Here in the Meld, we’re getting wifi in the trees. Geneticists figured out a way for plants to produce conductive strands like a second set of nerves for data transmission, then planted the trees on every block. They network together like an electronic Gaia. Like many things, it was a large up-front capital investment, and in the interim standard wireless access points have been placed throughout. The work of genetic optimization is, thankfully, relatively easy to game, and thousands of genetic gamers have spent their unpaid time working it out, so the capital investment is much reduced, according to the blog analysts.
Now that the genetic code is finalized, the wifi trees are being placed throughout the hundreds of Meld cities across the world. The benefits are twofold – they are genetically optimized for spreading their seed far afield as quickly as possible, letting nature do the work of establishing worldwide network connectivity, and they contribute to the efforts to reduce climate change.
The Meld manages human ecology as well as natural ecology. Getting places around the city such as work, shopping centers, clubs and bars, is handled by gamed computer projections far more sophisticated and intelligent than we are. Work and play schedules are staggered according to optimal logistic efficiency. Computer-driven automatic public transit solar powered vans and buses pick us up from homes along grids constantly shifting, gamed for getting everyone where and when we need to be. It removes the stress of decision-making, pathfinding and trying to force our way through the streets, and it frees up our minds for more fun and efficient pursuits like making our world a better place.
This gaming goes beyond making it easy to get to the clubs and into survival. I give my work-time at the gardens and block kitchens, and after every harvest, I input the items from the day into a tablet. Some items are taken to our local pantry, while others are taken back to the regional factory for canning and re-shipping.
At the kitchen, the automated stock loader backs up and gives us the pallet of our community’s nutrient harvest, conveniently diced, chopped, dried or canned for easy meal preparation. Our harvest is supplemented with flavored spiced starch as needed to ensure necessary calorie counts as well as to improve flavor profiles. My job at the kitchen consists of assisting a robot in mixing together, heating up, and setting meals out on plates for my neighbors.
According to the blogs, they tried it just with robots back when the Meld was first starting up, but they found that malnutrition was approaching unpredictable levels. When a live person was added to the workflow and no other factors changed, malnutrition went down by nearly 80 percent. Our spindly bodies lived just on the edge of what we needed, which was good, but every bit of efficient nutrient processing was highly important, so the Shepherds started putting people on kitchen duty. Something about a human touch – human community around food, it was theorized – could literally improve digestion in a way that the Meld chemists hadn’t yet devised.
Something that the resistance doesn’t realize about the Meld – I didn’t realize it, myself, at first – is that it is essentially a solutions-based system. For all its appearance as a happy-go-lucky drug-addled space, it is hyper rational in its approach to managing humanity. We aren’t running from our problems, which is how it appears to outsiders. Rather, we’re mitigating our own personal problems using the beauty of the space we create, sublimating our hyperactive, spiraling energy to the business of solving pressing globally systemic problems like waste, greed and climate change. It’s amazing how much consumption we can cut when people don’t feel the need to be in control of every little piece of their lives. It’s not like it was 50 years ago, when you could just watch a movie, buy CFLs and recycle to feel like you were saving the world. Behind all this happiness, the future earth totters on the brink. These days, every extraneous ton of greenhouse gas reduces survival chances by .01 percent.
The Meld is a solutions-based enterprise, like all lasting civilizations before it. Because food production can’t be completely automated without significant reduction in nutrient absorption, the Meld stopped trying. However, with constant information analysis, the Meld’s computer systems can identify best practices, implement them, and be constantly on the watch for new ways to protect us while reducing our society’s carbon footprint.
Human beings are simple creatures, I am coming to realize. We want to be happy. We want to feel good. We want to feel loved. We want to trust and be held. Why, then, did we once nearly destroy the world attempting to achieve these simple desires? Stupid. Foolish. The Meld mitigates that self-destructive tendency by giving us exactly what we want – connection, food, culture, peace – for free, and it has my support.
When I tell you the Meld amazes me every day, it is not a lie. Whenever I start to question my decision to fight for the Meld, to give myself over to what, historically, would be considered a totalitarian collectivist state, I think of all that we’ve accomplished – all that we continue to accomplish – in the name of the human race and in the name of global health – and I realize that my heart is set. Totalitarian collectivist or not, I will fight for this until we’ve won or until it destroys me completely.