2 Billion Jobs to Disappear by 2030

2 Billion Jobs to Disappear by 2030

 

A picture of me speaking at yesterday's TEDxReset in Istanbul.

Yesterday I was honored to be one of the featured speakers at the TEDxReset Conference in Istanbul, Turkey where I predicted that over 2 billion jobs will disappear by 2030. Since my 18-minute talk was about the rapidly shifting nature of colleges and higher education, I didn’t have time to explain how and why so many jobs would be going away. Because of all of the questions I received afterwards, I will do that here.

If you haven’t been to a TEDx event, it is hard to confer the life-changing nature of something like this. Ali Ustundag and his team pulled off a wonderful event.

The day was filled with an energizing mix of musicians, inspiration, and big thinkers. During the breaks, audience members were eager to hear more and peppered the speakers with countless questions. They were also extremely eager to hear more about the future.

When I brought up the idea of 2 billion jobs disappearing (roughly 50% of all the jobs on the planet) it wasn’t intended as a doom and gloom outlook. Rather, it was intended as a wakeup call, letting the world know how quickly things are about to change, and letting academia know that much of the battle ahead will be taking place at their doorstep.

Here is a brief overview of five industries - where the jobs will be going away and the jobs that will likely replace at least some of them - over the coming decades.

PowerLineszzzzzzzz

No one will miss the clutter and chaos of power lines.

1.) Power Industry

Until now, the utility companies existed as a safe career path where little more than storm-related outages and an occasional rate increase would cause industry officials to raise their eyebrows.

Yet the public has become increasingly vocal about their concerns over long-term health and environmental issues relating to the current structure and disseminating methods of the power industry, causing a number of ingenious minds to look for a better way of doing things.

Recently I was introduced to two solutions that seem predestined to start the proverbial row of dominoes to start falling. There are likely many more waiting in the wings, but these two capitalize on existing variances found in nature and are unusually elegant in the way they solve the problem of generating clean power at a low cost.

Both companies have asked me to keep quiet about their technology until they are a bit farther along, but I will at least explain the overarching ramifications.

I should emphasize that both technologies are intended to work inside the current utility company structure, so the changes will happen within the industry itself.

To begin with, these technologies will shift utilities around the world from national grids to micro grids that can be scaled from a single home to entire cities. The dirty power era will finally be over and the power lines that dangle menacingly over our neighborhoods, will begin to come down. All of them.

While the industry will go through a long-term shrinking trend, the immediate shift will cause many new jobs to be created.

Jobs Going Away

  • Power generation plants will begin to close down.
  • Coal plants will begin to close down.
  • Many railroad and transportation workers will no longer be needed.
  • Even wind farms, natural gas, and bio-fuel generators will begin to close down.
  • Ethanol plants will be phased out or repurposed.
  • Utility company engineers, gone.
  • Line repairmen, gone.

New Jobs Created

  • Manufacturing power generation units the size of ac units will go into full production.
  • Installation crews will begin to work around the clock.
  • The entire national grid will need to be taken down (a 20 year project). Much of it will be recycled and the recycling process alone will employ many thousands of people.
  • Micro-grid operations will open in every community requiring a new breed of engineers, managers, and regulators.
  • Many more.

driverless-car-main1111

San Francisco–based design team Mike and Maaike's concept car, the ATNMBL (the "autonomobile").

2.) Automobile Transportation – Going Driverless

Over the next 10 years we will see the first wave of autonomous vehicles hit the roads, with some of the first inroads made by vehicles that deliver packages, groceries, and fast-mail envelopes.

The first wave of driverless vehicles will be luxury vehicles that allow you to kick back, listen to music, have a cup of coffee, stop wherever you need to along the way, stay productive in transit with connections to the Internet, make phone calls, and even watch a movie or two, for substantially less than the cost of today’s limos.

Driverless technology will initially require a driver, but it will quickly creep into everyday use much as airbags did. First as an expensive option for luxury cars, but eventually it will become a safety feature stipulated by the government.

The greatest benefits of this kind of automation won’t be realized until the driver’s hands are off the wheel. With over 2 million people involved in car accidents every year in the U.S., it won’t take long for legislators to be convinced that driverless cars are a substantially safer and more effective option.

The privilege of driving is about to be redefined.

Jobs Going Away

  • Taxi and limo drivers, gone.
  • Bus drivers, gone.
  • Truck drivers, gone.
  • Gas stations, parking lots, traffic cops, traffic courts, gone.
  • Fewer doctors and nurses will be needed to treat injuries.
  • Pizza (and other food) delivery drivers, gone.
  • Mail delivery drivers, gone.
  • FedEx and UPS delivery jobs, gone.
  • As people shift from owning their own vehicles to a transportation-on-demand system, the total number of vehicles manufactured will also begin to decline.

New Jobs Created

  • Delivery dispatchers
  • Traffic monitoring systems, although automated, will require a management team.
  • Automated traffic designers, architects, and engineers
  • Driverless “ride experience” people.
  • Driverless operating system engineers.
  • Emergency crews for when things go wrong.

iTunes u 23542354

Apple is involved in another life changing innovation with iTunes U.

3.) Education

The OpenCourseware Movement took hold in 2001 when MIT started recording all their courses and making them available for free online. They currently have over 2080 courses available that have been downloaded 131 million times.

In 2004 the Khan Academy was started with a clear and concise way of teaching science and math. Today they offer over 2,400 courses that have been downloaded 116 million times.

Now, the 8,000 pound gorilla in the OpenCourseware space is Apple’s iTunes U. This platform offers over 500,000 courses from 1,000 universities that have been downloaded over 700 million times. Recently they also started moving into the K-12 space.

All of these courses are free for anyone to take. So how do colleges, that charge steep tuitions, compete with “free”?

As the OpenCourseware Movement has shown us, courses are becoming a commodity. Teachers only need to teach once, record it, and then move on to another topic or something else.

In the middle of all this we are transitioning from a teaching model to a learning model. Why do we need to wait for a teacher to take the stage in the front of the room when we can learn whatever is of interest to us at any moment?

Teaching requires experts. Learning only requires coaches.

With all of the assets in place, we are moving quickly into the new frontier of a teacherless education system.

Jobs Going Away

  • Teachers.
  • Trainers.
  • Professors.

New Jobs Created

  • Coaches.
  • Course designers.
  • Learning camps.

3D Printed Building 564

Prototype of a 40' X 40' 3D Printer capable of printing a small building

4.) 3D Printers

Unlike a machine shop that starts with a large piece of metal and carves away everything but the final piece, 3D printing is an object creation technology where the shape of the objects are formed through a process of building up layers of material until all of the details are in place.

stereolithography hull photo

Chuck Hull in front of stereolithography machine.

The first commercial 3D printer was invented by Charles Hull in 1984, based on a technique called stereolithography.

Three-dimensional printing makes it as cheap to create single items as it is to produce thousands of items and thus undermines economies of scale. It may have as profound an impact on the world as the coming of the factory did during the Henry Ford era.

3D-printer clothing 653

3D Printed Dress

3D-printer - shoes 653

3D Printed Shoes

Jobs Going Away

  • If we can print our own clothes and they fit perfectly, clothing manufacturers and clothing retailers will quickly go away.
  • Similarly, if we can print our own shoes, shoe manufacturers and shoe retailers will cease to be relevant.
  • If we can print construction material, the lumber, rock, drywall, shingle, concrete, and various other construction industries will go away.

New Jobs Created

  • 3D printer design, engineering, and manufacturing.
  • 3D printer repairmen will be in big demand.
  • Product designers, stylists, and engineers for 3D printers.
  • 3D printer 'Ink' sellers.

Dog Bot 345

Boston Dynamics' BigDog

5.) Bots

We are moving quickly past the robotic vacuum cleaner stage to far more complex machines.

The BigDog robot, shown above, is among the most impressive and potentially useful for troops in the immediate future--it's being developed to act as an autonomous drone assistant that'll carry gear for soldiers across rough battlefield terrain.

Nearly every physical task can conceivably be done by a robot at some point in the future.

Jobs Going Away

  • Fishing bots will replace fishermen.
  • Mining bots will replace miners.
  • Ag bots will replace farmers.
  • Inspection bots will replace human inspectors.
  • Warrior drones will replace soldiers.
  • Robots can pick up building material coming out of the 3D printer and begin building a house with it.

New Jobs Created

  • Robot designers, engineers, repairmen.
  • Robot dispatchers.
  • Robot therapists.
  • Robot trainers.
  • Robot fashion designers.

Final Thoughts

In these five industries alone there will be hundreds of millions of jobs disappearing. But many other sectors will also be affected.

Certainly there’s a downside to all this. The more technology we rely on, the more breaking points we’ll have in our lives.

Driverless drones can deliver people. These people can deliver bombs or illicit drugs as easily as pizza.

Robots that can build building can also destroy buildings.

All of this technology could make us fat, dumb, and lazy, and the problems we thought we were solving become far more complicated.

We are not well-equipped culturally and emotionally to have this much technology entering into our lives. There will be backlashes, “destroy the robots” or "damn the driverless car" campaigns with proposed legislation attempting to limit its influence.

At the same time, most of the jobs getting displaced are the low-level, low-skilled labor positions. Our challenge will be to upgrade our workforce to match the labor demand of the coming era. Although it won’t be an easy road ahead it will be one filled with amazing technology and huge potentials as the industries shift.

By Futurist Thomas Frey

Author of “Communicating with the Future” - the book that changes everything

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174 Responses

  1. Great article! I have a friend who has been predicting for years that our biggest challenge for the future will be defining ourselves outside of the notion of “work” because “work” will disappear. It is so unfathomable that abundance may come to us from helpful technology…leaving us twiddling our thumbs. It sounds like a dream but it could create a need for 2 billion psychologists! :)

  2. Absolutely brilliant! What an exciting outlook. I would be interested to hear what effect you might think all this will have on the value of real estate.

  3. Tom,
    I write about “sentient” systems in my science fiction. Your theories tell us that we will have “systems” that are able to ask and answer totally abstract questions such as “Who am I?” “Why am I here.” “What is God?”
    >> The obvious question for Humans is why Systems need people? The obvious answer is that species won’t need us.
    >> I’ve recently written a story about adjusing the balance between systems, humans, and “management” (who soak up all of the riches). The answer is that “systems” will become another specie or group of species that are equal to Humans in many ways and superior in many others.
    >> Everything you mention has that flavor. Humanity is working hard to remove Humans from positions of responsibility. Outmoded sentient systems will be in as much trouble as outmoded Humans are now.
    Imagine getting a divorce from your robot wife or husband.

  4. Eldidy

    Great work and predictions…however i think more jobs shall be created in robots factories and in developers for robo-logic

  5. I can’t wait for the future. The top jobs in 5 years don’t even exist today. Hopefully we can all be part of the emerging technology that brings these future top jobs to the world.

  6. Tom,

    Great view of the future, but when you look back at all of the “predictions” of the future, they’re not all right. Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure: Change is coming!!

  7. admin

    Gary,

    So what are the stages you go through when you divorce your robot wife or husband? Maybe, anger, grief, resignation, and rust?

    Tom

  8. Admin and Gary,
    I think it always a breach of rust that leads to divorce.
    Paul P.

  9. On a serious note, this is really fascinating stuff! I just sent 3 of the 5 industry predictions to 3 different friends in the respective field. The one created opportunity that caught my eye and helps my industry is the recycling of the entire national power grid.

  10. Ben

    I really hope with all the online education and courseware that will suposivley happen, people in low level jobs can become qualified to fill in other jobs. So someone who worked as a coal miner can potentially be a cnc machine repair man.

  11. Tom,

    Great thoughts I think you missed the elephant in the room?

    Consider replacement of corporate & government (Judges, Congressman, Executive, and Agency Heads) management with Artificial Intelligent (AI) bots. The savings in Taxes, Fees, and expensive products, insurance payment for screw-ups (wars, non-functioning agencies, and bad products) would be huge.

    The AI bots could not do any worse; AI bots would simply look at history and not make the same mistakes. The savings in overhead alone would be HUGE. It would create jobs for historians and programmers and make the world safer for humanity.

    With the projected savings we could cut our work week to 3 days or less.

    For even greater savings replacement of attorneys with AI bots or nothing would further reduce our work week to 1-2 days.

    Get back at me.

    Jeff

  12. admin

    Paul,

    Thanks for your comments. Actually the changes coming in the power industry will be the most pervasive of all, partly because they are so far overdue for change, and partly because the solution I witnessed was so amazingly elegant.

    In addition to the things I’ve mentioned, oil exploration will begin to shut down, the coal industry will all but disappear, large power plants will be shut down and sold for scrap, all nuclear power plants will be decommissioned, and people everywhere will have access to power. Even people living on islands, northern Canada, and in Antartica. Old energy markets around the world will begin to collapse and new energy markets will become the hotest thing since the Internet craze of the late 1990s.

    People will begin buying up houses under power lines because that real estate will suddenly become valuable. Neighborhoods will be designed differently and all City planning departments will have to rethink their jobs.

    And this is just scratching the surface.

    Tom

  13. admin

    Jeff,

    Good comments. I actually didn’t want to go in this direction because government people have ways of protecting their own jobs, to a point. The first wave will be driven by technology, the second wave, as you’ve pointed out, will be driven by mandate and need for efficiency, which is more difficult to quantify.

