Utopia is one of the most loaded words in the English language. Utopia is perfection; utopia is unachievable; utopia is no place. Which is precisely what makes it so interesting. And why this week Gizmodo is taking a look at all things utopian.
Utopian thinking also happens to be the backbone of futurism. Why bother with half-measures? Why aspire to anything less than an ideal society? You may never achieve it on Earth, but that shouldn't stop you from trying, right? It's one of the most dismissive words we have at our disposal, and yet earnest utopian thinking is alive and well. It's a sign that people still have some kind of hope; some degree of faith that things can be better.
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are believed to be a stepping stone to a free-market utopia. Some people think driverless cars are the key to a transportation utopia. Asteroid mining, building cities at sea, the prospect of living forever; these ideas are not new, but they're as popular as ever. And they all spring from this utopian drive to improve things in whatever special way we see as most crucial to our health and happiness on Earth. Sometimes people even advocate leaving Earth to find it.
From technological utopias to architectural ones; from yesterday's utopias to tomorrow's, this week we'll be exploring utopia in its many forms. Don't be surprised if they don't all seem like your idea of heaven; one person's utopia is almost always another person's dystopia.
You can find all of our Utopia Week posts here.
Image: 1975 illustration of a futuristic space colony for NASA by Don Davis