Follow this train of thought — we invent sentient AI, which creates immersive virtual realities…
Matt Chessen
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Your flippant response has caused me quite a bit of pain. Fantasizing about living on an Earth with 4 million people is one of my most persistent daydreams. It’s the misanthropic fantasy to end all misanthropic fantasies, but you went and added:

“…a few million high tech hippies and religious freaks…”

Fantasies work like taboos or superstition. Once you have heard someone else’s, THEIR fantasy affects YOUR fantasy. Even if you reject theirs as being “stupid”, it’s still in your head, muddling up YOUR fantasy.

For the record, my fantasy of the four-million-people-Earth previously had no hippies or religious freaks.

Let Me Tell You About My Fantasy

In my fantasy, some genius… ok, the genius is me… has figured out how many oil rigs, refineries, and “fueling stations” it requires to let a teeny-tiny amount of people live in one of five or six teeny-tiny cities spread across the continents and adjacent to the most beautiful parts of the world. Four million people is the goal, but if it has to be ten million because it takes more corn growers and factory workers to make Fritos than you would think, I’m OK with upping that number.

Then everyone else disappears.

How do they disappear? Well, in my prequel “last man on Earth” (the über-misanthropic fantasy) ruminations, everyone else died in a nuclear war. During my teenage “last male on Earth” fantasy (and I’m old enough that the first person scheduled on the calendar in the “comfort house and cuddle center” was Farrah Fawcet), all the males of the species die from a disease they contracted by handling… I don’t know… guns and footballs and some other shit I don’t care about.

In my current, four-million-people on Earth fantasy, we just pay people to not have babies and give them robots, HBO, and Chipolte to keep them happy. You mentioned VR. See, now that is incorporated into my fantasy. They will be watching Westworld¹ in VR mode, we’ll give them new strain, legalized, extra-great pot, and they’ll be more than happy to never leave the couch in exchange for our five minute, out-patient, fertility killing death-ray procedure.

I’ll admit, I sometimes contemplate me culling the human population by more direct methods, but OF COURSE² those avenues of contemplation are rejected on moral grounds, though it is reassuring to know that the after-sale guy at the Subaru dealership who bullied me into Simonizing the car won’t make it into the “Eden Project” finals no matter what the selection process is.

Anyway, we get down to the 4 Million People Earth and we can live in the five small cities or bomb around the depopulated planet in our high-tech schooner sailboats. How many people does it take to launch a space satellite? Because we’re going to want to have broadband internet access to the… four?… media outlets from anywhere on Earth.

This is starting to sound worse and worse as I type it out, and my only point in responding was to say, “what’s up with the hippies and religious freaks?” Who thought of that? I like hippies, but I’m not sure I want to share the Earth with them. Why do hippies make the cut? When you say “religious freaks” are you thinking Amish and Hasidim? If so, I’m OK with that because we definitely need scrapple and an appetizing shop. How many orthodox Jews is the minimum for an appetizing shop, some comedians, and an occasional art film about forbidden lesbianism set in dark Brooklyn apartments with beautiful skin and great humanity?

Uh-Oh. You see where we ended up? I’ve walked myself into a bad place. That “quota on Jews” was someone else’s fantasy. I don’t blame you. I was the one that got us here, not you, Matt, but I want to back up.

When it comes to colonizing other planets, I’m closer to E.O. Wilson than Neil deGrasse Tyson.

“Humanity today is like a waking dreamer, caught between the fantasies of sleep and the chaos of the real world. The mind seeks but cannot find the precise place and hour. We have created a Star Wars civilization, with Stone Age emotions, medieval institutions, and godlike technology. We thrash about. We are terribly confused by the mere fact of our existence, and a danger to ourselves and to the rest of life.” 
Edward O. Wilson, The Social Conquest of Earth

¹ HBO, that’s two references to your Network in one paragraph. You should send the “native advertising” check to: Gutbloom, c/o Fat Joe Enterprises, The Mill, Mushamaguntic, NUS.

² This is a Louis CK “of course”. You’re supposed to say it loudly, at the upper part of your normal vocal register. In the chest. The “of course” starts in your chest.

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