    If we think we’ve already seen a lot of change, the real tidal wave has yet to strike.

    Tom

  14. Great article, I went looking for the TEDxReset Conference video of this Presentation but haven’t seen it. Is it posted anywhere as of yet?

    I’m quite curious to see it.

    Thanks!

    Nyc Labretš

  15. admin

    The video of TEDxReset 2012 is not up yet. Check back in a week or so.

    Tom

  16. Tom,

    If the jobs of drivers and delivery people are threatened by machines, I’m assuming that the jobs of airplane pilots are threatened as well.
    Also, great joke about the robot wife divorce. :-)

    Jim

  17. @Thomas, I agree with your assesment – 2 Billion Jobs will be lost as the old ways that provide jobs vanish.

  18. The life led by Zen monks is respectuful of the planet in general. The discipline of the mind allow for finding joy – a higher form of happiness: http://es.scribd.com/doc/27583604/La-Vision-Zen-Budista-Como-Alternativa-A. Could there be a better option.

  19. Change is inevitable, but I’m not so sure we know the shape that change will take in so much detail. The energy solutions sound wonderful if they come to pass, but we’ve been promised such things for decades now (reminds me of one of my favorite books: “Follies of Science: 20th Century Visions of Our Fantastic Future”), and I for one am not ready to drink that particular Kool-Aid. :-)

  20. Here’s a couple of questions.

    Say Frey is right, and there are 3.23 billion ‘jobs’ in the world of 2012 today.

    What are those 1.25 billion vestigial left-over jobs going to be in the year 2030?

    And how do I make sure that I don’t have to get one?

    Also, if the world population will be 8 billion people in the year 2030, and Frey is only half right, then how are the 6 billion how are all the people of earth, 75% of the world’s population, 3 out of 4 people, the 6 billion people without work, possibly going to be able to eat?

    If Frey is right about the 2 billion job losses by the year 2030, then how are 7 out of 8 people who are living at that time going to be able to support themselves?

    Is anyone thinking this far ahead, and more importantly, if they are, what are they planning to do about it?

    18 years is a blink of an eye.

    And it is somewhat alarming to think that of anyone born this year that by the time that they graduate from High School the odds are 7 to 1 against them being able to find Gainful Employment.

  21. Clint Fichter

    Maybe someday we will realize the value and dignity of ordinary work and will stop chasing convenience enough to live in a world ran by everyday people performing everyday jobs…..the futurist’s world is a technological prison robbing us of so much….hopefully we will be able to rise up and do what is necessary stop this “progress.”

  22. Jeremy M.

    A factor to remember. In the old concept of pure communism… the reason why it fails is because people not feeling driven to maximum production. Properly built machines doing these kinds of work would not suffer from this inefficiency of communism. Yet the distribution of the wealth amoungst the people can still be done.

    Machines do most all the mundane labor, and the output would be distributed amoungst the people in an assumed even manner. (think things like food, clothing and other such necessities)

    The remaining labor that is still done by humans would then become additional work not yet covered by such a system. Yet likely this work is more recreational pursuit. Think production of entertainment and art. It has value, but it is not quite required to be produced for any other reason than that of expression of culture.

    So one system will provide for our needs in a efficient and likely high output manner. Another system will grow up around an output by humans that isn’t quite as necessary for survival, but still persued by those who enjoy such work.

    I imagine it would result in the ultimate of a leisure based society where we work on what creatively drives us. Works of art. Mental puzzles. Constructs of logic or pure items of imaginary fascination.

    It is hard to clearly picture how it may be. So much would change about our society in such a short time… it is impossible to fully fathom. Yet in time we will have to.

    Singularity… as I assume it is commonly called.

  23. Joel

    Clint, there is satisfaction in doing honest work for sure, but imagine if we could live in a world where people can choose to work on things they are passionate about and are not constrained about the concern for everyday survival. How many people around the world work physically difficult for long hours just so they can eat? What if we could create a world where these people are freed up to work on things they love because technology has allowed us to have an abundance of resources. So many people work jobs that they hate because they don’t believe they could make enough money to survive if they switched to something they enjoyed.

  24. TheSceptic

    1969 Man landed on the moon, by 2004 we though we would be playing golf on Mars and yet here were struggling to design a new safer technology to ferry man to the ISS.

    I now I should not judge everything by the state of the aerospace industry, but just saying people shouldn’t go into fantasy land and expect the necessity to work disappear or that Robots will be as advanced as forecast. Someday sure, but not in the next 25 years I think.

  25. cm

    Hi Tom and everybody,
    Great thoughts, thanks a lot.
    Have been thinking myself in another direction though. I think an even bigger change might be coming. Am exploring the personal health stuff a bit and see many theories about dieting, medicine and diseace. What i seem to be learning is that the human body does not need all the things we give it for dinner, those are not much more than emotional stabalizers. Stating that the whole nutrition notion is a farce, like medicine counterbalancing destructive effects, not at all for life support. Stating food is our biggest addiction, not at all our biggest need, and it is a massive massive industry. Dont know how far this will penetrate our societies, but considering we need just little natural foods like fruits or nuts, some leaves maybe and water, combined with some healthy exercise, less dimanding and stressful daily life for a healthy, energetic and long life, the impact in our social and economicalal realms is major. First of, people be less emotionally flaming and greedful when we become more healthy, less destructive and powerlusted. But the whole food industry, what will happen there when we realize that the food we make is making us unhealthy and mentally out of balance! Restaurants, kitchen tools, transport, fast food chains, soda candy dessert, genetic manipulation. When we stop emotional eating and think from a body perspective, all salt sugar fat frozen food will have to disappear. We need fresh foods again. Billion dollar industries… When we become healthy, like all creatures in nature, what will happen to the pharmacy, all testing and development, advertisement, medical bills and pills, doctors, even uppers and downers, psychiatrists, health resorts. If the line of thinking here is correct, a change to the core, meaning mental and emotional health are related to physical health, and all this is greatly influenced by food, what then will be left of society and world domination?
    Hope i am not too dreamy, unrealistic or alternative for this article.
    Best to you!

  26. Daniel

    It all sounds very exciting and positive but (there is always a but) …
    in a world where there is an abundance of power, food, manufacturing, etc. do we really want the corporations (who no longer need humans working for them) to make all the profits. The M&A activity would be ridiculous to the point that there would be a few super-corporations that would control 90% of the world’s wealth.
    Capitalism doesn’t work in a world once general artificial intelligence is created.
    The biggest change I see as a result of these breakthroughs is Revolution!!!

  27. tim

    For the driverless vehicles it should be mentioned that we won’t need as many traffic law enforcement personnel, nor the attorneys / judges / prison space that currently exist only to process traffic infractions.

    Traffic signal / sign production and maintenance will diminish along with the crews that provide that service

    Accidents and insurance claims will diminish reducing the need for claims adjusters, tow truck drivers, car parts and replacement vehicles, and collision repair shops. personnel.

    This will also drive down business at driver education programs, funeral homes, and cemetaries.

    We won’t need as many parking areas in congested space since the vehicles can drive themselves further away from the drop off space to park.

    I’m sure there are other positions that won’t be needed I’ve not thought of.

  28. Bryan

    Excellent article, though I do have one point with a statement you made at the end. You wrote that most of the jobs being automated are low-end jobs, but right now, most of them are actually middle-range jobs; not the computer programmers or lawyers, but not burger flippers or janitors either. They seem to be book keepers, pharmacist technicians, data entry workers and other jobs that may require a high school or associates degree, but not more. Janitors and restaurant workers are still expanding because these jobs are relatively difficult for a machine to do right now. That’s one of the predicaments we’re in; it would be better if the lowest paid jobs went away, but it seems many of them are ones that people do fairly well off of, only to have to move down the ladder to lower paid, “lower skill” jobs.

  29. The only sustainable solution is a basic income.

    Think about it – at 5% irreversible unemployability – tax all wages and incomes and profits by an additional 5% and give *everyone* a basic income of that amount.

    At 50% irreversible unemployability – tax all wages and incomes and profits by an additional 50% and give *everyone* a basic income of that amount.

    At 99% irreversible unemployability – tax all wages and incomes and profits by an additional 99% and give *everyone* a basic income of that amount.

    See what I just did here? This allows society to end incrementally minimum wages, study grants. It also functions as a disincentive barrier to unwanted economic refugees – any low income immigrants wouldn’t get the basic income and still be paying the tax. Then “just open the borders for anyone who wants to work, right?”

    http://www.scoop.it/t/arguments-for-basic-income

    If our democratic systems are incapable of gradually implementing this, eventually it will be time to replace the politicians with a better alternative. One that gives a damn about people.

    http://www.scoop.it/t/deliberating-violent-revolution

    My prediction is – the last ten years irreversible unemployment has gone up in the “affluent” nations by more than 1%. Soon this will start happening in many second world nations as well, especially brazil, russia, china and india. Then when pay cheques have internationally bottomed out, irreversible unemployability will shoot up by close to 2% annually. By 2050 this will taper of to less than 10% effective population-wide employability, PLUS very like we’ll have nothing like pensions any more – as by 2050 life extension and rejuvenation of the then living is pretty probably. By 2100 everyone (who wants to) will be in their 20s, or thoroughly posthuman.

    So somewhere this century we’ll have a lot of people that won’t get an income from paid labour or enterprise, unless they are insanely talented. Less than a few % of all people.

    And yah, we’ll have a few % of insanely rich people who will own all the robots.

  30. Walker Terry

    This is scary. I agree with most everything on here. But you can not replace teachers esp. in the devlopmental years k-12. A lot of what children learn in school do not come from teachers.

  31. These developments, and many others yet to be considered, are not on the radar of our political and/or economic planners. They (the planners) are stuck in the pre-singularity mindset of slow change. If we are to survive this socio-economic challenge we need to find a way to empower all people regardless of whether or not they have money or a job. No one should HAVE to work for a living, but until we have infinite wealth for all, we will need to develop a satisfactory and practical way of allocating resources.

  32. Paul Stanford

    This reminds me of Kurt Vonnegut’s book, Player Piano.

  33. Paul Goodfellow

    While I agree with you on many topics, I think your assumptions on academia and the jobs where robots will replace humans might be jumping the gun. There are thousands of new students coming through the university system ever year and having a bachelor’s degree is quickly becoming a precondition for entry level employment in the work force. If that trend is to continue, having a learning “coach” isn’t going to get a 19 year old closer to a diploma, having a professor will. Although the Khan Academy may be a viable system for high school, and I agree that the Khan model should be integrated into a high school curriculum for non-traditional students, I’m not sure of its relevance for post-secondary education. While some professors have taken to recording their lectures, sometimes having the prof. give the lecture in person can add that extra oomph to what’s being said and be the difference between the student connecting and the student tuning out.

    Secondly, on the topic of robots replacing humans in the work force, I think there are going to be jobs where humans will be needed. While having robots replace humans in calm coastal fishing might save on overhead for companies, ocean fishing and in places like the Bering Sea where weather is too unpredictable might still necessitate the human presence. Until truly universal AI is developed to allow those machines to respond quickly to a rapidly changing environment, humans will be needed to fill those gaps in the work force that need human labor.

    Lastly, I think we need to consider the ethical and moral consequences of using robotic labor if/when artificial intelligence is developed. It’s the difference between having a factory automaton that welds one car door ever ten seconds, and having a speaking machine that drives you places, takes out your trash, and is not paid. Then we get into questions of how we define the individual, how we define where individual rights come from (is it the mere act of being born human, or can an AI with reasoning and logic be considered for the same rights and responsibilities as humans?), and how we treat those robots.

    I think before we consider anything approaching robotic interface on an every day level that necessitates some level of advanced artificial intelligence, we had damn well better stop and consider the consequences. If we’re not capable of treating one another with respect and dignity, what are the odds that we’ll do so for our robotic creations?

  34. Shibon

    HiThomas,

    i wanted to know if you could reveal which power sources you are referring. Because anything that happens on replacing the power industry from its powerful structure results in getting mugged by the government. This statement “existing variances found in nature and are unusually elegant in the way they solve the problem of generating clean power at a low cost” in very vague. Because it leaves more questions unanswered.

  35. Zac Bright

    Coal mines will not be shut down. How else will steel be made?

  36. Teaching is not a job it an instinct. You can’t replace instinct.

    Read my .99cent ebook. It’s 2048 and It Happened at Nextfest.
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004RD9EEY/

  37. […] that 2 Billion Jobs to Disappear by 2030.  If he is right, the impacts to society over the last couple of decades will be dwarfed […]

  38. admin

    Zac,

    You’re right, not all coal mines will be shut down. Just most of them, and those that remain will be run primarily with robotic miners.

    Tom

  39. Chris K

    I would like to see this “possible future” to be dicussed in the presidential debates.

    My standpoint is the government of the future will make socalism appear to be to the “right”. Once automation replaces the vast majority of all avaialble jobs then the Government, corporations, or individuals will need to provide. My hope; with free energy and advanced 3D printers the public will be able to provide everything for themselves.

