7 Futures Without Children
One of the conflicts facing the Cosmic Era is the population base, and how to deal with a collapsed human population without causing another population boom, itself triggering another series of disasters like the Resource Wars
The following scenarios have been created by the North American Institute of Science, a joint campus open to the Atlantic Federation, the Pacific Rim Coalition states of Greater Alaska, the Republic of California, Cascadia, the Lunar Free States, and the Kingdoms of Scandinavia.
Scenario Alpha involves the use of biogenic creches, dream tanks, and forced growth techniques to completely bypass the lengthy maturation process required by homo sapiens. Genetic material is combined, an embryo is formed, and then undergoes the normal nine month gestation process inside an automatic womb, or creche. Once the embryo becomes and infant and is 'born' it is placed in a long usage dream tank, where it's mind is connected to a Nanny AI, and it spends the next year running through formative programming at twenty times normal speed. During this year, the physical body is fed a dense supply of nutrients, and growth hormones so that it continues its rate of cellular growth near that of the embryonic stage. After a calendar year has passed, the tank contains a physically mature human adult with twenty years of experience inside their heads.
Childhood is bypassed, women are no longer relegated to being the breeding partner and there is full liberation from biological dictate, and many of childhood's traumas from socio-economic strife, endemic prejudice, and similar socially hereditary problems are eliminated.
Scenario Beta involves creating an adult importing society, which requires a draconian statue that none of the newcomers are allowed to procreate, and having biological children constitutes a felony offense.
This scenario requires long term investment in prolonging human life, as well as maintaining functionality of life regardless of age. The only reason to allow new humans into the system is to shore up population numbers as attrition in inevitable. Once a lifespan reaches multiple centuries, there is far less demand to have children at all, there is no need. Automation and smart design reduces stress on flesh bodies, medical science is better prepared to repair them, and genetic advances work to reverse the biological process of aging. Residents of Scenario Beta don't grow old.
Also known as the Transhumanist Option. All residents of Scenario Gamma have their minds transferred to cybernetic bodies, either through transferring organic brains into cybernetic bodies (the Promethean faction is very fond of this) or converting the human consciousness into a digital format and uploading it into fully synthetic bodies. Once the initial batch of transhumans are created, procreation is simple, when two transhumans decide to have a child, they create spin off kakugrams of themselves, and feed both files into the master AI, which compiles the two codes together and then lets the new code flow into the awaiting cortex.
The opponents of Gamma state that such a society is completely dehumanizing and ultimately results in the extinction of humankind. The transhumanists reply, yes, that is accurate and deliberate.
Also known as the Clone-o-rama, Delta involves using the technology present in scenarios Alpha and Beta to create chains of clones so that the death rate becomes zero. When a person reaches the extent of their biological lifespan, they are reborn into a cloned body and continue their lives as if nothing happened.
Children still technically exist, but this is a highly transitory phase, and said children retain the minds and memories of a continuous consciousness that might have spanned dozens of host bodies and unknown normal human lifetimes. With the ability to duplicate copies of a mind, even accidental death, murder, or suicide, could be easily sidestepped by judicious use of back-up data.
Scenario Delta is well covered by the premise of Altered Carbon
Related to Scenario Gamma, Epsilon involves the creation of human sentience and identity inside a computer system. Human minds are loaded into a virtual construct, with completely malleable physics and laws. This would allow the residents to live in whatever version of reality or mythology that they wanted to. Epsilon A has the humans still occupying their bodies, but in a sort of organic suspended animation, and only their minds are active. Epsilon B removes the brain from the body, and implants it in a life support system.
Like Gamma, many point out that this option represents the NEET version of a human extinction level event, and would spell the end of world governments, corporations, and the trappings of the extant modern world. Pro-Epsilon people agree and add that this is a feature, and not a flaw.
Scenario Epsilon is well explained in The Matrix, though the human hosts are not needed as a power source, and are willing participants in the simulation, so deceit on the machine side is not required.
There are children in Zeta, but they do not exist inside of society. When children are born, they are donated to the Foundation, where they are removed from civilization and society as a whole, and are instead raised in communities made entirely of children in their same age category. As the children age, they are sorted into classes based off of their innate attributes and talents, and formed into those targeted professions. These extended sibkos grow into military professions, industrial and vocational, science and technology, and so forth. This eliminates the Gray Factor from the Zeta population, and when the children graduate into adults, they leave the foundation facilities, integrate into society, and eventually sort themselves out. Soldiers enter military forces, techs and engineers enter the material sector, artists and designers, the service sector. Thus society is allowed to exist without children, without said children and reproduction being removed. The children who don't fit into the existing roles, those become the surrogate mothers and fathers, and the adults who keep Zeta facilities running.
Zeta is a common topic in some anime, where children are raised apart from society, and are cultivated to serve said silent and demanding society until they are able to win, retire from their engineered service, or die.
Scenario Omega is also known as the Human Extinction Event, and has been explored in a number of media offerings and it comes from the concept of pandemic level sterility, typically because of a viral weapon or agent. In Scenario Omega, the sterilizing agent is deliberately administered to the population creating an evolutionary bottleneck. The ideal behind Omega is that Earth without humanity will be dramatically better than Earth with even the most enlightened and eco-conscious humanity, and that the cost is relatively low.
There are two groups who promote Omega, extreme eco-terrorists and techno-eugenicist. The former are the presenters of Omega, while the later at the ones working on the actual details. The techno-eugenicist factions tend to have a disproportionate level of ethno-racism and ideals on how to perfect humanity, and most agree that eliminating something like 95% of the extant population is the best way to get started, wipe the board and clear the field, so that whatever they cook up in their labs becomes the new base of humanity. The big debate there is who is the 5% and who gets to pick who they are.
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