The Space Shuttle Enterprise rolls out of the Palmdale manufacturing facilities with Star Trek television cast and crew members. From left to right, the following are pictured: DeForest Kelley, who portrayed Dr. “Bones” McCoy on the series; George Takei (Mr. Sulu); James Doohan (Chief Engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott); Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura); Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock); series creator Gene Roddenberry; NASA Deputy Administrator George Low; and, Walter Koenig (Ensign Pavel Chekov).
Since I was a kid, I have wondered what it would be like to travel among the stars. The idea of visiting other planets, witnessing nebulae with my own eyes, and traveling in marvelous space ships has always been a personal dream.
Then came Star Trek. My dream became a reality, if only through the magic of television.
Gene Roddenberry’s TV show about a diverse group of space explorers immediately caught my fancy. Like so many others, I was entranced and indulged in every episode, marveling at the experiences Captain Kirk and his crew aboard the USS Enterprise.
As I (and the crew) grew older, they moved from television to the Silver Screen. Then, as they moved on with Jean-Luc Picard and his Next Generation, I began wondering about the society that produced the USS Enterprise. I wondered about the crew of the Enterprise; they all seemed so healthy. They never worried about where their clothing came from or whether they could afford to eat. They never paid for medical attention, fuel for the ship, (Dilithium Crystals don’t count!) or the other tools they used.
What kind of society could produce space craft such as the USS Enterprise? How could they afford such things? Whenever Star Trek depicted life on Earth, it was always immaculately cared for, modernized and its inhabitants were always healthy, well-dressed and clearly happy to be doing the work they were doing.
In the back of my mind, I constantly wondered how such a society could emerge such that all life on Earth was united and pursuing together an exploratory space mission to “seek out new life and new civilizations.” Those questions intensified as technology, computers and science made real what was once confined to science fiction.
With talking computers, extremely powerful hand-held computers that did everything from keeping your schedule to monitoring your health, I became more and more excited that in my lifetime, I would see a transition begin. It would be a transition where humanity would come together and begin a new civilization on Earth; one that mirrored what I saw on Star Trek.
In 2006, my questions were answered. I discovered, totally by accident, something that could create the kind of life on Earth that could feasibly enable humanity to do everything I saw, not only on Star Trek, but many other science fiction stories. I was skeptical at first, but over the next two years of studying what I call Copiosis, I became a believer that America and humanity could chart a new course to a way more prosperous future.
The more I thought about how Copiosis works, the more I began to see how people already are moving in the direction of the kind of world it could create. I saw people willing to do things for others, with no expectation of compensation. Their work was not only high quality, but it was replacing long-standing parts of America we thought would never change:
Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia curated and edited by unpaid volunteers not only has become hugely popular as a resource for human history and events, it has put the encyclopedia industry largely out of business. Today it is one of the most cited resources across the world and exists in many languages.
Craigslist, curated by volunteers with content generated by everyday people like you and I, single-handedly destroying print classified advertising. At this moment, it now facilitates the majority of private trade of goods and services between people in the United States.
Bloggers, once unpaid, gradually are eating away at the print media via web journals. Today bloggers handle the majority of news reporting, aiding in revolutions where the only alternative would be armed conflict. Their willingness to provide content of all kinds fueled only by a desire to share their experiences and knowledge with others is outcompeting what was once the unquestioned domain of Big Print Media.
I have witnessed the willingness of Americans to be generous – in some cases, to extremes – to help their fellow human being. They respond to natural disasters at home and abroad with millions of dollars in aid. In some cases, Americans flew to disaster areas on their own dime to lend a hand, help rebuild or provide medical care with no expectation of compensation. In others, they used advanced technologies – Twitter, Facebook and mobile devices to communicate updates, stay in touch with loved ones involved and, yes, even donate money to disaster relief.
I saw the potential of emerging innovations that would have long-standing and profound impacts on all facets of human life:
Crowds of people contributing to the success of strangers through the power of people united in organized (and disorganized) groups for a common cause, otherwise known as “crowd funding” or “crowdsourcing.” In these examples, large numbers of people come together, offering money, information and reviews to others in ways that made life easier for them: finding restaurants, vacation spots, providing all kinds of data about cities and states, and rating nearly every product or service through reviews on Amazon.com, Yelp, and others. All of this with no expected compensation for their effort (Yes, there are some campaigns that offer rewards in promotional goods, but they are reminded that funding an idea does not guarantee a return of any sort. It’s simply a “perk.”)
