The Future Economy: From Machines to HumanismNov 10, 2023
As you walk into a McDonald's today, a decision confronts you immediately. On the right, there's the young, seemingly disinterested cashier whose attention seems elsewhere. A slight sense of doubt clouds your mind. Will they get the order right? Or will there be an unexpected surprise waiting for you in that brown bag? On the left, a shiny kiosk beckons. It's reliable, always punctual, never complains about wages, and certainly doesn't ask for free meals. The choice, for many, is becoming increasingly clear.
It's not just McDonald's. The surge of AI and automation is palpable everywhere. The self-checkout counters at Walmart, the Amazon deliveries, the driverless Ubers that ensure a safer ride because they remove the human error factor. In fact, a future where it's illegal for humans to drive due to the risks they pose isn't far-fetched. Imagine a world where the joy of driving is a nostalgic memory, an activity relegated to amusement parks.
The looming question is: What awaits the human workforce? The onset of AI brings with it a tide that threatens to wash away professions we once deemed indispensable. Lawyers, coders, truck drivers, and many more will find their roles diminishing. The initial impact will be tumultuous, with resistance and upheaval as the world grapples with rapid technological advancements.
Yet, humans have always been synonymous with resilience and adaptability. As traditional jobs wane, a new horizon emerges, one where the average life expectancy stretches into the 100s. A world where the "iEverything" vision of Robert Reich becomes a reality—homes equipped with devices that print clothes, whip up meals, construct shelters, and even care for our children. With the introduction of a universal basic income, the concept of labor and property undergoes a profound transformation.
So, in a world dominated by AI, what becomes of us?
At Design Mindset, we firmly believe that the future economy will hinge on the very attributes that make us distinctly human. Qualities that AI, regardless of its sophistication, can never truly replicate: creativity, communication, risk-taking, entrepreneurship, and above all, empathy.
Freed from traditional labor constraints, humanity will embark on a journey of self-exploration and growth. The role of education will pivot from rote learning to fostering character development, philosophy, arts, and community problem-solving. Schools, no longer burdened with outdated curricula, will evolve into sanctuaries for advancing humanism.
Undoubtedly, the road ahead is fraught with challenges. But with unwavering commitment and a clear vision, humanity can, and will, emerge stronger, more enlightened, and profoundly connected to its essence.
The future beckons. Let's embrace it with open hearts and inquisitive minds.