A lot of things need to change soon because the coming technological leaps will redefine the world in terrible ways unless we plan for it now.
Take for example the very idea of austerity and luxury. In the past, they would be considered opposite sides of the coin. A Trump on one side and a monk on the other.
But that is a very narrow view. In fact, all people can live in luxury with a different view of ownership. As I wrote about in my piece about the sharing economy, the sooner we stop needing to own so many things and instead contribute to a social goal of creating a luxury with minimal ownership and dependable luxury for all.
What does this look like?
First, imagine all homes are nice. Very nice. But a bit more modest in size and scaled to your need. No one would own a home. More like a hotel or apartment you would simply get based on your family size and a few other factors. You would own personal effects, such as clothing, personal items but no more junking up homes with crap. The shared economy makes it easy to get what you need fairly quickly.
Extras like a pool, gym, parks, etc would be in shared areas to each community. This is already being done in nicer housing complexes and by public park services, so this is not a stretch.
So now you have a very nice home, if slightly smaller because you own less stuff you have to store. But what about a car? Shared cars and automated mass transit make it easier to travel in luxury. Part of that luxury is no one needs to drive. You can enjoy your time as you are transported. No need for a garage now as you will not store cars and automation will care for yards as well. Need a hoe for some custom work? Just request it and it is brought from the tool sharing library nearby.
Now you might be worried about something being used by someone else when you want to use it. This is a real concern, but since you work much fewer hours you do have a lot more flexibility. Plus, think about how someone from 200 years ago would be horrified that we only keep a week of food in the house for the long cold winter. What if the grocery store runs out of food? When systems work well, and this will take time to perfect, we quickly grow accustom to the dependability of things.
Which brings me to the topic of jobs. There will be far fewer types of jobs very soon. But one thing that will remain and almost everyone will continue to work on. Improving the systems. While automation is great and while AI will solve many problems for us, there will be new challenges we find, new ways to improve systems and new entertainment and diversion to enjoy. Very little unrewarding work will be left as the primary job of all people will be to improve living standards while reducing the need for unrewarding work.
I can hear you thinking. “This will not be fair. Everyone should not get the same thing.” But this could not be further from the case. There should be several ways broadly that a person can get bumped up to platinum luxury. Assume that all normal needs or each person are met but added luxury is given to people who do one or more of the following:
- Improve systems that improve community lifestyle.
- Create New entertainment or education.
- Reduce waste in systems.
- Invent or discover new things.
- Maintain optimum performance of systems.
What you do not see on this list is building new companies to produce unneeded products that employ people and resources in order to create jobs and wealth. As long as you are contributing from the above list you will get increased levels of luxury items, such as trips, more resources to do fun projects, nicer location to live, etc. For example, naturally it would make sense to cluster inventors together and give them improved tools and space to invent new things and work collaboratively together. And it makes sense to allow them to live in a great location to encourage creativity. On the other hand, someone who does not want to contribute can still live in a less desirable place but still a very nice home and have all basic needs provided for. Luxury by most of the world’s standards, but neither the highest level of luxury nor a high level of respect from the community. Fine for many but not for the most gifted and driven.
People would still need to live below minimum usage levels or contribute to work that cannot currently be automated if they would like additional benefits.
This seems very different but it really is not when you look at it. The difference is focusing on human improvement through technology instead of profit for profit’s sake. And it rewards people for having fewer, but very nice things.
To get here one of the first most fundamental things that need done is a shift in the belief that more jobs and more products and more ownership is good. We are in the capitalist bubble and technology is going to pop it very soon. On this website and in email and podcasts we will be exploring these kinds of topics and help those interested prepare for the changes that will continue to escalate and move us towards a radical shift in social and economic systems that will eventually benefit everyone.