A major part of our collective future will be the elimination of a significant percentage of jobs, and a transition of households and communities to producing and co-producing much of what they need. Mechanization has eliminated most jobs in agriculture; automation continues to eliminate manufacturing jobs. Next, cognitive computing is on the way to taking over large numbers of knowledge sector jobs, including in education, health care and legal services. Eventually there won’t be enough jobs to provide full employment. Enhanced income support programs, such as a “citizen’s income”, could ameliorate the situation but would require changing tax policies and even then may not be sustainable or sufficient. Yet a variety of technologies will allow individuals, households, and communities to make, grow, co-produce, and share for much of their needs. These enabling technologies include 3D printing, distributed manufacturing, nanofabrication, aeroponics and community agriculture, low cost sustainable energy and information access, along with local and national social movements that can lead to abundant and equitable futures.
We will explore the forces and paths to those futures in a session on Sunday, July 26, 2015 at 10:15 a.m. Attendance requires registration for the World Future Society conference, which will be held on July 24 – 26, 2015. The conference theme this year is “Make the Future!” and links the dynamism of foresight to the energy of makers and other entrepreneurs creating the future today. The conference will have three tracks (The Business of Foresight, Technology and Innovation, and Global Issues) with lots of sessions, including Clem Bezold’s).