The tumultuous 21st century ended with a series of battles known as the water wars. Nearly two billion people died in famine, plague and warfare in the fight over scarcer and scarcer resources. The development of nearly free energy from solar fuel and hydrogen power was initially fought over and denied to many.
We have entered a new golden age, with the world at peace and hunger unheard of. Citizens are encouraged to advance science and the arts, and space exploration and colonisation offer exciting new opportunities.
There is a world government in a type of democracy; representatives from geographical economic blocs, city states and colonies vote in an international parliament. The world government (the InterGov) provides free energy in an agreement between all representative states. A world-wide digital currency and minimum living wage ensures no-one goes without. Education, homes and healthcare are free to all.
This brave new world is a feminist and minority utopia. A progressive paradigm shift saw the world
InterGov paying a basic hourly wage for all work, including most formerly unpaid labour. For instance, a single mother working in a factory, looking after her children and doing all the housework was suddenly on a higher income than a successful CEO. This meant all such work – unpaid labour at home, childcare, caring for infirm adults – became valued. Those who may have shunned such labour now happily take on child minding and home management responsibilities. With even the smallest tools and utensils linked to the Weave - the future's internet - work hours are streamed and credited automatically.
While citizens receive salaries from businesses and organisations for working in their normal jobs, they can also get credit (digital currency or “bits”) for activities deemed vital. Along with childcare and home management, this includes minor credits for community labour, walking or riding a bike to work or school, eating more healthily and for exercising. Students earn credit for studying up to university level and beyond. Work-life balance is encouraged with some leisure activities that contribute to society, and even hours over a minimum sleep period, rewarded with bits. Large credits are offered for family groups producing and caring for offspring in order to increase the population back to mid-21st century levels, as well as provide for colonists and miners for the moon, Mars, Venus and a number of space stations. To finance the system, high taxes are paid by businesses rather than individuals, offset by low wage costs subsidised by the credit system. The InterGov also runs monopolies on some space mining systems and in energy production and distribution.
Most humans are provided with an upper and a lower digital implant in childhood. The first is a small accessible chip embedded in the temple. People can swipe and tap the chip to access data; voice, hand and eye movements provide controls similar to a mobile phone. The implant allows people to send messages and calls digitally or send information over the weave. The lower, or deep, implant in the brains' cerebellum acts as the computer hard drive; it also monitors the individual’s vitals, streaming data to secure medical databases.
The implants mean that, with constant monitoring, humans rarely get sick, and the implant will notify police and paramedics in the case of a citizen needing hospitalisation.
Take a look at the technology section for more on the current technology that we might see expanded in the future.