Ex Post Human
This is a list of future popular history – things from science fiction, popular culture, fandoms, fiction, media, news – things that entered the public consciousness and, for whatever reason, stuck, or were “rediscovered” post-Fall by a nostalgia-hungry transhumanity.
By fiat, we start in the 2030s; far enough from the present that we avoid any linger trends or predictions about a real timeline. Things here might build on or be mutations of existing things, but more often than not they’ll seem to come out of nowhere. This should not be treated as an excuse to make thinly veiled references to current or recent past popular fiction.
(This means you. Yes, you, there, reading this parenthetical.)
- On July 18, 2033, humans set foot on Mars for the first time, at the culmination of an internationally-sponsored interplanetary mission, also heavily backed by private organizations. Deirdre Sung is the first to step out of the landing module, speaking an optimistic message of peace and harmony; of the chance to make a new start on the red planet and leave old strife and grievances behind. Her words are broadcast to the population live (albeit with light lag), inspiring a new generation to carry on the torch of space exploration.
- Synthetic corporate mascots become popular on-line, in the form of simple, animated actors aimed at young Internet browsers. In time, they come to replace other site functions as the main venue for customer support and feedback. The old ‘Corporations are people!’ meme is revived in a tongue-in-cheek fashion.
- “Man/Machine” is taken, an iconic photograph of a horde of disheveled workers linking hands to stop the automation of a factory, being broken by spears of ‘less lethal’ police drones. The image goes viral, and it is estimated that 76% of humans alive at that time saw it within a week of it being taken.
- From the studios of Oakland and Arc Shalem came the celebrity music superstar, Aleya on her first tour, singing songs about unity, friendship, and world peace. Though technically unexceptional, her stardom is successful enough to meet its true goal, when she is revealed to be a purely synthetic intelligence in a purely synthetic body—“the first true manufactured pop star!” The controversy, not the music career, made her a household name. But as put by Aleya, “What’s the difference? Good music is controversial!”
- Hella Derv becomes a popular meta-celebrity, a straighforward, smooth speaking private agent with death-defying stunts. Many attribute his popularity to growth of XP playback technology, which could deliver power fantasies in the most pure form to date. His catch-phrase. “Does’t matter. I make it happen” still remains in the popular lexicon.
- The simulspace game ‘Panontos’ is released, allowing players to join a fully immersive virtual world with few boundaries for who they can be, where they can go, and what they can do. It isn’t the first game of its kind, but quickly proves to be the most successful; within weeks of its release, it had spread through both word of mouth and an effective advertising campaign to become one of the most patronized media sensations on the planet. According to some studies, global productivity dropped by a statistically significant amount for some time afterward, and it wasn’t long before legislation was proposed in many countries to regulate the simulspace games industry, some of which ended up sticking. It eventually waned in popularity, but even in the present day, several shards and offshoots of the original game remain active in habitats across the solar system. For some, the appeal is nostalgia, but for others, the old-style virtual interface just feels ‘charmingly retro’. “Panhead”, remains a (sometimes quaint) term for someone obsessed with living in a virtual world.
- Aleya’s second tour proceeds despite violent opposition, inspiring themes of community, social, and political activism, honoring entrepreneurs and other pioneering businesses. As one pundit summed it up, this had one underlying theme: “Young people—do more!” This message recieved some controversy, and this tour ended dramatically with Aleya’s death and the destruction of Arc Shalem in 2067.
- On November 13th, 2105, a popular movement begins the observance of the ‘Day of Lost Souls’, in commemoration of the last confirmed evacuation from earth during the Fall, and those left behind. It has since been adopted by many splinters of transhumanity as a day to rest and reflect on what was lost, and some others have taken it as a day also to remember what could be theirs again. Whatever the form it takes, on one day out of the year, all the way from Mercury to Eris, most people try just a little harder to be good to each other.
- ‘Klobberdonk’, a novel AR filter that adds cartoonish and amusing sound effects over events the user perceives, is released and becomes an overnight memetic sensation. In the words of one avid user, “Why the hell didn’t anybody think of this sooner?”. This AR routine is also frequently used in conjunction with ‘PartyJib’, a visual filter that renders violence and gore into amusing and inoffensive sights, like sprays of sparks or bursts of confetti. (other graphics packs are also available)