Elon Musk put a car in space. There’s not really any glossy opening sentence that can make that any more nuanced. The man. Put a car. In space. Because he could, and because he’s rich and wanted to engage in the most bizarre form of metaphorical dick measuring we’ve seen so far. On the back of this, Musk reckons he can invent a rocket flight from London to New York that takes only 90 minutes within the next decade, and honestly, I reckon he can too.
So, this is it, the expansion of the human race, the invention of the future, in the hands of a couple of over inflated Tony Stark wannabes. While Musk is concerned with being humanities Maverick, his workers are left behind in their factories, with one telling the Guardian that “everything feels like the future but us.” This is the problem, we’re having the future invented for us, and it’s the wrong kind of future, that we’ve all been caught up in it.
When Musk invents his trans-atlantic rocket, are we all going to jump aboard, knowing it was built of the backs of workers who pass out at work, who have ambulances called at a ridiculously high rate, all while pretending our success was built off the back of automated robots? Because that doesn’t sound like a future I’m invested in.
We’ve been sold these ideas without thinking about them. Driverless cars? Why? Who does that help? Why is the future so fixated around driverless cars and less around eco-friendly cars? Why is expansive public transport taking a back seat to the likes of Richard Branson and Elon Musk’s egotistical adventures?
Why are we all so obsessed with having a country with full employment, when what we really should be looking at is having a country where no one needs to work at all? We’re so busy looking at what we can get robots to do for us, we’ve not focused on what we do when they do it all for us.
But some people are thinking the right way, pioneers of basic income, people leading the vanguard for new forms of public ownership, and people creating their own start-ups.While they may have their political differences, all are aiming to invent the future in a way that benefits everyone.
A fortnight ago, Concrete covered the start-up business of EHAB, a collaborative format which would allow public building of houses, reinventing the way we look at house building. Another piece, written by Edward Grierson in December, looked at communal ownership of urban areas in Barcelona and Leeds. Both of these are ideas that make the future something beneficial for everyone, not just a select few.
Campaigners to change the scope of draconic Government policy are one thing, but grassroots activists forcing direct change are the next step.
Countless movement’s such as Occupy have tried, and failed to change the people who invent our future for us. People like Musk who don’t seem to have any idea about how to actually invent it, and are more concerned with playing astronaut than looking after the people they’re supposed to building it for.
It seems were left with 2 options: Either watch our future be invented, or invent it ourselves.