In K. Eric Drexler’s book, Engines of Creation, I read about the rise of nanotechnology, an innovation which promised truly science fiction-like advances in everything from medicine and life extension to self-assembling factories that could build nearly anything with no human involvement. Nanotechnology, as a science, was once scoffed at; today it exists everywhere from popular culture, to clothing, to healthcare solutions.
I saw the rise of smarter vehicles leading us to cars that drive themselves while containing human passengers, and electric human-driven vehicles, including high performance cars that outperform luxury cars from Europe. We now have technology once reserved for military fighter jets and spacecraft allowing drivers to navigate from place to place and even avoid traffic snarls more efficiently.
I read about medical advances in robotics bring mechanical surgeons to the operating room where they handled delicate procedures that once contained high risks of human error. We have technologies that have the ability to return even partial sight to the blind and bring partial sound to the deaf, and that technology is ever-improving.
I saw social experiments that sounded much like what people would naturally do in a Copiosis economy:
Bike share programs, where bikes were simply made available in cities for people to use to get around
Tool libraries, where people could come borrow tools for gardening, construction, auto repair and more.
I saw house swapping come of age, where families swapped their homes for short vacations and couch surfing where people opened their couches to strangers to stay on their travels for free. Speaking of housing, I saw individuals, couples and families coming together in Conscious Communities, co-housing arrangements where they share living spaces, meals, and hold events together as a community.
In agriculture, I saw development of programs where people make their back yards available for gardens, their produce shared with other families.
I saw on my own street corner people offering their second-hand goods for free, leaving them out on street corners or listed on websites such as Craigslist and Freecycle.
In the United States and abroad, people are increasingly helping others in ways usually offered for pay: yoga teachers offering their services for whatever the client wants to pay; authors sharing their creativity for free; musicians, artists, photographers sharing their creative work royalty free on websites such as creative commons, so people can use their work limited or no copyright restrictions.
In business I saw the rise of Corporate Social Responsibility, where corporations began reshaping their operations to that their products and processes were more environmentally friendly. I saw whole companies founded on sustainable products that made products from garbage, and containers from discarded bottles and cans. I saw how these companies designed their products in ways that allowed them to be turned into another product after being used, and programs that took back their old products and refurbished them or recycled them. I saw government follow the company trend and create special sustainable certifications for business operations, processes, businesses structures and even buildings.
The more I looked into this the more I saw people already moving toward the ideals offered in my favorite science fiction television program.
I saw videos go viral telling the story of a homeless man who turned in tens of thousands of dollars expecting nothing in return. But to his surprise people around the country rallied and collected thousands of dollars for an reward for him.
I hear the story of a Dairy Queen manager who saw a blind man drop a $20 bill, then saw a woman bend down, pick up the money and put it in her pocket. The manager kicked the woman out of the Dairy Queen and gave the blind man $20 from his own pocket, then became a national hero.
I read online about four college freshman football payers who walked into a store that looked open, but was actually closed. The lock had malfunctioned and didn’t lock. The lights were on, but no one was there. The kids took what they wanted from the racks, then went to the counter to pay. They waited a while for someone to come and when no one did, they left money on the counter for what they took. Surveillance tapes caught the whole thing.
Could the human character too be changing, becoming more like the characters I saw regularly on Star Trek: people with character, honesty, courage and integrity?
There are so many parts of our everyday lives around us today that look like what Copiosis will create. The more I learned about Copiosis, the more I saw how our way of life was already going in that direction; the more excited I became. That’s when I realized I wanted to accelerate these advancements by introducing Copiosis to America.
Imagine what life could be like if all of humanity were working together to get things done on Earth that made things better, with no expectation for compensation because everything you needed to survive – to thrive – was available to you without spending one dollar. What if we could just solve our problems without needing to pay anything? Imagine what it would be like to see starships, like those in Star Trek, actually being constructed in orbit in the night sky. Imagine what it would be like to live lives similar to Captain Kirk, Spock, McCoy and the rest!
That’s what Copiosis offers.
Why do I know Copiosis can work?
We are already moving in that direction. We have already created the technologies to make it a reality. Let’s keep in mind that the technologies we considered Science-Fiction – smartphones, tablet computers, Wireless Internet AND the Internet itself – have all become Science-Fact. People already act in ways that indicate they are ready. Regardless of how we’ve been “trained,” even the most cynical among us feels a twinge of satisfaction when we do good things for others. It may be a selfish reason that motivates, but it works toward the common good.
The main reason I think Copiosis can work is because people are asking for something other than what we have because they realize it’s no longer working. When enough people fight for change, there is not a force on this planet powerful enough to stop us.
Copiosis can work because in many ways it already is happening.