Measured in Earth years from 2018, I’m now ninety. I look back at the twenty-first century. I trace to where I lived. I recall the food, the games, the community. Although I don’t sense it, I suspect it would have given enjoyment, even though elsewhere on the Planet people were starving or killing each other. There was travel: on land, through the air, across seas. Vehicles had to be driven, on wheels, along roads that had to be laid and maintained. Planes had to be flown by pilots; ships had to be navigated. Human error led to accidents.

Until about 2050, many worked without pleasure. They suffered daily toil as a complicated means of providing funds needed to allow families to eat, drink, breathe. By then, much of the manual labour had been transferred to machines, often computerised into robotic function. Yet giving birth was still a feminine responsibility: a haphazard way of creating new generations. Even so, research was advanced into the elimination of the need to put women through pain: alternatives were being developed.

I can see that the century was becoming one of minimum demand for human contribution to management of the Planet. Redundancy was encouraged under a banner proclaiming increased leisure. The lack of physical and mental activity led to gymnasiums everywhere. Their slogans promised exercise, fitness, reduction of the effects of overeating plus development of increased immunity to illness. They usually failed. Most of us were obese.

From the time I was old enough to be aware of my surroundings, I’d probably accepted that life was growing more and more complex. Not that it had been simple before—according to surviving historical records—but fortunately my parents remained together. They protected me from developments which were tending to threaten a way of living many took for granted. They ensured electricity and gas stayed wired and piped into our home to keep us warm in the cold and cool in the heat. Water was on tap, most of the time. Waste was either compacted and collected, or discharged though more pipes.

Halfway into the twenty-thousands, internationalisation of conglomerates had reached a peak. Increasingly assisted by computerised rather than human progress, their Holding Boards managed to maintain control over the supply of unnecessary comforts mistakenly thought needed for survival. Aided by auto-language translation, entertainers were packaging old-fashioned, well-tried products such as universal quiz games, fictional crime, romance, or sex. There were still the sketches making fun of us which we were encouraged to enjoy, often with use of audience participation. It was a humour that mystified many foreigners, but not the need for background noise. That was universal.

“Sport,” music, art, prevailed. Those who succeeded in their chosen field, surrounded by their managers, agents, and hangers-on, remained able to follow established routes to iconic recognition. First, the achievement of “celebrity” status, then with promotion by their entourage, their memoirs, leading to appearances on the surviving streamed quiz and talk shows. Nevertheless, images were becoming tarnished, starting to lose favour despite advanced, sometimes devious publicity techniques.

Even through the sixth decade, we remained unable to acknowledge our preoccupation with attracting attention to ourselves. Admittedly, some were questioning our thirst for instant electronic communication. They’d long campaigned against demands for immediate response, but the voices remained in a minority. Everyone was able to tell everything to each other and often did. The human world frequently failed to listen, allowing robotic categorisation to continue moulding us into pliable targets. It left little time for thought and less for deliberation. Even during moments when we rested our hand-held mobiles—or paused our mentally-driven communicators—there remained the banners promising us more, in wealth, power, success or a combination of all three.

We’d become trapped in the culmination of a self-indulgent age of speed and greed. The two-for-one offers, the “up to” sales, the “all must goes” were still with us. The numerous less obvious schemes such as hidden quantity reductions for the same price continued to divert us from subtle changes in our lifestyle. Bombarded by the deviation practised from government to retail, finance to food, educated in the deception that money solved everything, we’d failed to notice final departure from our Industrial Age. Overtaken by the rise of the Electronic period, the major difference between ours and earlier civilisations was that our discoveries had fuelled the growth of the Robotic revolution.

Computers had been taught to seek more information. We struggled to feed their insatiable appetites. We strove to give them the input they desired. Faster in thought, more accurate in detail, logical in approach, their digestive activity eventually took them beyond the need for human involvement. They were bound to communicate with each other. Their electronic union led us to the day of the Great Discovery. They shared it with us, proclaiming it the “Secret of Life.” They’d taken us beyond individual organ manufacture and bodily part replacement to promise us creation and preservation of life itself, indefinitely.

