It is unquestionably a time of uncertainty, and visions of the not-too-far future come in all flavors. Here is a partial list:
- Friedmans, or techno-optimists: New technologies for communication, computation, energy production and transportation will raise productivity and reduce costs, breaking the logic of scarcity and ushering in a new economic system based on sharing and cooperation;
- Merkels, or business-as-usuals: Capitalism, liberalism and democracy will naturally prevail and progress will continue unimpeded;
- Mandibles, or stone-agers: The over-reliance on networked devices will lead to a catastrophic breakdown of the communication and financial infrastructures as a result of cyber-wars, making advanced economies unable to provide for themselves;
- Hararis, or techno-pessimists: Intelligent machines will take over jobs and functions of “regular” humans, and a new minority of super-human cyborgs will emerge beyond the point of technological singularity;
- Realists, or climate catastrophists: There is really no future for humankind on Earth;
- Cixins, or escapists: The future for humanity is in space — at least if you can pay the ticket.