From my trip report into one of Australia’s outback post-apoc landscapes – Mad Max Ground Zero – Roads & Kingdoms – with bonus photos!
As an American, Wayne’s vision of Australia was shaped by watching the Mad Max movies as a boy. As for me, I’ve developed an ever-growing interest in works about “Zones of Alienation” (places where reality begins to break down). Books like Roadside Picnic, written by the Strugatsky brothers, about the aftermath of an extra-terrestrial event. The brothers prophesized places like the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and give a name to the people that explore the forbidden lands: Stalkers.
The focus of our trip is just such a journey into a genuine nuclear wasteland. We refer to our coming adventure into the Woomera Prohibited Area as a trip into “the Zone.” We kit ourselves out as if we were a Stalker in Chernobyl: a mix of mostly cosmetic military-surplus gear and some crucial protective equipment. It is fitting that the expedition will be mounted from Coober Pedy, where parts of George Miller’s Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome were filmed. It’s the perfect place from which to embark on expedition into a real life post-apocalyptic landscape.
READ THE REST OF THE TALE HERE
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Fast forward further into his talk – and, warning: this is where I fire up my own speculative engine – Matt talks about some work from earlier this decade that BERG did (collated in this blog post) where they investigated using “smart lamps” that could both see and project. Pictured below is a music player […]
I liked this short film so much I wrote a 3000 word essay about it and the Great Extropian Adventure. Co-starring cyborg dolphins and manatees tweeting from asteroid ecologies – Uplifting Civilisation into the 22nd Century…and Beyond!:
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“And that is the tone I’d like to have set for the immediate future. Adjust our scope to always have 2200 in our vision and it’s easy to see what we have to do between now and 2020. When you’re already extending your thinking to giving AIs the vote, gay marriage takes less than a nanosecond to compute. When your idea of the world to come has celebrity cyborg animals in space being verified on Twitter, having compassion for those unlucky humans fleeing states collapsing from internal wars or externally generated heavy weather events (or both) is a trivial act.”
Mad Max: Fury Road will show us a glimpse into the full Collapse future. (Let’s be honest, we know exactly how this movie will play out, it’s highly unlikely that it will have a twist ending with it all occurring in a VR simulator as a generation of posthumans kill time in some fan-fic recreation of the past, on their way to seeding a new galaxy.) Again.
It’s worth pointing out that the original film was created in reaction to the early 1970s oil crisis, but that we’re now living in the days of Peak Oil proper. Where another energy catastrophe and subsequent societal collapse is being held off in large part by frakking the planet; a word that sounds bad enough, without it already being a pejorative from a fictional scifi timeline (BSG). That’s already triggering earthquakes. And the western democracies are doing it on their home turf too; though mostly in territory deemed politically expendable to their current administrations.Where land grabs on an unprecedented scale are being termed geoengineering.
We are a worldwide civilisation coasting with the fuel gauge nearing empty, thinking there must be another service station just over the horizon. So crank up the radio, let’s sing along to some tunes, it’ll be just fiiiiiiiine.
Thinking about this as “the pre Jackpot Years” helps us reframe the narrative. Something better can come out of all this. This doesn’t have to be the prelude to a future high-speed, nightmarish post-apocalypse, worse than the slow motion one we’re in now. We don’t have to wait for it to accelerate into an unavoidable crash and collapse. There is no techomagical Singularity that will save us. We must wake up behind the wheel and plot a new path on the map of the possible. Our civilisation survived the twentieth century and everyday Fear of the Bomb. We can make it through this too, and build something better. All the pieces are here already, waiting to be recombined. From advances in automated factories and 3D Printing to basic science and amazing speculations on the origins of life.
Read in full at the Daily Grail – Mad Max: Fury Road and the pre Jackpot Years
Read more "A selection of my thoughts on Mad Max – Fury Road, based soley on the trailer"
An excerpt from my latest at the Daily Grail, Nightmares of the Future: Deconstructing TRANSCENDENCE:
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This theme – fear of extinction, fear of erasure and replacement – is common to everything from Warren Ellis’ newuniversal comic to the Brookings Report…
It’s an existential threat; but it’s psychological, not physical. This isn’t an asteroid about to crash into the Earth or a bomb, poison or plague. This is a mental category about to collapse. The most important of all: what it means to be human. It represents the end of everything they know, everything they are, and it scares the shit out of them. And as any amateur student of human psychology will tell you, fear is a hell of a motivator. The transhuman community and their posthuman leader aren’t killing people, aren’t conquering lands or launching missile strikes, they are quite simply being. But their very existence is frightening enough to the regular, baseline folks. The Neanderthal’s in our tale. Faced with this dilemma, they don’t choose to process their feelings, overcome their initial reaction, interbred and in the process merge cultures, as it now looks certain our hominid cousins did. They fight with certainty and conviction that its the only rational thing to do.
Fear of change, fear of loss of control. The idea that the AI could be running things without them even being aware of it…
The Anthropocene is the idea that the planet we inhabit has been completely reshaped by the activities of human civilisation. That no part of our world has been left unchanged. Most obviously, this is climate change; but it’s more than just a change in weather patterns. It’s things like the concentration of CO2 in sea ice we’ve never set foot on and the addition of “plastiglomerate” to geology – rocks made from plastic melted in fires.
Awesome, right? We changed the world. Humans rule! But what if it went all horribly wrong and completely out of control? (You know, worse than climate chaos even.) Overt and undeniable.
That’s the Gray Goo scenario – nanotechnology unleashed on the world, out-competing natural systems…
Another existential threat. Physical, not metaphysical this time. But where the Neanderthal Dilemma is a negative reaction, classic fear of the other, to a change in progress – the coming of a new race – this is the nightmare of an out-of-control technology. What’s frightening isn’t the destruction of Platonic ideals, but the radical transformation of the earthly plane. The Gray Goo is the sentient ooze of an unknowable posthuman world affecting its own agenda on the Earth.
Send to Kindle Amazon Echo is the latest pitch by the Stacks to get their variously embodied AI fronts out of their servers and into your house. For Big Data to get its hands all over your stuff; physical or virtual. To insinuate themselves into your reality and make themselves an integral, indispensable part of […]
Read more "“It’s like Gnosticism meets Russian Cosmism, but for the Internet-of-Things” – A Kids Movie"