Something has to give eventually, either there needs to be significant changes to our macroeconomic policy, or we have to embrace transhumanism and the technological singularity.
There are three primary goals that form the basis of our macroeconomic policy:
- Persistent economic growth (i.e. an annual GDP growth of approximately 3%).
- Full employment (i.e. an unemployment rate of approximately 5%).
- Price stability.
Persistent Economic Growth vs. Full Employment
I consider the first two goals to be conflicting with one another in the long term. A side effect of persistent economic growth is that workers are constantly being replaced by technology. For example, prior to the introduction of green revolution farming practices, a large percentage of the workforce was concentrated in agriculture. The green revolution made agricultural labor more efficient, allowing for greater agricultural output with fewer workers. The newly freed workers were able to pursue other forms of employment, resulting in the creation of new industries. The process caused an overall increase in economic output while maintaining full employment.
Persistent economic growth is an integral part of today’s economy. Workers are constantly being replaced by technology, so new forms of work must be created in order to maintain full employment. Therein lies the conflict between trying to maintain persistent economic growth and full employment at the same time: eventually the time will come when technology will completely surpass human ability.
Technology has largely surpassed humans in terms of physical ability, but it is still having problems matching humans’ ability to process information. As such, our solution to this dilemma is to increase the education levels of the workforce and switch to an information based economy. But in the long run this is only a temporary solution as artificial intelligence is rapidly approaching that of humans. Eventually we will have to confront this issue and determine which macroeconomic goal we value more. There are four ways I see this conflict playing out.
1st Scenario: Humans Embrace Singularity and Transhumanism
In this scenario, humanity decides to use our macroeconomic policy as a means of causing the technological singularity. The workforce embraces transhumanism as a means of competing with technology. Economic output continues growing exponentially, causing society to change at an increasingly fast pace. Eventually the change occurs faster than is beyond human comprehension. It is at this point that the singularity will have occurred. I cannot speculate how things will play out at this point, because like I said, it will be beyond human comprehension.
2nd Scenario: The Singularity Occurs without Transhumanism
In this scenario, humanity decides to pursue persistent economic growth at the expense of maintaining full employment. Eventually technology becomes so advanced that it is unclear whether humans will be contributing to the economy in any meaningful sense.
3rd Scenario: Neither the Singularity or Transhumanism Occur
In this scenario, humanity decides to maintain full employment at the expense of persistent economic growth. This scenario is interesting because its implementation is more complicated than may initially seem. Persistent economic growth is such an integral part of our economy that it is unclear how firms would be motivated to comply with regulations (whether in the form of government regulations or changing social norms/mores) that require them not to grow. Problems would inevitably arise in our financial industry whose entire business model relies on persistent economic growth, jeopardizing people’s savings, investments and pensions.
4th Scenario: All Three Scenarios Occur at Once
In this scenario, humanity is split on which route to pursue, so it tries to pursue all of them. Competing factions arise that try to implement the three scenarios. A multi-tiered society is created with humans and transhumans living side by side. Even the transhumans may be split into different classes with some being more advanced than others. It is unclear if a partnership between humans and transhumans would be stable in the long run.
I do not know which scenario is most likely to occur, nor do I know which one is the most desirable. But something will have to give eventually, and probably sooner than people are ready to deal with. My intuition tells me that this will probably happen within the next 15-20 years, but that is only rough conjecture.
One thing people need to bare in mind is that this will be a global conflict; it will not be limited to the United States. The same economic policy that will force this conflict is the same economic policy that is being implemented worldwide by the globalists. I do not know how things will play out, but I suspect they will get interesting.