Is Our Future Going to Be Dominated by Machines, AI, Sex Robots and the Metaverse?
Short answer, “Yes.” Long answer? Read the column.
So, I gave people a chance to tell me what topics they wanted to see covered on Culturcidal, and Ann H., who is a paid subscriber, asked this question:
“Do you think people will become more involved with robots and move further away from contact with individuals?”
It’s actually a very good question because we have every reason to think that over the next few decades, our world is going to be transformed by some of the technological changes that are coming and it’s worth catching up on some of these very real possibilities. That being said, they are just “possibilities” because although trends do tend to continue and history does tend to repeat itself, it seldom looks exactly as anyone expects. There are just too many variables for anyone to accurately predict exactly what’s going to happen.
That being said, consider these to be some educated guesses about the direction things are moving.
First off, although I did not want to adopt the universal basic income that Andrew Chang was championing in 2020, unlike a lot of conservatives, I believe that policy may be something we decide to pursue as a society in the future. The reason being is we may get to the point where so many jobs are filled by robots that many low-skilled workers simply may not be able to make a living. Does that sound implausible to you? Well, consider that Elon Musk is working on self-driving cars and yes, robots that will do menial jobs.
I’m sure it will be primitive and knowing Musk, it may be late, but that bot is supposed to come out NEXT YEAR. Now, keep in mind that fully automated restaurants are starting to pop up across the world:
Also, keep in mind that self-operated kiosks are becoming common, Wal-Mart has experimented with robots that scan the store shelves, and it wouldn’t be a shock if, in the next few decades, many of our soldiers were replaced with machines. We already have drones being operated by humans killing people thousands of miles away, so how long do you think it will be before we have planes, tanks, and ships controlled by humans with the ability to set them on full auto? It’s right out of the Terminator, but we are heading in that direction.
Additionally, if you want to know why the number of manufacturing jobs in the US has decreased so much, a big part of it is that automation has allowed one man to do the work of dozens. What happens when that spreads across the workforce and the unemployment rate rises from 3.6% today to say 15%-20% permanently? That is a real possibility and historically across the world when you have large groups of people with no jobs, no purpose, and no way to get ahead, it leads to violence and societal instability. The Romans tried to solve that problem with bread and circuses. I suspect our solution here will be more like a universal basic income and video games, but it does seem like we’re headed in that direction.
You’ve also probably heard about the metaverse and how it’s going to be the “future.” Then, you probably saw the incredibly lame promos Mark Zuckerberg at Meta/Facebook has done for it, took a look at the clunky headsets it requires, and wondered how it could possibly ever take off.
Well, first of all, if you’ve used an Oculus headset (or perhaps one of their competitors), the graphics are truly amazing. When you’re standing there and it looks like there’s an actual alien or robot standing 2 feet in front of you, it’s a “wow” type of experience. Those clunky headsets are a pain, but in a few years, those will be replaced with glasses. Then eventually, they’ll find a way to access the metaverse via contacts, although my understanding is that appears to be more than 10 years away.
NFTs, which are essentially virtual property, are also quite important. Having the ability to OWN virtual things that, ideally, you will be able to take from one part of the multiverse to the other will matter, most people would assume. We human beings love to show our uniqueness via status symbols. Being able to have virtual possessions that are actually worth money in the real world will make the metaverse more attractive. Today? NFTs are mainly (but far from entirely) highly speculative pieces of digital art. In time, it’s expected that NFTs will become more useful and practical.
The next crucial ingredient will be haptics:
This will allow you not only to see things in the metaverse but to feel them. Currently, haptics are quite limited, but again, we will see tremendous improvements in the technology over the next few years. That opens up a lot of different possibilities, especially in what are likely to be the two biggest initial drivers of people to the metaverse, games, and pornography. In both cases, the use of haptics would be highly intuitive.
With games, imagine FEELING it when you throw a lightning bolt, ride a dragon, or punch an alien in the face. Like everything else in the metaverse, gaming is now primitive, but it’s only a matter of time until some of the elite companies in the industry step into the space. Imagine playing a game that’s as well-designed as the ones you play on your console, except you actually SEE the monsters coming at you, FEEL IT when you hit them, and every so often, you have a chance of running across a valuable or at least extremely cool NFT that you can take with you from world-to-world in the metaverse. You can see the appeal, right?
Where things get really interesting is imagining metaverse porn.