The beginning of the 21st century had already shown large migration flows due to poverty (e.g., Africa, Middle East, mid America) and violence (e.g., Middle East, mid America). Europe and North America had largely absorbed these people. The wealth consequences (i.e., housing, jobs, welfare) had caused a significant political backlash. Borders were closed, walls had been erected.
Since the Technological Revolution of 1800-2100, humanity had had a few narrow escapes from a devastating new Ice Age. Global warming, however, resulted in a continued increase of global sea levels. Several of the largest ancient cities had been deserted: Beijing, Cairo, Mumbai, New York, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, and Tokyo. They all had been too close to the oceans.
New global city states had been built on much higher altitudes. Countries and borders no longer existed due to the massive migration flows that came with the floods. Global city states were protected by robocops. Anyone without city access rights (once called passports) was banned and deported, similar to thousands of years ago.
The high cost of living in global city states had created a different society. Classic human family structures had become rare. Most people lived alone in small highly efficient spaces. Allowing advertising on inside video walls would substantially lower daily rent. Many citizens used a humanoid for (intimate) company. These robots would also organise domestic affairs. Some people still called them Siri without remembering why.
Early in the 21st century, it had been predicted that nearly 70% of all 10 billion people would live in global city states by 2050. The prediction had been incorrect twofold: 95% of 20 billion people would have been more accurate. Fertility rates in global city states had plummeted to near zero due to the excessive and prohibitive cost of raising children. Without children, legal citizens were able to enjoy a comfortable life.
Most global city states had two citizen classes, some even more. The less privileged were allowed access to cities based upon their human skills. Despite early 21st century predictions, androids had not been able to successfully assume responsibility for assignments that required multitasking. Humans still preferred humans in certain roles, and especially women enjoyed privileges.
A small 5% minority of humans, some 1 billion, had opted for the ancient lifestyle of self-sustaining agricultural communities. Most new humans had been born in these rural fortressed villages. Life inside these gated communities was relatively comfortable and safe. Life outside these fortresses was dangerous because of predators, both human and animal.
Gangs of armed thugs often attempted to raid these rural villages in search for food, meat and more. Many agricultural communities bought protection from nearby global city states and paid in fresh produce. The wealthy elite in global city states still preferred this old school food. When the (flying) robocops arrived to exterminate these gangsters, words like “cavalry” and “Vikings” were still used. Some villagers claimed these legends were just myths.
Zager and Evans – In the year 2525 (Exordium And Terminus) – 1969
artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2
Note: the title of this blog is a wink to Jacques Attali‘s great book A brief history of the future.