This series explores the dream of Utopia and the reality of Dystopia. While neither is altogether mutually exclusive,
the condition of societies and the planet is certainly no paradise. The conventional viewpoint and definition of Utopia follows accordingly.
"A utopia is a nearly perfect or ideal society or community. Most utopias, whether real or fictional, are theoretically
based on egalitarian principles in which the members of the community have equal rights, control over the direction of the
society, and access to resources. Utopias are generally considered to be peaceful communities. Different ideologies have produced
different types of utopias, such as ones in which there are no taxes, no laws, no money, and so on (though many hypothetical
utopias do have some form of all of these aforementioned things). Utopias are perhaps more prevalent in literature than in
reality, as they are notoriously difficult to maintain. More prevalent still are dystopias, which are often supposed to have
started off as utopias. Many dystopia examples involve the perversion of once-noble goals.
The word utopia was coined by Sir Thomas More,
an English philosopher and statesmen, in his 1615 book Utopia. He derived the term from the Greek prefix ou (ou-), meaning
“not” and the word τόπος (topos), meaning “place.” The original definition
of utopia thus was simply “nowhere,” which More chose to emphasize the fictionality of the island. Over time,
however, it was a common misunderstanding that the prefix of the word came from the Greek eὐ (eu-), meaning “good.”
Since More wrote about a kind of perfect society, the word utopia came to stand for any similar idealized society. Later,
the word dystopia was created for the opposite concept".
Changes of any particular vision that varies
by culture, over time or with the most sophisticated technology differ. The original concept of Sir Thomas More is striking, especially by today's standards.
"Every city sends three of their wisest senators once a year to Amaurot [the capital]
to consult about their common concerns; for that is chief town of the island, being situated near the centre of it, so that
it is the most convenient place for their assemblies. The jurisdiction of every city extends at least twenty miles: and where
the towns lie wider, they have much more ground: no town desires to enlarge its bounds, for the people consider themselves
rather as tenants than landlords. They have built over all the country, farmhouses for husbandmen, which are well contrived,
and are furnished with all things necessary for country labour. Inhabitants are sent by turns from the cities to dwell in
them; no country family has fewer than forty men and women in it, besides two slaves. There is a master and a mistress set
over every family; and over thirty families there is a magistrate".
Some may view maintaining two slaves with dread, but others like George Orwell would argue
that an entire populace of virtual slaves might actually be less ideal.
The motive to alter human nature lurks behind many of the efforts to organize humanity into
rigid social order as the lust for greater coercive power strive to treat people as chattel, while consolidation and authoritarian
dominance across nations, cultures and ethnic groups becomes the norm.
As artificial intelligence germinates into specie that has yet to be understood, the nature of humanity
continues to incorporate the components originally created into the being of each individual.
Utopia may well be achieved, but it is questionable that the route to some subjective
nirvana will be achieved on a world-wide basis.
What are the likely psychological consequences of the AI revolution?
We know that job loss and relationship breakdown often precedes depression. Even in the context of financial independence
via a universal basic income, meaningful employment – that is, a person’s relationship to society – is associated
with psychological well-being. Will we find new ways to serve society, ways to fill the employment void that AI threatens
to create? Will we become a planet of poets, artists and philosophers, unencumbered with mundane occupations, free to pursue
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