by Alison Selby
Alison Selby crafts a vision of tomorrow in which technology can infect our dreams. Backed by an atmospheric score and including some vivid, hand-crafted graphics, the film floats between a future reality and dream world. The mythology behind the short is outlined below.
Xanthe exists in a world where innovation in accessibility was prioritised to the point that a universal brain-computer interface was mass-produced in the mid 20s. This brought about unprecedented social change through “machine democracy” (Hower, Tor. 2042). As Erika Oda-Ng, spokesperson for the Red Array Fraction (0xFF0000 or 2F40) put it in a 2027 speech:
“The old-guard fucks in the parliaments don’t know what this means. Their hubris and fetish for commodification has led to their own political death.”
From a retrospective point of view, it seems obvious that an easily available Plug and Play computer peripheral that allows anybody to use a computer at (then) incredible speeds would allow huge groups of hackers to organise. After a climate-focused leftist group bypassed security, overloaded the main reactor, and imploded the Scherer coal power plant in Georgia, a chain reaction of hackers taking down fossil fuel infrastructure led to huge power outage. However, government facilities were kept online, as were the major American cities where the organised leftist groups were based.
This provided the foundation for the first revision of the Mutually Assured Destruction doctrine that had guided most military strategy for the previous 80 years. However, the trilemma that found stability, Machine Democracy, was vastly different: it wasn’t between 2 nation states, but instead between the government and its citizens. Security is asymmetrical - a technological advantage for attackers goes much further than the same does for defenders (Tincture, Mike. 2036).
Security, therefore, cannot exist. The motivation for attackers must be removed, and crime is most often motivated by money. If anybody could conceivably hack every computer, then the government must use computers for the absolute benefit of its citizens. This left only one solution - a rapid transformation of worldwide society, with automation of as much menial labour as possible and financial incentive for remaining in demand jobs.
Remove the financial motivation for crime by removing the finance. Remove currency. Remove the police. Remove banks and stock markets, remove estate agencies and landlords, remove profit margins and investment. Remove for-profit healthcare, for-profit food, for-profit education, and for-profit prisons holy fuck how do you make a profit on incarceration.
40 years later, we find ourself back in the Federal Europe North region, one of the first world regions that implemented this social change. Xanthe works 10 hours a week as a high school teacher at the nearby Bekkerås videregående skole leaving 102 hours of free time each week. Teachers are in near-permanent high demand until an appropriate tested and proven method of automated education has been developed. Early trials of the Hausmann-Adeyemi method show promise as of writing (Liang, Zhao. 2065)
She has near unlimited time for creative projects afforded to her by incredibly powerful computer systems and algorithms optimised over the last 100 years, but she is still missing something...