In fifty years, “3D printed food” will be the norm, robots caring for and transacting on everyday needs will be common place, the first humans will have settled comfortably on Mars, agribusiness will be totally automated, alternative green energy will power all our needs, auto-propelled and driven transportation systems will abound,and generally all “work as we know it” will no longer exist.
The Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) in a 2015 report stated that 40% of Australia’s current workforce could be replaced by automation within the next 20 years.
In 50 years, this could mean the end of work as we know it.
Money may no longer be needed as trading of services between robots will create an environment of bartering of specialist robotic services between robots rather than monetary transactions for rendering services.
With work being done by robots, and thinking machines taking care of all other needs, will humans have a role to play or will we be a species in decline and without purpose?
What will be the role of humans in a world dominated by robots and thinking machines?
There are many alternate scenarios for the human race but 2 contrasting scenarios could be:
Scenario 1: Robots dominate the world and humans are moved into reservations with no sense of purpose.
Scenario 2: Humans have a higher order purpose and will have an even more meaningful existence negotiating and interacting with robots.
Scenario 1 is a scary proposition and one we need to strategise into order to avoid becoming a reality.
We need to think about how Scenario 2 will be the norm and humans will co-exist with robots and thinking machines but still contribute to and be part of a meaningful world.
Humans will need to capitalise on their intuition, lateral thinking, feelings and emotions and delve deep into their souls and spirituality in order to enable peaceful interaction with smart machines and robots. The latter will be able to think in multiple dimensions as well as converse between themselves and arguably bring about a new world order devoid of the need for human beings.
The robotic world will however need mediators, issue resolution expertise, conflict resolution skills, reflection and a sense of well-being; all qualities that humans have and can bring to a mechanistic world.
Thus while the focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) skills is the current buzz, this will enable the creation of the ultimate thinking machines, and extend the meaningful purpose of humans for a limited time – probably till 2046.
Robots and thinking machines will think beyond humans and excel in the creation of mechanistic solutions for worldly problems – better than humans will in due course as the deeper levels of self programming will unleash higher order thinking machines.
Focus on the non-technical and arts skills as well as the esoteric creative skills, reflective innovation, well-being and happiness, mediating and conflict resolution skills and being in touch with the inner soul and spiritual sense of calm, will be key to humans still be able to contribute to the world in 2066.
Indeed life will be very different in 2066, but let us contemplate how humans will still be an integral part of that world and skill ourselves to be higher order beings with purposeful existence in the brave and challenging new world of the future.
Let the thinking begin.