The Geography of Paradise (part II of “Hedonistia 2050)

See also: Happy Morning in Hedonistia, July 22, 2050

(transcript of orientation speech delivered to cryonics survivors)

Greeting to everyone who “woke up” this morning, all you recent arrivals from Alcor and KrioRus.  Ted Williams?  I’m honored.  Britney?  Cheers. You’re ecstatic to be conscious again but befuddled and frightened? Understandable. That’s why I conduct this little orientation to inform you of changes that occurred while you were hibernating in icy blackness.

You’re curious about what you’ll see outside on the planet once called Earth, but now called Hedonistia?  Is the geography fully urbanized, has the wilderness vanished?… Ted?  Question? Don’t worry, fishing is better than ever. Britney? Super-dense?  No, not at all…

The human population of Hedonistia is 5 billion, less than the 1985 level.  I must add to that an equal number of androids.  Robots do everything now and the one’s that look like us, well, I’ve stopped asking who’s who. I’ve got synthetic friends, flesh friends, and most of my pals are various shades in-between.

Hedonistia’s citizenry live primarily in the hundreds of beautiful cities teeming like hives in a flower garden. There’s quiet pods for privacy, but the majority of metro-space is public and celebratory. We don’t sleep 8 or 5 or even 2 hours nightly; it’s just called “napping” for anyone who wants to enjoy catatonia for 5-10 minutes.  This means there aren’t any bedrooms to waste one-third of your life in… you’re glad, right?  Because you’ve been frozen zombies for decades?  All your systems were fully-augmented before resurrection… you’ve noticed the buttons on your ears and forearms?

Our cities are translucent and fast and noisy if you forget to turn down the volume. You’ll experience a freedom that will disorient you until the nootics kick in. You’ll meet thousands of new faces that you’ll always remember, plus their names and everything else because we added a few exabytes — 10^18 — to your lobes.

When you’re hungry — and you will be unless you get a micro high-efficiency stomach — you’ll be able to get free food anywhere.  In-vitro meats in myriad flavors are offered by ‘droid caterers everywhere. There’s also fresh plant-based delicacies plucked from farmscrapers by robo-monkeys, cooked by cyborg chefs, and served by naked sexbots that you’ll want to mate with. Go ahead. Don’t be ashamed — enjoy yourself. You might be permanently aroused for a month or so. Many of us are always priapic.  Want eggs?  They’re obtainable via a “bioprinter” — just tap in your request for all-white or all-yolk or the traditional blend, then choose one of the 250 options in omelette or souffle.

Transport in the city is easy and fun via electric scooter, people mover, robot-piggyback, zip-line, bumper taxi-plane or water slide.  If you get lost just state your destination and visual and verbal assistance will be granted.  The unfamiliar industry by the seashore isn’t mining — that occurs only on the asteroids now. We’ve reaped enough minerals for the next 100 years.  Those are desalination plants, with pipes running like arteries throughout the world. The mirrors in the sky collect solar power and that humming underground are drills extracting geo-thermal energy from channels deep in the crust.

My dear unfrozen ones, outside the city border you will be surprised to see nothing but wilderness. That’s right, the suburbs are gone and the vast ranches are extinct, the eternal rows of corn and soybeans are history.  Urban food production has allowed 90% of the earth to return to teeming density of flora and fauna. We don’t even know what’s out there because it’s more entertaining when its mysterious.  Creatures once nearly extinct are now thriving — bison roam Germany, pandas are outside Shanghai, flocks of quetzals ring the Caribbean. Marine life is rebounding lushly since synthetic seafood replaced commercial fishing and whaling.  Penguins are migrating north, giant turtles paddle in Hudson Bay.

Gazing at the jungles… you will want to penetrate them, because they are magical, like moments of childhood.  Wilderness access is easy and everyone spends almost half their time in the bush.  The small swift helicopters darting in the distance like dragonflies are filled with vacationers on their way to spas in secluded hot springs, lodges at the edge of savannas, oases in deserts, caverns in mountains, ski slopes in Antarctica, tree houses in rain forest canopies. You’ll be encouraged to visit every corner of our once-again beautiful planet, you’ll relax there in nano-garments that render us comfortable in every clime. Mosquitos, tsetse flies and hornets  won’t bother you either, you’ve been given an anti-parasite swarm and a complimentary immune system upgrade. You’ll enjoy trails, adventures, the spectacles of lower life forms struggling in mortal existence.

That’s our geography now. Unpolluted and amusing.  Will the geography of Hedonistia bore you, eventually?  Yes, we think so. If your ever-larger mind seeks new visual data to absorb and critique, we suggest signing up for galactic expeditions.  Or you can just stay in the cities where culture morphs every minute into myriad directions. Baseball?  Sorry Ted, the game’s been retired. It’s not interesting when every thrift store ‘droid can swat a curveball past the kilometer mark.

Happy Morning in Hedonistia

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