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.