Given the existence of advanced artificial general intelligence, it is not clear what kind of work humans will do in the Netec 2045 future vision. So, let’s check out what kind of work is done at all in such an advanced society.
- Energy generation: Based on solar power and nuclear fusion. Pretty much fully automated.
- Materials extraction: From the ground through “nanorhizome” devices that grow like plant roots into the ground and extract valuable materials. More destructive approaches are used on asteroids to get a lot of very previous metals. May require some supervision, but is still very much automated
- Production: Mostly based on 3d printing, construction robots, and other additive production methods. Some specialised sophisticated production methods require some ingenuity for optimization. For some inspiration see “Nanotechnology in the Fractal Cosmos universe”. Food is mostly produced with a combination of highly advanced genetic engineering and 3d printing. Designs for products still require higher intelligence, though advanced software tools can generate most designs based on the specification of functions and constraints.
- Transportation: Based on electrically powered autonomous drones. AI-based and decentralized.
- Software: Yeah, here we still require intelligence to come up software designs and stuff. The demands for software in 2045 are many orders of magnitude higher than in 2015, so heavy AI assistance is required to come up with software that is acceptable for general use.
- Education: Someone has to make educational courses, or knowledge packages that people can download. Also, a lot of education is highly gamified, so someone has to make those games.
- Research: While highly automated systematic research happens at huge proportions, there is still something to be gained from “manual” creative thinking and exploration.
- Entertainment: Though lots of other areas are gamified and imbued with creative ingenuity, there is still demand for dedicated “pure entertainment” opportunities. Sports, games, virtual worlds, and even more classical stories, or entertainment shows are quite popular. The creation of those is automated on the lower end of quality, but highly individualized and imbued with love and talent at the higher end.
- Governance: Specializing in governance is quite possible. Problems are typically solved with AGI-assisted collective intelligence.
- General problem solving: Problems still exist in the future, so they need to be solved. For all kinds of problems there are specialized problem solvers. This is basically the catch-all category for anything which doesn’t fit into the others.
- Health: Yeah, we have nanobot swarms which can fix virtually any health problem and ageing, but they still require some updates from time to time. Someone has to make those updates. Also, health now incorporates cyber-security, because all the electronics, photonics, and molecular machinery running in and outside of humans and other organisms can be theoretically hacked and abused, or just may fail to work correctly for some reason. Finally, let’s not forget possible psychological issues that people still may need assistance with. Preferably from people they can relate to, meaning humans.
- Attention management: There is so much stuff going on in the world of 2045 that people could be in a permanent state of information overload. This needs to be addressed with highly intelligent attention management technologies, personal and social filtering, and whatnot. This is of course supported with reputation systems and other more refined valuation systems, which rely a lot on human input.
- Security: The peacenets make the world extremely safe. They are based on very advanced and specialized AGI networks, which are sophisticated enough to inhibit any serious threat from arising the first place. No human intervention needed.
- Philosophy: One of the few areas which are notoriously hard to automate. But even here AI-assistance plays an important role in order to detect logical inconsistencies and support idea generation.
- Design and arts: People always want things to be more aesthetically pleasing or novel. There is huge potential in this area for artistic expression in manifold ways.
- Augmentation: Bodies and minds can be improved with technology. This is what entities working in augmentation do. There is a soft border between health and augmentation. It’s totally valid to view both areas as one and the same.
- Care-taking: Whether it’s infants, troubled humans, animals, plants, or machines that closely resemble the previous, there is a lot of work to be distributed in this area
- Technology: Technology does not improve itself on its own. This requires science, research, and experimentation.
- Systems management: The systems (including ecosystems and economic systems) in Netec 2045 are full of super-smart technology and are mostly self-organizing, but there’s still a lot to be gained from some large scale system optimization.
- Conflict resolution: It is often preferable to make use of independent mediators in case of conflicts before involving official governance conflict resolution procedures.
So, there are plenty of fields in which humans and other anthropoid intelligences can engage in. The high degree of automation merely means that higher quality work can be done more easily. Also, in large areas no human intervention is needed. It is quite reasonable to expect people to flock to creative and social work, because most other tasks can be done much better by AGIs. Of course, AGIs can do creative and social work, too, but humans don’t want AGIs to do all work – especially not the most enjoyable work.
It also should be noted that this exploration of the future is done with terms that make sense in the language of 2015. In 2045 it is expected that there is a huge convergence between different areas and things like arts, research, science, education, and entertainment will have merged in various different ways. The higher degree of complexity of the world requires people to learn more and faster, which means that more learning and education will be a pretty ubiquitous part of life – probably at least equivalent to a full-time job.
Keeping up with the level of knowledge, sophistication, and wisdom of your fellow beings will be a huge task in itself, but it will totally be worth it. Personal growth and the desire to surpass previous limits is a strong cultural norm that permeates all areas of life. That in its own can keep people busy for eternity! Now add social interactions between all kinds of humans, artificial intelligences, and animals to the mix and you get a world that is so rich of possibilities and things to do that there will always be more than enough “work” to do for everyone.
Of course, people don’t have to work, because there are the basic incomes and the basics of material existence are pretty cheap. But then, people want to be integrated into society and do meaningful things, so they will do them anyway – even if they are not rewarded with money, attention, or reputation! Also, boredom needs to be kept at bay somehow, but that is quite trivial with the myriads of ways to entertain yourself in 2045.
How will work be distributed between AGIs and humans? It would seem reasonable that AGIs are newly created when there is a lack of qualified human workers. Otherwise, having humans do the job may seem preferable, so as not to unnecessarily increase the AGI population needlessly. Having extremely many AGIs around might not be seen as preferable.
In Netec 2045 it is possible for augmented humans and AGIs to merge completely, but this technology is still in its very early stages, so there’s still a meaningful distinction between “original humans” and “original AGIs”. This distinction will however gradually disappear in the second half of the 21st century.
What kind of work would you like to do in the world of Netec 2045?