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One issue outside of the scope of this article is the implications this phenomenon will have on race relations, "affirmative active" and the nature of "discrimination" in our society.

One of the reasons for the outsized importance of higher education in recent decades was that employers needed to use degrees as a form of immunity from racial discrimination claims: IQ and other types of tests more related to skills and capabilities fell afoul of anti-"disparate impact" laws and judicial interpretations. Employers were better off just requiring college degrees as a legal proxy for intelligence, high future time orientation and conscientiousness.

The dynamic described by the Futurist will bring to a head the reality of racial disparities, as whites and Asians (and men over women) will disproportionaly benefit from the focus on skills and ability over credentials.

This may result in the migration of affirmative action-type initiatives to the new reality, or it may result in "racism" (or race realism) becoming acceptable among the liberal mainstream.

The popping of the education bubble will also bring the popping of the uneasy truce (ha!) on racial issues that affilmative action at all levels has allowed.

Ned C.

Good to see you back, dude!


Literacy was commonplace in Roman times; teaching six year old Whites to read and write is really easy. Does not need schooling.

What's missing is the reason everyone has to go to college, which is Griggs vs Duke Power Company. No test that would have a disparate impact on a protected class could be used for employment, however, academic credentials could still be required. So they were.

How else can employers legally demand an IQ of at least 100?


Dude, I am pleased beyond words to see you back.

I remember citing one of your articles, and having you recommend "The Misandry Bubble" as the most important article you've ever written. I didn't say much about it after I read it, because it needed to be absorbed first. But its argument and its subsequent influence absolutely lived up to your description.

By the nature of what you write, your stuff is long-fuse in nature. Never let the results of that discourage you. Whether we agree or disagree, many of use are very appreciative of what you write.


I should add one thing to this article. South Korea already has a system in which the most successful educators can make over $1 million per year:


The future is already here, as usual, just unevenly distributed.


I can also say I look forward to a yearly blog post from you and your ideas more than anything else. So glad to read something new from you. Please don't make me wait another year!

I need something positive - I would love you to revisit and update any posts of yours detailing the exponential adoption of technology now in 2014-2015: in energy (solar), oil, cars, planetary exploration (telescopes), oh just anything, I need more real thinkers in my life!

The Futurist

Thanks, all.

Yes, I would like to resume more frequent articles. It is hard to start up again, when one is out of practice.


Another welcome back.

May I suggest that re-visting some of your old posts and either taking victory laps (such as your predictions on telescopes and solar power) or updates on why things have not turned out exactly as predicted would be both a way to ease back and greatly valued by us.

Thanks for all your insights,


Yes! You're back!

How about an article on the disruption that 3D printing will bring with it?

bob sykes

I guess I am a skeptic.

I taught at the college and university level for 37 years, 2 at an elite liberal arts college, a decade or so at an open-admissions land-grant school and the remainder at the same school trying, and sorta succeeding, to be selective. This was also a period in which schools everywhere, including mine, were experimenting in various kinds of distant learning.

My first observation is that the vast majority of students everywhere need the structure and discipline of a classroom and of graded home lessons and tests. Otherwise, they cannot learn. It is not so much a question of intelligence as it is of self-discipline and motivation. The students are in their late teens and early 20s and on their own for the first time. Distractions happen.

Second, if distant learning is to be interactive, it gets very expensive. In its early forms, it required a TV studio for the lecturer, including staff, monitors, audio systems and TV cameras and the same at each distant classroom. The result was the early forms were very much more expensive than simply putting a lecturer in a room with an overhead, even if he only spoke to a few dozen students. There were no economies of scale at all, just massive new costs.

No doubt much of this is solved by the internet, especially since the full costs of the distant classrooms (i.e., pcs, ISP's, student bedrooms and living rooms) is born by the student. But the interaction problem still exists. Interaction is impossible with canned lectures, the cheapest way to do on-line courses, and much of the benefits of the best teachers is lost. Socrates pointed out that you cannot ask a book a question, it always says the same thing.