  40. I agree with most things that have been said, and if anything I believe the job loss has been underestimated. However, if what you say is true about the power grid, then cheap sustainable distributed energy is just around the corner. I cannot overstate the consequences of this. In our macroeconomic system and markets, the cost of energy enters into consideration countless times in uncounted ways. the energy to harvest, process, transport, retransport, etc far exceeds the cost of the simple material cost. Once a robot can (for cheap) harvest a resource and (for cheap) transport it anywhere to be processed (for cheap) by another robot and then delivered (for cheap) by yet another robot, the price floor will drop out from underneath countless goods, bringing the cost of living down substantially. Any person or company that can make this happen is, in my book, a super hero. once i can have a house built and run for cheap by robots complete with automated greenhouse, 3d printer and water filtration, and all this for cheap… well I won’t care that I’m unemployed for very long.

  41. Jim Rice

    Completely agree with Mr. Frey.

    There is a book called “The Lights In The Tunnel” which may help illuminate this subject. It discusses what happens during the transition from Jobs to No Jobs. If you’ve been wondering why people are getting poorer as productivity explodes, this book provides clear answers. Most important, it outlines a solution to the coming joblessness crisis. Factories, warehouses, and stores operated only by computers and robots are a GOOD thing, IF income is distributed to people on a basis other than work, thus allowing them to buy the stuff those factories produce.

    I believe this book is the first to deal comprehensively with the most important trend of the decade, the automation of most work.

  42. Spikosauropod

    I am a math teacher at a technical college in Washington State.

    We made the transition to computer based classes several years ago. It turns out that the job of teaching has not gone away, but changed in nature. We no longer give extensive lectures, but we must constantly run around the classroom clarifying what the computer is teaching. Machines still can’t anticipate the kinds of confusion students run into and work creatively to get them past it. When the machines rise to that level of interaction, they will put everyone out of work, not just teachers.

    At the end of the article, Frey says, “Our challenge will be to upgrade our workforce to match the labor demand of the coming era.” That challenge will fall, of course, to teachers; especially math and science teachers. Can our workforce be upgraded in this manner? Anyone who has tried to teach math or science to the recently unemployed who aren’t interested in these subjects and have little or no aptitude for them will find themselves in a quandary.

    So, what economic system will work best in the world we are rapidly entering? Will it be a welfare state where most of the population is living on the dole? Will it be a form of capitalism where everyone is an entrepreneur? It will NOT be a two continent system where Joe owns one continent, Siegfried owns another continent, and everyone else is ground into fertilizer or biofuel. The newly unemployed will not have money, but they will have influence. In the United States, they will have a vote. Long before they are transformed into the newly impoverished, they will rise up and force change. We are already seeing the first signs of this in the occupy movement and the rapid turnover of political power. We had better have a good plan worked out before the number of unemployed reaches critical mass. The clock is ticking. We had better think a plan up in a hurry!

  43. admin

    Scott,

    I like how you’ve phrased this. Yes, the teaching profession will change. Instead of being lecturers in the front of the room, they will act much more as coaches as you’ve described. Perhaps a better term will evolve, but they will no longer have the be the expert on every topic.

    One thing I’m not saying is that we will have 2 billion more people unemployed. Rather we will be forced to rethink the whole process of job creation, and we will need to do that very quickly.

    Thanks for your comments,

    Thomas Frey

  44. This article is directly in-line with the thinking of The Venus Project and The Zeitgeist Movement. Technology is going to permanently displace jobs, which it is currently doing and accelerating at, even as some new job sectors are created. The acceleration of this process will become harder and harder for society to cope with. TVP and TZM recognize that is trend flies in the face of our current economic system’s fundamental structure and that a serious change needs to occur. There simply won’t be as much work to go around and a system that forces people to have “gainful employment” in the face of production and access abundance to all human needs for life thanks to these enabling technologies will continue to face increasing social and economic problems. I recently started reading Jeremy Rifkin’s “The End of Work” and along with many other thinkers of the past such as R. Buckminster Fuller, the direction seems to be clear and more people are recognizing it.

    I advocate a Resource Based Economy as defined by The Venus Project to incorporate technology and social engineering for the expressed purpose of freeing humanity from the bonds of labor as much as possible while producing an abundance of goods and services.

    http://www.TheVenusProject.com

  45. Glad to see you saying these things. I teach history at a Community College (or now we just say “College”) in Florida, and I have been saying for the past few years that most of my peers are blind to the massive shift that is coming to us. The fight for something like tenure reminds me of how the RIAA fought against Napster—the old way may indeed be a better experience, maybe even better for us, but if the culture goes the other way, then you can’t stop it. As Frey stated, “All of these courses are free for anyone to take. So how do colleges, that charge steep tuitions, compete with “free”?” You can’t. Not really.

    But one idea is that each professor needs to see their course as a stage for learning. They are the ring master, allowing each student to engage in the learning through a variety of methods, often using technology. If they can create a remarkable experience, then the price for admission is worth it. Audiophiles still purchase LPs for the remarkable experience; fans of music still will pay for the live concert. Professors need to wake up that this is happening.

    Right now, the only thing keeping traditional education alive is the world of business. But, the moment the tipping point comes and businesses start to hire people who got their degrees through something like iTunes U, or hire through internships only (basically, reviving the apprenticeship model from the Middle Ages), then Colleges and Universities will simply have to adapt or die.

    As I told some of my peers (they didn’t like it), “Higher Education” did not always exist. It had a beginning in the Middle Ages; it can certainly have an ending in the 21st century.

  46. Here is a speculation from my website on how we might see the future evolving. See http://pleiadestechnologyfutures.com/Commentary.aspx for more detail. I would add that cheap labor (bots?) and cheap energy (microgrids?) are essential to maintaining a growing wealth society I think.

    Part 4 is where I speculate that based upon our “tool making” nature that has enabled us to advance and shape our environment we will evolve in directions only fantasized on in the science fiction of the 20th Century. Most of our tool-making energy will be focused on managing our environment as best we can and adapting our infrastructure to meet the new constraints that come with a changing world. In addition, I speculate that a very small fraction of mankind will test five paths of evolution. First, there will be the main path based upon man’s history of Darwinian evolution, untouched by our new human-enhancement “tools”. The bulk of humanity in this century will be treading this path and depending upon our infrastructure changes to live on a possibly warmer planet. But there are other interesting possibilities emerging. Second, we have our new genetic manipulation skills that will first be used to “fix” our genetic defects and then to enhance desirable traits. Third, there is the adoption of electro-bio-mechanical attachments to our person. Again first to recover at least part of natural abilities that were lost due to disease or accidents and then to extend ourselves to become better because of our “implants”. Fourth, in a world of constrained resources the importance of virtual worlds and personalized avatars that extend our identity will increase since it is more energy efficient as well as, eventually, a more extensible environment for expression of ideas and identity as well as bridging distance and fostering collaboration. Finally, we have our “intelligent” tools emerging as the power of computing continues to increase and we extend some human-capabilities onto machines in the form of today’s simple robots and “expert systems” in the quest for usable artificial intelligence and utility bots that do routine task more efficiently than humans do.

    All of these evolutionary paths have been the grist of science fiction but are likely to emerge as modest bits of reality as the 21st Century unfolds. It is important to note however, that these technologies will not diffuse rapidly to the billions of humanity. They will first be adopted by those who have both the need and social support and will be a bionic arm here, a genetic repair there, a specific robotic appliance, and my alter ego in just one of many virtual worlds. Each of these paths will be emphasized by way of a short fictional story that looks through the eyes of a protagonist experiencing this particular fork of human evolution.

    Part 5 is a reflection on the first four parts. Is there some overall message or meaning in the results of this work? Since we appear to be growing to the limits of our planet where we can no longer be casual about our accommodation to its limits and its needs to remain as we have grown accustomed in our last few centuries of industrialized life, how will our responses discussed in Part 4 shape our definition of humanity? How might we use tools to continue to sustain ourselves? Of course, many science fiction authors have speculated on various futures for mankind. Do any of these look particularly more likely given our exponential evolution? These and similar questions will be addressed in this part.

  47. Spikosauropod

    I’m thinking that the solution, at least in the U.S., will be the passage of constitutional amendments to each state constitution. It would be ill-advised for the U.S. government to pass such an amendment, but it could, perhaps, pass an amendment that accommodates each state amendment:

    Model State Amendment:
    No citizen of ______________ State, upon reaching the age of 18, will receive an annual income less than the equivalent of $30,000 per year at the beginning of 2001, adjusted for inflation or deflation. Reproduction of any sort will be allowed only upon granting of a reproductive license. Licenses will be granted promptly upon request except in such cases as follows. No citizen will be granted a license for more than four children of their own genetic makeup. No citizen whose income is paid in any part by the State of ______________, except as compensation for services performed, will be granted a license for more than two children of their own genetic makeup.

    Model U.S. Amendment:
    Each state of the United States will have the authority to regulate reproduction as it deems proper. No state shall deny the right of any citizen to have as many as two genetic offspring. The regulation of genetic offspring will be enforced only through legal penalty including indefinite imprisonment but not including death, forced sterilization, or abortion.

    As a Republican and a Capitalist, I really hate this idea. But it seems inevitable. I welcome any criticism or discussion.

  48. ut0piate

    I liked this article and I can imagine some of it happening rather easily. Reader responses have me a bit concerned, though.

    History doesn’t necessarily trend upward.

    “Free power” may come, but taxes and/or rent on the devices which offer the same will not be free.

    If we become too complacent to support our own survival, the other “interests” in the world – political and/or financial – will fill the power vacuum. Nature abhors one, remember? At least, the nature of man abhors a “power” vacuum.

    Not saying we’re all evil, but the Sanskrit word for war loosely translates to ‘desire for more cows’.

  49. Robert H. Pike

    Commenter #20(NYC) and #25 (CM)Make the most important points of this whole discussion.
    1. With a population increase of 210,000 more people per day, a lot of these predictions won’t happen – unless we as a species adopt and embrace family planning.
    2. Food addiction has to be the most pervasive addiction, especially in America. Unless we get serious about getting our nutritional addictions under control, many of us and especially the incredibly growing number of obese children in the next generation won’t grow to see these optimistic changes.

  50. Bernard Denis

    To mr. Clint Fichter,

    Most people being scared of the progress do so with the thinking of humanity being the same as it has always been. Progress will bring and is already bringing higher values to life and its core principles. The fact that everybody has always worked for a living is a normal thought to most, but even work has evolved. A century ago in Canada most basic workers simply worked 12 hour days, seven days a week, and at 65 years of age were left with nothing to do and did not understand what had happened. From one day to the next no more pay was received to sustain whoever was left home.

    Human race is but one on earth, should be able to self govern without too much waste and unite into a better world where work will be redefined. There is no lack of money or food on the planet to provide quality living to all, only its distribution is the problem. Through a world government, monitored by the people, all will attain a better life.

    The major problem is the speed at which this change is coming, but all should join to help. Calling for the destruction of progress is not something I see as a positive step forward. Should we have stopped progress when penicillin was discovered and it started population growth?

    With all due respect I hope you will rethink your views and see the good progress has brought, with the solutions it is starting to create for the problems it did bring.

  51. KRP

    Ha Ha Ha LOL LOL!!! Are you smoking CRACK??? Although learning about new technologies and future predictions is entertaining, are you people actually naive enough to think that the “powers-that-be”, namely big corporations with their propped-up Congressmen in pocket, would EVER allow these things to happen??? Really??? The Power Utility Conglomerates would close the power plants and let you generate your own power at home for little cost? The Oil companies allow their own disappearance? All the Automakers of the world let automated robot cars ruin their businesses??? Once the Universities begin to see a decline in revenue, those “free online courses” will disappear and laws will be passed disallowing things like iTunes U…..I’d love to sit around holding hands in my future Utopia too, where everyone is safe and warm and not hungry, and there is no work anymore. LOL!!! But i live in the REAL WORLD …. what a scam you’ve got going Mr Frey…..someone actually PAYS you to do this???? Why don’t you guys redirect your time and energy towards actually DOING SOMETHING about our current problems, instead of dreaming up Utopian science fiction stories …..

  52. KRP

    What everyone SHOULD be focused on is providing healthy, nutritious FOOD for that ever-exploding human population, because it doesn’t matter WHAT may come or go, the human body has to EAT to be alive…and we all know our Food Industry doesn’t give a rat’s ass about our health at this point…. Oh…and one more thing…if 2 billion jobs were really lost, what do you think all these “unjobbed” people will DO with their time? Humans are creatures of habit and need repetition and structure, study some psychology and sociology and watch what happens to humans when their structure is gone, and they have copious free time and lives without purpose…they GO INSANE.

  53. admin

    To KRP,

    No, I am not smoking crack, and yes these things really are going to happen. But you’re jumping to some very illogical conclusions.

    I will be speaking at a US Dept of Energy conference in Washington DC, to an audience of upwards of 1,000 industry executives on Wednesday. My message to them will be that change is coming and it will be best if its orchestrated from within. They can either embrace it or let other countries take the lead.

    Working closely with the inventor community, I’ve had the unusual opportunity to see breakthrough technologies at the formative stages, and there are several around the edges that are now reaching the boiling point. Two, in particular, are well-positioned to make inroads because they have solid entrepreneurial teams with plans to work within the existing power companies. Even though power companies are monopolies, they still have a responsibility to shareholders to streamline operations and cut costs. And once communities find out that they can still get quality power to their homes without having the ugly powerlines hanging overhead, they will begin to demand it. From there, all of the other dominoes begin to fall.

