You can call him a formidable genius, a romantic utopian, a mad scientist. One sure thing is that the man has ideas. For COLORS 81 – Transport, we asked Jacque Fresco, founder of the futurist research center The Venus Project, what transportation might look like in the future. Read on for a transcript of our interview.
Can you describe what personal mobility will look like in your vision of the future?
Adequate transportation that can take you anywhere in the city within 10 to 20 minutes. We have designed such systems—trains that are 30 feet off the ground, so they don’t have to stop at red lights. You can move continuously. We have a built-in transportation just like the Empire State Building: the Empire State Building takes a million people a year, up and down, and the elevators never crash. All you have to do is turn your elevators horizontally—outward—then get in there and dial where you want to go.
And what about the mobility of goods?
Most goods and services will be transported by pneumatic tubes—air-driven packets. Food surplus to one’s needs will be stored by all nations in the polar regions. In the event of emergency, or earthquake, or problem in some country, we can access that food immediately—without going through politics—and make it available to people immediately.
What about shipping? Will the ocean be used for transportation in the future?
You can picture a ship with many different compartments, a long ship. And when it comes to the port, one whole section of the ship can be disassembled—disengaged—and the other portion of the ship can be locked together and go to the next port. But you don’t have to take off one box at a time that they do today. It’s much more efficient if you think of the whole globe as a technical problem, and trying to make that efficient and save resources. You do things very differently then.
Can you speak to people who just travel for their own personal fulfillment?
Today people don’t have many options. And they get in a car, and they just drive. Because they’re world is so stressful: they can’t do the things they want, they can’t go the places they want because they can’t afford it. In the future, we’ll have a resource-based economy, where you have access to the necessities of life—all the goods and services—and your standard of living is continuously growing, because people work on things to make people’s lives better. So your options—you can go to school, you can learn whatever you want, you can learn how to fly, you can travel anywhere—your options would be tremendous.
In this alternative world, without a market-based economy, how is it actually driven? What’s the alternative to the market place, in terms of how it functions? I think a lot of people would say what you’re proposing sounds quite similar to a kind of, almost a utopian, communist idea.
There’s no such thing as utopia. No one can design the best laptop, because a year from now they’ll be smaller, lighter. There’s no best, there’s only the best that you can do now, with what you know. But there’s no limit to what humans can do. No utopia, no final frontiers, no best city designs—it’ll always keep changing. What they use today to talk about a city that’s better than the one you have today. There’s no such thing as utopia; all things can be made better. Continuously.