by Tony Cartalucci
City 2.0 is "the city of the future" according to the "TED Prize," which seeks to create a "platform" to "connect and empower individuals and communities around the world through editorial content (video and text), a shareable project database, tools for local connection, and resources for executing ideas. The result will be an ever-expanding network of citizen-led experiments, with the ability to scale successes and learn lessons from failures."
The idea of directly participating in the shape of your future is in essence the embodiment of human freedom. By doing this through creating teams and performing experiments, designing, and building solutions yourself is by far superior to stuffing a piece of paper into a ballot box. However, if the final goal is already predetermined, and resources regulated to ensure that goal is reached, the process becomes tainted.
The "goal" is so far very vague. A first-person "wish" is made from a city's point of view stating, "I am the crucible of the future. I am where humanity will either flourish or fade. I am being built and rebuilt every day. I am inevitable. But I am not yet determined. I wish to be inclusive, innovative, healthy, soulful, thriving. But my potential can only be reached through you."
Those who watch TED Talks on a regular basis will know that it is a mixed bag of truly innovative and inspiring ideas along with the corporate-fascist peddling of people like Al Gore, warmonger Thomas Barnett, and eugenicists like Bill Gates masquerading as humanitarians and environmentalists.
There are truly forward-looking talks like that of Professor Neil Gershenfeld of MIT regarding the distribution of advanced manufacturing technology amongst the masses to change people from consumers into producers and increase their level of self-sufficiency. Then there are talks like that of environmentalist Stewart Brand attempting to sell the merits of packing people into squatter cities, also known as slums.
The goal and feel of "City 2.0" as of now, sounds a lot like the United Nation's Agenda 21, where humanity is crammed into cities and a corporate-fascist global oligarchy controls the vast swaths of depopulated land left over to do with as they will. They claim they will preserve it as humanity's heritage, but they also claimed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and that Libya's rebels were the "heroic forces of democratization." To literally bet the farm on their integrity now would be foolish at best, especially when corporations like Monsanto and Syngenta lurk behind governance both on national levels and the international level at which the UN operates on.
Fortune 500 corporations are already lining up behind the TED Prize, and one assumes their latest City 2.0 project as well. This includes the insidious Fortune 500-funded DEMOS organization, and globalist backed "environmental" organizations like the Planet Heritage Foundation and the Waitt Institute whose board of directors includes equity managers, members of the fraudulent Clinton Global Initiative, and other Fortune 500-funded "NGOs." This further raises suspicion over the true agenda of City 2.0.
Whether or not working groups actually start coming together and if this initiative actually gains traction still remains to be seen. It also remains to be seen whether or not intelligent people actually allow themselves to be prodded along toward a goal predetermined by corporate-fascists masquerading as environmentalists and progressives. Ultimately, however, while improving conditions within urban spaces is a necessary task, the city is most definitely not the "crucible" of humanity's future.
Why City 2.0 is Already Obsolete
Cities exist because of the human need for physical proximity to conduct trade, meetings, and efficiently employ past and present forms of necessary infrastructure. This convenience is the primary reason why people live in cities, the primary reason they trade in open-space, clean air, nature, fields to grow their own food in, and the degree of self-reliance and community enjoyed by rural people. These advantages of the city have already been blunted if not entirely negated by modern technology.
A designer can live on the other side of the planet in Oklahoma, communicate with their office in Singapore, receive blueprints for a site, photos, video, and client meeting minutes, and from there produce and send back a 3D model in the time it takes some commuters to wade through traffic to and from work each day. This is accomplished without even the power needed by the most efficient "City 2.0" mass transit systems being proposed, with a negligible "carbon footprint" (if such a thing was even relevant), and allows the Oklahoman to sit on his porch and overlook open fields, enjoying clean air once his work has been sent via email.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) offers many of their courses for free as part of an "Open Course Ware" (OCW) program that is catching on in other universities and institutes around the world. No longer do you need to physically occupy Massachusetts to have access to the talent, ideas, and knowledge converged there. Here in Bangkok, Thailand, I can just as easily access MIT's OCW material as I can in any village in Thailand's vast countryside. No city is necessary, nor a commute to class, just an internet connection.
With advanced manufacturing and ever improving communication technology, this equation will only tip further in the favor of decentralization, not the convergence of power, money, and populations within the confines of the now antiquated "city." The real cause TED should be taking up is not polishing and perpetuating this symbol of inequity, but finding out ways to provide for people outside of cities to enjoy with technology what only physical proximity could have afforded them in the past.
City 3.0 will (and in many ways already does) exist as an idea or a concept. Like the Internet, it will have physical systems supporting it, which will be ever changing, decentralized across the globe, and out-of-sight for the most part. City 3.0 will be a civilization whose collaboration, work, education, entertainment, economic activity, and ideas are unfettered by geographic location and grandiose infrastructure. Technology can and will provide people with what they need on a personal, local level while physical cities will become superficial and, unless some new purpose is found, essentially useless curiosities.
The technology that we develop today, and the means by which we employ it rurally will determine what sort of world we create, not what we do in our cities. If people would like to waste time on an already outdated model, trying to convince people to perpetuate antiquated centers of ancient commerce in a digital world where ideas can literally be transported at the speed of light and manufacturing technology localized to then literally print those ideas out as physical, useable objects, that is their right. However, for those enamored with TED's well-intentioned-sounding proposal, they must realize City 2.0 is already tired, worn out, and in need of replacement. Upgrade to 3.0.
Video: Peter Diamandis talks about Singularity University, post-scarcity, and abundance. For those keeping score they will see themes of globalism, techno-terror, libertarian cornucopian ideals and more in this single talk. The paradigm is shifting and it is up to us to either take on the challenge of determining this new future, or allowing others to shape it for us in potentially terrifying ways.
To TED's credit, they already feature talks promoting what I call "City 3.0," but is it something corporations would get behind or something TED would promote exclusively? Especially when it is essentially a roadmap to post-scarcity and a world without corporate oligarchs? Most likely not. It is something we the people will have to contribute to and work toward ourselves, lest we resign our future to tired oligarchs intent on maintaining social, financial, and geopolitical domination.
Also read, "Caging Humanity: And How to Escape..."