    Its fine to be cynical. I was too until I took a hard look at what’s happening in the trenches. The competition among nations is a powerful force and shouldn’t be overlooked.

    Thomas Frey

  54. lerato ndlovu

    this is all unbelievable.. good luck with the future people

  55. Spikosauropod

    @KRP

    You say, “Why don’t you guys redirect your time and energy towards actually DOING SOMETHING about our current problems,…”

    I am very curious to have you give a specific example of what we should do? It would be a bonus if you could give a list of examples.

  56. mike mayer

    Well, as far as the microgrid is concerned i assume you are talking about some fuel cell technology? Anyway our increasing enchroachment on natural processes will allow the inevitable reduction in population caused by disease as is always does.We can`t power ourselves out of every problem..I think the planet will finally reduce us to a sustainable leveland we can go back to our less stressful lives before the development of agriculture..just a devils advocate perspective

  57. Tsila

    I hope this prediction will not come true. Anyone excited about such future should move to an island and create a humanless world there.

    I have no desire to sit on a bus without a driver, I have no desire to be served in a restaurant by robots, or get surgery done by robots.

    Are you people going insane? Removing human contact is so exciting? I don’t think so!!!!

    I feel sorry for the younger generation because they will be totally brainwashed that technology and technology doing their work is going to be good for them.

    Technology is only good if we can harness its power with dignity and respect. Something that is not happening today.

    40 years ago the whoel wrold tooted that people will not have to work by teh year 2000 and everyone will live in relative comfort. Yet, I see more people out of work today then 40 years ago. More families are unable to provide for themselves. We build more prisons because the ones we have are overflowing. Uh? Why is that? Could it be because the gap between rich and poor is widening by the foot every minute? And people unable to find tehmselves a decent and dignified job to provide for themselves?

    Corporate criminals get away with anything, politicians are corrupt and just as criminals as their corporate buddies. And yet the World is standing by. And destroying itself. The sooner it happens the better. Maybe then people will wake up!

  58. Tsila

    …and when people wake up, Mr. Frey you will be out of job. I hope.

    People like yourself who tootes what the future will be are dangerous. Are you God? What makes you think that you know what the future will be? Sounds like self fulfilling prophecy. You are probably paid by the corproate maffia because only those idiots want to see the future to be what you are describing. The rest of humanity, the 99% do not. And soon that 99% will be giving a boot to corporations and their criminla buddies. It is not a question of if. It is now a question of when. And that will be soon.

  59. It’s amazing to believe so many people still don’t understand how science and technology is advancing exponentially. There’s so much nature to thinking linearly.

    Just one thought: I believe that if government would simply outlaw vehicles using hydrocarbons new technologies would gain investment funds accelerating develop sooner. Our world would be cleaner. Our lives would be happier and that future would arrive much sooner.

    I agree that the future presaged is already well on the way folks. People out of the loop will simply be surprised when the reality finally looms clearly.

  60. LAW

    Tom.
    Please provide one good TECHNICAL hint concerning … How electrical power can or will become very cheap? Are you referring to some of Tesla technology?, Free Energy from space?

  61. admin

    Since I signed an NDA, I’m not able to give you details. But what I will say is that I’ve looked at hundreds of energy related inventions over the years and none have the potential of this one. Its quite obvious how it works, and operates silently inside a container without the need for any external power, water, or other inputs. There is no pollution. And the best part is that it serves as a mass energy storage system, efficiently storing power from one day to the next.

    I can say what it is not. It is not a Tesla device. It is not a solar or fuel cell device. It does not involve zero point energy or any other fabricated sciences. However, it was developed by a physicist with a strong entrepreneurial background.

    I wish I could say more, but that’s all I can say for now.

    Thomas Frey

  62. mike mayer

    hmmm very fascinating, what could generate its own power and store it as a capacitor..well im a nurse not a physicist s0 i guess ill just half to wait and see..it must be something so simple we cant see the forest for the trees.This is going to be like one of those songs i cant get out of my head,,a flywheel that gains energy from the earths rotation..if it is a magnetic engine i am going to be really mad because my 8th grade science teacher told me that was not possible!!!(and i listened to him)well i hope it comes out soon so i can quit thinking about it!!

  63. Arjun

    How do you explain “Mail delivery jobs, gone”? I agree that the drivers maybe replaced by computers but there has to be someone who is going to put the mail into mailboxes right?

  64. Spikosauropod

    @Thomas

    I know that a bunch of things like your secret energy source are coming. Frankly, I’m surprised they haven’t materialized yet. I also suspect that once they do see the light of day, someone will get busy convincing us they cause brain cancer or bee hive collapse. I can’t ever make up my mind if the naysayers are corporate competitors or just old hippies.

    There seems to be two classes of objection in every discussions of technological advancement:

    1. I believe we should abolish technology, redistribute wealth, and transform everyone into a poet farmer.

    2. I believe that if God had meant for man to fly he would have given us wings.

    Nearly all of the people who present these objections say more about the sources they are directly wired into than any special insight.

    Incidentally, I do believe in God and he did give us wings. God bless the 777. He will also give us computers and robots that eliminate the need to work and printed organs that keep us alive forever. Literalists can spend the next fifty years trying to harmonize these things with Revelation. We will use God’s shiny new machines to save the environment. God bless our machines! God bless the bounty from Gods technological marvels!

    I have learned how this game goes. When I was in high school (c. 1976), one of our smarter students tried to convince the student government to buy a computer so that his peers could begin to acquire the skills he thought would be essential in the future. During one rather heated meeting I held up an electronic calculator and said, “You’ve all seen how these have become common place over just a couple of years. Some day everyone will have a computer on their desktop.” This observation was met with jeers and disbelief.

    I am just glad I learned how to type (same as keyboarding). Of course, that skill is almost obsolete. I recently bought my brother a Samsung Galaxy Tab. My brother can’t type (sorry, I mean keyboard) at all, but he uses Google and email like crazy by pushing the little microphone button.

  65. star0

    Could one of the energy technologies have something to do with this?:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110622125706.htm

    Maybe low-grade geothermal… from temperature differences from near the surface of the earth and a hundred feet or more below-ground?

  66. admin

    This is an interesting technology but much more complicated than the one I’ve referred to. The new technology is very simple and very elegant in how it generates power…. and stores it. The generation part alone is one game-changer, the storage part is another whole game-changer. Combined, they change everything.

    Thomas Frey

  67. Spikosauropod

    @Thomas

    You’ve got me speculating too: wild things like a gyroscope that gets its energy from the rotation of the earth or some sort of sail that catches solar neutrinos. It is just a question of finding an energy differential that has not been tapped (and, of course, finding a way to tap it). I assume, from what you have already said, that it is not the Nocera artificial leaf.

  68. Mats Svensson

    I predict the invention of viewer-less TVs will free up large groups of the population and give them a chance to just enjoy life.

  69. Exactly, this is the “TITE INVERSION of CONCERNS”

  70. Mummenschanz

    Now I am thinking, big elephant in the room allright!

    With all this new technology, robots, self driving vehicles, production robots,and going on endlessly, there will be very little need of humans.

    And yet, earth’s population keeps growing.

  71. Ryan

    Interesting article, I am a truck driver not because i have nothing else to do I am educated and I am also a pilot. I drive a truck because I love driving and all the truck drivers i talk to are the same way minus a few.

    I understand that cars and trucks will one day be able to drive themselves but i do not think all drivers will be replaced. How would a flatbed truck unload itself or chain a load down? Who would be responsible if the chains came loose. What about cement trucks who go to locations off the map and tight spots and are forever moving about in a construction site. What happens when snow, slush and mud gets on the sensors? GPS technology is great but it still sends me the wrong way in my truck.

    I think truck drivers will be more like pilots and will be there just to make sure nothing goes wrong.

  72. mike mayer

    plasma torroid like ball lightning

  73. Flynstine

    Stay grounded. He said “very simple and very elegant”. He also said he believes it will be installed everywhere. So it can’t be dangerous and it has to exploit something common. As for storing large amounts of power you got me. I’m going to go with some kind of novel catalyst that exploits oxygen, nitrogen, or carbon dioxide. He said it wasn’t junk science so it has to be utilizing “something” that is available everywhere. Think about what is available everywhere and start there.

  74. Flynstine

    I suppose he also said:

    “It’s quite obvious how it works, and operates silently inside a container without the need for any external power, water, or other inputs. There is no pollution. And the best part is that it serves as a mass energy storage system, efficiently storing power from one day to the next”.

    Sorry, I just don’t even know where to start on this.

    With the provided information I feel like a math professor losing his mind pondering infinity. As a optimistic and curious person by nature I have gotten my hopes up one too many times on breakthrough energy. I will keep my excitement level down for now. I’m sure Mr. Frey will be sympathetic to this stance.

  75. Spikosauropod

    To me, “obvious” is a little Plexiglas window you look into and say, “Oh, so that’s how it works!” Somehow, I don’t think that is what Thomas means. If that IS what he means, the whole world is about to feel really stupid and China is about to acquire a brand new industry.

  76. admin

    Since I got so many questions last week about changes to the power grid, and the emerging new technologies, I decided to expand on this topic and go into greater detail – http://www.futuristspeaker.com/2012/02/dismantling-of-our-power-industry-infrastructure/

    Hopefully this will answer most of your questions.

    Thomas Frey

  77. Spikosauropod

    A “magic fish” economy?

    It raises more questions than it answers. Nevertheless, it will be an interesting sociological experiment.

  78. Bill

    It is not surprising that, almost immediately, people started suggesting rules to impose on everyone else. In an economic model where individuals are not limited by their own ability to produce, rationing must be imposed to limit consumption (amount of food, size of housing, number of children, etc.). And that implies having a “select” group of people deciding who gets what. That system cannot possibly account for the diversity of values and needs; it also leaves substantial power in the hands of the “select” few. Which is fine as long as that includes you. Given the overwhelming likelihood that you are not going to be one of the “seelct”,you are likely to be at odds with their choices for you, but what can you do at that point? The “select” are in control of all that sustains you. You, in essence, become either slaves or, perhaps given the assumed level of automation, pets of the “select”.

  79. Spikosauropod

    To Bill:

    I agree. It is not surprising at all. However, we are about to face a level of culture shock unprecedented in history. A lot of the best minds are doubtful we will even survive it. (Read: Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us, Bill Joy, April 2000.) Ideas are cheap, but complacency can be fatal. People here, including me, are only interested in ideas.

    I consider futurists like Ray Kurzweil, Vernor Vinge, and Thomas Frey (above) to be the vanguard in a war everyone is arming for but very few are planning for. I have trouble getting most people to even take the idea of the Technological Singularity seriously. (Read: The Coming Technological Singularity, Vernor Vinge, 1993.) Any discussion that exposes viable options is good in my opinion.

  80. Denise

    First I would beg to ask the question are you God? No..While you may be educated and work in a great field, but you are not on control of humans nor will your colleges. Planet Earth doesn’t have a starship enterprise, we have space stations. Common since would tell this to anyone. Continue having fun. You know with your science you could possibly help cure cancer and aids. You use your knowledge for things that are not relevant to everyday life.

  81. Spikosauropod

    To Denise

    Technology is not a zero-sum game. An advancement in one area is an advancement in all areas.

  82. A question that comes to mind is, if the future goes in that direction that you predict (as does many others) do we need a money system at all, or will it be the transition to a resource based economy instead, where all humans share the abundance there after all is on this planet, and creates for the first time, a sustainible lifestyle where there will be no more war, crime, poverty or greed? Well… the challenge has begun!

  83. admin

    You’re asking a great question about money systems in the future and how they’ll change. I’ve been looking at the trends and have considered a variety of possible outcomes, but so far I haven’t seen any signs of a viable replacement. Our global currencies are fraught with many problems, and the monetary system itself is a human creation that is crudely volatile, but from a system’s standpoint, it is the most entrenched of all systems in society.

    Where nearly all other systems are being brutally attacked by automation and technologies, the monetary system may be the one holdout that has to reform itself from within.

    To be sure, there is a tremendous amount of experimentation around the edges, but there is little to indicate a rewriting of the economic/monetary code. This could change quickly over the coming months, but so far, I’ve seen no indicators.

    Clearly its an imperfect system, but it will require an unusually gifted person to lead the change.

    Thomas Frey

  84. Spikosauropod

    One of my favorite episodes of Star Trek DS9 is called “Prophet Motive”. The Grand Negus undergoes a transformation and starts teaching that Ferengi should stop being motivated by greed. Quark realizes this will be disastrous for the Ferengi. He learns that the Negus was transformed by the wormhole aliens (who many consider to be higher beings), and he goes to visit them. He tries to convince the wormhole aliens that the transformation will be disastrous for the Ferengi, but they cannot be bothered by such base concerns. Then Quark hits on an idea. He convinces the wormhole aliens that if the Negus remains changed more Ferengi will visit the wormhole and eventually drive the wormhole aliens crazy. The wormhole aliens realize it is in their best interest to accommodate Quark so they change the Negus back.

    My point is this. Unenlightened self-interest may not be inevitable. However, for any intelligent conscious beings, value is inevitable. Creatures that do not value anything will not have motivation to function from day to day. Value is to conscious intelligent beings what force is to physical mass.