Finally, there is the problem of credentialism. How is it possible to provide a credential to an on-line student. If you give an on-line test, how do you know who takes it. For that matter, even if the student has to come to your campus for the test, how do you know who actually showed up.

I believe that on-line courses will always be a niche operation that serves the needs of very highly motivated and very-highly intelligent people would do not need credentials. I think the few studies of these courses that have been done bears this out.

I also think that the Ruling Class will not tolerate such and education for its children. The more on-line courses proliferate the more valuable a Harvard degree will be.

The Futurist

bob sykes,

It ultimately comes down to the cost incurred to gain the qualifications needed for a certain job. When one of the most highly paid and fastest growing fields (Computer Science) has made it much cheaper to enter the field, it will pull other smart people in (even at the expense of other fields).

But the interaction problem still exists.

Interaction will be student-student, and many questions will be answered via a message-board format, etc. That is not perfect, of course, but in relation to lowered costs, may be compelling.

The more on-line courses proliferate the more valuable a Harvard degree will be.

Not a Harvard degree in 'Women's Studies'. A core element of the problem is that too many useless degrees are being sold to students, particularly by the most expensive colleges. This preys on the belief that *any* degree from Harvard is valuable, rather than one from a useful field.

Ray Manta

Bob Sykes wrote:
My first observation is that the vast majority of students everywhere need the structure and discipline of a classroom and of graded home lessons and tests.

Students who have just graduated from high school and are away from their parents for the first time are in a very non-optimal environment for "structure and discipline". Typically they're in a dorm with their peers and have endless opportunities to surf the Internet, get smashed, and get laid. Surely there are better ways to keep them focused and on track.

According to the statistics here, there are a number of online learning institutions with graduation rates competitive with conventional colleges and universities.

Second, if distant learning is to be interactive, it gets very expensive.

Non-interactive lectures can probably replace the majority of classes where several hundred students are crowded into an auditorium. It's a very expensive, inefficient method of educating students.

For interaction, remote teleconferencing software has come way down in price. It can be one on one, several on one, and many on one. Labs done with software (such as dissecting a virtual frog)
can also be used.

If you give an on-line test, how do you know who takes it.

Here are a few methods:


Hmm, interesting.


And I am not sure why the comment is not appearing on your old article "Why the US Will Still be the Only Superpower in 2030, v2.0", so I will type it here.

I must say, the major problem is that you do not seem to understand much of the world in general, unfortunately. And of course, much of America as well. Or maybe you were too young back then, so probably have changed your position on certain points by now, but here it is.

1. Having a big economy does not mean anything nowadays, as the U.S. national debt is out of control, and not to mention many of U.S. cities are bankrupting one by one, starting with Detroit (But then again, this article was written like 6 years ago, so I guess you could not have seen it coming, but I would've). And also, if the Japanese or the Chinese choose to dump the U.S. Dollar, because they believe it is worthless anymore, then practically that is when the U.S. economy ends. It is that simply fragile. It's just the Japanese and the Chinese are not doing it, since they believe the U.S. is still a huge market. If they no longer see it that way, then know that the fate of America is all in the hands of the Japanese and the Chinese. Pretty sad, don't you think? Quite a superpower there, hmm?

2. Military. Big military, so? How does that help the American people in general? Not to mention the U.S. is right now too broke to even do anything about the Middle-Eastern problems (The problems that were caused by the United States). And St. Louis' police are armed like military forces, and the city is collapsing as we speak. Now let me ask you, what good is a big military, and how good is it when it is utterly meaningless for majority of the American people? Not to mention all those good weapons are totally useless without war funding?

3. Brands

Coca-Cola, Nike, McDonalds, Citigroup, Xerox, Microsoft, or Google. Oh please, are you serious? You practically pointed out all the major U.S. companies that have made huge marketing mistakes or are subject to controversies. Coca-Cola, McDonald's, they have the reputation that no one wants to have, unhealthy, junk food/soft drink makers. And Microsoft kept making trash products that no one wants, such as Surface tablet, Windows 8, Xbox One, Windows Phone and practically Microsoft's influence is only decreasing. And Google? Seriously?
On the other hand, the Europeans have covered 70% of the luxury brand market of the entire world. Just google it if you can not believe it. There are, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce, Omega, Bentley, Rolex, LVMH, Hermes, Porsche, Audi, Bugatti, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and the name just continues. On the other hand, the American luxury brands....well, I guess there are Cadillac and Lincoln. But Lincoln is a total fail as a brand right now, and Cadillac is trying hard, but still not as recognized as the European luxury brands, at all. Who goes out and says "Oh, I wish I had a Cadillac" instead of saying "I wish I had a Porsche, BMW, Ferrari or Lamborghini"?

4. Having major universities also means absolutely nothing if the education system from kindergarten to highschool is absolutely terrible in the world standard. Go watch a Youtube video Finland Phenomenon, which is a Harvard professor's documentary on Finland's education system. And Germany has no major universities ranked on top 50 universities I believe, but who is doing great economically right now? Germany. Far better than the U.S. can ever imagine. And how many university graduates get a decent job in the U.S. nowadays by the way? If you think an "overpriced", "overrated" university education is something to be proud of, then you practically have no clue what a "good" education is.

5. Science. In terms of scientific department, I have to say America is great. No argument there. Except the majority of Americans can not even afford to go to hospitals.

6. Also quite a good point. I have to say, how many would want to move to China? Instead of the U.S.? The United States still remains to be one of the greatest countries in the world, but really, I can not exactly imagine many people wishing to have a thing called "Chinese dream" and such.

7. Entertainment. OK, this is rather debatable. If you mean to say all those horrible Hollywood movies and Justin Bieber songs are something to be proud of, then I have to say no, America does not lead in this. But I agree if you mean to say America leads "low level" entertainment stuff. I mean, you will nowadays see more and more young Americans reading Japanese manga or watching anime instead of something like Superman and such American comics. How successful are the American comics in other countries? Not much success there. The world prefers Japanese manga/anime, including the Americans themselves.

8. Accomplishments. Well, Moon landing stuff is great, but then this was back in the 50's. Can you tell me what America has achieved in the 21st century? Other than accumulating debt that is uncontrollable, having tons and tons of bankrupting cities, rising unemployment rate everywhere (Did you know that right now 90 million Americans are not working? Just google it), etc.

9. It is simply a matter of perception. Many countries thank the Americans for donating. No one really cares if the U.S. donated more or not. I mean, the U.S. is broke right now. The world should know that fact if they actually expect the Americans to donate more.

10. Democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan, huh? I guess you were ignorant back then, but I wonder if you can tell me the same thing today. I really hope you watch the news on this matter.

And you are complaining about people bringing up slavery that ended 140 years ago, but you bring up the moon landing stuff that is from 50 years ago? Contradiction?

And nowadays, no one respects the U.S. at all. Who exactly respects? The European Union led by Germany? China? South Korea? Japan? Russia?

And in the 21st century, which is the era of globalism, the European Union is practically leading the world in terms of education, luxury products, quality of life, etc.

And what does America have nowadays?


And forgot to mention, I am not sure why you would think that having all the power centralized upon the federal government is a better idea? One of the most famous eras within the Chinese history is the era of three kingdoms, Wei, Wu and Shu. Those kingdoms were led by men who believed in their own ideas of peace and justice, and even though the same country, there was a great passion and competition among those three great kingdoms.

One of the reasons why the European empires were successful and quite influential during the days of colonialism was because of strong competition and all the wars happening within the continent. If there is a rival right beside you, then you tend to do better, to make yourself better, by challenging yourself. And thanks to this, now the German economy is amazing to say the least.

And what does the United States have? A federal government with too much power, and not much of sense of competition among the states, except during football seasons. And more and more Americans keep telling themselves "We saved the world during World War II, and we went to the moon. Yaaay we are the best. Now I will just go to sleep"

Mayhap, you could learn something from here.


This nation is called, "The United States of America", not "America" for a reason. It was "supposed to be" the "United" "States". But really, how unique are the U.S. states compared to the European Union nations in general? When all the economic and political powers are concentrated in a few cities like New York City, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Dallas and such?

The Futurist


I am not sure why you would think that having all the power centralized upon the federal government is a better idea?

When did I ever say such a thing?

At any rate, you need to accept that the EU is not a country, but a collection of 27 countries that don't even share the same currency across all 27. The EU has slower growth than the US, and a much higher unemployment rate.

Germany is outperforming most of the Eurozone, but it still has slower growth and a lower per-capita GDP than the US.


"Many Europeans like to point out that the EU has a larger economy than the US, but the EU is a collection of 27 countries that does not share a common leader, a common military, a uniform foreign policy, or even a common currency."

You spoke as though having a common leader, a common military, a uniform foreign policy and a common currency is a good thing. Are you now saying no? Or did you mean just something else?

The European Union does not need to be a country, as there are people in the United States like the General David Petraeus who stated "After America comes North America". Don't tell me you are not aware of all those strange ideas of such thing called the North American Union. It can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you see it. But the reason why such an idea is popping up everywhere is because the United States no longer can function economically without China, and also many people in the U.S. maybe think it is better for the U.S. to be a part of the North American Union.

Thus, it practically does not matter if the European Union is a country or not in today's day and age. Thanks to such unique union that they have formed, based on similar philosophical ideas and religious views, the union turned out to be the most successful union in the world.

And slower growth. Tell me, do you think a nation with fast economic growth is a good thing? The Chinese economic growth is rising radically, but at the end of the day, it doesn't matter if China is on the second place in terms of GDP, if the nation fails to attract many foreigners from all around the world like the U.S. and the E.U. do, then that kind of economic growth means nothing to me. In fact, China does not have a single brand that makes them attractive.

And the same thing can be said about the U.S. right now. The education system is miserably broken, racism is still strong in parts of the country, the whole border crisis is practically changing the character of the country, Detroit bankrupted, Cleveland, Ohio and Gary, Indiana, the great cities of the past are now mere ghost towns.

And the European Union has higher unemployment rate? Please. At least the Europeans get a lot of benefits from the governments due to high taxation. And I think you are talking about 6% unemployment rate of the United States. Did I tell you around 90 million "adult" Americans are not working right now? Does it sound anything like a "6%" unemployment rate to you? And need I remind you the fact that the people who are no longer looking for a job after a few months will no longer be on that statistics?

You need to get this "fast economic growth = Good" idea which quite does not make any sense in today's era.

And if you take a look at "Quality of Life" rankings, (the world's most livable cities), many of them tend to rate the European cities the highest. You also see Australian cities a lot, and also the Canadian, but it's usually the European cities. But you never see a single American city anywhere on top.

But yes, the story goes back to the European Union. Nowadays, you see the African Union, the Union of South American Nations, Central Asian Union and such. This kind of idea is no longer something so foreign. I mean, the U.S. basically needs Mexico and Canada, and definitely the U.S. needs China. So I would not be surprised if the North American Union actually happens.

But what would be your opinion? Should the U.S. just keep going like this alone, to compete with the mighty European Union? Or should it form a union with Canada and Mexico?


This comes not a second too soon as the disaster known as Common Core needs to be destroyed in its tracks starting yesterday.

The Futurist


Here is just one of many analyses that indicate the EU as being in much worse shape than the US.

What I find funny is that the only people claiming that they can topple the US in the superpower rankings are Europeans (even though the EU is not a country), rather than the only country with any chance wbatsoever of doing so : China.

