I'm Jon Olick. I make shiny things. I simplify.

I presented Sparse Voxel Octrees at Siggraph 2008.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What really matters?

In the future... (in some cases far future, where I define far as beyond my lifetime, but perhaps not beyond my kids or my kids kids)
1) All Software will be open source
2) All Hardware will be open source
3) All Design will be open source
4) All Education will be open source
5) All Entertainment will be open source
6) All Food will be open source
7) All Pharmaceuticals will be open source
8) All Small Manual Labor will be automated (by hardware that you can print out)
9) All Communications (the internet) will be effectively free
10) Nearly All Data will be free
11) Nearly all of your time will be spent on improving or making any of the above as you see fit.

The current rat race that we all know and love is exactly that, a rat race.

So, What will be valuable in the future then?
1) Raw material resources (because it will be cheaper for a very long time to harvest than to create)
2) Power (energy can create materials, gather data, transport, and many many other valuable things)
3) Insurance (you will still need protection from outside meteor strike like events)
4) Community (bound together and acting as a single unit, they can enhance many of the other valuables)
5) Data (real measurements that are difficult to come by will hold value)
6) Transportation (because it requires 1,2,3,and 5, specifically long range transportation)
7) Manual Labor (manual labor on grand scales will continue to be valuable as they can require all other valuables to achieve)

Valuable items can be transferred into other valuable items, just like today. However what is valuable will change significantly.


  1. You don't see human ingenuity, the ability to come up with new software/hardware/design, among the paid stuff? Virtually all of the valuable things can be highly automated.

    Also, education is still very much a human thing - sharing the MIT course lectures as free PDFs does not constitute education, IMHO. Without good, dedicated teachers education doesn't work.

  2. Quite a few of those things I don't see coming to pass until maybe 2050 (I'll be very old), however they will all happen eventually. Due to the exponential nature of progress, they will happen sooner than people think.

    I think that computers will rival any human's intelligence at a fundamental level. They will be able to learn, create and more importantly dream. There will be very little a computer with sufficient resources and teaching cannot do and do better than human beings. Why would we create such a master race in the first place? because were lazy. People will surely embrace machines that do everything for them. We already do in many circumstances.

    As for the valuable things being automated, that is true in most cases, but they will still be valuable. Manual Labor which is the exception I used is a good thing to point out. Manual Labor on grand scales will certainly be valuable. I was referring to everyday manual labor we are currently familiar with. I'll revise the post.

    As it stands right now, a computer teaches my baby to read, comprehend, speak and possibly in the near future to write if I find a proper source. And it does so with vigilance, dedication, and attention to detail that I myself cannot provide 100% all the time. A better me. Certainly teaching a baby and teaching an adult are two different things. However there is no reason why in the future education cannot be downloaded as a set of experiences from the older generation to a younger generation's brain. As we understand the brain at finer and finer levels, this is an entirely possibly scenario. The question for me is more of a when, not necessarily an if.