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Tom Toles
Posted at 07:15 AM ET, 02/20/2013

New Arcadia

Okay, I’ll tie it all together today. All the musings, serious and whimsical, I’ve expressed in this space about where we are in history. This should be enough for one day’s blog post.

I’ve said we’re in a new era. That the political arguments we’ve been chewing on, and vice versa, for the last half century are largely decided. And I’ve said robots are taking over. Yesterday I said we could use fewer people. I’ve said I want to wear a toga. What does it all add up to, other than a prima facie case that I’m insane? Here’s what. We’re entering a new era, and I’ve been trying to divine what it might be. Today I’m here to tell you!

The robot advances are going to change things fundamentally, and offers us a chance to do things VERY differently. Thinking about them as just grinding out more of the same products and services that we are secretly sick to death of is small bore thinking. Let’s redefine what we’d like the world, and our lives to be like, and set about building that. We could all use a new project. And so could the robots. All it needs is a name. The name is New Arcadia. The New Arcadian Era! The New Arcadian Project! There, I’ve said it three times so you won’t forget. Probably already copyrighted for something or other, and surely there is a band somewhere called that. Whatever, it will do for today.

The important thing is what it will be like. First, let’s finally accept the logic of mechanization and push for WAY LESS WORK TIME. Have we had enough of the nose-to-the-grindstone yet? You bet we have! New Arcadia will have lots more free time. And the physical world? It will be divided into three zones: 1)Vital urban centers. Yes, cities are making a comeback, and it’s a great thing, too. Let’s make them dense and walkable and livable and beautiful. 2)Protected natural areas. Let’s preserve and stitch together enough wild nature so it will flourish and always be there for us and have the wild, dangerous predators in it that generate a little respect and awe and keep it from being boring. 3)Some defined intermediate zones that are more interesting than sprawl, and about access to natural landscape and less about driving to the mall. And again, beautiful. I think we’ve had a lot of design functionality, and conversely, design daring. Let’s try beautiful again for awhile. There you have it, or could, if you want it.

By  |  07:15 AM ET, 02/20/2013

 
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