|"The future ain't what it used to be."|
The Phrenicea Scenario — A Primer
hrenicea® (pronounced fren-EEE-shuh) is a prophecy or vision of the 21st century. As a physical entity, it does not yet exist!
Phrenicea is a fictionalized account of what will occur in the first century of the new millennium. The name Phrenicea® is a portmanteau of phrenic (of the mind) and panacea (cure all).
Our world with Phrenicea is an extrapolation based on current trends resulting from ongoing worldwide population growth, the acceleration of social evolution,
Many of the topics addressed on this site are featured elsewhere on the web. An outstanding information source is the excellent Innovation Watch site. In addition, there is the long established World Future Society. The intention of the Phrenicea site however, is to be a bit bolder in presenting a vision of the future.
Today, many continue to cling to the stereotypical future as depicted in the Jetsons® cartoon, where technology reigns supreme, especially in the form of gadgets galore. Phrenicea turns that upside down. Gone are all the gadgets. Even the Internet and web are gone — replaced with Phrenicea. Thus, in many ways life ends up being, both socially
Phrenicea is (initially) a consortium imagined to be formed in the year 2014. It was the ultimate consequence of the explosion in brain research, led at first by the world's pharmaceutical companies in pursuit of new drugs to ameliorate or cure brain disorders, particularly Alzheimer's and the like — followed by the promise of enormous profits that ensnared tech search engine companies and chip manufacturers in particular), biotech, nanotech and even entertainment companies; and ultimately just about any entity with enough resources to pursue conquering the final (practically speaking) frontier — the workings of the human brain.
The optimism was contagious, as was the belief that the secrets of the human mind were at last going to be unveiled. But even with the vast financial and technical resources expended, the brain's inner machinations proved too elusive to elucidate.
What was successfully developed however was a working interface with the human brain. This soon was followed by the ability of individuals — triggered by mere thought — to connect and communicate with ("engage") a complex of interlinked brains that were "donated" by gullibles seeking eternal consciousness.
Surprisingly there wasn't a shortage of volunteers. But who would donate their brains upon death? Baby Boomers of course! As the weight of years shattered their illusion of youth despite their famous moniker, they successfully accepted the reality of mortality with the promise of foreverness.
These in vitro brains were kept alive artificially within hexagonal-shaped capsules — each becoming a contributing member (knowledge, experience, perspective, etc.) in a gigantic beehive-like chamber fittingly called the "braincomb."
The confluence of the various technologies synergistically enabled the transmission and storage of massive amounts of data related to human discourse. Just as the early 21st-century Internet made the physical collection of books, music, and other "hard copy" moot — Phrenicea rendered "life's hard copy," the physical and tactile components of daily living, irrelevant.
The capabilities of Phrenicea rapidly became so powerful that there was no longer a need to produce most of the gadgets upon which modern society depended. Suddenly the rage was to "engage," the popular term used to describe a mental hook-up with Phrenicea.
As with most trends, which often reach a pinnacleRealityCheck! before entering a period of decline, the distributed nature of the Internet (where information reached its most dispersed form, spanning millions of server computers throughout the world) fostered redundancy, inaccuracy, and unseemly (in the literal sense) waste. With the Internet also came a knowledge-based economy and the widespread copyrighting of intellectual property and the patenting of the means to access it. The "stake-your-claim" mania reached such heights as to stifle progress, since there became a chain of open hands (knowledge hoarding and fighting over copyright and patent rights) in the pursuit of just about any endeavor.
It was naïvely thought that institutionalizing Phrenicea would solve this dilemma. Thus Phrenicea the "consortium" became Phrenicea the "institution" in the second half of the 21st century — anthropomorphized with rights, powers and granted significant latitude.
In an about-face, the final phase of the "Information Revolution" entailed the
Phrenicea eventually became more important and powerful than government and corporations combined. Those two powerful entities, like the goods or services they had once provided — were now irrelevant.
There were many unforeseen consequences as a result of making Phrenicea the primary source of knowledge (the former patent and copyright holders were compensated with one-time non-negotiable settlements). The impediments to progress were indeed eliminated, but unforeseen was the loss of incentive to pursue progressive work.
It must be emphasized that there is always a benign risk involved in predicting the future and there are limits to extrapolation, which traditionally infers by extending or projecting known information from the present. Nevertheless, it is hoped that the "Phrenicea Vision" will stimulate thought and discussion.
oint-and-click your way through the various Phrenicea topics. Our goal is to stimulate thought and discussion, as well as entertain. Your comments, ideas, etc. are encouraged. Send us your email today!
A QUESTION TO PONDER: