The best way to build the future is to create it from multiple points which converge 10–15 years from now.
That is the most efficient route to progress.
Historical precedent tells us as much.
The industrial revolution may have begun with steam engines, but their utility was realized almost immediately across every industry. Industrialization led to mass production which pulled more people out of poverty than at any point in history. I realize I am glossing over the conditions within factories, but the wider point is that the progress it enabled in terms of humanities ability to reach the next revolution was enabled entirely by one invention.
But, the key fact was that it was not monopolized by one market. The steam engine could quite easily have remained the dynamo which drove only trains, instead, entrepreneurs and innovators realized the exponential increase in efficiency it enabled and transplanted it to machines of all description.
As the world has progressed one inventions ability to impact humanity at such scale, so easily, has been affected. That is to say, that it is far harder to invent a thing that impacts the entirety of humanity as quickly.
The internet did this though
Again, it could have been monopolized by its creators. Instead, they chose to open source the utility and enable anyone to build on top of it through the creation of protocols which established the world wide web. The pet project of academics sharing research had reached the mainstream by allowing anyone to do whatever they wanted. That is what’s so painful to the people who delivered this revolution. The promise of an open source decentralized world was captured by the pirates who’ve grown to dominate it.
And now we have people like Elon Musk who have evolved this to its natural conclusion. In many ways, the ability to create the future has been reversed. Gone are the days of 100,000 people taking one key innovation and redistributing its uses to new industries through trial and error.
The low hanging fruits of discovery have been picked.
Today, visionaries take the breadth of human discovery and use it as a means to facilitate the future. Missions are so compelling yet complicated that they can’t be attacked from a singular point.
Musks moonshot vision is us as a multi-planetary species. To achieve that he must develop innumerable products and services which enable the mechanization of the Worlds we seek to inhabit. To get there he is creating vehicles that require nothing but electricity to run on. To create and store that electricity he is innovating in the solar panel and energy storage fields. He has vast experience with the creation of financial businesses having founded and led PayPal. SpaceX stands as the route to reaching distant worlds while the boring company lets us build and live there in ways that we are protected from the radiation the sun rains down on planets without an atmosphere.
Jack Dorsey is another who follows this model. Renaissance people who are polymaths, driven by a conviction of where the world will be 10 years from now.
Translating that message back to today in a way which anyone can understand and use is his skill.
Twitter, square and the cash app are testaments to that.
Where will the world be 10 years from now?
For the internet and society to evolve I believe the internet as it exists must capitulate. People as a product and our attention as the spoils do nothing for the quality of products, service, and content online to be of value. Instead, a model of exploitation of our privacy and fake news which cannibalizes our attention dominate. There is no incentive for those leading this march to change as they grow increasingly powerful and profitable.
To evolve the distinction between analog, digital, data, finance, commerce, health and identity must blur. Every person must take back control of every BIT of data that exists in a million databases spread across the world. Blockchain and cryptography provide a means for us to achieve this, but we are not yet ready to manage private keys and cryptographically secure blockchains at scale.
The onus then is on the shoulder of the entrepreneurs and innovators to deliver this future. They must innovate around products and services we are already familiar with, use and understand, before expanding horizontally through the integration of technologies we need appreciate or understand to get the full utility of.
We must establish digital passports which track our finger and footprints online. A data bank of all our information must emerge in order for us to reclaim our identities online. Blockchain and cryptocurrency must record what and where those things go and are used from, with an ability to sever the connection at will.
A digital taxation online is one inevitable conclusion. Instead of everything being free, we will pay a tiny fraction of cryptocurrency for everything we use or consume online. We will forfeit a fraction of our GPU for the duration which we are using the site giving us those things.
Products as tokens of equity is another. Right now, the only beneficiaries of our consumption of food and drink brands, and CPG products is marketing agencies and shareholders. What is existing consumer behavior led to us owning the companies who manufacture the goods we use and consume? This is a gentle route to overcoming the challenges that will rise from automation and the replacement of human labor. If instead of paying for an Uber we did so while receiving ownership in the underlying company. The driver receives the same for providing the ride. Once self-driving cars exist we would both receive a share of any profits generated from the machines performing the service.
This is as true for food, drink, shampoo, and makeup as it is for food delivery, taxi services, and hotels. What can potentially emerge is decentralized ownership of everything, where each person owns a tiny share of everything created.
The final spoke is finance. We need a central point from which to accrue these tokens of ownership, make micropayments for the services we consume, and securely manage our identities data. This will integrate with our bank accounts and our data will fall in line with how our account displays our list of transactions currently. Only, one feed will list financial transactions, while the other will list the same for data. There will be a route to accessing our financial balance, while we will be able to reflect upon every BIT of information we are generating and contributing to the world.
Our health data will fall in line with this model too. We can decide to contribute it to health studies which defeat world diseases or not. It is ours to decide what to do with it.
And the last shift will see our money be entirely programmable. We can create smart contracts at will which enables us to contribute to humanities progress. Someone provides a cure to cancer? We contribute to the fund which pays the team or individual that discovers it. Crucially, the payment is only made once it has been verified and confirmed.
That is the future we are striving to create