Vol. 13, No. 5, 
p. 22
Sept.-Oct. 1998

Welcome to the Future **1/2

by R. Pitman

Futurist Jacque Fresco's vision of the new society, sketchily outlined here, has more than a faint Marxist-utopian ring to it, except that in fresco's world – a kind of Bucky Fuller landscape on steroids – cybernated systems (artificial intelligence networks even more advanced than those which operate Bill Gates's house) will replace most physical labor.

Here, Fresco shows viewers glimpses
(or-more often-drawings and computer animated clips) of his 25-acre 2nd Garden of Eden, code-named The Venus Project. Roughly circular in shape, the prototype community mixes elements of urban, suburban, and country living together with a community access center where the new cybercitizens can select needed items for daily living (resource-based economies will replace monetary-based economics [goodbye Alan Greenspan!]). Certainly not the first, and undoubtedly not the last to confuse form with function, Fresco sees in his social overhaul, which is largely based on architectural design, the solution to – among other societal ills – hunger, war, and crime.

In fact, the more I listened to Fresco's specifics
(computer chair in underwater structure for communicating with dolphins) and fuzzy non-specifics (education will become more "hands-on," meaning ... what, exactly?), it seemed to me I was encountering a God-like hubris coupled with the standard sci-fi dreamer's naivete vis a vis human nature. But just as I was jotting this last down in my notes, Fresco cautioned viewers – and it gave me the shivers, since he seemed to be responding directly to my written reservations – to remember that human nature is not synonymous with human behavior; the latter can be changed.

Although Fresco's futurist
scenario is – in my humble opinion – rife with problems, it's not every day that somebody comes along ambitious enough to offer a blueprint for re-designing the world. Sure to spark animated debate, this is a strong optional purchase for larger collections.