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Chatlanian Valley

Dystopian futures are knocking at our very doors

"The Time Machine" a Science Fiction novel by H.G.Wells describes not only time traveling, but also the aftermath of a social evolution We’re probably overlooking. I’m aware of our natural laziness that has been fueled by technology, then, according to the H.G.Wells’s analogy, our Silicon Valley’s top leaders, sooner or later will evolve into Morlocks and “users” might do their part as Elois.

From the dark depths of garages, startup incubators or seed accelerators... a new breed of entrepreneurs, providers, hard workers are willing to mimic their heroes: strong, merciless, hungry anthropophagous Morlocks. On the other side of the food chain, shiny big cities filled with idle Elois, eager to fit into society rituals, always in need to be updated for the latest technologies.

For centuries We’ve had imagined new ways to interact with the rules and philosophies of our age in a desperate attempt to preserve harmony. Nevertheless in this new hostile environment, the information revolution is changing everything.

Morlocks and Elois symbiotic life seems like a good analogy for the current tendency, but in my opinion, our society is evolving into another Science Fiction dystopian shape, but this time coming from Russian pop culture. Kin-dza-dza! (Кин-дза-дза! ) is a black comedy film from 1986 that depicts a bankrupt society begging for survival through a ridiculous set of rituals. Those rituals; including: play instruments or an artistic performance, are a way of mocking the contemporary soviet regime in a twisted wit, I highly recommend You to give it a try and watch it.

Today, the joke is on us when - in its own right - the sacred realm of Palo Alto and the royal family of techno-gurus are making it seem inevitable a never ending disruption of life, not only including technology but also social values, public space, security, privacy, or more. Our own social rituals are becoming dismantled by technology and reshaped by the unstoppable strength of efficiency. Cultural expression, arts, music, language are getting more and more predefined, classified, stereotyped and merchandised by technology.

Coming back to Kin-dza-dza!’s analogy, the plot in the movie includes a bizarre relationship among different members of the society divided into a caste called Chatlanian and a lower class called Patsak. Any access to the most common assets or services has been established inside a ritualistic code. I can easily visualize a social interaction today based upon the internet of things, big data and goofy algorithms turning our environment practically unsustainable and enforcing a social stratification where cultural expression becomes less provocative, less ludic and meaningless.

Judging by the news about foretold Soundcloud’s downfall or even Twitter’s demise, my hope is always on the unpredictability of human nature. The Chatlanian Valley is becoming the new order of any social discourse if We let the infatuation of these flashy ubiquitous “solutions” outshine the deep repercussions of our interaction with each other.

Any human being in the middle of complex interactions is not the guarantee of efficiency, but then again, Do We really need such efficiency? Wouldn't be better a long term feasibility instead? Just like in Kin-dza-dza! there’s an exit from the dimensional imprisonment, We just need to be aware of the sacrifices implied. Hopefully, the next time, our future will look more like a simple transition and less like a dystopian nightmare.