Thursday, January 10, 2019

A Simulated World

Last week I started a new blog, Simulated News, as a thought experiment to explore how a world like ours might implement the lessons of my Timeline model's simulations. The blog is formatted as a set of news articles relating to the development of a global strategy to deal with the threat of imminent extinction as it might occur in real time. 

There are lots of similarities and some marked differences between the simulated world and ours. Relevant ones are described in a "Reality Check" section in each post, along with some of my rationale for making choices about how events unfold. The greatest difference, besides adherence to my simulation of global variables, is the overall buy-in of national leaders to the crisis as I've chosen to define it: as a consequence of our accelerating the extinction of other species. Although climate change plays a critical role, it is not the overall focus. Another big difference is that all countries are bound by law and desire to devote all necessary resources to address the threat as existential and immediate.

In some respects, this effort resembles what I did in my Universe X micro-fiction, but it is limited to one "alternative universe" rather than snippets from multiple ones. It is not a narrative like my other fiction, with a movie-like progression of action; though I am inventing characters, settings, and events much like I have done before, but tied to the structure of a simulation even more than my novel Lights Out.

The simulation includes an updated feature, tied to and informed by the new theoretical consumption model. Sustained global warming is a possibility that could force extinction regardless of what people do in the short time they have to act, and I now have some projected effects that can be explored in detail. Unlike many people in our real world, the leaders of the simulated world are willing to accept the nature of that added threat and act accordingly.

Real-world issues are mentioned and will be discussed, such as how people might limit population and consumption to the point of allowing them to shrink without causing them to collapse prematurely. I see that discussion as being one of the potential benefits of the exercise, within the context of a fictional world where feelings and facts can be respectfully and safely exposed and examined. The model's insights into population dynamics, coupled with study of history and my own opinions, will inform some of the answers I suggest, but they are only a starting point for discussions of these issues which I expect real people will increasingly face every day in one way or another.