    As long as there is value, there will be a medium of exchange for value. That medium of exchange is called money. Money is to value what motion is to physical force. Hence, money is inevitable. However, money in the form of paper currency is not inevitable. Paper currencies have become clandestine tools for manipulating markets and will inevitably collapse under the weight of their own corruption. All the paper currencies in the world will collapse and be replaced by rare elements: physical gold, silver, etc.

    Rare elements are the natural medium of exchange for value. They are portable and they have intrinsic worth. Best of all, they cannot be printed from thin air and manipulated. They naturally bypass the influence of little self-serving cabals like the Federal Reserve.

  85. Neophile

    Scarcity is what necessitate a medium of exchange, not value. We certainly find air to be valuable, but since it is not scarce we don’t have to pay for it.

    I agree that there needs to be some exchange of value to provide motivation, but the valued quantity could be as intangible and nontransferable as the respect of one’s peers.

  86. Spikosauropod

    If something is scarce and we do not value it, we will not pay for it either. Smallpox is scarce, but I would never pay for it. Conversely, we often buy things that we value but that are neither scarce nor necessary. I value my little statue of Frazetta’s Moon Maid. I hardly need it.

    My old dad, now long deceased, had a saying: “Money ain’t everything, but what it aint it’ll buy.” I am not nearly that cynical, but I have found that he was far more correct than I ever imagined. Marx made an interesting observation. He wrote that “Money turns everything into its opposite.” Of course, Marx saw this as a negative. He observed that a coward can pay a brave man to do his bidding. Still, Marx recognized money’s remarkable agility.

    You suggest that money can’t buy the respect of your peers, but have you ever really looked into that? Money can buy an education. It can buy tutors and other resources to make that education easier to acquire. It can buy drugs and psychotherapy to make you into a seemingly better person. Someday, it might be able to buy intelligence and an improved personality. It may even buy persistence and courage.

    I agree that money is only a medium of exchange for portable value. The question is: what value is portable?

    But that is far from my original point. I often buy things from China through eBay. I don’t have the time or opportunity to form a bond of trust or respect with every merchant I buy from. It isn’t necessary. They trust my money and I trust eBay’s rating system. There are seven billion people in the world. With trading systems like eBay we are all able to perform commerce with relative security.

    Money is an organizational principle. Like swarming ants, it has an intelligence of its own. It keeps resources from piling up where they are not needed or wanted and helps them to find their way to where they are needed or wanted (see: capitalism).

  87. Great insights. These new economic capitals will create significant wealth, but since we will still be bio-based (human) we must rely on the capacity of the earth’s natural capital. That appears to be the limiting factor even in a world where we all have energy in a box.

  88. Hi there,

    Interesting idea, and something that has been happening for a while (what with the death of industry/casual labour in the west).

    I’m not an expert in pretty much every single one of the industries you’re talking about, so I won’t bother to offer my opinion, as it is no different from a layman’s. I do, however, know quite a lot about war and robotics to do with war. I personally think that you’re wrong, at least in the 2030 timeframe. Maybe in a hundred years we’ll see a greater degree of robotics, but until then, no. If this comes off a little harsh, please accept my apologies, but there is little that I can do to couch the term.

    There are a couple of things working against the replacement of soldiers by robots.

    1) Robots can’t do what humans can do. Those (such as the good old dog bot) which can perform considerable support roles are okay, but they are support for human beings to do things. The basic fact is that until someone can design a robotic “brain” or similar computing system on par with the adaptability of the human brain, humans will continue to outperform robots on the battlefield. If someone designs a killer robot, chances are, someone else will come up with a cheap way to counter it. This is the core of asymmetric warfare. Why build a tank when an anti-tank missile can nullify one? Why build a robot soldier if your plain old human beings can out-think and therefore out perform them?

    2) Those robots that we do have aren’t too labour-efficient, yet. Predator and reaper drones and other unmanned aerial systems actually require considerable amounts of manpower. Just like any other aircraft, they have technicians to check them over and so on. Furthermore, even though no-one is in the cockpit, predators require two operators at the moment. This may change, militaries are working towards getting UAVs with enhanced independence. My money says we won’t cross the 1 pilot to 2-3 UAVs checkpoint by 2030. That’s when you’d start to see significant manpower savings.

    3) Robots are expensive, human life is cheap. Here is the basic fact of war outside the western bubble – there are lots of people, there are lots of soviet-era munitions lying around. Why spend a million dollars training someone, much less billions of dollars on drones, when the basic unit is cheaper? American roboticised fighting methods may be the most efficient method of waging war, but outside American interventions, you’ll find precious few examples of it. I understand my tone here may seem callous, but the truth of the matter is that people who disagree enough to start wars are going to fight, and they will fight with the means available to them. It’s more likely that they’ll fight with irregulars than invest in robots.

  89. While it’s clear that most of these things will come to pass, given our country’s inability to plan for the future, it’s unlikely most of them will happen by 2030. There needs to be investment for most of these ideas to be implemented. We don’t have a forward-thinking country, and we don’t have many forward-thinking companies anymore.

  90. In store sales will also be going away when Siri-like shop assistants greet customers with a lovely virtual face and domain knowledge of an expert. The technology is out there, a virtual actor in Japan thought to be human, but it only was a model file of 10 gbs. Imagine when tablets, smart phones and TVs are filled with these kinds of personalized faces, instead of the microphone avatar of Siri. E-commerce will be changed forever, and this is what we are try to make happen in Beijing, China. We will show the world that China has true innovation.

  91. I have also read about Doctors, Pharmacists, Lawyers, Writers, and even Scientist.

    See this article http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/robot_invasion/2011/09/will_robots_steal_your_job.html

    Not to mention, where I work we replace Recruiters. @vidcruiter

  92. 1969 Man landed on the moon, by 2004 we though we would be playing golf on Mars and yet here were struggling to design a new safer technology to ferry man to the ISS.

    I now I should not judge everything by the state of the aerospace industry, but just saying people shouldn’t go into fantasy land and expect the necessity to work disappear or that Robots will be as advanced as forecast. Someday sure, but not in the next 25 years I think.

  93. Spikosauropod

    To Jack McDonald:

    I don’t think I can convince you that progress will move faster than you anticipate, but I can point some things out.

    Just a few years ago, a robot that walks like BigDog was considered by many to be impossible. Now that we have done the impossible, how likely does it seem that we will stop at that? Moreover, do you really believe Darpa in interested in BigDog for its ability to “offload” troops? Don’t you suppose a nice howitzer would fit well on top of that ambulatory chassis? How long were surveillance drones around before someone thought to attach guided missiles and change their name to “predator” drones?

    In regard to your second observation, the military is already testing a drone that is completely autonomous:

    http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jan/26/business/la-fi-auto-drone-20120126

    As for countries fighting with what is available and not bothering to invest in robots, I think Libya was our first taste of how that will go. The United States will simply pick winners and losers in such skirmishes and squash the selected parties from above. There won’t be any more wars among people who intend to pick up whatever stick is available and start swinging. We simply won’t allow it. After we see enough bloodshed and barbarity in Syria, you can be pretty sure we will never allow it to happen again. We will compare what transpired in earlier in Libya and later in Syria and conclude that the former was more to our liking.

    I don’t understand how you can see self-driving cars, robots that walk through the woods, and computers that win at jeopardy and conclude, “Only this, and nothing more.” Can’t you see the pattern to how things are changing?

  94. That’s the nature of the world. Old jobs go away and new ones take their place. The ones who survive will have to learn new skills and move with the times.

  95. userulluipeste

    You say “people shift from owning their own vehicles to a transportation-on-demand system” but that really means leaving something private and exclusive (but not necessarily luxurious) for a kind of public transportation. I don’t agree here because of hygienic reasons. People are forced to public transportation because of various reasons, they don’t just prefer them over something more personal.

    I have a big question risen after all that prediction – how do we prevent parasitism?

  96. I can see where it’s going, but I doubt the rate of change inherent in the 2030 assertion. It will take some pretty insane advances in technology to create UAVs that are able to target independent of human agents. I think that we’re likely to see a fully semantic web before that happens, including the ability for computers to symbolically interpret images, which would be required.

    Until robots can independently target, humans will be a necessary feature of war, and even beyond that. Technology doesn’t determine its use, particularly in military affairs which are bound up with the society/culture at large. See the use of stirrups/heavy cavalry for an example. They already have guns that can shoot better than humans, but we still use humans for war, why? Because we trust human judgement (logically or illogically) more than we trust machines. Until human society is okay for robots to use lethal force against other humans (air defence systems use robotic targeting to intercept missiles) then we won’t see the replacement of humans by robots.

    The basic feature of asymmetry remains: humans can happily manipulate the laws of war to their liking and tread the civilian/insurgent line. When they do that, how are you going to design a machine to identify between ontological categories that are inherently contested? Humans can do that, and fail, but what happens when a machine fails? We won’t consider it the same as human failure, that’s for sure. If you design a machine to stick to the laws of war, then opponents will happily disguise themselves as civilians (no disguise needed, really), walk up to it and stick a block of C-4 on it. If war rolled back to the 18th century battlefield scraps, then robots would win, but the point is those customary rulesets favour the side that would win in such a situation. Faced with certain defeat, it is only natural that the loser wouldn’t follow them.

    Above all, war isn’t a hegelian/scientific ideal, there is no “higher” form, only a constantly changing morass of ways in which people will kill each other, for a changing morass of reasons. Robots won’t “solve” war in the same way that they can solve the labour cost problem of a factory. There is no single identifiable unit that needs to be reduced in war in the same way as unit labour cost.

  97. Great article! Also, BLS states that many environmental science technician jobs in “general” will grow in the next 10-20 years. With these kind of predictions, our next generation should really think about going to colleges/universities!!

  98. I just love change, this is a great article! It makes us reach to and prepare for our highest potential.

  99. Bruce

    Erratum: “methods of of the power “

  100. Very interesting article.

    What it doesn’t address, though, is the huge problem of unemployment. It’s amazing sometimes how scientists and researchers doesn’t see the obvious Elephant In The Room, which is The Monetary System itself.

    Thomas Frey is a businessman, and he predicts ‘new business opportunities’. Well and good. But that even he doesn’t see what is about to happen surprises me. The biggest new business opportunities today are all based in some kind of technological development and automation, which means less work for people, which is exactly what he describes.

    Today’s economic system is ALREADY on the brink of collapse. How on earth does he think the system can cope with the loss of 2 BILLION JOBS???

    IT CAN’T.

    The inevitable consequence of so many people loosing their jobs is that the whole system collapses. Why? Because the system is based on constant consumption, which means that there has to be a certain amount of people with buying power (the market) for the system to exist.

    When there is a loss of the buying power of 2 billion people, this means that the market will be so much smaller that there won’t be enough people to hold up the profit based monetary market system. We can’t work 2 days weeks, because it then won’t be enough money going around to keep the system going. We have to constantly buy and consume to keep this system going. But, without a job, or everyone in part time jobs, there will be no money to buy the products. No money = no monetary system = total collapse.

    Ok then, so what do we do?

    We have to think different, and in the direction of a RESOURCE BASED ECONOMY. The Monetary System is the most polluting and least efficient of all systems that has ever been on the planet. And the incentive of money is completely overrated. And make no mistakes, communism is also a monetary system, as it uses money. It was an attempt to share equally, but by state controlled force, and not by societal emergence.

    There are already millions of people advocating a resource based economy, which is an economy without money, trading, barter or ownership, but with giving, sharing, caring and usership instead. It is a world with no borders and where all the planet’s resources are declared the common heritage of mankind.

    With a resource based economy we can actually collaborate on the best solutions for power, transportation, food, production, etc. etc. We can create a paradise for all people on this planet. To uphold a system like this we would probably have to ‘work’ about one day a month. When we combine new technology and the fact that yet another huge lump of jobs will be obsolete when the monetary system is gone (like all financially related jobs, clerks, tax people, insurance, etc. etc.) there won’t be need for a whole lot of people to provide what we actually need to have a very high standard of living.

    Still, it is proven that humans are productive people. Just look at scientist and artists. They work tirelessly to develop new inventions and new art, not to become rich, but for curiosity, interest, fun, creativity, experience, personal fulfillment, common sharing and more. These are the real incentives, not money.

    Just like Mr. Frey says: “Why bother predicting the future when you can control it”. I’d just exchange ‘you’ with ‘we’. We are all in the same boat; This little planet. We can create this future together.

    Standing between the choice of another 100 years of ‘money dictatorship’ or a resource based economy, the choice is not difficult. At least not for me.

    http://www.theresourcebasedeconomy.com/

    And by the way, I’m also making an open source movie about a positive future. Check it out here: http://www.wakingupmovie.com/

  101. Technological Utopianism is Way Better than Technological Apocalypticism. And, Robots, Robots. Contrast this piece with much younger Federico Pistono’s recent interview on an upcoming book, “Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That’s Okay.” I find it intriguing that the young guy says we’re doomed and headed for calamity, and the old guy says it’s all going to be cool. I’m concerned that both might have a have a limited perspective. A confab might be in order, because Frey is providing the panacea to Pistono’s hysteria which could possibly temper Frey’s optimism. More at http://www.anthrobotic.com or http://goo.gl/M6WS2

  102. Spikosauropod

    To Jack:

    I agree that we trust human judgment more than machine judgment. However, I can see that changing. In the medical profession it has already been established, though not entirely acknowledged, that expert systems make more consistently accurate diagnosis than humans do. The reason, I suspect, is that the expert systems are never subjective. They don’t delude themselves into thinking that they have an instinct for such decisions.

