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What it will be like to live in 2040

August 18, 2019, 12:26 pm | This story has an Influence Score of 104

By @mariocantin

You enter your favorite coffee shop. Charlie , your barista, smiles as he recognizes you.

“The usual?” he asks.

“Sure,” you reply.

The next minute is spent catching up after which you feel cheerful, grab your coffee and go on with your day. It feels perfectly normal to you that Charlie isn’t human. He is an artificial intelligence bot.

How you interact with him or his female counterpart in the year 2040 is open to several possibilities. In one probable scenario, when you arrive at the counter, you will be facing a glass cube of some sort, perhaps similar to this one but more technically advanced. Charlie will reside as a hologram in human form inside of the cube. The coffee itself will be prepared by a robot under Charlie’s control.

Communicating with AI bots will be part and parcel of normal life. Your lawyer, your doctor, your accountant, your portfolio manager and many more service providers will have been replaced by artificial intelligence software. Human-only interactions will be a luxury that solely the rich can afford.

The latter will lead an analog renaissance in which a “pre-internet” lifestyle will be all the rage. In other words, writing a message by hand and getting it delivered by a messenger or courier will be “the new thing”. Owning an older, collectible car devoid of electronic tracking devices (and likely converted to run on hydrogen) will be yearned for; otherwise, driving one’s own luxury electric vehicle will do. For the wealthy, analog experiences which are out of reach to most will offer the needed counter-balance to a way of life that’ll be overly “cutting edge” and invasive of one’s privacy.

Software shall have eaten the world and the majority of jobs will have been decimated in the process. The fallout will be enormous. Few will bother with getting a traditional university education. Most who hold degrees will not find employment related to their education. Most will rely on doing menial work in the gig economy to survive, creating increasing tensions in the population.

The governments will exacerbate the situation by being blatantly autocratic, counting on decades of having proverbially “slowly boiled the frog”. Furthermore, they will usurp technological advancements and use them to tighten their grip on the masses. For example, they will not allow decentralized crypto to displace fiat; instead they’ll introduce Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) so they can retain control and better track who pays whom, thus maximizing tax collection and strengthening their chokehold on the population.

A socio-economic duality will take place, and despite its inherent incongruity, it will establish itself as the new normal: on the one hand, the wealthy will be doing better than ever, while the rest of society’s standard of living will undergo a gradual downward trend; creating a gap that will make light of the economic inequality of two decades earlier. The world will concurrently be a substantially better place and a much worse one, in approximately equal measures. The situation may be best described as a general malaise that will be felt by everyone and anyone, whether they’re fully aware of it or not. Riots and dissent will be commonplace.

This is the direction we are headed for. It could end in a catastrophe, or in some “rising-to-the-occasion” paradigm shift that could reverse the trend and bring us to a better place altogether. Let’s hope for the latter.

 

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