Let’s, for a moment, assume all the problems the US has, that are swimming around in my head are solved. Where do we go from here? What is the future going to look like? One of the concepts I learned in high school is exponential compounding. After awhile things start getting big faster as time goes on. People tend to ignore the long-term implications of this. They think, for example, a company growing at a 15% annual rate will continue forever. I did a little math. At 15% annual rate, compounded, the smallest company on the S&P500 would equal the entire US GDP in 61 years. This obviously can’t happen. The current mindset is for growth, in constant year dollars, in the GDP of 3% per year. This means in 14 years; the GDP will be 50% higher than it is today. Unless we are just going to make big piles of stuff, these goods and services must be consumed. A great deal of this output will require the use of physical resources.
Can we, as consumers, consume 50% faster than we are today? Do we need to? Are we preparing ourselves for the inevitable change? The answer to these questions is NO. Are there better ways to use our lives? YES.
As AI and robots take over an increasing portion of the workload, we must make adjustments. The requirements for people to do physical work is going to decrease. One option is to reduce the traditional work week. A lot of work will need to be done to arrive at a proper mix. Shorter days, shorter work weeks, rotating schedules, and other ideas we don’t even perceive yet.
The future will inevitably look different. I think it will evolve towards a “Trekkie” type civilization. If we survive, the future will have eliminated poverty and uncertainty about how we are going to live the next day.
There is more to say about this, but that will have to wait for another day. This topic will never be exhausted.