Germany is doing well, but it is too small to be a superpower, and is still considerably behind the US in per capita prosperity. The EU is holding back Germany in many ways, with many parts of Southern Europe possessing a per-capita GDP of only half the US or less (Greece, Portugal, Southern Italy, etc.). Eastern Europe is only as prosperous as Latin America.

The Futurist


Ultimately, when more and more learning of real value is done with tools available on the Internet or other low-cost sources, the money going to public K-12, and to universities, will be under pressure to be re-allocated.


I don't get it. Why are you only repeating the same thing, and avoiding most of the important questions I threw at you?

You are not really understanding much on this case, are you? You are talking about debt, well, here is something for you.


Take a look at the list of all those things and then get back to me. Tell me, are you only just so concerned about the "status" being a superpower, rather than the well being of the nation as a whole? Because frankly, the only thing that is still keeping the U.S. as a superpower is its military & the questionable economy. And that much of size of military is practically not really helping the American people in general, as you could see in Ferguson's issue. Not to mention, when was the U.S. even victorious in wars in the past decades?

Well, frankly, I think that is just all you are worried about. "Oh, America is a big country, and Germany is small."

I guess you only care about a few U.S. corporations like McDonald's, Microsoft, Coca Cola, Google and such having major influence over the entire nation than having strong small businesses, quality brands that are respected all around the world and quality of life of the cities.

And you completely ignored my question regarding the North American Union.

But then again, I am assuming you are unable to comment on this since you do not know much on this case, or you'd rather just not talk about it and just worry about this "superpower status" that no country in today's day and age really cares.

I mean, you do realize the countries are right now slowly dumping the U.S. Dollar, correct? And you are aware what that means? And I assume you also are aware of the fact that the U.S. Dollar has to be the reserve currency in order for the U.S. to even maintain its economic prowess?

And the most interesting part is this.


This data shows the American (Continental) cities of the future. And New York City being on top is I guess not really surprising as the city is still very strong. But how does a Brazilian city make it on the second place? Where is Los Angeles? And not a single U.S. city except NYC made it on the top 5 as well. How do you feel about this?

And I am not sure how I should feel about all those American cities being on top 10 are all the ones with high crime rates except probably Montreal and Toronto.


Not to mention the Americas are leading the homicide rate compared to other parts of the world as you can see this data.

Or are you just happy with that?


And also, I found this interesting piece that you might be interested in.



It states the Eastern part of the U.S. is "sinking"....literally. That basically means from Maine to Miami, meaning including New York City.

"Scientists say the East Coast will be hit harder for many reasons, but among the most important is that even as the seawater rises, the land in this part of the world is sinking," spelling "enormous risk for the United States," Gillis reports.

Now, are you still only concerned about this petty "superpower" status that practically not many Americans really care about anymore?

The Futurist


Your points have already been exposed as flawed, by me. You just don't like the answer.

For one thing, you oscillate between 'superpowerdom is not important' and 'superpowerdom IS important, and the US is not a superpower, but the EU is'.

The EU is on a brink of a debt crisis. The US has a lot of debt, but is not in as much trouble as the EU. The EU has no GDP growth at all.

Your only points are based on comparing the US to some level of perfection. Comparing the US to the EU shows the US to be in much better shape, which is why you are unwilling to do that, and instead resort to nonsense like "but your land is sinking in the ocean!!!".

AND.... the EU is not a country, it is a collection of 27 countries.

Your other weak points (homicide rate, natural disasters, etc., which has nothing to do with superpowerdom) imply you want to claim the US never was a superpower, rather than make a case that it used to be one, but is now slipping.

You are just the latest EU-phile with delusions of EU grandeur. You can't even get Britain, Sweden, or Norway to join the Euro. Southern Europe has less than half the prosperity level of the US. The EU is heavily dependent on the US in both military and economic capacities.

