Among programmers, the Not invented here is a widely known syndrome. It’s about the fact that sometimes it’s easier, faster and cheaper to re-invent the wheel than to understand it.
The wheel is of course easy to understand for us (plus we invented it). But the whole universe, even the Earth, it’s a completely different story.
Each time humankind finds an answer about our existence, more questions arise. We are filling a puzzle, and we are finding pieces that lead us to a bigger picture, which makes it need more pieces.
Not only on the macroscopic level, but even in our own body. Basic questions such as what’s a good diet remain nebulous.
In the 21st century, you would expect to have some machine that feeds you what’s best for you in each moment, extending life and making you feel good. Instead of that, we have unclear scientific answers about what’s a good diet and homeopathy.
This lack of knowledge about ourselves and our environment has caused damage before, and it’s just getting started. One of the worst side effects of the Internet and anonimity is that it will cause the advent of cheap and effective bioweapons. And not only bioweapons, but also a new range of microweapons that will be smarter than ever thanks to ML.
We have seen those work in the hands of governments in the form of drones and viruses, and we will see them in the hands of smaller groups soon.
That’s without counting the ability to manipulate and degrade our diet, water and air.
Those are forms of violence. Past are the days of governments throwing wars and nuclear weapons. Access to these new weapons will get democratized and debunk governments as the lords of violence.
Violence is not the only bug our existence as a biological entity entails.
The physical constraints we live with also produce other side effects. One of them is the need of transportation and logistics that the industrial revolution boosted.
The fact that we cannot move anywhere instantly creates local communities. It has happened since the origin of mankind. Those local communities colonized and alienated each other, creating nation states.
Nation states compete against each other, both physically and economically talking.
So, when you’re born into a piece of land that belongs a nation state, you’re assigned a bunch of variables that sometimes can shape your future. You’re also assigned beliefs, what’s called general culture and glues a nation together. Nations are, in the end, pieces of land that try to retain and exploit people for an economic return.
The industrial revolution also created the need for humans to coexist in huge, polluted and stressful macrocities, which cause averse effects on human health.
In the end, we live in a beautiful planet and have endless possibilities that neanderthals couldn’t even start dreaming about. But there are existential risks that we need to address and problems that need to be solved. We are subject to physical violence and we are subject to physical constrains.
We don’t understand our own world because we haven’t built it, so it is probably not a place optimized for our existence and further development.
What I’m about to describe is an alternative implementation of our world.
Eva wakes up in her mansion to the views of the sea. She briefly remembers what her grandma told her about humans. They used to eat something just after waking up, called breakfast.
Eva has never done that. Her life support machine takes care of that. The machine feeds her all the nutrients needed and maintains all living functions operative, optimizing them for the longest life duration, which is approximately 150 years for Eva. It also translates physical interactions in her world to her physical senses.
After waking up, she checks on the network state. She runs a node in the metaverse network, which is a mesh network that keeps all nodes updated with the state of Ethereum and the metaverse itself, Decentraland. Network is fine, so she proceeds to teleport to work. She is there already, with all her colleages. She works at an investment fund. She’s now looking at the organizations doing token sales in the following month. Since the virtualization of human life and tokenization of most aspects of it, opportunities have emerged everywhere.
Her AI assistant has suggested to invest in a project that enhances capsules’ connectivity. All nodes in the mesh network are small capsules that contain both a human and its life support. Since capsules perform randomly chosen routes in the real space, connectivity is a tricky part. The routes are random to avoid physical violence as much as possible. Eva imagines what would happen if something or someone entered her capsule. She hasn’t ever seen outside of Decentraland and her VR headset! Not even a real human or her real body!
She sends ether to the project’s token sale. She loves enhancing infrastructure, because it directly impacts her life and her world. Better capsules, better connectivity, better data compresion, more security to the blockchain, better VR displays…
Some of that infrastructure requires physical interaction to be upgraded. A lot of Earthers are employed by the metaverse DAO to perform that. Since the new world is much more efficient than Earth, it mostly employs all Earthers. Eva feels unsafe for a second, thinking about an Earther rebellion. But Earthers are incentivized by the DAO not to do that. They would need to steal a majority of the private keys in the nodes for that to happen. Eva’s private key is locked deep into her with an auto-destruction mechanism in case it was trying to be stolen. In the end, Eva’s private key completely defines her identity.
Eva has finished her work, and now locks all work notifications and goes to see Ellen, her girlfriend.
It’s 31st of December and they’re preparing themselves to party to the entrance of the year 2100. So much progress has been made during the 21st century. The dark decades, when Earth fell into violence with nation states trying to execute their dismishing power and the democratization of microweapons and bioweapons are over. They gave birth to a new form of life, a new species that live in a new world. One created by us. One that we understand. One without violence, disease and exclusion.
Eva buys a dress for the occassion for 0.000000001 ether, and laughs at the fact that they had to be physically produced back in the Earth times, with the ridiculous cost that incurred.
Eva and Ellen travel to the end of the year party their friends are throwing at a tower with incredible views of all Decentraland.
The first block on year 2100 confirms. Eva and Ellen kiss.
We are still decades away from seeing something like this happen. But we are taking baby steps towards it.
We either face the existential risks we face as biological species, or we invent a new world and we abstract over being biological species.
Facing them will take time: even making Mars habitable to make humankind a multi-planetary species will be one of our most difficult technical challenges this century.
On the other hand, abstracting over them may offer a faster route.
It’s definitely worth to work on them both, since what is at stake is no less than survival as species.
That’s why I’m advising Decentraland. I know they shouldn’t be focusing in this crazy vision now, but rather on building out the fundamentals, but I like to dream about the long term. I’m delighted to be a part of what, in the future, could represent a new era for humankind.