#01 Society - Idest

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“Interlude pt. I” takes place in Idest, the first city to have ever been built without human labor. In addition, the majority of the city—set to accommodate a population of half a million plus—was built in less than a year and was endowed with a viable infrastructure for its continued existence without a single human present. This remarkable achievement was made possible by the development of a variety of A.I. systems* in the early 2020’s that allowed for non-stop construction based on human/A.I. jointly designed city plans. As well, sophisticated modular housing techniques—allowing buildings to be pieced together from existing parts, yet maintain a modern and appealing aesthetic—decreased construction time drastically.

Another remarkable aspect of Idest is its “clear sky act,” the effects of which are observed during “Interlude pt. I” As Maria contemplates her situation, she watches cars enter and exit the Paramount Human Arts Center, appearing as if out of nothing and then dissolving into the night as they leave. This phenomenon, while quite commonplace to her, is a result of the technology of full-passthrough light preserving cells that render an object completely invisible through the use of 360 degree light replicating technology powered by an ultra-efficient energy cell. While this technology is available worldwide, Idest is one of the few cities in which it is used so ubiquitously.

The second piece of the act decrees that there must be zero light horizon visible from city lights, thus allowing a clear view of the stars at night. The argument presented for this is that “man must be given every opportunity to marvel at the nature of the world he lives in, lest he lose his sense of awe.” This goal was accomplished through intelligent city planning, with many light sources shaded beneath canopies of trees, and advancements in lighting technology that increased safety as well as reduced the amount of nighttime light.

*[While the social and economic results of manual labor shifting onto the shoulders of A.I. will be discussed later, it is important to make mention of a few issues surrounding the use of A.I.’s themselves, namely the distinction between the two main varieties of A.I.: Artificial Life and Artificial Intelligence.

At the time of Idest’s construction, it was considered cruel and inhumane to put Artificial Life, category one or greater, to work. (In short, a category one is an Artificial Intelligence capable of expressing humanlike emotions, whether mimicked or real. A category ten Artificial Life would, if such a thing existed, be indistinguishable from a human and fully capable of contemplating the nature of both self and existence.) Thus, a set of guidelines were created, not unlike the Turing test, to determine the level of independent thinking that a machine was capable of, with an emphasis on showing that all machines being used were simply tools, just as the computer had been before them.

In reality, standardized sets of code had been in use for years that had long since been tested and approved for use, but these measures were taken in an effort to stanch renewed cries of “slave labor” and “robot rebellion”.]

Future encyclopedia entries on Idest will address the evolution of the traffic system and the automobile as well as waste disposal, economy, and the role of A.I. in society. Remember to come back every Sunday for a new chapter.

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