Author: Alec Waters

The Martian Master Plan

Designer statement

My utopia is one where no one needs to work.  First and foremost my utopia is based on the idea that people would be happier in a society where they can choose what they want to do in life without having to worry about the basic necessities of life.  I try to bring this about by making a world and society where all the things people need and want can be produced through automation.  With out the need to produce or acquire the basic necessities of life people can then turn to doing whatever it is they want.  Here automation can also help by providing  what people need to do whatever it is they want and by helping them do it if they desire.  The purpose of my utopia is not to create a world where no one works but rather to create a world where each person can work at what they want, or not work at all if that is what they want.

This utopia completely changes the relationship that people have to the things that society produces and completely changes how people function in society.  This is why I chose to put my utopia on Mars.  There I could create a society as large as I wanted and as different as a wanted without needing to worry about the process of transition from the old system or the problem of who lived on the land currently occupied by the utopia.  A new planet seemed like the best place for a fresh start.  I also think that putting my utopia on a new planet very clearly signals that I want it to be a very different place.

I would say that the biggest inspiration for my utopia are utopias in the vein of Thomas More’s Utopia or Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland.  Works featuring societies that were imagined from the base up and were never truly thought of as places that could really exist someday.  Thus I did not focus on making sure that my utopia was a feasible one.  It is a thought experiment about what a society could look like if it used automated labor to the greatest extent.  Ideally it would be a utopia where everyone was happy and pursuing  their dreams or doing whatever would make them most happy in life.  It would be a place where no one ever asked “what do I need to do” but instead “what do I want to do”.  If life on earth is river that pulls you along with it where ever it flows the life on Mars is lake where you can swim where ever to like.  The worst case scenario is of course the robots killing everyone.  I do not know how that would happen though.

 

Manifesto

Mars will be a new kind of place, a society unlike any in which humans have lived before.  On Earth one must work to live.  Unless of course you have enough money, which is all too often amassed from the work of others.  Leisure is a privilege, along with a secure future and the ability to do what you want rather than what you will be paid for.

On Mars all of the necessities of life and human society can be automated.  Everyone will be secure in knowledge that, no matter what they do, they will have as much of everything they need.  The greatest challenge of life will be to find what to do with it.  With both the individuals and the society they live in freed from the bonds of necessity the people of Mars can, with the help of automated labor, look towards living happy lives rather than just towards living.

All people on Mars will be guaranteed:

-A place to live, food to eat, water to drink, etc.  All of the necessities of life not just to the barest extent but to the extent that the individual desires.  In no way shall the people of Mars be differentiated in their access to these things.

-The benefit of the automated labor on which Martian society is based and the capacity to use some of its products for their own ends.

 

Broadside in the form of a letter inviting the people of earth to come to mars.

Dear people of Earth,

We are building the future on Mars.  A new world with a new society built on the principle that no one should be made to work and that each person should be able to live the life they want.  On Mars everything a person could need is produced through automation and freely available to all.  No one will ever need to fear for the security of their future.

Here you can feel free to live life at a slower pace with all the rest and leisure you desire.  Do what you want at your own pace and live the happiest life you can.  We invite you all to come to Mars, where the future is being built, where anyone can follow their dreams and live a life doing what they truly want.

 

In the Hopes that you will join us,

(signature)

First president of the Assembly of Mars.

 

Master Plan diagram

Building detail

Just put it on Mars

There are many reasons why I have chosen Mars to be the site of my Utopia.  One of them is that because my Utopia is somewhat large in scale it will need to occupy a large area and control a great number of industries.  If everything my utopia could need, or to a certain extent want, is to be supplied primarily by automated production.  Which creates problems when there are already people there.  If everyone could be convinced to join my utopia then it works but if not then problems emerge.  So I have decided to start my utopia in a place where there is no one and where there will be enough space and resources for my utopia to function.  Obviously it will not be on Mars as it is now but on a Mars that has been transformed, primarily by robotic labor, to be more Earth-like and hospitable for humans.  The fact that, a. Mars will have to change considerably before it can actually be the site for my utopia, and b. not all that much is known about Mars when compared with Earth, means that it is not very easy to specify an actual specific location on Mars where it would be located.   The structure of the region once my utopia is established will probably have most people living together in somewhat densely packed communities the size of a modest city.  These communities will be surrounded by a hinterland where many of the things consumed by and used in the communities are produced and the population of humans is small.  As my utopia has an entire planet to live on there will doubtlessly be many of these communities and a lot of moving of goods between them.  What is important is that all people and all communities have equal access to them.

The tentative name of my utopia is Chapekelia.

A Utopia With Some Robots In It

Put simply the problem is involuntary labor or what I am calling compelled labor.  Labor which is not necessarily forced in the sense that one is not given the choice of whether or not they will do it but compelled in the sense that one works because one must and not because one wants to.  The labor is done because it is necessary for the individual, often because one needs money live in our society.  The problem is that people end up doing things because they have to not because they want to.  This is also bound up with the idea of labor that is necessary for society.  There are many things that a society needs to function, food being an obvious example, that people must be either forced or compelled to do.  If one were to ask all of the peasants in medieval France whether they would chose to work on a farm their entire life many would probably have said no.  However their society was one where people were made to the necessary work of farming and there was much suffering and inequity because the people who made and extracted the basic needs of that society from the earth were compelled to do so.