Now, unless you can provide data that the EU was achieving higher GDP growth rates and higher per-capita GDP than the US, and how the EU has reversed its dependency for military and economic support, the rest of your points are just irrelevant flailing. NATO exists so that Europe can be protected by the US.

The only other candidate for superpowerdom is China. The EU represents the past, and is a failed experiment borne out of European envy of the US. That is why we see so much European jealousy and bloviating, but none from the Chinese.

It is amazing how much about the EU is nothing more than an intense jealousy of the US (and soon, of China).


Just as I thought, you are nothing but a blind couch patriot who probably only is just happy with things you see on Fox News and such.

And just as I thought, you once again ignored everything about the issues with North American Union case, and also about things like the sinking Eastern part of the United States.

The term "superpower" that is merely based on the military with questionable economy like the U.S. has is no longer relevant in today's world, and more of a continental superpower is expected, was my argument. I have no reason to support the European Union, nor do I care much about it, either. I am merely here pointing out the issues with the United States, and how the nation's quality of life is going down in general.

But here you are, all you are saying is the same thing, like a parrot.

"Oh, EU is not a country!" Do you think my point was the European Union being a country? But unfortunately, you don't have the brains to even understand this it seems.

"Oh, it's all about fast growth! GDP!" Then China is indeed becoming a superpower then? You really are a funny individual.

And the most laughable part is that you really don't know much about the military thing, either. Why does the U.S. need to rely on the EU for military to begin with, when practically many European businesses make profits out of the U.S.-waged wars? I can see you don't even know much about how the globalized economy works. Quite laughable.

You can keep telling yourself that the EU is a failed experiment, and China is the only candidate. I can see you really don't care much about the nation's quality of life in general, nor do you care much about having brands that actually get respected. Nor do you even care much about the sovereignty of the nation as many Americans keep talking about the North American Union, and the sinking Eastern part of the United States.

I just have to laugh at what you told me here,
"Your points have already been exposed as flawed, by me."

Your argument is, homicide rate does not matter. It doesn't matter if the nation is sinking into the sea, nor does it matter if the middle class is getting wiped out (Not to mention now the European and Canadian middle class families make more money than the American middle class families. Can't believe? Go google it). Also it doesn't matter even if I talk about North American Union, you will keep living in your fantasy world where the world is only made up of the U.S. and China. And also you will keep telling yourself that the U.S. is still in a better shape than anyone else in the world.

Stay ignorant. You should keep living like a parrot. It's actually pretty laughable how you call yourself a "futurist", when all you still care about is the "past". Anyway, stay ignorant. I can't waste anymore time on a person without much knowledge. Good bye.

The Futurist


Yawn..... you are just advertising the delusion that makes up the EU (a collection of 27 countries). Furthermore, your whining has nothing to do with the topic of this thread.

Your points have been dismantled. Deal with it.

and also about things like the sinking Eastern part of the United States.

This should be highlighted to display your insanity. The European media claims that the Eastern US is sinking into the ocean, hence the EU is a superior entity to the US.

tee hee.

I can see you really don't care much about the nation's quality of life in general,

There is much more immigration from Europe to the US, than the other way around. That is the only metric that matters in judging which place is more attractive.

At 25-30% youth unemployment, the quality of life in Europe is low. That is why so many Europeans are leaving for the US and Australia.

The magnitude of your delusion is truly a sight to behold. Much of why Europe is in such dire straits is evident from this.


Wow. I posted a comment here and it got deleted. So much for that.

The Futurist


Deleted? Where?

I did not delete anything.

I see one comment from you above. Was there a second one?

Typepad does make some comments vanish, unfortunately, and I have no way of measuring that as I cannot see them as they never appear...

If the comment has more than 3 links in it, it may be vulnerable to the filter...


The one that started with:

Patriot, you need psychiatric care.

The Futurist, you will need a bodyguard if Patriot doesn't get his psychiatric care.

Then I gave a wish list of topics I would like you to write about.

The Futurist


It just never appeared, from what I can see... I would certainly like to have a comment like that appear..