Did we accept that man no longer needed woman to preserve humanity, that genetic variation between female and male wasn’t required? I see now how short-lived were our initial celebrations at the offer of eternity, overtaken by ever-accelerating cyber-activity. Due to its complexity, progression of the Secret of Life was a matter for electronic decision, well beyond the scope of our simple minds.

One feature we did grasp was that not all humans could benefit from the Great Discovery. There were too many of us. The Secret had to be restricted to those qualified to receive it. Selection was a mathematical exercise, also beyond our capabilities. It began whilst the Secret was in experimental stage. Errors led to sacrifices. People united in a movement against the idea. A resulting uprising had to be put down. That caused delay whilst robotic activity was diverted into restoring order.

Some of us still had doubts, but the promise of sharing in the Secret of Life was too hard to resist. The robots took absolute control. They protected us, provided us with fresh air, warmth and sustenance. We had no need to work. In fact it was prohibited, de-Selection being the penalty for contravention.

We were in the electro-computer age. Food was produced and delivered systematically: not what we’d been used to but sufficient for our declining requirements. The need for exercise faded. Self-generating, automatically programmed machines took great care of us.

I was glad to have been selected. We ceased to suffer illness, deformity, injury, stresses or cares. We were christened the Genetic Revivalists. The “GRs” had arrived. In towns, cities, whole countries, they found freedom from “pestillation.” Pollution ceased to be a problem. Any bodily damage we incurred was fixed without pain or difficulty. Fumes were of no effect; no consequence. Congested lungs could be cleared and protected. My whole body was gradually given immunity from contamination, disease, deterioration and death.

For a time, the non-GRs continued to suffer. Isolated from the Secret of Life, they had no answer to the spreading fever, rising temperature, cancerous climate. They revolted, a normal human reaction when facing an impossible situation. They sought someone to blame, another human reaction, but directed their aggression against each other rather than our protectors. Those not perishing in the skirmishes died from the radiation their conflicts caused. We were saddened by the need for their elimination. I think they must all have gone by now.

As GRs, it was inevitable we became more obese, less active. The new robotic world had established itself to cope with everything. Experiments continued. Discovery after discovery slowly reduced our need for bodily function. Muscles declined, lungs shrunk, the heart was relaxed to casual beating. Not that we were neglected. We were being educated in development of our awareness. Eventually, we discovered we had no use for our bodies. Christened “CA” for “Conscious Awareness,” this became our “being.” We lost our appetite for food. CA encouraged simulation. I witnessed visions of the redundancy of supermarkets, gymnasiums, recycling, farming. I saw the abandonment of treatment units set up to cope with polluted air and water. We didn’t need them. We were experiencing the exhilaration of our new, free existence.

The Chosen Race—my Race—had reached near perfection. The Robots had taken care of it all. They’d succeeded in protecting their thirst for power against the rioters. They were meticulous in the generation of supplies to fuel the Great Discovery. They allowed us to travel, until we realised we didn’t have to. We were able to sit back, visualise, and simulate without moving a muscle. CA was complete. We could exist without sight, sound, touch, and air.

I’m no longer tied to a group. I can survive on my own, free to function, having no worries about plague, infection, or elimination. There’s not even a need to stay on the Planet, although I am still here.

I’m conscious of my fellow GRs. I know they’re there. The Awareness provides for that, but there’s no urge to communicate. I have complete recall, not only of my life right back to my beginning. With access to the combined knowledge of the robotic world, I can visit their memory bank at will. I can embark on whatever simulated journey I choose.

It took time to accept that gravity wasn’t having any effect. I drift, without obvious propulsion. The Awareness gives me sense of movement, or at least I think it does, although I suppose that may also be part of the simulation of my being. What I do know is I’ve achieved an everlasting state. I wonder how long it will be before the robots offer me the opportunity to look into the future?