Tech Debates in 2072 (Part 1)
what debates will we have in 50 years?
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Last week, I saw a tweet from writer Avantika Mehra predicting what political debates we’ll be having in 50 years. I’ve been a fan of her newsletter ms. perceived for a while, so I shot her a message and we decided to partner up on this essay.
In 50 years, society will look radically different from today. Hence, debates around society and technology will change. Today’s “current thing” will be far different from 2072’s “current thing”.
We're both focused on technology, so don’t worry, we’ll be staying far away from touchy bi-partisan political topics. Instead in this Part 1, we’ll predict 2072's debates surrounding augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and crypto.
Cyber Patterns is all about giving you strategies to accomplish your internet dreams. By predicting debates around these topics, my hope is we can help uncover patterns and strategies for you to use for years to come.
We like to talk about the rise of VR, and how this could lead to virtual, interoperable worlds – but my guess is that the future of virtual reality will look less like humans wearing Oculus headsets, and more like an augmented reality with responsive, dynamic, high-fidelity holograms (think Snap Spectacles, but without the spectacles). Virtual assets, projected into the real-world, will quietly enable the infrastructure of tomorrow’s systems.
Marc Andreesen wrote on software eating the world. Software has eaten the world, and it’s spitting it back out. Over the next 50 years, street signs and directions, once absorbed into a GPS, will be externalised back into the real world, projected as AR beams updating in real-time based on where you want to go. You can access an immersive at-home shopping experience through VR – or you can walk through physical stores in a mall, scrolling through dynamic representations of SKUs or toggling sizes, colors, and prints as you walk through the different aisles.
The physical world, once condensed behind a screen, will reclaim its status as the default mode of existence, this time powered by virtual infrastructure, and intertwined with digital interfaces. The tradeoff of this degree of technological integration into daily life is – you guessed it – privacy and security. Unless we invest in and scale technology that empowers individuals to control and own their digital assets, we will be living in a modern-day panopticon.
At this stage, questions we would ask would center around:
- Security: Should governments be responsible for investing in robust cybersecurity infrastructure?
- Mental health: Should governments regulate the rate of consumer-facing ‘digital interface’ proliferation and adoption in society, to slowly calibrate the amount of sensory-bombardment we experience living in ‘phygital’ societies?
- Advertising: To what extent should advertising in phygital places be regulated? Should a brain-computer interfacing technology that enables frictionless AR be allowed to favorably promote impulses for some products over others? Should AR tech be able to inject and superimpose ads into your perception of reality, and should you be able to switch this off at will?
- Resource allocation: How should governments allocate investment into physical versus virtual assets?
- Commerce: Will nations be compelled to invest in virtual infrastructure to maintain a competitive advantage in global trade?
Lately, there has been a lot of talk about DALL-E 2 replacing designers at their jobs. In its current form DALL-E 2 creates at a human level, but really only for artwork. Design is much more than pretty art. 99% of web designers, UX designers, etc. will keep their jobs because these jobs require more than simply making pretty square images.
But, what happens in 50 years when DALL-E 15 is out? Where you can design an entire website or app with just words. Jordan Singer is already working on AI-enhanced web design with Diagram. Future versions of DALL-E or Diagram may take away some jobs.
Let’s apply this model of thinking to other creative fields: writing, video editing, etc. This is just the creative stuff AI may take away. We’re not even talking about the data-related jobs, factory workers, etc. that could lose their jobs due to AI.
Most likely, AI will take away the jobs of the least talented — and it will (and already does) assist the most talented to become 10x better than before. Hence, I’m very for the advancement of AI. But, let’s say AI does take away some jobs. You can start to see how a government or a country’s population may have a problem with AI's effects.
It’s an easy target: the big bad Artificial Intelligence we’ve been trained to hate by dystopian movies for generations. We already have mobs attacking algorithms, so I think there will be much more of that to come.
Questions I think will arise:
- Equality: Do we need income subsidization for those affected by AI-related job loss?
- Power: Does OpenAI founder Sam Altman have too much fucking power?
- Purpose: If people derive purpose and meaning from work, how can humans continue to be creative after we have automated most of it away?
- Fairness: Should artists be compensated if tools like DALL-E use their work as a part of the training data? Same with writers and GitHub copilot.
Last week, the IRS added 87,000 new jobs and Tornado Cash was sanctioned by the US government. The government is coming for crypto.
This was the first time in government-crypto relations that a protocol — rather than a wallet — was sanctioned. Yes, Tornado Cash was used to launder money, but same with Venmo, Facebook, and PayPal. Somewhat unbelievably, a Tornado Cash developer was actually arrested in Amsterdam.
Like Balaji, I believe that we’re in the beginning of the end of America as we know it. Instead of staying here to get attacked, America’s best and brightest will flee to already existing countries — and start their own countries via the Balajian network state philosophy.
Network states start as follows:
- People make online friends
- Friends form community
- Community raises money
- Community buy land
- Community makes rules
- Community moves to land
Basically, a bunch of nerds from across America and the globe will meet online, raise money, and buy territory to self-govern. Sounds crazy? Praxis is a venture-backed company working on it. CityDAO bought 40 acres in Wyoming as a trial experiment in starting new cities.
So over the next 30-50 years as the US attacks crypto and becomes even more anti-rich, do you think a bunch of entrepreneurs and crypto-rich giga-nerds will stick around for that bullshit? Fuck no. I’d rather go chill with Do Kwon in Singapore than get my career taken away.
Like the startup industry is leaving San Francisco due to its woke climate, there will be an exodus from the US if a true attack on crypto goes down. Perhaps, it won’t be a lot of people in numbers, but it will be made up for in IQ points and capital. This entire process will lead to several questions:
- Adoption: Should crypto be allowed in the US? On the flip side, should BTC/ETH become a national currency?
- People: How do we retain entrepreneurs in the US?
- Communities: Should the US recognize and have relationships with network states?
- Law: What can/cannot be sanctioned? Is writing code for an open-source protocol that people may use for nefarious actions a crime?