Culture in the future

Now that we have pretty much decided how technology and geopolitics will be like in the Fractal Future universe, we have to start thinking about other stuff. How will culture evolve in our future?

Here are a few things that may happen:

  • Videogames will become increasingly important as a form of entertainment, art and sport. More attention will be given to developing good storylines, complex gameplays and realistic graphics (we will probably even get to a point where videogame carachters are almost indistinguishable from real people).
  • Mainstream music will evolve into some kind of post-modern barroque style.
  • Holographic and augmented reality spectacles will become common.
  • Once it is possible to visualize other people’s dreams, those may become a form of art.
  • Minimalism will gain popularity as an alternative aesthetic current.

Do you have any other ideas. These things are hard to predict and, since the main idea behind our project is that humanity will become more diverse, we will have to portray some highly divergent cultural trends.


Yes, speculating about culture is interesting. You have made some interesting points, though I don’t get that with the post-modern barroque music.

Here are some more ideas:


  • There will be augmented leagues for humans with augmentations and in which all kinds of drugs are legal to boost performance.
  • And there will be classic leagues in which humans with augmentations cannot participate and the contemporary rules against doping are still enforced.
  • Indoor sports in total immersion virtual world rigs will become popular (heck, what else can make people do sports unless it’s a part of a virtual reality game).

Virtual reality:

  • People will hang out in very compelling virtual worlds. These can be based on reality or fantasy worlds. Also on dreams. The sci-fi novel Augmented Dreams features a virtual world that incorporates the dreams of its users.
  • Games in virtual worlds will be massive. Whole virtual tribes and nations will battle against each other in persistent virtual worlds. These games could become something like national sports in which people are more or less expected to participate actively.
  • Travel within very compelling virtual worlds will mostly replace the need for real world travel and vacations.
  • There will of course be a reaction to these trends: Some people will rebel against the “virtualization” of culture. The “real-lifers” will mostly boycott the possibilities of virtual worlds. However, they will have a hard time being totally consistent about that, because most people spend a great deal with time in virtual worlds and work life will also partially require work being done in or via virtual worlds.

Totally immersive experiences:

  • In some decades people will be able to record and upload all their memories to the cloud. Others can relive their experiences pretty authentically. Many people will spend a lot of time simply reliving the more or less special experiences of others.

  • Totally realistic immersion with then also enable to generate quasi-authentic imaginary and fictional experiences. Like turning a book or a movie into a totally immersive experience that you relive as one of the characters.

  • Advanced AGIs will turn books and movies into these immersive experiences pretty quickly.

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Those are very interesting ideas.

By post-modern barroque music I mean something that is very exuberant and mostry devoid of content, I have the feeling that’s where pop music is heading to.

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Cool ideas. With all this virtual reality stuff, I imagine the majority of people will have to finally confront the questions of “what is reality?”. Technology turns philosophical questions into practical ones, and that’d be a very interesting motif in the coming decades I think! As a result, and as part of the future culture, I think we need to also consider the noosphere, or memescape of the future.

What philosophical ideas and world-views will be popular? Will more postmodernist ideas, like those of Jean Beaudrillard, be more popular? Or more real-world-centered ones? Personally, I think that following the trends of post-postmoderinsm, and post-cyberpunk, which go hand in hand with transhumanism, people will try to transcend the simple rejection of anything being real of postmodernism, and transcend it to find something they can hold as truth. This will of course mean the appearance of new narratives, but I think the most popular opinion would be to regard virtual realities as in some sense below the physical world, as they are contained in it.

It’s hard to know exactly what will be popular, but I have a personal philosophy that emerged from the premature experiences of these coming developments (from movies, etc.). I call it the Principle of Inclusiveness. And simply stated, it says that Truth is what emerges from trying to understand as much of reality as possible. Thus the way to truth is simply the seeking of experiencing and experimenting as much as possible. This would obviously be most suitable for advanced minds like AIs who would scour the Universe for information, in search of Everything.

