Mark woke up early and went downstairs to the common room for morning neurosynchronisation. He had been living in Techno-ashram for already a year and in this time its other inhabitants started to seem more like brothers to him. Combining meditative practices with neural interfaces creates social connectivity at such a level that sometimes they called themselves Multisapiens.
In the last two months since the beginning of yet another war, Mark and his colleagues had been working to create a way of neural connection that would let people better understand each other. This should be a version of the technology they are using themselves in Techno-ashram but it should have a less steep learning curve. To test this technology they are going to go to a hot spot and try to reconcile the parties of the conflict that had been unable to hear each other out for a long time.
Mark had changed quite a lot in the past year. He had come here completely empty from the speed of the changes of the world around, had lost his job because of automatisation (it doesn’t matter that he’s still getting the base income - it cannot replace the illusion of meaning one gets from doing routine work in the office), tired from everything around - technology, people, governments - who seem to be racing for some illusory reward. Here, in this quiet place, there was no competition. Citizens of Techno-ashram had a different view of technological developments - not the Olympic «faster-higher-stronger» but rather a conscious use of technologies which could help with the global challenges and create a better future for the humanity.
Innovations such as nano-, bio- and neuro technologies lead to new global risks that can wipe the humanity out of existence. For example, nuclear weapons only exist in a limited number of countries, marginal groups would not be able to easily obtain this kind of technology - this would require years of research and development as well as huge amounts of money. This situation is not as hopeless in terms of nuclear weapons usage since a small number of parties are more likely to negotiate and prevent an armed conflict. But new technologies, such as genome editing, make it possible to create genetically modified biological weapons, insusceptible to antibiotics, in an average university’s laboratory for a small sum which exponentially increases the number of people who can have this kind of weapon. This is available not only for terrorist organisations, but also for fanatic loners who have the necessary knowledge which can be obtained at any modern university’s genetics course. Genetically modified viruses is just one of the examples of difficult-to-control type of weapons based on new technologies. There are notions of «grey slime» - out-of-control nano robots who turn everything they see in similar nano robots which would lead to the death of all living creatures on the planet - and «green slime» - bacteria operating by the same principles. These show that a technogenic catastrophe at a planetary scale can happen by chance, out of carelessness, without any malice. Both malignant intentions and accidents could in some way be dealt with via several social formats, such as a negotiation skills or public control over technology use. It can be said then, as it seems, that the technological level of a civilisation corresponds to a certain level of its humanitarian development, but in our case the former is far ahead of the latter.
Techno-ashram is a name of one out of many places where people are trying to find a solution for these and others global challenges with the help of technologies and a different life logic. Sure, it won’t solve all the problems but may help the humanity get closer to a more humane future.