If the sole mission of TZM is to shape a new cultural understanding, I think it isn’t enough to overthrow the current train of thought. People need to imagine what they are aiming for.
Here in the U.S., even people who self identify as progressive or liberal are unlikely to accept a train of thought that doesn’t have Capitalism at its core, never mind an economy free of money and exchange. I’m not even thinking of talking to conservatives or moderates. Even the relatively open-minded will need some spark of imagination in order to even consider such a radical change.
That’s why I framed my question as a thought experiment. Suppose Venus cities became popular. Not that they “should”, or “must”. But if they did, what would life in a Venus city be like? And what would happen to the obsolete habitats?
I started with the second question. Maybe I should start with the first. But any broad answer to the first is too vague to spark the imagination.
Suppose we just talked about clothes. Who doesn’t wear clothes?
They must be made, fitted, warn, and cared for. How might that happen? Here is another mental exercise. It doesn’t have to be this way, but would this idea fit within the framework of the RBE train of thought?
Clothes in an RBE city
2 baskets worth of clothes are dirty. The clothes were a bit small on the five-year-old this week, so Mom takes the five-year-old along to the clothing “store” (store in the sense of storage).
Mom sorts the clothes into 2 batches. The main batch contains clothes that they don’t care about getting back. The smaller batch contains clothes they really want back, such as Daughter’s hand-knit sweater, and Dad’s hand-sewn flannel shirt. The latter batch gets bundled and tagged, and all of it goes into the laundry chute, where robots sort according to care instructions.
The console asks Mom to review the last batch of clothes. Mom says they’re mostly fine, but the five-year-old has grown, the collar of one shirt gave Dad a rash, and Daughter is sick of pink. At the console’s prompt, Mom ushers the five-year-old into the measuring space, where he is scanned in 3D.
The console then offers a virtual display of clothes for each member of the family using profile data on sizes, color palette preferences, styles, fiber preferences and sensitivities, etc. Mom picks out the clothes for the whole family. Those that are in stock are immediately served up. They are also served up another hand-knit sweater that was dropped off last time with instructions to have it returned. Those that are not in stock will be delivered to their home the next day. Mom and the five-year-old go home with a bundle of clothes, some of which might be new, all of which are clean and within their tolerance of wear.
Okay, is that a reasonable RBE scenario?
Certainly not the only possible scenario, but I’m not looking for the future so much as looking for a future.