FUTURE DESIGN: Applying technology intelligently for a better future
IMAGINE living in a house that is permanently dust free, driving a car that automatically repairs itself, traveling at two thousand miles an hour in absolute comfort, and having the chances of getting ill significantly reduced by living in a city that self regulates it’s air and water by design. These idealistic-sounding goals are more possible than you might imagine.
Future by Design is quite honestly the most inspiring documentary I have ever seen that illustrates just how possible and practical such things are. There is, however, a bittersweet quality to the film: on the one hand it shows how technologically advanced and capable we are – illustrating how the world could be today rather than tomorrow or in the future. On the other hand, it describes how behind we are politically and how future progress is painfully halted due to certain systems set in place.
Thomas Edison had to actually make an electric light bulb before anyone took him seriously and backed him up. The same scenario can be said of Jacque Fresco – the man behind Future by Design. Fresco has been a social and industrial engineer and inventor all his life. Now in his 90s, he still invents and implements his ideas for a new, re-designed society – focusing his attention on The Venus Project - a small 25 acre ‘futuristic’ society located in Venus, Central Florida.
Developed since the late 1970s, The Venus Project is a living model of how hi-tech and nature can co-exist. The small society consists of a scattering of dome shaped homes co-existing in a lush, natural environment. You cannot see one house when you’re in another and the entire project represents how sustainable communities could be created worldwide.
“The Venus Project has a vision of what the future can be if we apply what we already know to achieve a sustainable world civilization, says Fresco. It calls for a scientific redesign of our culture in which war, poverty, hunger, debt, and unnecessary human suffering are viewed as not only avoidable, but unacceptable. Anything less will result in a disastrous continuation of the problems inherent in today's world."
And it isn’t necessary for one to have studied science or design in order to understand Fresco and his working concepts. I found my jaw on the floor as he presented designs (in all fields) that simply made so much practical sense.
Even more appealing was the social philosophy behind each idea – that being to improve the standard of living for all people while simultaneously saving the planet. As an engineer, Fresco’s ideas are not part of his own view of how the world should be, but rather how the world could be today and what it takes to start progressing towards it.
Some Future by Design concepts:
- A dome-shaped home requires the least amount of material to build and offers the maximum protection against the elements due to its shape.
- By increasing the air pressure slightly inside the home, dust will not be able to enter it. Cleanliness will be a major factor in the future home environment.
- There is a type of memory alloy that reshapes itself when heated. Cars made from this material will straighten out any dents when heated (assuming that accidents will even happen in the future).
- Sensors installed in the front of vehicles can detect how far away other objects are and keep a constant distance between them.
- Travelling underwater is likely to become the future of sea travel as it is far more economical than travelling on the surface of the ocean where one is confronted by wind and waves.
- A long, thin boat that breaks the surface tension of the water by rapidly releasing air bubbles at the front while simultaneously drawing water towards the rear (propelling it forward) will be able to travel very economically at remarkable speeds.
- Having computers and machines continuously regulate the air and water supplies of cities and eliminating contaminants will significantly reduce viruses and disease.
The real appeal of Future by Design is the idea of creating harmony between people and nature. The Earth is far more abundant that what we are made to believe and there are even ways of making the planet more abundant by improving nature and applying design technology intelligently.
It is a sad reality that we live in an age where more time and technology is devoted to destroying humanity rather than advancing it; where global equality is greater than it has ever been; where more resources are invested in making a bigger, better bomb rather than providing clean drinking water where it’s needed.
"Social designs must be based on the carrying capacity of the Earth's resources, and not on the philosophy, desires, aesthetics, or advantages of particular people" - Jacque Fresco
The standard of living proposed by Fresco and films such as Future by Design is by no means perfect; it is just significantly better. After all, the blunt truth is that no one knows what the future might bring, only that we can do a lot better with regards to the intelligent management of the Earth’s resources for the benefit of all the world’s people and protection of the environment.
What can be accurately predicted is that the future of communication lies in 3D imaging, and I would therefore urge everyone to give Future by Design a watch. It should appeal to anyone who has an interest in technology, ecology, people, design and society, and the possible future of our civilization.
Related Articles: A Resource-Based Economy
- Part 1: The power of the planet
- Part 2: A world without money
- Part 3: Incentive to work in a moneyless society
- Part 5: Smart Homes
- Part 6: Automated governance?
For more info check out the following:
- Q+A with Jacque Fresco - Meta Magazine
- Alternative view - The Venus Project hoax
- Overview - The Venus Project and The Zeitgeist Movement