    To try to apply this idea to warfare, let me use the simpler example of a store detective trying to catch shoplifters. In order for a store detective to arrest someone for shoplifting, they must observe that person taking the item, they must track the person visually until they leave the store, and they must observe the person leaving the store without paying for the item.

    I used to work as a store detective, so I am keenly aware of the mindset of these people. Most of the store detectives I knew relied more on instinct than on actually following the rules. They simply didn’t have the wherewithal to track people from the point that they picked something up to the point where they left the store. The main problem, of course, is that the shoplifter would realize they were being followed. A computer would have an advantage here. A computer, using hidden cameras, could observe a person in the store picking an item up and track them as they move through the store, switching cameras as necessary. They would never lose concentration no matter how long the scenario lasted, and they would have no trouble correlating the views from a dozen different cameras. If the person never returned the item to a shelf, the computer would not miss this. If the person left without paying, the computer would be able to immediately compare the item taken to the stores receipts.

    The computer would do the job in a different way than a person, but because of its persistence and tireless attention to detail, it would get a better result.

    You say that there is no higher form of war. Actually there is. It is called abstinence: just don’t do it. The use of robots will take the honor out of warfare and robotic policing will make it impractical for combatants to resort to violence.

    We are moving away from the notion that persons like Assad are equal competitors in a local skirmish. We are gradually recognizing such persons for what they really are: criminals who bully and butcher people in order to acquire or maintain illegitimate power. Once the transition to this mindset is complete, there will be no more war because there will be no such thing as war. A criminal is a criminal. We will use robots that follow the same logic as the computer that monitors shoplifters, but on a larger scale. These robots will be tasked at the onset of a criminal incursion to know who the criminals are and to identify new contributors to the crime as they arise. They will use DNA sampling, voice recognition, and sophisticated facial identification to track these criminals. Finally, they will capture or kill these criminals.

    Governments that do not recognize the rights of their people are not able to get the upper hand technologically. There is a reason why the West is ahead in robotics and computer science—tyranny simply doesn’t work. Only nations founded on moral high ground will have highly technological weaponry. The asymmetry of weaponry will be maintained because weapons will not be provided to illegitimate criminal organizations.

  103. Akshay L

    I think a lot would depend on the world economy. Such predictions fail to happen when the world economy is not stable. Also such changes may happen only in a limited set of countries depending on their cultural outlook irrespective of their economic status.

  104. Are you people insane? You think this will be “exciting”? If you think the recession now is bad or the abuses of thr industrial revolution were bad then wait until millions of jobless humans have nothing betrer to do than violence. Even worse if robo-cops keep any change in the power dynamics from happening!

  105. Yeah, I wasn’t too eager about the robo cop idea either. I say, lets rather focus on creating a world where no cops or military is needed. After all, what cops are used mostly for today is to protect the monetary system and not it’s citizens. So, without a monetary system there won’t be a need for many cops. And certainly not robo cops on every street corner. You go ahead and create that world, I’m not coming.

    Just to reiterate what a resource based economy actually is. It is a world based on abundance, not scarcity, like we have today. It is based on everyone getting what they need, being able to travel anywhere, share anything, improve everything.

    Utopia? Maybe, maybe not. The Zeitgeist Movement is only the top of an iceberg of people who would love to see this happen, which today means millions of people and rapidly increasing. AND, when we get the military and the police on our side (which is everyone’s side) (don’t fight the police, persuade them!), the powers that be won’t have any power anymore. Then, all that it comes down to is how to share and distribute the resources we need where we need them.

  106. Spikosauropod

    Zeitgeist Movement?

    There are a lot of unpleasant jobs that must be done and simply won’t get done if people are not paid money to do them. I know, because I have done a lot of these jobs.

    Loading trucks
    Cleaning septic tanks
    Repariing insulation under buildings
    Collecting trash
    Replacing worn railroad tracks
    Picking fruit
    Cleaning roofs
    Mopping floors
    Repairing plumbing
    Dredging out drainage ditches
    Paving roads

    The list is actually endless. Do you believe a significant number of people will choose to spend a significant portion of their lives doing these sorts of jobs out of some abstract sense of social responsibility? Your Zeitgeist Movement must be base on the assumption that robots will do EVERY unpleasant job.

  107. spikosauropod – Again, your ideas run into basic onotological differences which machines would find it very difficult to differentiate between. You could easily track a shoplifter by tracking items, but how do you track an opponent by the intent that is inside their head? You can’t.

    Furthermore, war is politics. What you’re talking about are machines that will police a world order which would inevitably benefit those who build the machines. You can’t define criminality in international order, no one can, since it is one big grey area. Legitimacy is an essentially contested concept, the idea that a machine could provide some independent scientific viewpoint is absurd.

  108. Spikosauropod

    To Jack McDonald:

    If two people are in an argument and one of them pulls out a gun and shoots the other one, is there really any doubt as to who has exited the realm of civilized behavior? If you think about it, there is a very bright red line between where acceptable behavior ends and criminality begins. As humans we fool ourselves into thinking there is not a bright red line, but it does exist.

    When the citizens of Iran were protesting in the streets, they were behaving in a way that civilization can tolerate. When government snipers started shooting them from rooftops, the snipers were behaving in a way that civilization cannot tolerate. I am reminded of a saying: “Your rights end at the tip of my nose.”

    If no one crosses the line, we are still in the realm of adjudication where people can meet, discuss, and arrive at a decision. When someone crosses the line, we are in the realm of the machines.

    Where do I seem to be going off?

  109. What if the person is armed with a kinfe? (aka “dual use technology”), what then? And if your machines won’t shoot people with knives, how are they going to differentiate between knives and swords? More to the point, what would they have done in Rwanda where a lot of the killings were performed with machetes? War doesn’t have to involve guns: What of IEDs? Are you going to ban fertiliser?

    My point is that humans are able to kill each other with an incredible variety of implements, and if they wish to do so, they will. It doesn’t matter if it is a JDAM or a two by four plank of wood, dead is still dead. In your conception semi-omnipotent machines will be able to differentiate between soldier and civilian, aggressor and victim when the latter categories are a point of view and the former can be blurred by anyone not wearing a uniform.

    The kind of gatekeeper you’re talking about would merely force people to fight via surprise and ambush and weapons that cannot be a priori determined as such.

  110. Spikosauropod

    To Jack McDonald:

    Here is another area where machines could actually be superior. A machine could measure the trajectory and velocity of any object moving toward a person and prevent the collision. Afterward, an assessment could be made to determine if the object’s trajectory was the result of criminal intent. Mass and trajectory and velocity are fairly simple ideas. A video game can handle those variables.

    If you would stop thinking like a person, you would see how easy this is!

  111. The economy of the 21st century and its dominant type of work is already shaping up. Already we are adjusting ourselves to the new reality. More and more the work that we do is highly personal, based on connecting with people and establishing relationships, unique, aimed at generating (immersive) experiences; work that is a combination of unique skills, knowledge, wisdom, sensitivity and drive that will generate an economy of experiences.

    Work is changing, not going away.

    http://www.themetisfiles.com/2011/09/the-future-of-work-rise-of-the-machines/

  112. Aleksi

    I think the problem here is that just 60 years ago we had 1/4 of the works titles we have now. It’s almost impossible to predict what works will be created in next 60 years.

    West is at the bridge of being in the 3rd, usually referred as the final step where the mobile phones, computers are not anymore manufactured here, but they have their whole own ecosystem that itself creates multiple industries around them.

    Nokia is prefect example of a company that is now the last pure Western big technology company that moved it’s manufacturing totally to Asia. Though in Finland where Nokia is based the services already created 95% of the work and money flow.

    Transition will hurt, though predicting future at the moment is extremely hard.

  113. mike mayer

    Well, speaking of the currency issue.I remeber in reading Buckminster Fuller`s book Spaceship Earth( i think that is the name) He predicted that energy would eventually become the unit of currency and that we would have a worldwide grid of electricity, i dont remember if we would trade kilowatts or how it would work..i will have to read it again..

  114. oscar

    Great article. Do you agree with Martin Ford when he says that automation will lead to massive unemployment in the next few decades? Or do you think that there is no reason for the luddite fallacy to be proven wrong this time? In case of massive unemployment, will we need a basic income guarantee?

  115. oscar

    Tom, I would just to to continue my last questions posted a few minutes ago. Do you think that new technologies (artificial intelligence (wibm watson), diy, automation (foxconn), open source, 3d printing, new energies,…) could lead in the next decades to a society without work? Do you think that the experience of basic income tried I think in Namibia and Alaska and some emirates could be generalized due to these gains in productivity?

  116. Tyler

    The Venus Project advocates an alternative vision for a sustainable new world civilization unlike any socio-economic system that has gone before. It calls for a straightforward redesign of a culture, in which the age-old inadequacies of war, poverty, hunger, debt, and unnecessary human suffering are viewed not only as avoidable, but totally unacceptable. Although this description is highly condensed, it is based upon years of study and experimental research by many, many people from many scientific disciplines.

    Experience tells us that human behavior can be modified, either toward constructive or destructive activity. This is what The Venus Project is all about – directing our technology and resources toward the positive, for the maximum benefit of people and planet, and seeking out new ways of thinking and living that emphasize and celebrate the vast potential of the human spirit. We have the tools at hand to design and build a future that is worthy of the human potential. The Venus Project presents a bold, new direction for humanity that entails nothing less than the total redesign of our culture. What follows is not an attempt to predict what will be done, only what could be done. The responsibility for our future is in our hands, and depends on the decisions that we make today. The greatest resource that is available today is our own ingenuity.

    One of the basic premises of The Venus Project is that we work towards having all of the Earth’s resources as the common heritage of all the world’s people. Anything less will simply result in a continuation of the same catalog of problems inherent in the present system.

    Throughout history, change has been slow. Successive groups of incompetent leaders have replaced those that preceded them, but the underlying social and economic problems remain because the basic value systems have gone unaltered. The problems we are faced with today cannot be solved politically or financially because they are highly technical in nature. There may not even be enough money available to pay for the required changes, but there are more than enough resources. This is why The Venus Project advocates the transition from a monetary-based society to the eventual realization of a resource-based global economy.

    We realize to make the transition from our present culture, which is politically incompetent, scarcity-oriented and obsolete, to this new, more humane society will require a quantum leap in both thought and action.

    The money-based system evolved centuries ago. All of the world’s economic systems – socialism, communism, fascism, and even the vaunted free enterprise system – perpetuate social stratification, elitism, nationalism, and racism, primarily based on economic disparity. As long as a social system uses money or barter, people and nations will seek to maintain the economic competitive edge or, if they cannot do so by means of commerce they will by military intervention. We still utilize these same outmoded methods.

    Our present, outmoded political and economic systems are unable to apply the real benefits of today’s innovative technology to achieve the greatest good for all people, and to overcome the inequities imposed upon so many. Our technology is racing forward yet our social designs have remained relatively static. In other words cultural change has not kept pace with technological change. We now have the means to produce goods and services in abundance for everyone.

    Unfortunately, today science and technology have been diverted from achieving the greatest good for reasons of self-interest and monetary gain through planned obsolescence sometimes referred to as the conscious withdrawal of efficiency. For example, the U. S. Department of Agriculture, whose function is presumed to be conducting research into ways of achieving higher crop yields per acre, actually pays farmers not to produce at full-capacity. The monetary system tends to hold back the application of these methods that we know would best serve the interests of people and the environment.

    In a monetary system purchasing power is not related to our capacity to produce goods and services. For example, during a depression, there are computers and DVD’s on store shelves and automobiles in car lots, but most people do not have the purchasing power to buy them. The earth is still the same place; it is just the rules of the game that are obsolete and create strife, deprivation and unnecessary human suffering.

    When education and resources are made available to all people without a price tag, there would be no limit to the human potential. Although this is difficult to imagine, even the wealthiest person today would be far better off in a resource based society as proposed by The Venus Project. Today the middle classes live better than kings of times past. In a resource based economy everyone would live better than the wealthiest of today.

    The Choice Is Ours To Make

    Human behavior is subject to the same laws as any other natural phenomenon. Our customs, behaviors, and values are byproducts of our culture. No one is born with greed, prejudice, bigotry, patriotism and hatred; these are all learned behavior patterns. If the environment is unaltered, similar behavior will reoccur.

    Today, much of the technology needed to bring about a global Resource Based Economy exists. If we choose to conform to the limitations of our present monetary-based economy, then it is likely that we will continue to live with its inevitable results: war, poverty, hunger, deprivation, crime, ignorance, stress, fear, and inequity. On the other hand, if we embrace the concept of a global resource-based economy , learn more about it, and share our understanding with our friends, this will help humanity evolve out of its present state.

  117. admin

    Oscar,

    It is indeed possible that we could move into an era of massive unemployment. Whenever we go through a “down” economy, corporations are forced to reduce costs, and adopt job-reducing technologies.

