To stay brief. For brevity is a worthwhile investment for its time savings…
We think of the future as the convergence of multiple trends ending at a point at which some believe a technological singularity will change everything as we know it.
The most popular hypothesis is that in the near future, at the point of a technological singularity, there will exist two worlds:
- Utopia, a world of abundance and happiness
- Dystopia, a world of shortage and chaos
For numerous reasons, it is possible, very possible, that the dual worlds of utopia and dystopia are actually just a modern version of what was once the fedual-based eras, which contains the medieval times, the dark ages, and others.
What does this mean? A few, guidelines on understanding this “concept”:
I. Specialization of labor leads to medieval inheritance of labor
With technology, it is impossible for one person to learn how to use to a level considered mastery or even expert, when the rate of innovation of new tech is increasing exponentially and the rate of updating existing old tech is also increasing exponentially. Popular thought is that advancements in biotechnology and the melding of man with bioenhancements will allow people to keep up with external (bioenhancements being internal) “equipment”.
Well in various schools of swordsmanship, the sword being a technology, is taught to be an extension of one’s body. You train and practice with the sword until it is like an extra limb. The sword becomes a body part. Not that I’m an expert, just a beginner, having trained in Japanese fencing for about a year.
Who is to say that even bioenhancements are “instanteously usable” when all past evidence of technology has shown that any form of technology has a “learning curve” and that there is “skill” associated with using that technology. For example, learning to use construction equipment and home improvement tools. Any craftsman would argue that it times time to learn, practice to get good, and mastery may never come.
So if one were to become enhanced with say, a pill that increases your intelligence or an internal cybernetic organ implant that allows you to sleep better (or not sleep much at all), what would one expect? Think like a scientist. In the first case, some people would have allergic reactions, some people would have a genetic predisposition that either increases or decrease the chemical intake efficiency, some people will not be able to afford the pill, and the list goes on. In the second case, the body would need to adapt to the new artificial organ-like device, and like learning how to use a sword, not everyone will be able to use the implant at the same level in the same amount of time.
To believe that we are all exactly the same and not individuals with uniqueness in our very DNA is to believe that we are more like machines than like people.
So like in the old days, how there are artists who just do art, swordsman who just practice with the sword, and farmers who are skilled at their trade as well, jobs will continue to exist. Where and when, I would not try to predict at this time just yet though there are no rules for prediction anyways, could be that in Utopia jobs are specialized as though you live within the city-state walls. And outside of the city-state walls, where Dystopia lives, jobs are either not in supply or there is a lack of people with skills for those jobs.
Then what about the people who “do nothing”? The ones who live in the castles, or known by their former titles as “nobles, wealthy, knighted, and friends of the court”? They would likely be living in both Uptopia and Dystopia at the same time. Like a castle houses the most skilled swordsmen, the wisest sages, and the craftiest merchants, it is eerily similar to feudal times. BUT. But- at the same time there may be little to do inside the castle. Meaning some seasons there might be little work and much of time is spent discussing politics similar to Dystopia. Is it not true that it is more chaotic inside a castle than outside a castle if one were to involve themselves in political intrigue and clan squabbles?
Then would jobs be like old days where you did the work of your father and he did the work of his father and so on? Not quite. Remember that I am just saying this is a “framework for understanding” or a “lens” from which to view the future with more certainty. I don’t literally mean the future of work and technological trend convergence is exact like living in ancient feudal times.
An era with neofeudal-like characteristics is more accurate.
Well popular opinion does not really touch upon, for the most part, how exactly jobs would be distributed whether through free market forces or centralized control because hey guess what? It’s the future singularity, anything goes!
Lets take an example. Lets take a technology like… say… nanomachines. If one were to specialize in learning about creating or using nanomachines, how would one get a “job of the future”? This is all so hypothetical so please relax and be open, because inherently everything proposed will be but a wild guess backed by some data and logic. And I suppose there is a methodology for futurology as well, which I admit I know nothing about having only logic and public research to base anything on. It depends.
One could apprentice under someone considered an expert or master in nanomachines.
One could could learn from a school or church=like group (church having been the academia of the past).
And one could self teach themselves the skillsets of nanomachines using the revolutionary “internet” and the “era of open information”.
But the third option is good at this moment in time. Good meaning a plausible and somewhat if not very credible way of learning a skilled job. Will it still be a good option in the future?
In the past you had to learn how to use a sword.
Now in the present you have to learn how to use a tank.
In the future you must learn how to use a drone.
Do you see the trend here? As technology advances, the learning curve for that technology increases in a significant number of ways, and a market-impacting number of industries.
In the past you had to learn how to use a rotatory landline telephone.
Now in the present you have to learn how to use a smartphone.
In the future you must learn how to use wearable or surgically attached smart devices that include the functions of a phone, smartphone, and/or something else completely.
Now all of this can be refuted and fundamentally wrong. Because I am making the assumption that we do not discover hyperspace faster than light travel, a pill that will instantaneously turn you into superman, and other universe-breaking discoveries (discoveries not inventions, not saying need be, but saying likely) like perpetual motion.
So it is a big what if.
It’s all a big what if.
And I must end the article with just the first guideline. Because this has exceeded the imposed limitations on brevity.