Another area I’d like to mention, is that specially when we reach a sort of technological or scientific maximum in some area, a lot of advance will come from cross-pollination of different areas. In the next decades and beyond, the most disparate areas of Knowledge and Life will be connected, creating lots of surprising stuff. A bit like when fractals appeared from the cross-pollination of computers+art+math. This is actually a rather fun an innovation-generating game to play. Choose two things, say math and music, and imagine what can come out of their combination. Maybe some obscure areas of maths are intuitively better understood by being heard instead of seen (Also augmented math will hopefully be a thing ^^). And of course with VR and AR, a lot of these things will be readily experimented with. With them we will probably discover things that don’t even have names now.

Internet surfing could finally become quite literally surfing, or whatever else you like. Some aspects of VR will begin to be considered to be cybernetic forms of psychedelic drugs (well some people may do both at the same time too, but even individually), due to its hallucinatory experiences. Chaos Magik will become a mildly popular idea whether taken seriously or not, and people who practice it say they revel in chaos, as a new form of experience and art, which takes the complexity of the new digital world as a second nature, and instead of trying to understand it, they try to feel it. Techno-shammanism is another thing that may become popular even if by another name (DJs for example are actually techno-shammans). Relatedly, festival culture, and Burning Man kind of scenarios, will finally become unhindered and blossom in virtual worlds. One of these heterotopias may become the most popular and be a common place where people go to hang out when wanting to disconnect from the real world for a bit, or just to have fun, or discuss cool ideas (like in Burning Man). I guess we could give it a cool name, like Next Dymaxion (play of words of Next Dimension, and Bucky’s dymaxion:

I had an idea about my a dream Institute to work on all the stuff I’m interested in. As I don’t think I can make it a reality any time soon, maybe it can be incorporated into the Fractal Cosmos. It’s called the The Earthship Institute for the Scientific and Holistic Exploration of the Cosmos (EISHEC), maybe it’d be an institution researching a lot of the philosophical problems, questions and potentials of new technologies, scientific discoveries and social systems :smiley:


Your ideas sound awesome, guillefix! :smiley:

Some of them, especially the Chaos Magik and techno-shamanism ones remind me of Dirk Bruere and his books. I’ve read his book The Praxis, and I think something like that would be a likely basis for the thinking in a transhuman world. Also, the book Human Purpose and Transhuman Potential by Ted Chu comes to mind when it’s about the way of thinking in such a future. Ted Chu talks about the evolution of a CoBe, a Cosmic Being that is at the apex of technological and spiritual development and that wants to explore and understand the cosmos.

I’d also expect that Cosmism would become much more popular in the future once the second space race starts. Then those people will see a clear purpose in their lives to bring the cosmos to life. And some of them would certainly join the EISHEC (The Earthship Institite for the Scientific and Holistic Exploration of the Cosmos).

Yes, there’s so much power in combinatorics that there is a virtually unlimited number of interesting combinations to explore. Even for super advanced posthuman beings. They just randomly choose 5 things, like “stars, dynamics, waves, architecture, solitude” and then find out what mashing together all of them in different ways could bring forth. This approach could even have its own name “combinatorial exploration” and those who do it would be called “combinatorial explorers”.

Yeah, great idea, and very plausible. I think, the Next Dymaxion deserves its own thread: How will it look like? What can you do in it? Why is it so popular (probably due to not very great reasons, because most popular things are not popular, because they are great, but because they resonate with the feelings of “normal” people, or just have been the first instance of something interesting)?

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Those are very good ideas, and I think you’re right, we definitly need to give some thought to how people’s mentality will be in the future.

Yeah, I could totally see something like that becoming popular. It could be the dominant philosophy in the outermost regions of the solar system (gas giants’s moons, the Kuiper Belt, etc.), which will be mostly inhabited by AIs.

You touch a very important point here. VR will probably be a significantly controversial issue. Let’s see some potential pros and cons of this technology.


  • It can provide fun and entertainment.
  • It can be used to train professionals in several areas
  • It can be used to cure certain types of mental illness


  • It can alienate people from reality.
  • It can be a form of drug that, despite not being toxic, can cause nervous crackdowns.
  • It can lead people to confund fantasy with reality.
  • It involves having machines messing with your mind.

Given that, countries will most likely differ in the way they regulate this technology.

Techno-shamanism sounds cool, and so sounds the EISHEC (which could act as an important catalyst for scientific progress and space colonization).

Another thing that would be interesting to explore is BioArt. In the countries where DIYbio becomes legal, creating new lifeforms could be an important form of art.

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