmed glasses and indie rock, they’ve conformed all the same.

Now the iGeneration is up to the plate. I should know— I’m an absolute geriatric among this group. Copyright 1994, mate.

Even though smartphones were still experimental prototypes when I was a kid (or at least only sold in the more technologically progressive nations), I eventually came around and embraced the dulcet joys of being a slave to the sweet slab of electronics.

I’ve grown up with my generation; I know what makes us tick. We’re so cynical it hurts to think. Everything’s a joke. No really: everything can be a meme. We didn’t invent the meme, but we inherited it and made it our primary method of extracting humor from ourselves.

We extract humor like a capitalist extracts profits. You’d better not expect us to be serious about anything. That’s sad, though, because it reflects our sheltered upbringing.

And I don’t mean “sheltered” as in “everything is handed to us.” No, I mean compared to the rest of the history of Homo sapiens sapiens, we’ve got it so made, it’s borderline utopian. Why wouldn’t you expect us to be a gaggle of sarcastic asses? Screw the hunt, we’ve got Instagram.

People oft joke about children being the future of the world. Guess what, we actually are The Future™. Yes, the future’s been trademarked, because that’s the sort of thing we’d let fly. But the point is: we’re the lucky bastards who get to grow up in The Future™. We get to enjoy virtual reality and smartwatches, jetpacks and robots. Sure, it’s the first-gen versions of such, but that’s the beauty of it: we get to see these things grow in real time.

What even is there for us in life? Debt slavery. What else? I don’t think many of us will even bother with college if Bernie Sanders loses, because we’ve already seen what debt did to our parents. Our first cute little bouts with PTSD.

What do we listen to? Everything. People wonder why pop music sounds so bland, why rock music is so safe, why rap is so lame, and whatever happened to electronic music. That’s what always existed on the surface, but now that the Internet has entrenched itself into our civilization, it’s more blatant than ever.

Take me for example. I’m a rock purist (strange for a Louisianan black guy, but go with it), so this means I stick to heavy rock. I’ll post about heavy rock soon, what makes it different from ‘hard rock’ and ‘heavy metal’, but that’s my taste in music. I’m also into Jet Set Radio Future-esque music, that sorta retro electro-funk grooviness. I’m also into certain strains of indie pop and electronica. And everyone please give a hand for Classical, Baroque, and even Ancient music (ancient Greek music is… interesting). All this thanks to the Internet and the massive storage capabilities of smartphones. Back when I was a post-millennial rather than an iGenner, when I had but a music player and CDs, I stuck to the usual any ‘troubled’ teen would listen to— 2000’s alt-metal/post-grunge and ‘hard rock.’ Then I discovered Electric Wizard and the rest is history.

Now I’m a connoisseur to roughly 30,000 songs. I’d be lucky to know a tenth of that number otherwise. And it’s this reason why the iGeneration is seen as “bland”: we’re so musically overwhelmed that we’ve left the safe stuff to stay at the top while we do all our real searching underneath.

And that’s the story of our generation, idn’t it? IDN’T IT?!

We. Are so. Overloaded. Information coming this way coming that way coming these ways coming those ways coming high ways coming by ways, good god, y’all! Did you even notice that interrobang up there? We’re so used to all this extreme information overload that we’ve begun suckling the teat of the soma machine. I’ve come across this before: impossibly, absurdly, bafflingly, shockingly, stupendously, outrageously, inconceivably, Satanically, nuclearly amazing how meh everyone has become!!!1! And that’s just us. We were born into an age of fifty papillion exclamation marks. That’s because our attention has to be had somehow. Our shriveled, Voldemort-in-Limbo attention spans are too used to having fifty kalamaxillion things blasted into our baby faces.

And do we care? No. If anything, we want more of it. Why? Because it feels good. It’s a sort of virtual foraging, if the old African forests were filled with atomic trees and negative rainbow creatures every fifth step of the way.

