Based on our current scientific and technological understanding we can predict (with reasonable confidence) the development of virtual reality, robotics, artificial intelligence and nanotechnology.
Starting from the predictions of what is technologically possible (in a certain time-frame), we can deduce what is economically feasible and therefore likely.
In a number of stages the structure of the economy will be dramatically changed:
- Development of virtual reality means that "white-collar" work will be moved to virtual workplaces and much of service and operator work will be done using telepresence.
- Advanced robotics will gradually replace humans in physical labor (first using some telepresence, but later moving to mostly autonomous systems).
- Artificial intelligence will replace humans in service, operator, manual (through robotics) and creative jobs.
- As nanotechnology develops, it will replace robotics as a way to produce objects and do other work.
- Eventually AI and robots will replace ordinary humans in all work. Only transhumans (cyborgs with augmented intelligence) will be working.
- Improvement of artificial intelligence (as well as merging of human and AI and uploading) will make reproducing physical workplaces unnecessary, moving work from VR to "idea space"
- As we move into the information space (through uploading) and change the environment (rebuilding the planet), physical work will increasingly become obsolete (everything important will be happening in the computer space). Only "software" will matter.
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