If you are inclined to type it up again, perhaps a second attempt might be worthwhile (save the text, just in case)...


Let me see if I can remember my list. Here we go:

Santa, this is what I'd like to see The Futurist write about:

1) The Robotic Revolution. As in, we are now at the very edge of the upward curving portion of the exponential hockey-stick graph RIGHT NOW and linear-thinking people just have zero clue what's coming and how fast. Marshall Brain has written a lot about this over the years. So have you. But now it is definitely being observed or at least can be observable by the focused layman.

2) 3d Printing and mass customization.

3) Energy revolution. Not just fracking but also CTL tech and molten salt nuke reactors, etc.

4) Black Swann stuff you have identified as such that doesn't fit into the three categories above.

The Futurist


Perhaps. It could take time.

Most noteworthy is that robotics is advancing in direct response to the regulatory interference in the labor market (minimum wage hikes, make-work jobs for women, etc.).

Most noteworthy is that robotics is advancing in direct response to the regulatory interference in the labor market (minimum wage hikes, make-work jobs for women, etc.).

Yes. This artwork says it all: http://risenetworks.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/robots-and-jobs-Danomyte.jpg

If I was some rich billionaire I'd fund a campaign to put a proposition on the ballot in California that would mandate a $25/hr min wage....and any resistance we got I'd savage them with accusations of not being progressive, in league with the greedy corps, etc.

Then watch back as every Dennys and WalMart in the state shut down after the voters pass it. There's nothing like a harsh reality check to teach the low information voters their much needed lesson in Econ 101.

The Futurist

In general, more robotics and automation creates more jobs for humans, merely in other parts of the economy.

This is because the cost reduction and higher outputs from robotics generate more activity that creates more human jobs in other sectors.

Skills mismatch issues will persist, but we will be in an economy where entire categories of jobs vanish in one place, but many jobs remain unfilled in others.

In general, more robotics and automation creates more jobs for humans, merely in other parts of the economy.

As that applies to past automation AND the pace of change, I agree. Going forward, I don't think I can agree.

Pace -- we are talking about close to 50% of all jobs being wiped out in a 10 year or less span of time. Truckers in general can not be trained in STEM jobs. Thus what I am saying is that the skills mismatch will be a structural problem and not a temporary one. This will be a big problem and lead to a potential direct threat to our capitalist system. Another thing about 'pace' -- previous economists determined what you essentially said based upon a linear point of view of time. But this will be non-linear. So, why are you thinking of things in a linear point of view when you quote that standard doctrine of economics? I know you know better.

Past automation -- the machines of the past enabled human workers to essentially produce more than before. 1 human loom machine guy could do the work of 100 manual looms operated by a human each, say for example. But when machines outright replace people completely, forget it. The aggregate value of the vast majority of human labor today will thus fall. No one will be made 'more productive' but rather 'more superfluous' in our economy, instead. This holds especially since the skills mismatch we agree upon will reinforce this, not ameliorate it.

Unemployment levels of 25% were the highest it became during the Great Depression. And that was a peak, not a permanent number over that decade. The Robotics Revolution will rapidly get us to at least 50% within 5 years when it starts to really take off and that won't be a peak but a baseline figure. The powers-that-be during the Great Depression were terrified of a communist overthrow of the government a la Russian Revolution-style just on how bad things got then. What do you think will happen when we suddenly see jobs lost by the millions in just two years time that get us to 30% unemployment just for starters and continue up after that to 50% plus? People will not wait around for more jobs to appear eventually in other parts of the economy before all hell breaks lose. What is it they say about how many meals away we are from a civilizational collapse? Nine?

These ramifications can not be just waived off by a standard economics lecture. People will go into full on wealth redistribution mode before you can make your case on youtube, dude. And that is if they aren't just turning society into a full on Somalia already. This is what I mean about the 'pace' issue being such a problem.