Does this mean our generation is schizophrenic? No. The grown-ups just don’t get it. Remember when I said we live in The Future™? That’s part of the trade-off. We’re lazy as fuck because we just know the robots are finna be doing our jobs in a few years. The adults think they know the truth, and they claim to know the truth while programming the same robots that are gonna make us obsolete.

Ah, who am I to be calling grown-ups ‘grown-ups?’ I’m a grown-up myself. Mostly. Well I’m 21. I won’t be 22 for 11 months, so that’s why I get to be an iGenner.

Good god. Good god. Good god. The iGeneration’s becoming adults. I’m almost as freakin’ old as Scott Pilgrim. And even if you say the iGeneration begins in 2000, what difference does that make? The oldest then would still be 16— old enough to drive. If you say the iGeneration begins on September 11, 2001, then the oldest would be 14. Still rated T for Teen.

Well I identify as iKin, so check your privilege and accept that becoming a legal adult in the 2010s is something that should identify an iGenner. The Millennials? They became adults in the ’90s and Aughts. Hence the term ‘millennial.’

Who are we?

I dunno.


Well.

This raises a good question. If iGenners are those born between 1994 and 2010, then what about those born 2011 and after? If you want to go old school, you could call the Millennials and iGen “Generation Y” and “Generation Z” respectively— but no one does that, that’s uncool these days. Still, if you do prescribe to that train of naming generations, then what comes after ‘Z’?

The only name I’ve heard thus far is ‘Generation Alpha.’ Goodness, two Brave New World jokes in one blog post.

I guess that works.

Did you know that, once upon a time, there was a letter after ‘Z’? Yeah, it was ‘&’. I’m not even joking about this. So let us hail Generation Ampersand as the inheritors of the mess us iGenners will soon unleash.

If I Had a Robot

If I had a domestic robot of my own, like say a Pepper or an ASIMO, what would I do with it?

There are many things I’d “do” with it, because I swing that way, but let’s keep it PG. After all, Aldebaran preempted me on that front.

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I’d rediscover nature

The first thing I’d do would be to act out on my futuristic realist principles and take the robot to the last place robots are ever usually seen— the great outdoors. Being an asociable asshat means I’d rather go on a nature walk with a robot than a human, because I’m the kind of person who’d do that.

What will we do out there? Should I also possess smartglasses, we’ll be on an expedition to view an outdoor wikipedia, looking at various animals and plants and seeing various factoids about them.

More than that, I’ll be using that robot as protection. The wilderness is home to many wonderful beasts and species, diverse and beautiful.

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I hope we spot Bigfoot in these woods… or at least something paranormal

But there are some things that cannot be explained. Things that escape science. Things that are unknown.

Throwing a piece of ultra-high tech like ASIMO out into cryptid-infested woodlands is exactly the kind of thing I’d do and be proud of doing. In fact, what a better segue into the second thing I’d do than with this sort of high strangeness?

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Using a robot to find ghosts is apparently a rare topic, seldom considered by those in the field of ghost hunting. While I’ve found a few instances of the idea, it remains fleeting. This means I can jump on the bandwagon first. Get rich.

All I hafta do is send my droid to the Myrtles Plantation, which is about an hour’s drive from my home. Better yet, I could send two droids to the plantation.

And I guess it would be ironic that I would be sending robots to a place known for using slaves. After all, the third thing I’d do with my robot is nothing less than technoslavery.

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I’ll exploit my robot’s labor by having it work at a fast food joint, where it’ll earn my paycheck. I’ve already labeled using technology in place of a worker ‘technostism’, so of course I’d get to be the pioneer of the movement. How wonderful would that be, to have this sort of passive income.

Alas, there are still kinks to work out before any such robot will be ready to do any of these things, and good god I can’t stop putting in innuendos everywhere. Maybe that’s because I’m a fucking robosexual, and the first thing I really want to do is bed the sexy thing. I dunno. That’s just me.

If you got your own robot, what’s the first thing you would do with it?