The Lay of the Land
Winter 2018, #41
I love the thought of a car drifting apparently endlessly through space and perhaps being discovered by an alien race millions of years in the future. -Elon Musk
This, the 41st edition of the Lay of the Land, is the biggest yet, consistent with much of its content, which is about big things too. Continuous economic expansion means things get bigger and bigger. Like logistics facilities, infrastructures, expanded watersheds, systems of production and distribution. While at the same time some things are shrinking, like our memory, computers, and attention spans. The way things are going it seems likely that we might physically disappear some day too, once we have finished uploading ourselves to the AI managers in the cloud. Why struggle to keep our decaying flesh animated if we can be sufficiently entertained in perpetuity in the virtual future? And if we can figure out a way to keep the data centers whirring, perhaps by creating a rhizomic sun-powered cloud of silica memory dust in space, then we’ll be done with the need for terrestrial resources, and the planet can finally be abandoned. We’ll get in our Teslas and follow Starman on that blissful, endless road to nowhere. In the meantime though, we’ll continue to deal with things here on Earth best we can, grateful for your help. Thanks for being t/here!