A Bloodless Revolution: How Technology Could Save Us All

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By November 2140, technology was no longer the limiting factor for online distribution models.

The consumer could buy TV screens that weighed next to nothing and ran on the electricity produced by the thermal heat of the viewer’s body, and yet the screens were so bright that even the “tanning channel” was carefully regulated so as to avoid people getting burns.

The pixel density was so extreme that it became, essentially, molecular. This had curtailed the endless, cyclical upselling of the latest features in TV design. The culture of disposable technology and planned obsolescence was gone, and the demand was heavy for developing technologies that were really effective at cleaning up the environment, rather than just the failed accounting model of carbon tax credits.

Back in 2025, a backlash against draconian internet regulation meant, just like in the “old days” of the cultural renaissance at the turn of the millennium, the internet became, once again, entirely self-regulating.

Indeed, the watershed moment came about when the whole human race realised that everyone could now proselytise about their own ideologies, and, without the barriers of content delivery costs and technology limitations, this vast proliferation of thinking and ingestion of the thoughts of others meant that all these extreme views ultimately, rapidly, cancelled each other out.

In turn, this meant that everyone took everything with a pinch of salt, and life had become a whole lot less serious. This led to less inequality and less envy, creating less friction between groups of people, and so naturally there followed lower demand for government. The role of the government itself was widely replaced by the evolved social networks, meaning that problems were dealt with rapidly by peer assessment on a huge scale.

Of course, the dying governments fought this fiercely, but once they were firmly reminded that they no longer dictated the ideologies and media channels through which they had previously controlled the hearts and minds of their divided peoples, most of the government buildings simply stood empty. It was an entirely bloodless revolution: the former leaders were given the choice to live by their own governments’ means or to engage with the rest of society. As cryptocurrency took over, governments rapidly defaulted on their old-world debts, throwing the old economies into default -- at which point the people declared them insolvent, stripped the governments’ assets, and sat down to watch a good film on Netflix without the stress of government-backed debt hanging over them.

With this fundamental democratisation of broadcasting, huge shifts in the models for content occurred. For a long time, a group known as the Copyright Maximalists worked with the soon-to-collapse governments to defend their legal right to prevent anyone from sharing ideas or communicating through video and audio without their approval. The logic was that it costs a lot of money to make good content, so the Copyright Maximalists reasoned that they should be able to monopolise the broadcast channels to define to the populace what good was. As such, the technology of broadcast production hadn’t, up to that point, been widely commoditised for the consumer, just in case the consumer wanted to redefine “good” as something good for people rather than the shareholders of the Copyright Maximalists.

A theory, introduced in Streaming Media European Edition in late 2013, proposed that the rate at which the cost of good production tools falls directly accelerates the rate at which good content production proliferates. This meant that there would be a crucial point where even the unskilled producer would be able to use a simple, affordable tool to beautifully communicate his or her idea in the way that, until that point, had been the preserve of the larger monopoly content providers.

As this idea proliferated, the network operators realised that the market for their services was not the tiny number of rather egocentric Copyright Maximalists, but the diaspora of people who were adopting this commoditised technology.

By taking away the obstacles, the technologists opened a new era. A peaceful era.

This article appears in the Winter 2013 issue of Streaming Media European Edition as "A Bloodless Revolution."

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