The Coming Global Post-Scarcity Civilization

Below is an attempt to jot down my thoughts about what might happen over the course of this century. It is a work in progress & feedback is welcome.

I believe that before the end of the 21st Century there will be a global post-scarcity civilization. That is some time before 2100; food, water, shelter, medicine & medical treatment, education, energy and much more will become freely available to every person on the planet, and that no one will have to work to earn a living.

I also think that the free & open sharing of knowledge & information will make this happen sooner than otherwise, and that a positive feedback loop between abundance & open information sharing is starting to become apparent.

At the moment the cost of electronic goods is dropping, but the costs of other necessities such as energy, medicine, education, housing, food & water, etc. are typically rising. House prices are dropping in some places, but this is probably not because it is becoming cheaper to build houses.

There are three factors that will result in the cost of the other necessities dropping too:

  1. Cheap energy.
  2. Technological advances
  3. Increased use of robotics & AI.

Energy

Cheap energy is the key to everything, with sufficient knowledge of how the universe works, and unlimited free energy, all other problems are trivial. The cost of energy is currently rising, but that is only because the cost of fossil fuels are rising, and they are for the moment still the cheapest source of energy. One way or another this will change within 20 years, and the cost of energy will drop lower & lower to the point where it is virtually free.

The only reason that fossil fuels are getting more expensive is because they are a limited resource and all the easily accessible reserves are being exhausted. This is not the case for many other energy sources.

Photovoltaic solar power is the most obvious replacement for fossil fuels. The technology is already available and it is getting cheaper every year. The sun will continue to shine for a few billion more years, so it is not going to run out any time soon. So for as long as the technology can be improved or the construction or placement of solar panels can be made more automated the cost will continue to drop.

There are many other possible solutions to the energy problem. One of them has to pan out for the price of energy to drop markedly.

Robotics

Water

There is more than enough water on Earth. With unlimited free energy purifying or desalinating water is simple. Better technology will make creating fresh water more efficient, but a break though of some sort isn't rally necessary.

Medicine

Education

Housing

Food

What happens next?

What happens next depends on how ignorant of how the universe really works we are now, and the natural limits of AI, Intelligence Amplification, and group intelligence.


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