The year is 2053. The University Clocktower, yellow and crumbling, reaches its spires towards a hot purple sky. Blue and green clouds crowd the ground across the higher levels of campus, holding vapour that would burn holes in human skin. Students roaming those areas dress accordingly, pulling protective rain jackets tight and donning heavy-duty gas masks (often colour coordinated to match their Doc Martens). When they need to go beneath sea level, diving into cool water that laps at the top of the stairs in the Quad, they swap their shoes for flippers. AUSA, eternally supportive of students, hands out free oxygen tanks to students that sign up!
Shadows has become a reverse fish tank, with scaled creatures peering through windows to see students sipping cheap beer. The pool tables have vanished, replaced with giant waterproof screens that run the 8-ball Pool App with 8k resolution. The basement floor of the library is also submerged and the few remaining books are continually marched further upstairs, retreating from the rising tide. The newer buildings, the Rec Centre and Business School, have acquired air locks, so they operate as usual. Other spots, less lucky, see staff and students swimming down hallways and chipping grey coral from doorways.
When students take study breaks in the upper floors of Kate Edger, unplugging their brains from Apple resource stations, they look out the floor-to-ceiling windows to watch the traffic move across and under the water. Following the ghostly silhouette of Symonds St, different forms of transportation navigate the main flow. There’s a large disparity between the vehicles: some share ramshackled row boats (decaying, fluorescent lifejackets strapped to their chests), some glide along the waves in small sailing boats, and a few dive beneath in expensive UberSubs. Most avoid bringing their own vehicles—parking is such a nightmare!
In the time between classes, the students have time to talk. They, of course, discuss the newest Marvel film, complain about the AT ferry services, and moan about exams. The apocalypse has come and they persistently trudge on through semesters. They take their Gen Ed classes, drink their coffee ($15 a cup from Mojo), and laugh with their friends. They sometimes think of change that could come and how they might help, but then scroll through their Canvas due dates… maybe next year?
The images opposite this story are produced by an AI text-to-image generator. How does an AI imagine this future?