How Will Tech Advancement Shape the Future Economy?
The future may be determined by the market.
From space colonies to robots replacing menial labor, human progress is based on ground-breaking inventions to solve all our problems. As things become easier and more efficient, the world economy evolves rapidly, even if the common man isn’t ready for it.
Realistically speaking, it’s hard to predict what inventions will look like in the distant future, so we can only do our best. The futurists from decades ago would probably be quite disappointed with our lack of flying cars, but quite impressed with how fast computers our.
In this article, I will do the best at forecasting future inventions or improvements that could impact the economy.
While far from perfect, we already have Alexa or Siri to help up us with scheduling and gathering basic information with little human input. As artificial intelligence improves, it wouldn’t be surprising if such assistance starts replacing more advanced jobs.
Imagine having a personal assistant, customer support representative, and accountant in one package. This is slowly becoming reality with software suites, and who knows what it would look like in 10 years or so.
With robotics also improving in quality, this can also be applied to manual labor jobs like cleaning, manufacturing, plumbing, and other semi-skilled work. It’s this issue that Andrew Yang and futurists bring up since that would cut out a lot of jobs.
Solving Old Age
With improved nutrition, less war, and broad access to medicine, the average lifespan is already linearly going up. Having said that, there are still inherent limitations to how long we can live without working down to the genetic level.
For a while now, theories at extending old age surround preserving or reversing damage to telomeres, which is a component down to our DNA. One experiment on mice telomeres proved to be successful by increasing their lifespan by 12%.
Cryogenic freezing is already and old invention idea that takes the guesswork out of where technology will go. The plan is to freeze our body, whether already dead or at the brink of death, in hopes that there is a way to revive the body in the distant future.
Living in Space
With Elon Musk drawing attention back to the space race, people are starting to re-think whether the private enterprise can do a better job at bringing our population into space than NASA. Either way, government institutions have been kicking around the idea of self-sufficient space colonies for decades, even investing billions of dollars at drafting a realistic plan to do so.
While some may think our own moon or Mars, Europa (one of Jupiter’s smallest moons) seem to be another realistic location that harbors life. This moon’s atmosphere comprises of mostly oxygen and possibly a subterranean ocean, so it already has some of the basics down.
There is also demand to explore and prospect asteroids due to the natural resources that they harbor. It won’t be out of pure experimentation, money could be the biggest lure at establishing space colonies before anything else.
The idea of reproducing nuclear fusion, which our own sun uses to produce energy, has been a hot topic for decades. This is the opposite of fission, in which atoms are split in a chain reaction to produce energy.
If we could produce a tiny “artificial sun” on Earth, it could be the key to producing unlimited energy that goes beyond what fossil fuels could provide. This would certainly have implications on the world economy, and the abundance in producivity would be endless.
The biggest breakthrough happened in 2018, at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor. The team was able to heat hydrogen gas up to 100 million degrees Celsius, which is much hotter than the sun.
Still, just being able to create this contained artificial sun is not enough to create an energy source. Scientists still need to find a way to maintain it longer than a few seconds at a time, and a way to source materials for long-term use.