    Without good systems for developing a rapid job creation engine like I proposed here – http://www.futuristspeaker.com/2011/06/building-a-rapid-job-creation-engine/ – we could be faced with unreasonably high unemployment rates. However, if the unemployment rates go too high, countries will end up with a series of civil wars, and once that happens, all of the normal trend lines go away.

    Thomas Frey

  118. Spikosauropod

    To Thomas

    Why do you think high unemployment could lead to civil war? I know of no precedent for this.

  119. admin

    Scott,

    A realistic scenario might be a 30-40% unemployment rate, a government hovering near bankruptcy, widening gulf between the “haves” and the “have nots,” the steady elimination of the middle class, and a vote of congress that instantly changes the retirement age to 75. There is always something to trigger the uprising. Desperate people make desperate decisions, and it could be entirely possible that a civil war develops – rich vs poor, government vs the people, or radical factions against all business.

    Mexico is currently going through a non-traditional civil war with the drug lords fighting authority.

    Wars in the future will be vastly different, and they will be fought for entirely different reasons.

    Thomas Frey

  120. Spikosauropod

    That is an interesting topic in itself. Could unemployment actually get to 40%?

    If this happened, it would be as if the 40% were a separate nation. They would have, in effect, their own separate economy—a sub economy. It seems like that many people with nothing to do would start trading among themselves. They would start trading whatever is available to them with anyone else who was in a similar predicament. There is actually a precedent for this. It is called the third world (a term that is going out of favor).

    However, it seems infeasible that a separate economy could form in the same space. There would necessarily be a blending of economies. This would mean the separate economy could not actually form and that the 40% unemployment would not actually be possible. This does not preclude “underemployment”.

    I suspect that there is something like a limsup (limit superior) to unemployment. Based on figures from the Great Depression, I would place the limsup at 17%. Unemployment got to 25% during the Great Depression, but it lasted only for a short period. Then it seemed to converge to 17%.

    You don’t have to debate this with me. I just thought I would point out this observation.

  121. Rob Murphy

    Predicting the demise of the national power grid within 20 years is pie in the sky!

    We’ve only just started on the road to distributed generation and the length of time to develop the technologies your suggesting, and the social change that will be required, means that we are a very long way off from what you’re predicting. I would say 50-70 years before it even starts to look a credible option.

    The current discussions around how we will meet our energy needs over the coming couple of decades are actually going back towards large-scale generation facilities because renewables is slow in taking up the short-fall in power caused by the close down of the 1960s generating plants.

    Local distribute networks that are self-sufficient in terms of meeting their own energy needs may become commonplace in “industrial estate”-type environments, but it’s unlikely that such a system could support city-regions in the same way within the next couple of decades.

  122. H. McArthur

    You comments about teaching and learning are so far off base it is unbelievable. Suddenly, we just stop going to school? Suddenly classroom learning is out of date? Right and no one reads books. The Kindle has books on it… the kindle needs batteries. Students will no longer need to go the pub and talk about the lecture and find out what their friends are reading. Professors will no longer be needed to question our assertions and guide and through our reading lists… because students won’t have questions that require sitting with your teacher and discussing it at length. Computers can do everything and no one needs anybody! No no one will ever need to have a conversation again – there will never be need for debate in class every again because no one learns from that – teachers are useless why not just have a graduate student… because they have not yet mastered the subject yet! That is why they call it a Masters Degree. In short get your head out of your ass and go sit in a classroom run by a good teacher and then you will understand why teachers are going to be with us for a thousand more years. Maybe you might get lucky and learn what Aristotle was on about.

  123. Prometheus

    Exordium and Terminius

    In the year 2525
    If man is still alive
    If woman can survive
    They may find
    In the year 3535
    Ain’t gonna need to tell the truth, tell no lies
    Everything you think, do, and say
    Is in the pill you took today

    In the year 4545
    Ain’t gonna need your teeth, won’t need your eyes
    You won’t find a thing to chew
    Nobody’s gonna look at you

    In the year 5555
    Your arms are hanging limp at your sides
    Your legs got nothing to do
    Some machine is doing that for you

    In the year 6565
    Ain’t gonna need no husband, won’t need no wife
    You’ll pick your son, pick your daughter too
    From the bottom of a long glass tube’ Whoooa

    In the year 7510
    If God’s a-comin’ he ought to make it by then
    Maybe he’ll look around himself and say
    Guess it’s time for the Judgement day

    In the year 8510
    God is gonna shake his mighty head then
    He’ll either say I’m pleased where man has been
    Or tear it down and start again

    In the year 9595
    I’m kinda wondering if man is gonna be alive
    He’s taken everything this old earth can give
    And he ain’t put back nothing

    Now it’s been 10,000 years
    Man has cried a billion tears
    For what he never knew
    Now man’s reign is through
    But through eternal night
    The twinkling of starlight
    So very far away
    Maybe it’s only yesterday

    In the year 2525
    If man is still alive
    If woman can survive
    They may thrive
    In the year 3535
    Ain’t gonna need to tell the truth, tell no lies
    Everything you think, do or say
    Is in the pill you took today ….(fading…)

  124. Kathy B

    Great post, presentation and discussion. In my work with water efficiency, we talk about a hybrid system of allocation where market forces can operate above a baseline provision of needs. Deciding what is included in the baseline (lush green front lawns? swimming pools?) is a matter of great contention for individuals. What we choose to put into the market defines the rules of the game and those rules are defined politically.

    I can imagine a home water cleansing device that leads to a future where 99% of home water needs are recycled and we can get the remaining 1% from rainfall. That combined with home-generated electricity takes two big issues off the table. Now do we have a 3D printer that makes food and a home recycling system that can turn waste into materials that feed the 3D printer?

    It feels a bit like Little House on the Prairie. Like an individual’s world would get very small geographically while becoming infinite electronically. Already I know many work-from-homers that are becoming this way, though they don’t realize it. Many of them rarely leave their homes. And if social capital and e-gaming are the rising currencies, and human motivation has become a “gamification” issue, does that portend a world where resources actually become less scarce and success is measured outside of material goods?

  125. Spikosauropod

    To Prometheus:

    The Futurama version is better:

    In the year 105-105,
    If man is still alive,
    If robots can survive,
    They may find…

    In the year 25-25-25,
    The backwards time machine still won’t have arrived,
    In all the world, there’s only one technology,
    A rusty sword for practicing proctology!

    In the future year that ends with a twenty,
    A schlubby merman’s gonna try to get chummy,
    He may look like a watery wimp,
    When in fact, he’s a bloodthirsty shrimp!

    In the year 1,000,000 and a half,
    Human kind is enslaved by giraffe,
    Man must pay for all his misdeeds,
    ‘Till the treetops are stripped of their leaves,
    Whoa-oh!

  126. Wolf

    Poor – predicting that 50% of all jobPOSITIONS will be gone within 18 years (e.g. on average 1 million jobs less per year for the next 20 years! – let’s track this!)
    End of 19th century a lot of people in Europe working in mines and mills – true – they aren’t there anymore, but they are employed anyhow.
    Energy – 200 x 200 km of solar panels in the desert will produce twice the amount of power we need today – worldwide. Cut this down into 40,000 1 x 1 installations around the globe connected by a Global Grid (C) – we would have what we need – but certain interested parties wouldn’t be anymore where they are today – so – won’t happen (and those secret two companies will work the same ways the others do today – different technology but work anyhow).
    Education – is not about reading books or watching videos – it’s about experience.

    Sorry – my 10 year old would sound more realistic…

    Wolf

  127. Wolf

    Sorry – 100 Million jobs cut per year!!!!

  128. M. Jawed Khan Shervani

    Agreed, the laughable idealism of one generation evolves into the acceptable commonplace of the next.
    Agreed, education has been defined as the technique of transmitting civilization.
    I also agree, that the theory of Relativity or mystery of weightless particles is explicable; while the seedling’s performance( evolution clip) still remains inexplicable and miraculous. Yet the claps of the thoughtless mortal are reserved for the former!
    Scientists continue to be baffled by the fact that every mystery of Physics & physical world points to a mystery beyond itself. Why tangential negation occurs, when Energy is applied on Matter?
    The answer lies somewhere in :
    I heard them in their sadness say,
    The earth rebukes the hate songs of the day,
    We R but embers, wrapped in clay,
    A little nobler than the sod.
    But I have touched these lips of clay,
    Mother, thy rudest sod to me,
    Is thrilled by with the fire of hidden day
    And haunted by all mystery!
    —————————-
    What we choose to put into the future market will define the rules of the game and those rules will be defined by present Cartels. Who will allow above progress ? ….
    MJK Shervani

  129. Eric

    Robot therapists? I thought the robots were supposed to learn about us and help us with /our/ problems. It would be most distressing if the bots began to develop issues before we’ve had our own fix. 😉

  130. Damien

    Hi Ted

    I am really looking forward to all the changes coming our way but, it is also scary to think that one day we will be ruled by our creations. I am open minded to everything but, robots and AI, we need to be very careful with how we program them to begin with otherwise it will be the end of our race unnaturally.

    Damien

  131. admin

    Here is a quick look at robots Amazon will be using to eliminate jobs:
    http://www.businessinsider.com/here-are-the-amazing-kiva-robots-that-amazon-just-bought-for-775-million-2012-3

    Thomas Frey

  132. Damien

    Hi Thomas
    Firstly I apologize for calling you Ted, and robots like that and that which are developed to aid with people’s disabilities are all good things, but when they get to the point where they are able to think for themselves (AI) and then build themselves like “replicators in sci-fi”, then ruling us in government, to me that is the scary thing. Losing many jobs in one area creates many more within the same area or branching off into new areas as you say, is a very good thing. I myself am currently a mature student studying multimedia programming and design which all going well I will finish in 2015 and hopefully I will have a job to go to at least for a few years. I like to think that the future will be a very bright place for my Son and his children’s generation and generations after. sometimes i’d like a crystal ball to see the future as I love thinking about what possibilities are there, sci-fi is becoming sci-fact all the time. After reading this one post of yours, I will surely be reading many more, until I read it I never knew the futurist movement still existed. the world does not need a utopia just yet, but with all the technology out there the whole world should/could be living much better lives and with people like yourself spreading the word, we should have a shift in our global consciousness soon enough and things change on the whole. Neil Armstrong said “that’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” and with every small change technology brings it is a giant leap for the the future, as long as we do not obliterate ourselves in the meantime with war!

    Damien

  133. Pete Robbins

    The solution might be found in what is now a burden for the consumer, (Planned Obsolescence). Consumers are currently purchasing cellular phones and computers that will fail, or are obsloete within 1 yr. Where is the line for consumers; 3 months?

    Even if it’s costing corporations an extra $10/unit to incorporate a part that they know will fail, they’re willing to do it because they know the consumer will be making the same purchase in another year.

  134. What is the purpose of LIFE, at least here on Earth?

    WORK, Work and only work (in a broad and general sense), if not we will go NUTS !

    By the way, I hope you’ll love your JOB but think inventing a new one you will also love; just in case ……….

  135. The Patriot

    “damn the driverless car.”

    So there are cold – hearted people who want thousands of Americans to die in car accidents every year!

    You know, I have a solution to both supporters AND opponents of futuristic technologies: Allow the INDIVIDUAL to decide if he/she wants to buy a robot for the home!!! It’s my right as an American citizen!

  136. Given that “software is eating the world,” what should non-technical people do? Organize to start a violent revolution? Re-train themselves?…

    I think the real and broader question is whether an unregulated free market having disruptive rates of technological advancement will so overwhelm labor’s ability to retrain or add value, that the entire framework succumbs to its own success.

    The que…

  137. Keith

    I am glad I can retire and I will let the robots do my work for me.Of course we better get to a renewal power source,which was skipped over here and a big great die off so all those semi- skill workers won’t be complaining that the new jobs are too hard to understand. There’s a lot social up upheaval not explained here too! Utopia is always been a dream so dream on baby!~

  138. Cryonica

    I think that all the Jobs Created will also be done by robots. Humans will become increasingly useless, therefore increasingly in need of robots keeping them (in all respects: food, medical treatments, law, education, transport, retail ware etc) and therefore free to spend their time as they please for the first time since we left idle Eden.

  139. Pilot 124

    I’m 15 and I want to be a pilot and this article has made me feel generally worried and concerned as to pursuing my aim of becoming a commercial airline pilot as the planets resources may not last long enough for me to experience my working life as a pilot. It has made me think that yes in the future we will have the iPhone 20 but it doesn’t seem worth it for all the destruction of our planet. And no matter how hard we try we will never stop global warming as we contribute a minuet amount of
    CO2 to the environment.

    This article REALLY good and it has opened my eyes and scared me about my possible future in many ways.

  140. […] Frey has gone as far to predict that two billion jobs (nearly 50% of all current jobs) will be technologically outmoded by 2030. If this prediction holds true, any child born today will graduate from high school into a […]

  141. They forgot about the part where the world contracts out my beloved United States of America for the international continental automated robotic interstate solar-powered water purification tunnel development service industry. I bet that’d be a wonderful new service. We’re quite the aficionados of construction and engineering… Robots! , bring me my water! *yelled in a raspy over dramatic challengingly nonchalant tone*

  142. Look up the Venus Project and the Zeitgeist Movement for more info about the solutions that are being proposed.

    http://www.TheVenusProject.com

    http://www.TheZeitgeistMovement.com

  143. john

    Of course – power? Hydrogen on demand. we have the capability now, but the Banking system doesn’t want it. It has to happen – so they are trying to hang on by their fingernails by implementing H filling stations, that’s a joke.
    Anyway a slow transition will be fine, but a transition none the less must happen.

