A day in 2088 — why the future is better than you think
So how exactly does the future look like? Here’s a comparison — the life in future will have plenty of similarities with the Ancient Rome.
If you were a Roman citizen, life was pretty good — you had plenty of free time to spend in the theater, take some Turkish baths, go watch the gladiators’ show to pump up the adrenaline and meet your friends to philosophize and have a prosperous dinner. People were working in politics, science, philosophy and culture not because they had to earn their living, but because they felt the passion for it. While often having plenty of resources to not work at all, they felt the need, the passion to contribute.
“Ancient Roman society has contributed to modern government, law, politics, engineering, art, literature, architecture, technology, warfare, religion, language and society. A highly developed civilization.” Wikipedia
Obviously, I’m talking about the rich, the privileged few of the Roman society whose incredible wealth was gained from the expansion of the Roman Empire as well as the army of slaves that carried out the basic jobs of the society. And here is the key difference between the past and the future — just like the slaves have been the tools for great wealth in the past, robots will hold the key to the great wealth in the future.
End of all forms of slavery
The future society will finally end all models of slavery for humans — there will be no boring, annoying jobs that some people have been forced to do just to survive (today’s modern type of slavery). There will be no full-time or part-time jobs, there will be no obligation to work and there will be far fewer jobs overall. People won’t work for survival, they will work for self-fulfillment, for satisfaction, for social interaction, for personal growth and for excitement.
It’s the slavery that gives power to the few
While there will be much fewer total jobs available, there will at the same time be much more flexibility and mobility to do different jobs and change jobs, to work as much as one wishes or to not work at all. There will be many freelance jobs online. For example, while working from home, people can lead a robotic cup on the other side of a planet to increase their adrenaline and excitement while doing good in a game-like environment.
People in 2088 have no meaning for the terms “full-time” or “part-time” jobs. Although the role and meaning of money in society has greatly decreased by 2088, it has not yet disappeared and people can work and earn money for working minutes — they earn as much money as much they have put their time into the job while it is fully up to them how many minutes they want to work.
Most of the futurists agree the best solution for diminishing jobs and automation is Universal Base Income meaning that in the future every member of the society (no matter their social status, economic situation or age) will receive a base salary from the government. This income will be enough to get by and manage without any additional revenue. However, for adventurous people who wish to spend more, some additional working minutes are probably needed.
The Universal Base Income has many positive effects — it makes the public organizations much more transparent and agile. Instead of thousands of social workers and bureaucrats who decide who shall receive aid and how to divide taxpayers’ money, there will be much less bureaucracy, discrimination and corruption and much fewer pointless jobs.
The inspiration for future jobs and industries can also be taken from the Ancient Rome — from the jobs that were not done by slaves. Although not necessarily bigger (by total numbers) than today, but the biggest area for employment in 2088 will be science and research related jobs. And yet, most of the people involved with science will be voluntary based and work from distance.
While our technology together with the life quality has developed significantly by 2088, it’s the human nature to always go further, to dream bigger. Working to inhabit and build up other planets (like Mars) will require a huge amount of our workforce and there won’t be many limits to the helping hands — this kind of jobs offer everything one could ask for — excitement, self-fulfillment, challenges, and great achievements.
Other notable areas for jobs include the wide range of entertainment industry — music, arts, sports, philosophy, culture. Even in 2088 people will want to listen to human singers, see the work of human artists and watch human athletes — humans together with all their flaws and traits will still be exciting. Not to say that the robot-boxing and robot gladiator shows won’t be huge hits.
There will be much more flexibility to change jobs, to work as much as one wishes or to not work at all
Other industries will still employ people, but the numbers in relation to the population will be insignificant. There won’t be any companies or industries that employ armies of people, instead, there will be thousands of extremely niche jobs and small agencies.
Can politics become stable?
The future politics will have much less dependency on people — countries are managed by smart algorithms and artificial intelligence. Instead of people, voters will choose between different types of algorithms — every algorithm considers a vast amount of data to calculate a number of scenarios for the country. Every scenario is then laid down for voters to choose from together with all of its benefits and costs for the society.
The job for politics and philosophers (the line between those two will be diminishing) is then to argue upon the base information and data that is fed into the system. Different algorithms can be proposed by people and they are themselves extremely transparent and open source.
The road ahead
While the scenario above is promising, the road ahead will not be without bumps. While the technological barriers will be easily overcome, it’s the political barriers that are in need of tremendous disruption. This disruption will not come without casualties — not every politician or ruling businessman is willing to leave its powerful position or give freedom to its people — it’s the slavery that gives power to the few.
Politically, it is the fine balance between socialism and capitalism, between democracy and rulership that has proved successful throughout history and will continue to do so. For example, while income inequality is the key motivator for people to achieve more, it can also be one of the main obstacles for a long-term success of a country if this gap becomes too large. The key is to keep this gap at a reasonable level.
by Erik Ehasoo, Business Developer, ICT Futurist & Opportunist