Thought experiment: Posit a world in which all material needs are provided for free, by robots and material synthesizers. Housing, energy, health care, food, transportation–> All delivered to everyone for $0, by machines. Zero jobs in those fields remaining. What would be the key characteristics of that world, and what would it be like to live in it?

First, it’s a consumer utopia: Everyone enjoys a standard of living that kings and Popes could have only dreamed. Fifth, all human time, labor, energy, ambition, and goals reorient to the intangibles: the big questions, the deep needs. Human nature expresses itself fully, for the first time in history.

Without physical need constraints, we will be whoever we want to be. The main fields of human endeavor will be culture, arts, sciences, creativity, philosophy, experimentation, exploration, adventure. Rather than nothing to do, we would have everything to do: curiosity, artistic and scientific creativity, new forms of status seeking (!).

Imagine six, or 10, billion people doing nothing but arts and sciences, culture and exploring and learning. What a world that would be. The problem seems unlikely to be that we’ll get there too fast. The problem seems likely to be that we’ll get there too slow.

Utopian fantasy you say? OK, so then what’s your preferred long-term state? What else should we be shooting for, if not this? Finally, note the “thought experiment” nature of this stream — this is an extrapolation of ideas, not a prediction for the next 50 years!

Clarification: I’m not talking about Marxism or communism, I’m talking about democratic capitalism to the Nth degree. I’m not postulating the end of money or competition or status seeking or will to power, rather the full extrapolation of each of those.

Source – Tweets: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14



Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. I wish to respond to your theorising I believe that there could be future development in artificial intelligence but this maybe more biological rather that electronic. I acknowledge that there are attempts to model biological systems through process such as neurone networks – however to me the real break through will be in biology.

    This however, this might raise the question what is human, maybe at a guess, half the human race has a tendency towards spirituality i.e. believes in the supernatural, where would the soul of a being rest if artificially created. Might this be debated and raise as yet unforeseen problems.

    With reference to postulating about the future we were told in the 60s that there would be know need for us to work and if there was work it would be fulfilling, all of this was to happen in the near future. Here and elsewhere you have suggested that capitalism would survive into the future. However, I would argue that all systems are contemporary to the current culture and most, if not all will wither on the vine.

    I would question whether or not we are about to reach utopia, we have created atomic weapons do we real believe that as a race, man has evolved enough as yet to cope with that responsibility let alone deal with more technologies.

    Superpowers come and go boundaries are redrawn, the future for me must be beyond feudalism, communism, socialism and capitalism – it must be about humanism. I’m in my 60s living in the UK and never had to fight in a war, for the ruling classes egos – maybe it is thank Christ for the bomb

  2. I believe that working is essential to ones self esteem, some work of any kind is required to occupy our minds or we lose the plot.


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