I've given this topic a lot of thought over the years. What is clear is that the social contract will break due to technology. It basically already
has, but that's for a different thread.
We will eventually have to decide what seems best for the species. Either we resign the contract under different terms, else allow the elite to
continue to wipe out the lower classes across the globe.
Both will likely happen. I think that the technology will first be used to keep the people in check, providing a shaping up of our species. Those who
are still deemed to be providing under the current social contract, will get the crazy high-tech goodies, while everyone else will be in private
prison centers, or designated public areas for the poor awaiting to die out.
After enough suffering/shaping up, "progress" will swing towards redefining our beliefs, values, and social institutions.
The wild card here is the severity of climate change during this process.
If climate change is moderate to severe, then the first stage will continue on longer, because the utopia which would seem to be afforded by
technological advances, actually can't be realized. In that case, all bets are off.
What is certain is that our current pro-social beliefs are part of the problem, and are creating an unsustainable scenario. Something must be done.
We can't keep mindlessly consuming, and working block schedules, day after day.
The fact is that we're causing too much environmental degradation with our current socio-political paradigm, and eventually a day of reckoning will be
Oh too add: I like to try and grasp the rate of tech advancement. It seems that if we consider but one factor, we can generally estimate that the rate
of advancement is ~1,000 fold over the period of a decade
So I think to the calculation of needing approximately 1 exaflop of processing power to raw simulate the human mind.
We are being told that exaflop supercomputers will be here before the end of the decade.
I think India has contracts to set up a system (currently in the process of implementation!) for exaflop computing by 2015, and the US government will
have one by 2018. It will require several megawatts.
Well that means a decade later it will require several kilowatts, and a decade later a few hundred watts. A decade later, and we have the synthesis of
the human mind (or better), taking less volume than our heads, and using about as much power.
That's a linear view of things, and doesn't take into account the fact that MANY projects are being worked on simultaneously in interrelated fields,
that will push these advancements into reality sooner than expected. So we're not only talking about replacing low-skilled jobs, but moderate, to high
level skilled jobs sometime in the next half of this century.
edit on 2-4-2013 by uniquelysane because: (no reason given)