Saturday, December 01, 2007

WishBox: An Abundant Fable in Five Parts (4 of 5)

New to the story? Start with part 1.

Part 4: Are You Paying Attention?

Although there were some parties that would've prevented it if they could have, it didn't take long before the Dr. Barker's first WishBox was everywhere. After all, unlike the fickle genies of old, this one was perfectly happy granting a wish for another WishBox.

Overnight, shortages were a thing of the past. Most people couldn't understand the complex equations governing the use of the WishBox - without visible power sources, it could instantly replicate anything it already knew about. And every WishBox knew how to make itself, Dr. Barker had seen to that.

Without needing to work, society rapidly fractured into divisions of personality. The available supply of workers was reduced to those who found it a preferable alternative to the boredom of idleness. Scientists set about to using their new resources to innovate in a suddenly accelerated cycle of development, where the only scarcity was human labor.

And businesses struggled to redefine themselves in world where the old definition of profit had suddenly disappeared.

Still hungry for power, ingrained to old ways of marketing, the remaining businesses fought for abstract notions, like mind share and dynamically changing memes. Someone was needed to provide new templates for the WishBox, to satisfy a generation raised with a voracious appetite for the new. Each company wanted to be the provider of those new ideas.

When the public resisted, the companies moved into politics, forming the Sponsorship Party, with a platform of resources and legislating the one remaining limited resource - your attention. Fractions of a second, bought and sold in a nebulous relationship of reciprocal benefits. For a minute of focus on one company, you might be first on your block to wear the latest fashion. The pledge of allegiance was replaced with a national 30 second infomercial, informing children across the country of today's hottest new trends.

I pledge allegiance, to the brand...

Part 5

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