- Eric Blankenburg, The Eric Blankenburg Report, 02-12-2023
It’s a cold, rainy Monday. The alarm goes off at 6 am in Kavishi’s apartment. She wakes up and is cold. There is a message from the power company on her wearable device. It says that due to above-average cloud cover in the eastern United States over the last week, the company’s solar panels have been unable to generate enough electricity to keep up with demand. The battery levels in the company’s power distribution centers are below recommended minimums. So, they are shutting electric furnaces off on a rotational schedule to conserve energy.
Kavishi goes into the bathroom and turns on the shower. She notices that the power company is still supplying electricity to her electric water heater. She is relieved because she hates taking cold showers. Her apartment building does have a state-of-the-art water recycling system that cleans and reuses water, including sewage water, kind of like the system the old International Space Station used. She feels good that her water usage is environmentally friendly.
After getting ready, she goes into her main living space, sits down, and puts on her virtual reality headset to attend her morning meetings. Virtual reality technology has come a long way over the last 25 years. You can’t touch and feel the virtual environment like the holodeck on the old Star Trek television shows. But the visual experience has become almost indistinguishable from being there in person.
After her morning meetings, Kavishi remembers that she is supposed to meet a friend, who lives across the city for lunch. As early as 2018, cities led by Minneapolis started eliminating single-family zoning. This quickly spread to cities across America. Eventually, most single-family homes in urban areas were bulldozed. A few large mansions remain in the cities. Some are owned by very wealthy individuals, while others have been converted into office buildings or corporate retreats. With single-family housing mostly gone, urban areas were able to reorganize themselves into “15 Minute Cities”, where everything one needs, including work, food, shopping, and entertainment is within a 15-minute bicycle ride from one’s residence. It is not yet illegal to travel between zones in her city. But it is discouraged and rarely done except to attend a sports game or concert at the stadium. So, it’s a real treat for Kavishi to meet her friend for lunch outside of her own zone.
Kavishi uses her wearable device to order a ride share. Level 5, fully self-driving cars finally started appearing about 15 years ago. This made using ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft cheaper than owning and maintaining a private vehicle. So, many people stopped buying cars. It wasn’t long afterward that the government banned private vehicle ownership to protect the environment. Today, only the government and large corporations are allowed to own their own vehicles. As a result, most auto manufacturers went out of business. The only ones that survived were those that focused on fleet sales to corporations, the government, and ride-sharing companies. In fact, a few auto manufacturers became fully integrated ride-sharing companies themselves.
Kavishi arrives at the restaurant. She tries to order and pay for her lunch using her wearable device, but the transaction is rejected. Her device reminds her that she already ate her 16-ounce quota of meat for the month. In the late 2020s, the U.S. government adopted a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). The government was able to convince people that eliminating cash was essential to stopping tax evasion and other illegal activities like selling drugs. After a few years, the government declared private banks to be obsolete and eliminated them. Everyone has a bank account with the Federal Reserve now. The Federal Reserve digital banking system has the ability to restrict purchases based on government regulations. Many types of consumption are either limited or banned for the good of the individual, society, and the planet. So, Kavishi orders a salad instead.
After lunch, Kavishi tries to order a ride share to return home. Her wearable device informs her that the rain has stopped, and the cloud cover has moved on. It recommends that Kavishi ride a bicycle home. It’s only five miles and she did miss her regular workouts at the gym twice last week. She decides to take the advice. Kavishi walks a few blocks to a bike rental outlet, grabs a bike, and starts peddling home. After a brisk ride, she drops the bike off a few blocks from her home and walks the rest of the way.
After arriving home, Kavishi gets back to work. She asks her Generative AI assistant to write five different proofs of a new ad campaign for her client. She tells her AI assistant who her client is, what they do, who are their competitors, and what the campaign is about. The assistant generates the proofs, which she reviews. She picks one and makes a few changes. She then asks her AI assistant to create three different pictures for the campaign. It does. She doesn’t like any of them. So, she asks it to create three more. Kavishi thinks the second one is perfect. But she wants a little more time to think about it before choosing, so she decides to wait until the morning to send it to her client.
Kavishi decides to get caught up on current events, so she puts on her Virtual Reality headset and selects her streaming news service. She finds that not much is new. The final talks for merging America, Canada, and Mexico into the North American Union are still underway. Separatist rebels in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and the Dakotas have bombed another government facility. And there is a new quick assisted suicide center opening on the first floor of her building.
It’s getting late and Kavishi has had a long day. She heads into the bedroom for a well-deserved good night’s sleep. She lies down in bed and rests her head on the pillow. Then she closes her eyes knowing that all is well in her part of the world.
The Blankenburg Report
Eric is a husband, father of four, technology guy, U.S. Air Force veteran, and left coast refugee. He is a lifelong conservative and “disgruntled” Republican, who has sought ways to help the GOP live up to its values. When Eric is not working or spending time with his family, he likes to write about a variety of current issues. Eric is a regular writer for Liberty First Grassroots (LFG).