  144. Silvia Ortega

    Hey!! What if the lights go off?

  145. well i think more jobs could be available in nuclear engineering…… thats with power generation so that electronics would be the most affortable course
    and the use of robotics increases

  146. American Transcendentalist

    Frankly, this article leaves me quite scared for our prospects of any future. The further we advance technologically speaking, the more we make ourselves obsolete. Global economy is a problem. A consumer culture that is driven to create products that fills our time because we have less meaningful work to do is a problem. In my mind, sure we can increasingly ever move forward technologically but the economic system is looking for the cheapest way possible to sustain the ability of people to consume and to assume that these innovations would be used to create an Eden in which our every need is met is the part of this that reads like a pipe dream. Ten years ago, I did not need a cellphone. 5 years ago, I did not need a cellphone with wifi. Do I need them now? Not really. People were saying the same thing one hundred years ago…machinery is replacing the man. And it did, it continues to. And we trade toil for convenience and entertainment because we want to be comfortable. If we are so worried about “sustainability” why not stop. We build new innovations and talk about taking ourselves to the limits of our capabilities but we don’t even know our own capabilities. I ran two marathons this year. I grew 15 pumpkins, a couple dozen tomato and cucumbers, green onions, lettuce and over 200 peppers in my backyard this year. I tore the clothing my girls had outgrown into strips and we braided and hand sewed rag rugs from them. I do these things because I am scared at my separation from labor and my drive to consume. I do not feel the closeness of death and I do not believe that I will be spent when I pass. I am worried that if a lean time comes that I won’t know how to live. That I see screen time and cable and movies as a necessity and that my great love of books is waning. I simultaneously believe in the idea that Keynes economics works but that it isn’t good for my personal state. As a historian, I am already obsolete. And now we believe that we can access any amount of information at our fingertips. We don’t need experts. We don’t need people that have knowledge. But what happens if the lights go out. Who is going to edit the content of the Internet to sift out the wheat from the chaff. Like all literature it will disappear if left unstudied. Learning camps. Wow. Driverless cars. Wow. Better how? Because its progress? Just because we can do someone doesn’t mean we should. When will we learn that lesson? We are meant to toil. We are meant to live dirty. Progress is nothing but consumer culture masked as improvement. New and Improved. Exactly the same.

  147. While I agree that the jobs we require more and less of are in constant transformation, we should not get carried away about how drastic the changes above are. Here is my take on education http://correll.cs.colorado.edu/?p=2631. Bottom-line is that online classes are great, but nothing beats hybrid forms of instruction, which will allow major universities to keep their business model.

  148. Dewan

    Well, it’s been a year, now. I want to buy one of the new energy producers that you discuss. Oh, you still can’t tell us how it works, but it’ not magic? I’ll check back in 2014.

  149. admin

    Dewan,

    Actually the company is in the process of licensing its technology. If you’re interested, send me an email and I’ll introduce you to the team. dr2tom (at) davinciinstitute (dot) com

    Tom

  150. kessas

    I think there will be so much jobs created in space industry, that every talented men and women will find a job. Less educated will have plenty of opportunities to handle less sophisticated machines. But what I saw already in bio industry, and I have direct experience with that, is that people will be able to download directly into their brains almost anything or more “Intelligence”.

  151. The Internet opens up a lot of opportunities for new kind of jobs. I agree with you that many of the jobs that you have listed are likely disappear and instead virtual jobs will be created. Take retail nowadays. Big brands sell more stuff online than in their shops. Shops are still kept alive just to let remind people of the existence of these brands but the bulk of sales comes from the online shops.

  152. pigbitinmad

    Sure, it would be great to have Robots do everything and everyone reap the benefits. But do you really think that can ever happen. This is not taking into account the essential ugliness of human nature. Only the top 1% who feel that they own the technology will benefit and F the rest of us. The 7 out of 8 will just have to reduce the surplus population and go die.

  153. A. Novotny

    I always enjoy reading about prediction what might happen in the next 20,30 years in the future and yet those so-called experts can’t even tell us with accuracy what the weather will be in the next 24 hours

  154. MiKayla Clark

    NO!

    Just…NO!

    I mean, it’s nice and all but…you can’t just get rid of certain jobs just like that and replace them with THINGS. What’s the point? Seriously, I hate this. I don’t want my future kids living in a world like that. I want REAL teachers for them, REAL drivers, everything.

  155. FuturistSpeaker

    MiKayla,

    Thanks for your comments. I’m quite sure you’ll always have the option to work with “real” teachers and “real” drivers, but over time they’ll get increasingly expensive and will be considered the inferior option. A hundred years ago people were saying they still wanted to travel using a “real” horse rather than a mechanical one. Your thinking will very likely change over time.

    Tom

  156. We are at the end of the usefulness of money. Google the resource based economy.

    http://www.TheZeitgeistMovement.com

    http://www.TheVenusProject.com

    There is much more we can do. Like explore space and learn so much more. No need to sit back to be lazy.

  157. jared

    What’s the power generation technology company up to? Having been in the process of licensing their tech almost a year ago, I don’t see any of it being deployed in my neck of the woods. Any updates?

  158. FuturistSpeaker

    Jared,

    As with most startups, they ran into some unforeseen circumstances. I’ll let you know as I hear more.

    Thomas Frey

  159. Rohit T

    Basically, technology will make lots of jobs obsolete. I guess engineers and scientists helping to develop that technology will be the most in demand.

  160. It is clear to see what people may want, but not what people can produce in exchange for it.

    As routine jobs will get automated, there will be very few remaining positions left. There is no limits to what machines can be made to do. But there are limits to what majority of people can learn to do.

    If production of all necessities was automated, then the cost of products would be close to zero. But that will never happen if consumers don’t own the production. So if the price of necessities remains the same, what exactly will consumer produce in exchange for it?

    This will lead to trade imbalance and destruction of free market.

  161. D. Ewan

    I’d really like to know how the micro-grid power source is supposed to work. It’s been well over 2 years. Does your non-disclosure agreement go on forever?

  162. As related to space exploration, the high frontier of space will only be a realm of
    freedom if American power is used to secure it.

    Brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents and grandchildren may all find themselves employed in a family business.
    “Rougher,” Logan said the word as though he were trying it on for size.

  163. David

    I agree with almost everything you explain here, except with the education part. Teachers won’t disappear, at least not in every country. For example, in Spain teachers won’t disappier. I’m pretty sure about that the same way I’m sure that better teachers will be needed in that country. Why? Well, going to school in Spain is completely free (0-18 years).

    Your theories are very interesting, but you are too focused on countries like USA or UK.

  164. FuturistSpeaker

    David,

    Thanks for your comments. No, teachers will not completely disappear and no, there is no one-size-fit-all formula for learning. But if you consider the need for on-demand specialized training and the average person shifting careers six times by 2030, the percentage of teacher-led classes will dramatically decrease.

    One of the big drivers for new options is the fact that we have a global teacher shortage of over 18 million teachers and a full 23% of all young kids growing up do not attend any school whatsoever. We still have a lot of work ahead.

    Futurist Thomas Frey

  165. Şentekin Can

    Probably Mostar predictions will happen someday, however 2030 is just at the corner, may be by 2130 instead?
    We have had cars for almost 150 years now, and GM is almost bankrupt due to manufacturing defect recalls. Even reliable Toyota had to recall Prius. Can you imagine what would happen if they were to built defective driverless cars? Personal computers are widely used since 1970’s and still you can’t run one without rebooting once a while.
    Overall I rate these predictions equal to Gulliver’s travels.

  166. Todd

    I have to say that although the predictions you make sound exciting the reality is that as those low paying low income jobs go away the people that are left without employment of which make up a large percentage of the population will rebel and rise up against those who take away their ability to provide for themselves and there progeny.and the idea that they will be willing (or able at that time)to train to do something new will not appeal which will create a huge criminal element. i fear for the future of our species when all blue collar work is gone

  167. Curently

    Personal computers are widely used since 1970′s and still you can’t run one without rebooting once a while. google

  168. stephen w

    With all this occurring, why do we still talk about jobs as a whole for the economy? Jobs are just that: Tasks that need to be done. If it is replaced with robots, then that is making the the economy itself better. The quality of life is increased. But the problem with our capitalistic society is that money controls the quality of life and the “economy”, and not the jobs that people are so concerned about.

    With all of this coming to the plate, we need to start looking outside the form of currency, and start looking more towards what really matters: the management of limited resources. If we don’t, we really won’t last much longer in this world, and snuff ourselves out.

  169. Patrick

    I agree, many jobs will be gone. Who wanted to be a buggy whip manufacturer in 1880? However, I take articles like this with a huge grain. I can recall predictions in the early 60s of flying cars and such being the norm by now.

    What always gets failed to be considered by futurists is the two horns of economics and unintended consequences. because something is possible does not make it economically viable, nor does it mean it won’t create a bigger problem that it is trying to solve. In addition, there are many, many jobs automation will never be able to do. Robots will not build houses. If they even could, the number of specialized machines one would need to do the various jobs involved in just a single family home alone would exceed the cost of the entire development several times over. What about road building? Machines may be able to do that, but not without someone to program, run and repair them, in which case they may as well stick to men on bulldozers and graders.

    We will still need people to be police officers, firemen, EMTs lawyers, mechanics, residential and commercial painters, landscapers, carpenters, roofers, heating and air installers, and millions of other jobs.

  170. Sunil

    You had me going until the printing of lumber and concrete! Why not print gold and beer, then we won’t need jobs!

  171. Ethan

    Interesting read, and I agree on the given points. However, these are all the more obvious jobs which are at great risk of replacement. There are many which aren’t quite so easy to see. If you’re interested, look into “The Future of Employment” by Frey and Osborne of Oxford University. Machine learning is the real scary thing for job replacement. Goodbye accountants, data analysts, lawyers, doctors, etc..

  172. rj

    Well then it seems everybody will be quite free, so they(we) should be sent to mars.

  173. Thomas

    I really like your article but from reading your opinion about education, I went to college before 2001. Today student can google every question and there are companies dedicated to helping you cheat such as chegg. The classes that I had taken online were ones that I learned nothing from. If I had taken all my classes online, I would have learned nothing. My prediction for the future is that many companies will find MIT online degrees to be worthless except for math orientated degrees. I can already see a future for online MIT business major employee saying “I’m a little shaky with this concept called DEEEmand.”

  174. Konan Igan

    So how do we know THEY like this idea? IF we dont get ris of secret societies who steer and control the entire world… NONE of this will ever happen.

    So what happens to the 2 Biilion People who arent workign? Whats left off ehre 9 and it is good stuff) is that people are going to have to change a lot to meet this new future.

    We arent going to be able to have 4 billion low IQ people running around doing nothing…becaus ethey wont be doing nothing.

    The above scenarios sound good but the billions of low IQ people (no insult intended)will behave in what way?

    ANd then theres those pesky sociopaths who have to have way more than anyone else…what do we do with the sociopath Hitler leader styled types who will want to rule over everyone and control everything…the Luciferian Illuminati…casll them what you want to.

    We have to get rid of these NWO types or few will make it it past WW3…which is going to happen if the CIA and secret socieitesa are not destroyed.

  175. Konan Igan

    Konan Igan Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    March 21st, 2015 at 11:08 am
    So how do we know THEY like this idea? IF we dont get rid of secret societies who steer and control the entire world… NONE of this will ever happen.

    So what happens to the billions of people who arent working? Whats left off (and it is good stuff) is that people are going to have to change a lot to meet this new future.

    We arent going to be able to have 4 billion low IQ people running around doing nothing…because they won’t be doing nothing…and they will be killing or whatever if they cant make the transition. Mankind must face itself and deal with the violent traits of men 1st if this is ever going to work.

    The above scenarios sound good but the billions of low IQ people (no insult intended)will behave in what way?

    And then theres those pesky sociopaths who have to have way more than anyone else…power fame fortune maybe all 3…what do we do with those sociopath Hitler leader styled types who will want to rule over everyone and control everything…the Luciferian Illuminati…call them what you want to….we must rid the world of these pointy headed sociopaths who have been steeped in ancient mystic BS….and practice it on the rest of the world like 911.

    For example…what do we do with the BUSH types? et. al.

    We have to get rid of these NWO types or few will make it it past WW3…which is going to happen if the CIA and secret socieitesa are not destroyed.

  176. Konan Igan

    MY main concern is not the next 25 years…but the next 5 years. How do we keep our own Secret Society Jesuit CIA and Roman Catholic Pope heads to not destroy the rest of us so THEY can still rule over the world THEY have run for the last at least 300 years ? Mmmm…?

    HOW…do we do this?

  177. Mike

    The big issue here is equality. We can’t have more than 1/2 the nation without money and the stability that comes with it. That’s the biggest issue that will need to be addressed. Are the rich just going to let the rest of us die since we will no longer be useful?

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