Posted by: Gregoryno6 | August 5, 2018

It’s Revelation time again! Let’s dream about a glorious shiny future.

Athelstan Spilhaus was the man with the plan in 1967. The plan for…

Deep in the unurbanised wilds of Minnesota Spilhaus hoped to build a city that would employ the latest technologies. Living under a giant dome, the population would move around on cars that could link up like trains. There would be maximum recycling of waste. Modular construction would permit buildings to be pulled down and repurposed as necessary. Spilhaus and his cohort of imagineers foresaw the internet too, though they failed to recognise its potential value as an archive of old music videos.

The MXC project was exceeded only by America’s space program in its scale and vision. Spilhaus gathered a team of intellects and financial backers, but his shiny metropolis never progressed beyond plans and scale models. Not quite enough money (USD10 billion was the proposed cost at the time), not quite enough political support, and a protest by rural Minnesotans who marched more than a hundred miles in winter to say Take it elsewhere, Mister Spilhaus.

I can’t say I’m surprised. A city of the future with no flying cars? The instinctive response is, why bother?

Surprisingly, Spilhaus seems to have had no opinion about the rise of artificial human beings.

If we make the machines better than us, why do they need us at all? The question that lingers in the back of the mind – especially after an ultra-bloody episode of Westworld. More Human Than Human describes the creation of an AI with which the director hopes to converse. The final interview, he promises, will be between the AI and himself – with the AI asking the questions. You should watch More Human Than Human for that alone, if nothing else. You may, as I did, find it strangely reassuring.

Thanks to Revelation for the reminder: the future takes perverse delight in thwarting so many of our hopes.

 

 

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