display | more...

Here's the title:The Mobility Divide: Or why I want you to give me twenty thousand dollars in the 21st century

  1. Where are we now? How did we get here?
  2. Where are we going? Two possible futures. The choice. Applying the network sciences to the global transport sector.
  3. Surfing the network. A vision of our possible future.

That's a decent start. Got the major writing points broken out. I mean, how many people are actually going to enter a writing contest about "Mass Mobility in the 21st Century?" Need to be discursive, make some humorous comments. Lord knows the judges love that dry humor. I'm competing with a bunch of economists...

Inheriting the systems of the last century: inflexible, monolithic, polluting, overloaded. Overloaded because they are not scalable. These systems are simultaneously the triumph and failure of the industrial era.

Jesus, that's not even really a paragraph. I guess I must have written that towards the end of last night. "...simultaneously the triumph and the failure of the industrial era." That's not bad. That's definitely the kind of shit they are looking for, that tone. Ok, have a cookie.

How trying to scale old systems and technologies only hastens their collapse. To resort to a metaphor from the physical sciences, imagine every person and parcel in the system as a particle. Laminar and turbulent flow.

"Laminar and turbulent flow..." I sound like Deluze and Guattari for Dummies. Every time I think about an automated logistical system, I think about a robot in the Amazon warehouse plucking my book off the shelf and shrinkwrapping it to that cardboard sheet they always include. It looks like a cervical brace, like the book's been in a bad accident. And then there are those airbag things they throw in; they look like waterwings, to help kids swim.

The individual movers compressed at the chokepoints until they become an unmovable solid - with the best that the system managers can do is chipping away at the boulder. However, these systems are all we have at the moment. The contemporary "international airport" is comparable to a mainframe computer, or centralized manufacturing plant. Systems Analysts have a term for these entities - "legacy system" Legacy systems are antiquated yet mission-critical.

Just as bad as that amazon robot are the words "Manufacturing Plant." All I can think of is the assembly line at the Krispy Kreme. Replace the old ladies back there with robots from amazon and it's the mission critical donut factory of the 21st century. All over the city, people are phoning in their orders with their webphones, and the robots scuttle while systems analysts from the RAND corporation drinking coffee on the stools out at the vinyl countertop discuss using traffic analysis of cellular phone activity to proactively assassinate prominent global drug dealers.

The ultimate bandwidth is, and always will be, moving atoms instead of bits. We need a Mobility Web for the 21st century, a physical analog to the data meshwork of the Internet. Talk about the efficiencies gained in JIT manufacturing and supply chains. EDI for bidding and inventory control has created tightly integrated, yet geographically distributed systems off production and distribution.

You know what the ultimate bandwidth would be? It would be getting up from this fucking computer. The ultimate bandwidth would be getting laid. I would use my webphone to select a call girl based on a headshot and the sound of her voice, yes the sound of his master's voice, and then a robot taxi drives down the hallways of a hotel built beneath Dodgers stadium, and the girl, her pager vibrating madly in her hip pocket, slides across the hood of the speeding taxi and climbs inside Duke Boys style. In moments, she is whisking towards my house and talking dirty to me the whole time on the phone, how she's going cut my shirt off with a pair of blunt-nosed paramedic scissors the moment I open the screen door for her. With her talking on the phone, I can hear the taxi's engine grinding up the hill and hear it out my windows at the same time. And then there she is, big hair and cutoff jeans skipping down my walk in those Go Go boots with her EMT scissors already in hand...

The four points of failure in the legacy system of the current global transport infrastructure are the inherent strengths of any network system, in this case, the Mobility Web.

  • Flexibility (headroom and redundancy)
  • Geographic ubiquity (from anywhere to anywhere)
  • Green (energy, materials, impact)
  • Scalability (modularity equals capacity)

And then the point of failure occurs, when the headroom of self-control is overcome and the moment of geographic ubiquity is upon us, making us anywhere and anywhere all at once, a new modularity of infinite capacity, like tendrils of green energy shooting up from the soles of the feet to the base of the spine and then it's move the materials out out out, just in time, arriving on the scene with both goods and services in the new world market of the body in the network...

YES, for all these reasons and more you should give me twenty thousand dollars for the twenty first century, the first thousand of which I'm going to spend on that call girl.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.