 

In my new utopia all societally necessary labor is automated and performed by robots (that are not intelligent or capable of feeling anything, no moral problems can be incurred by their use) that are directed by humans.  All of the food and raw materials that my utopia needs are produced by robots and all of  the things that my utopia needs can be made by robots.  Thus no one needs to work for the basic necessities of life because they are provided by automated labor.  The only task that humans must perform in order to survive is oversee the robots and manage their labor.  People are thus free to do what they want and also free to have much more leisure time than most people do now.  The inhabitants of my utopia are also free to sleep more and determine their own schedule for that sleep because of the completely voluntary nature of their work.

The people of my utopia work at whatever they want to whether that be chemistry research or trying to create the world’s greatest garden containing only different types of grass.  They determine what they want to do based on what they think is most important one person might do what they think is most beneficial for society as a whole and another may do what they think will make them personally happiest.  The work that the people of my utopia do is also better because it is voluntary.  When people do things it is because they care about the work and want it to succeed.  The reason for working is the work itself and not something external to it.  The efficiency of much of the automated labor means that people have ample materials with which to work.  The scientists of my utopia will have easy access to all the equipment and materials they need and all other professions will have similar resources.  Robots will also be able assist people with their work allowing them to not only chose to do the work they wish but also in many cases avoid parts of that work that they see as boring and which are simple enough for a robot to do.

There are two primary functions of the government of my utopia.  One is to provide services that the entire society needs, think roads, electricity etc., and to oversee the activities of automated labor that works to satisfy societal needs.  For example while and individual might have a farm with an amount of automation that fits their desire the government will control enough automated food production to ensure that every one can eat.  The other primary function of the government in my utopia will be to resolve disputes between individuals and act in a law enforcement capacity.  However due to the utopian nature of my utopia there is almost no crime and few disputes.

 

A day in Chapekelia

As the day begins a robot harvests wheat and sends it by automated train to a mill be ground into flour.  The wheat is taken and ground into flour in an entirely automated process.  While the grinding is in process the manager of the mill, an early riser, checks to make sure the process runs smoothly and checks the product’s quality.  The finished flour is later sent to a city where some is delivered to a bakery also by automated labor.  An inventory management robot then places the flour in the proper storage and updates the inventory.  The baker then uses the flour to bake things.  The baker, after closing the bakery, decides to try and see if they can acquire flour made from chestnuts and the next day a robot prepares to collect some chestnuts.

A Family and a House

The most important part of an ideal family is the bond that holds the people in it together.  Its members must be held together by mutual trust, respect and concern for each other’s well-being.  It must be a connection that cannot easily be broken.  No squabble or petty insult is a threat to the bonds that tie this family together.  For these bonds to form the family cannot be too large, perhaps thirty people at most.  Everyone must know each other well.  This bond allows for the family to be a harmonious unit of people that live together both respecting the needs and wishes of the individuals and of the family as a whole.  The people in the family can be any age as the relationship between the members of the family is the most important factor.  When all members know each other well enough to truly understand how to make all feel at home in the family.  It is also important that membership within the family is completely voluntary, everyone is there because they wish to be.  The family and the house that it lives in (because this project calls for a family and a house the implications of a family not living on the same house will be tabled) should serve as a kind of stable base for the people within it.  It should support them and provide a secure, comfortable and happy place to rest.  The family is a partially self-contained unit that serves to support its members.  It is important that each member of the family is willing to help the others and actively looks for ways to do so.

 

 

One of the most important features of the house is the separation between the personal spaces and the communal space.  A family cannot be an all-encompassing feature of an individual’s life.  They will likely require, or simply desire, a space of their own over which they have control.  This separation of the individual and the communal can be seen as something of an architectural manifestation of the importance of satisfying both individual and group needs of the family.  The function of the robot is in many ways to prevent a clash of individual wants and group needs.  No individual need ever do a task which is necessary but undesirable.  The robot can do it instead.  The separation of the individual from the group is not total though there are not locks between the communal space, and thus the rest of the family, and the individual spaces precisely so that the family must be trusted to respect the individual and their space and so that they can override the individuals desire for seclusion if they think it is necessary.  The family must be trusted to act in the best interest of its members.  The inclusion of a garden is in part to reinforce the idea of the family being partly self-sufficient and in part to provide fresh produce.  An important feature of the common area of the house is that all of its parts must serve some kind of common function.  It is never a part of the house for just one or a few people but for all people in the family.  The existence of these common spaces also allows for regular interactions between all of the members of the family that will maintain the bonds between them.  The guest rooms are there so that guest can stay at the house without having to impose on the space of any of the individuals in the family.  Another important feature of the house is that there is much room for each individual and each family to create a space that is suited to them.  Families and people can be very diverse and it is important for the family and the house to be able to take many diverse forms to accommodate that.  Finally as the family is a partly self-sufficient unit so is the house.  It is completely unreliant on its surroundings and its only interactions with them are through the comings and goings of those who live in it.

 

Rules of the house

-Do your best to make this the best house it can be for the family.  Make sure that everyone always feels welcome and safe.

-Do your best to improve the lives of everyone in the house.   Help each other as much as you can.

-Respect the spaces of individuals each person can set the rules of their own spaces as they wish and these rules should be respected.

-Respect the communal space it is there for everyone.

-The robot can only do one thing at a time make sure that it is using its time in best ways possible.