Extro-fi was: you upverted generate! was: Normal vs. Weird

From: Adrian Tymes (wingcat@pacbell.net)
Date: Sun May 07 2000 - 22:25:21 MDT

John M Grigg wrote:
> Daniel Ust stated:
> Sadly,though TV science fiction remains way below what it could be. How can we
> change this? Suggestions, aside from violence and destruction, would be
> appreciated.:)
> (end)
> To put forth an extropian view of things, I would propose a show about
> a team of scientists and journalists who work for some sort of
> institute lead by a multi-billioniare who wants to steer humanity the
> right way as it heads toward the singularity. He is a very
> strong-minded optimist despite the obstacles the group encounters.
> You would see the characters on tv and radio at times trying to get
> the right memes out to prepare humanity.
> The show would take place around roughly 2025, a few years before a
> singularity would be happening, so they would have access to
> incredible technologies such as nanotech, VR, genetic engineering and
> AI, but in the early stages. One of the main characters would be an
> AI. Of course, it would be important to have conflict for the sake of
> the story so the institute could have an evil(or just misguided)
> counterpart who battles them.

Why settle for one? Sure, use a "main" counterpart, but the main enemy
would be fear itself. People are terrified of the unknown, and in a
society where radical (by 19th, or even 20th, century standards) change
happens every day, people come up with all kinds of approaches to deal
with it. Most, to be blunt, suck hard and fail. World governments are
left intact but less and less relevant, as their internal beauracracies
inhibit their reactions to crises, giving the appearance that they no
longer care for their citizens...and clearing the path for institutes
like this one to, as some would (incorrectly) put it, protect humanity
from itself. Among episode possibilities:

* One enclave decides to prevent any "new technology" from crossing its
  borders. It fails utterly to prevent smuggling of nanotech stock, and
  a few young upstarts decide that it would be a cool prank to dissolve
  city-hall-equivalent in grey goo as a protest, using recipies
  downloaded through the 'Net. One of their less tolerant members sets
  the timer to go off at noon, just as the mayor is holding a live
  audience. The institute steps in to stop this, and turns the protest
  into a peaceful but effective one when their agents, having been
  through customs, demonstrates that they *still* have "new tech". With
  the impossibility of shutting it out demonstrated, they suggest
  education as the key to being able to deal with it, and offer to help
  set up an online briefing center for citizens to learn what they need
  to know.

* A group of enhanced humans go sociopath, with predictable (though not
  fatal) results against unenhanced locals. Institute does not have the
  firepower to take the gang down, but it can and does enhance the local
  (remaining) police...and then get the cops to use the fact of their
  own upgrades to convince the group that they are not utterly alienated
  from the rest of the human race.

* One of the agents dies and gets ressurected; local religious enclave
  (melding of several religions) arrests them for being agents of the
  devil. Court-drama argument from the books that the enclave worships;
  which the institute actually demonstrates better knowledge of than the
  locals themselves - thanks to downloads from the AI, but also to an
  analysis of the messages of peace and love that the authors of said
  works were trying to communicate in the first place. Religious
  intolerance is utterly discredited in that enclave (thanks in part to
  the media attention the former leaders were whipping up) by the time
  the agents are found innocent. Emphasis on this point when the judge
  finds the laws of intolerance utterly incompatible with the values of
  the community, striking them from the books as "immoral laws" under
  the local constitution.

* One branch of institute is raided as a "threat to national security",
  which quickly becomes a blatant "you're doing our job better than we
  are; stop it". Some of the agents upload themselves to waiting clones
  at a remote facility, then suicide their
  trapped-and-not-going-anywhere-soon-anyway arrested bodies. One or
  two of the agents can't, but after some angst and worry, the prisoners
  - who consist of about 90% of the local population, thanks to some
  lock-up-happy "elected" government - simply stop working on the prison
  farms and burn the crops. When the legislators make a personal visit
  to find out why no more food is coming out, they start making more and
  more demands on the prisoners and declaring themselves lords. The
  guards, who still have some democratic values in them, turn their guns
  on the legislators.

* Agents encounter an area where paranoid secrecy is the rule. They
  investigate, and find that no one knows what the laws are. Martial
  law was supposedly declared, but the status of that declaration is on
  a "need to know" basis; the local governor states outright that no one
  except himself needs to know. Although he has delusions of power,
  thinly veiled with a facade of keeping the people safe which only he
  believes, confusion and mild anarchy is the law of the land in
  practice. After defusing a number of situations where questions of
  authority threaten lives (for instance, "Am I cleared to give CPR to
  this person who's just had a heart attack?"), agents explain the
  situation to governor's lieutenants, who had their own suspicions but
  were too afraid to talk to one another. Lieutenants set to restoring
  the former order, with an emphasis on openness and self-determination.

* Briefing center from above gets subverted by propagandists, wrecking
  its trust in the community. Mayor begs institute to return.
  Institute uses what little trust it still has to track down the
  cause - same over-the-top anarchist as before. Turns out he belongs
  to an organization trying to discredit anything new in the eyes of the
  public, so it can hoard the power to itself. With the cause revealed,
  the mayor puts in controls to let the community at large comment on
  the information in the briefing center, so that any further propaganda
  can be spotted and rejected before it ruins the peoples' trust. But
  the institute now has a more tangible opponent...

Ok, the above could use with some improvement. But are they what you
were talking about?

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