Automated for the People

Published as part of the Dunedin City of Literature Possibilities Project

For a start we are all awarded a year off,

paid to do whatever we want. Aeroplanes are out,

so we board sailing ships and crazy coloured zeppelins.

We live for a long time (if we want.)

It’s true that most of us are a little bit Marie Kondo,

a little bit Power of Now. There are fewer things

but we do more, or if we choose, do less.

Machines take care of the dull and dangerous.

Plenty of opportunities to extend oneself exist –

no need to get bored – biotech or poetry

or intercontinental hang-gliding are all on offer.

A few insist on dreadlocks and venturing

to the great wilderness that covers half the globe

and getting in trouble. They are rescued, usually.

We are changed, but not beyond recognition.

Hacked and tweaked, our cells spruced up,

arteries scoured by nanobots, silver lacework

twining through neurons. There is improvement,

but never perfection. That dream has been left behind.

Our cities glimmer in the high blue, have become

almost beautiful, curved and tessellated,

cool light filtered through leafy avenues.

Small orbs hover over dusty fields,

excavating all of value from centuries of waste.

Animals are our friends. We have become

more aware of fragility. Nothing is taken for granted.

People, it was claimed, would grow lazy and feeble.

It never happened. Sadness is still there.

We know it’s the price paid for what we are.

But children grow knowing waves and salt on their skin.

We think we may be becoming civilised

or something close to it.






Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: