What if technological innovation was so all-transforming that it reversed the advance of civilisation?
It has happened before.
In recent centuries we’ve got used to the idea that technical innovations – the steam engine, electricity, air travel, antibiotics, contraception, the Internet – mean that “Things can only get better”.
Tell that to the collapsing dregs of the Roman Empire. Or the Aztecs.
The image of people living in squalor amongst the ruins of magnificent, forgotten civilisations was a staple of romantic travellers in the 19th century.
But what causes the collapse of a civilisation?
Suppose it was not an outside shock – the Mongols, say – but a technological change?
Maybe it is happening already.
Biotime, at a stroke, removed the need for anyone to work by enabling them to sell their life expectancy to the highest bidder.
Poverty was eradicated overnight.
At first it seemed that, by transferring life expectancy from the least able to the most talented individuals, society would become more productive.
Not exactly. Biotime involved no force. Less able members of society queued up to take hard cash for their surplus years – especially if a “termination contract” enabled them to enjoy said cash up front, in the prime of life.
Who would say no to that?
But what if the richest and most brilliant members of society found that without the spur of mortality to drive them on, their creative juices simply stopped flowing?
Civilisation starts gradually to decline, with shocking results.
Until one day, a humble Biotime enforcement agent notices that something is wrong with the system.
Welcome to Biotime.
P.S. If you enjoy fresh, original writing, please friend me on Facebook or sign up for e-mail updates (top right – see the “click here” blue button). Check out the range of writing on this site via the sitemap and guide.