The next generation of smartphones will capture 3D imagery, including spaces and the objects within them. This imagery will produce a virtual environment engaged on social media, gaming, and other platforms. It's important content belongs to the user and not the platform, but it's likely within existing corporate state environments, the platform will own the content. Political pressure will liberate the data later.
Let’s imagine you put the virtualization of your residency and front and back yard online (if you are lucky enough to have any of those). Friends and trusted individuals, like interior designers, landscape architects, or increasingly, algorithms with permission, view your space and make modifications, like adding books to the bookshelf, stocking the fridge with certain items, or adding furniture and other interior decorations, like lighting, wall paper, and drapery.
Each guest will create a unique template of your place for you to adopt features to your own profile. Also assignable are areas of personal space you allow your friends to do with as they wish. A funny, but useful example, is that of a doll house resembling the house it occupies, where the guest user engages telerobotics to manipulate the real environment. Such an example would pave the way for trusted users to telemanipulate entire living spaces as robotics become adequate and affordable, with proper security measures rigorously tested.
For those privileged enough to own mansions (in my opinion not something that should be allowed, but held as a public trust), the real life use of them will allow individuals of the owner’s (or public’s) choosing to design for themselves and what a space will contain before arriving. If the mansion were owned by the public, the questions follow: how much of the public decides, and do the decisions remain local or regional if the mansion was built from labor and resources sourced globally?
Now that a post-pandemic basic income seems inevitable, landlords and rents will hopefully rapidly fade into irrelevance, and open up the possibility of personal space becoming more open to friends, guests, and travelers. Also, liberated from labor, personal bonds will likely open up, expressing itself as various communal living arrangements, transforming spaces. The manor houses of Europe that fell into collapse after the First World War is just one of many templates to consider for the future of communal living to come.
After the magic of modern medicine provides stable security and the 2020-21 lockdown lifts, a huge demand in travel will follow. This could be the opportunity to launch virtual residencies for travelers to observe and make virtual changes while booking a reservation. For a while, it seems fair to expect most people will not care to change what is seen virtually at all, but to enjoy the fact so many interiors are observable. Indeed, a lifetime could be spent simply gazing at interiors and landscapes as private ownership and zero-sum thinking lingers for some time, yet as a new generation comes of age, born immersed in a more broad, diverse, and less possessive or more admirational environment, this general attitude and practice will solidify a world of open ownership and borders. After doing the best we can, let us hope.
The Free Shop
With climate and ecological regeneration in mind, the first priority is having available objects already made to limit extraction and wasteful movement to the greatest extent. This invites local antique, furniture, and other shops related to the home to reform as freeshops or libraries. An older generation might close shop in a huff while the new generation opens to serve the community. Granted an adequate basic income, former shopkeepers can adopt the principles of the freeshop. Meticulously hand crafted furniture in limited supply may need to be lent out like a book from a library, until regenerative flexible automated factories can make custom furniture of the same quality. Extremely rare or one of a kind items that have a wide public interest should remain in a museum setting or in a place where people can book a slot to share in a social experience.
The same virtualization taking place in the home will also take place in the shop, including recorded observations of all materials channels and machinations that brought items to life, if one so chose to have a peek.
While greater liberty will come without the strain of financial concern, two seemingly opposed expanses will develop: diversity of engagement (the increased intermingling of people of various backgrounds) and the reformation of bands and tribes. Bands and tribes will form their own rules and culture, and as these bands and tribes grow, will become protected by a law of their own making, protected algorithmically. Individuals will have the ability to live primitively, as homesteads, or within garden villages and cities. Rewilding should be encouraged in recognition of the centuries long colonization of land once occupied by indigenous peoples and to offer a more organic way of living to future generations.
As bands and tribes form, an interface will enable the finding of locations where practices are accepted by neighboring bands and tribes, homesteaders, or garden villagers or citizens in the region. At first laws will designate to certain regions statically, requiring lapses of residential stay and other factors to impact the law. This may suit most everyone for a time, however it is foreseeable, as digital sensing and computing advances, certain parties will want to become ever more mobile and change laws of a place within fairly short notice, depending if the other parties and individuals agree on the time and place. This would confront neighboring groups to address what legal features to add or do away. However, for those preferring a more traditional or secure setting, static laws by region will remain in place. In a highly technical society, laws can change simply based on the behaviors, personalities, and settings at the time. Ideally the breaking of laws would not be punished, but laughed off as a joke, unless, of course, high crimes were committed.
Liberty to choose an isolationist individualism or a strict adherence to a faith community should be the highest priority. Individuals can have different individual modes recognized and respected, while individuals can also be a part of or freely leave any group (although within tightly knit groups disbanding may risk ostracism). The trick overall is to enable the free movement of everyone of all types globally.
Now let’s build it.