When we will leave our landscapes of labor to robots, autonomous vehicles and buzzing drones, perhaps we can (re-)populate them with some other species as well…
To run our modern civilization we will need to continue to operate at scale. Our lives are dependent upon mass-production facilities and global logistics. But these landscapes of production don’t need to serve just one purpose. Natural and industrial environments don’t need to exist side-by-side in splendid isolation.
Monnik’s World Tree Model (WTM) suggests that man is becoming the weakest link in economic production. Consequently the basic values and mechanisms of our current scarcity economics paradigm will have to be revisited. When man does not participate in the economy anymore on the basis productivity, post-productive economic values will gain ground. Most importantly the fair distribution of machine produced abundance, and adding value to society beyond financial metrics. The generation of social and ecological value will be just as important as sustaining the efficient production and distribution of essential commodities and services.
The Autonomous Economic Zone
Instead of mono-functional zoning, we can stack mutually beneficial functions. Nature may cool factories, the internet of things may aid us in doing biological research, and one facility’s output might be the other’s input. In this fashion we can construct an industrial ecology, a landscape where efficient machines and biodiversity thrive.
Local Autonomous Manufacturing
Where fully automated factories will be located will not be determined by labor costs. Rather the local infrastructure, resources and markets will be leading in how and what will be produced. Ranging from Foxconn’s mass production of consumer electronics to the highly customized and localized Local Motors.
Besides the many benefits of green roofs like reducing the urban heat island effect, the heating and cooling of the buildings themselves, and reducing urban run off, vegetated roofs preserve local biodiversity. Especially brown roofs that use local soil from the site that allows the roof to be colonized by local species. Built surface will not be realized at the expensive of nature.
The solar lake combines floating PV cells with pumped hydroelectric energy storage. The water simultaneously cools the PV cells, and serves as a battery, storing excess energy that can be release
Cooling servers is a huge challenge. But the heat produced by computing can be harvested for businesses that need heat, like greenhouse farming. The more local outputs and inputs of economic activity can be linked, the better.
Global logistics is operated by drones, stirred by neural nets and monitored by a couple of globally centralised control rooms.
Autonomous Express Logistics
Flying drones and self-driving cars will do the last-mile deliveries, fast within-the-hour deliveries by air, same- or next-day deliveries by self-driving car. The system is decentralized; after a drop, it can do a pick-up, when low on energy it quickly gets a fresh battery at one of the local charging tower station.
Autonomous Container Terminal
With self-driving cars and ships introduced container terminals are fully automated from end-to-end.
Ducks and Drones
Drones will form a mobile sensor network aggregating data that is processed by neural nets that will do environmental monitoring. Revealing changes in migratory patterns, animal behaviour and particulate matter in the atmosphere. With ever expanding array of sensors, our insight into how nature works will grow. We’ll know better and better where we can help or where we need to get out of the way.