Future Regression


I know a lot about how the future might be. I know a lot about this particular subject as a result of being such an avid reader of science fiction from a very early age. Other boys were busy playing football with their friends whilst I was holed up in my bedroom devouring the latest novel by Brian Aldiss, Roger Zelazny, Brian Herbert, or Michael Moorcock. That’s just about all I can remember about both my childhood and teenage years, to be honest. The SF books that I read. All of which I still remember in great detail to this day. That might also have something to do with the fact that I have reread them all so many times, of course. Ok some people might say that this makes me a bit weird, a bit of a misfit, but I’d say that it also makes me an expert futurologist. I’ve got a deep-down intuitive feeling for the subject and I’ve already been right about one or two things. Like Arthur C Clarke was.


Anyway, this is my (informed) opinion on the subject of what the future’s going to be like in the next thirty or forty years. I’m not really comfortable going much further than this, things start to become unclear very rapidly. The big social change that I see happening in the next thirty years or so is that human beings will no longer spend time drinking in pubs and bars. There will be no more time spent drinking anywhere, for that matter – no one will drink alcohol, apart from a few real throwbacks. The reason for this shift won’t have anything to do with morality – I certainly don’t forecast any raising of the general level of public morality – but simply the inevitable progression of technology. Instead of pubs and bars there will be an unprecedented proliferation of gaming centres and the thing about this of course is that anyone who wants to drink or take any other drug known to mankind will simply go into a bar (or an opium den or crack parlour or shooting den or whatever) in a gaming realm and take the drug of their choice there. The thing about this being that advanced technology in the realm of neuro-cybernetic interfaces will make it possible for the player to get as drunk or wasted or loaded or zonked or twisted or wired as they like without ever ingesting any substances at all, illegal or otherwise! It can all be done via the neural interface – drug highs can be stimulated digitally, the same as any other experience can be…


The advantages of this are of course obvious. For a start, it’s a lot cheaper – electronic stimulation of the brain costs very little and nothing has to be clandestinely imported from other countries at risk of interception by customs or law enforcement agencies. Furthermore – and very significantly – there are no health risks. There will be no more hangovers – who would want an electronically stimulated hangover? If you want to get senseless drunk in a pub and pass out in the street (after vomiting all over yourself) you can do so and yet feel as fresh as a daisy the next morning. Your liver won’t have sustained the slightest bit of damage. If Henry the horse is your bag rather than booze then you can bang up as much gear as you like with no risk of an overdose. You can toot as much nose candy as you like without ever getting a deviated septum. You can smoke ounces of high grade Parvati charas every night in the Himalayas without developing the annoying chronic chillum smoker’s cough inevitably associated with all hard-core stoner hippies…


The last advantage that I will outline here has to do with the legalistic side of things. There will be no laws prohibiting the use of virtual drugs in game realms. This hardly needs to be pointed out – can you imagine how stupid it would sound in a court of law to try to prosecute someone for driving whilst under the influence of alcohol in a game? Or trying to get someone penalized for smoking a digital reefer in a neuro-electronic simulation? Even the biggest jackass of a right wing politician wouldn’t try to ban smoking weed in an RPG, right?


I’m not saying that everyone will be an electro-stoner wire-head in the future. There’ll be plenty of other stuff going on there too. I’m just pointing out what I see as an important trend – the end of the stupid fucking alcohol business. Personally I am only too happy to see it go. Good riddance to the brewers and distillers and publicans and all those pissed-up assholes spilling out onto the street at closing time every night. All the bloody wetbrains littering the city centres. Who’s going to miss that? The whole thing will be a very positive step as far as I am concerned. I see it as a vast improvement on the current situation. I do however see problems later on with this trend. In time what will happen will be that gamers will take to playing games within games and entering into virtual realities within virtual realities. You are in a game realm, you decide to walk into a high street gaming centre and you jack into a game there. In that game you are walking down the high street and you are feeling a bit bored, you are at a bit of a loose end, and so you decide to check into the nearest gaming centre and jack into a game of your choice there, and so on. So what happens is that the human race gets involved in what I call a ‘gamer regression’ and disappears so far into an infinite regress of simulated simulations that it becomes impossible for us ever to find our way out. This I naturally do not see as such a positive development, but I nevertheless predict it with a high level of probability. We’re already moving inexorably in this direction and I see it as just a question of time before the regressive trend that I am highlighting here reaches its ultimate logical conclusion…






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