I have been studying the topic of “futurology” for several years, and while I don’t claim to be an expert by any stretch of the imagination, I feel confident in saying that I really really really don’t think the public at large is prepared for the sorts of radical changes we will face in only just 3-5 years or so; not to mention within the next decade.
Rather, I don’t think the American public is prepared. I think the United States is stuck in a mire at present, its government making really bad choices that we won’t see the full impact of until years from now.
And the problem is: by that point, the automation and so forth will be deeper and deeper entrenched in the businesses, factories, and so forth, replacing an unprecedented amount of jobs in an already depressed economy.
So here is the perfect storm, friends:
- “Future shock” in the populace (a societal and psychological loss of equilibrium).
- The bad decisions of a terrible governmental administration finally bearing “fruit” years after they were initiated (economic depression, isolation from larger world economy, gutting of social programs, and so forth).
- Unprecedented unemployment due to impact of increased and sophisticated automation.
Now, you could go further and add in impact of continuing global warming, certain long overdue Earth changes, the financially disruptive impact of outer-space mining, and so on.
This is not something that’s going to happen like 25 years from now. A bunch of this is going to happen well within the next decade.
And the United States is not prepared. And many of the current president’s most staunchest supporters are going to find themselves without jobs, without social services, and without the Great Dream they were promised fulfilled. And they are going to freak the fuck out—I mean, massively big-time.
They’re going to blame whoever becomes the new prez at that time—likely to be a Democrat/Progressive, because of the way the pendulum shifts. They’re going to blame all the groups of people they didn’t like before—only this time, they’re going to be really desperate because of the economic crisis, and far more extreme and organized than ever before.
And we’re talking huge societal shifts. Profoundly so. And some people are going to get really nuts about it. And you’re going to see a lot of people “breaking away,” attempting to form new societies (some for the good, and some definitely not).
And sort of swooping in and becoming the de facto New Elite through all of this—the new locus of power—are the tech magnates, the Bezoses and the Zuckerbergs and so on. I’d say Musk too—though he strikes me as the type of guy who could get weird and turn into a Howard Hughes-type figure at some point.
And there’s going to be “space magnates” eventually, the first companies who start mining the moon and asteroids and all that. Because once a mining company can access the wealth from just one asteroid—our entire world financial system is completely disrupted. It’s just going to be too much wealth coming in from this all at once. Everything is going to have to be rethought.
And then there’s the “promise” we are given by the transhumanists…that disease will be wiped out, that “healthy” babies can be genetically engineered in the womb, that we can extend our lives by integrating with tech, that all “sexual problems” can be addressed with just the right sex robot or neural implant, and on and on…
That would all be great…but are all these medical innovations and cyber solutions going to be distributed evenly throughout the populace?
Or are we increasingly going to have this permanent “lower class” who doesn’t have access to these innovations; whose jobs have all been replaced with automation; who aren’t “let in” on the evolution of humankind…and a portion of which will already be seething angry and ready to explode at that point?
A quick-and-sloppy “basic income” solution—which I do think will be implemented, when things get really bad—is just not going to cut it. The lower financial classes getting a weekly or monthly stipend to barely get by is not going to ameliorate their growing rage at watching the wealthy flaunt their increasingly conspicuous consumption. Flaunting far more longer lives, far more “perfect” bodies, genetically-engineered “perfect” babies, access to “assistant” AI and smart robots and pretty much actual “super-powers” if they wanted to augment themselves with tech.
Even something as basic as access to media—access to books, films, music, etc. They’re “doing away” with physical media of any kind, pushing people to use the cloud and streaming digital services. But what if you’re too poor to keep up with the latest version of whatever phone or computer? What if Internet access becomes more expensive? What if more and more pricey and complex tech becomes necessary to even watch a certain film or read a certain book? What if you still have the DVDs and CDs and stuff like that, but they’re just not making the drives anymore?
Will outfitting the poor with the necessary access to enjoy all those things be a priority for anyone? Or will the poor, instead, be increasingly “cut out” of that cultural circle?
These are some of the issues I believe the United States—and, to varying degrees, the rest of the world—are going to face within the next decade (I place the whole “space economy” thing a little further out, like 15-20 years).
Where will you be within all this? To me, there is no better time to get in touch with your deeper self, your deeper purpose; because the acceleration and extremity of the times fairly demands this type of radical honesty and aligning with the flow of the universe.