The Futurist


Skills mismatch will be a problem, yes, but the output generated will be so much that basic material needs can be met with even part-time employment.

Pace -- we are talking about close to 50% of all jobs being wiped out in a 10 year or less span of time.

50% gross wipeout, but not a net wipeout. More and more skillsets that could not be monetized before, can be monetized. It is also easier to cultivate multiple streams of income.

Also, the jobs that don't get automated will actually grow in number, due to greater aggregate GDP in the economy itself.

Remember what I said here : "The hottest career one can embark on, which will never be obsolete, is that of the serial entrepreneur."

It is a good thing that entrepreneurial talent will command a higher premium, while government make-work gibsmedat methods will erode in value.

Churn will be very high, yes. But I don't think there will be a net loss, and the skills-mismatch issue will cause some people to take a big step down, but a greater number will take a step up.

Most people in 2030 will have a higher living standard than today. About 10% will have a lower standard, but 70% will have a higher standard (and among these, 30-40% will have a *much* higher standard).

That 10% will suffer, but that is nothing new.

The question for you to ponder is whether GDP will actually shrink? I say it will not, which means it is really about who gets what share of future GDP, given the rapid churn in job-types available...

The Futurist

Europe's GDP performance 15% behind the 1990s 'lost decade' in Japan.

Europe has utterly stopped growing, and thus are shrinking relative to the rest of the world.

50% gross wipeout, but not a net wipeout. More and more skillsets that could not be monetized before, can be monetized. It is also easier to cultivate multiple streams of income.

Remember what I said here : "The hottest career one can embark on, which will never be obsolete, is that of the serial entrepreneur."

Not everyone...not even most people are cut out for that.

Also, the jobs that don't get automated will actually grow in number, due to greater aggregate GDP in the economy itself.

I disagree because again, you can't make truckers into surgeons or software engineers. Not w/o some major transhuman modifications.

...but the output generated will be so much that basic material needs can be met with even part-time employment.

People in Haiti have a not of free time also...to live in squalor.

the skills-mismatch issue will cause some people to take a big step down, but a greater number will take a step up.

All that is wishful thinking. There is no evidence that this will occur. Yet the evidence of the potential job losses is very real.

The Futurist


Not everyone...not even most people are cut out for that.

Maybe. But remember that entrepreneurship (mostly small-time) was the majority occupation before corporations and universities, which serve to corral people into easily-taxed pools more than anything else. A return to entrepreneurship might be normal...

All that is wishful thinking. There is no evidence that this will occur. Yet the evidence of the potential job losses is very real.

I am not worried until actual median stats of life expectancy, purchasing power of basics, etc. falls. Also, a huge section of jobs are make-work, via government intervention. A loss of those would be a plus for the economy, for they drain productivity from elsewhere.

Until automation starts to actually make some basic metrics stagnate or fall, that too across multiple OECD countries, rather than just one, there is no reason to assume growing output can lead to shrinking average living standards, even if 90% of people cannot become software engineers...

Time will tell..

The sad thing is that the ONE profession that does the most damage, is the one that apparently can never be automated away : that of the corrupt politician.

There is no negative multiplier greater than a graft-seeking politician, and no job less vulnerable to automation either...

Anonymous age 72

So, exactly what will entrepreneurship look like? In Mexico, it has been noted that a person can buy a small stock of gum and candy, get on the subway and hawk their goods, and actually make more than many people do in paid employment. That is also entrepreneurship, isn't it?

I realize the income level is higher in the USA, but the idea still may be usable.

The Futurist

Anon Age 72,

Usage of modern platforms like AirBnB and Uber might lead to an individual American with poor job prospects creating 3 separate income streams of $10K each, so $30K in total, and rather well-diversified and not dependent on any one market.

There are far more tools available than ever before, and it is faster than ever to do basic research.

Roosh now earns over $60K/year, by his own revelation. Matt Forney also earns something like $45K/year. Both are solo entrepreneurs..

cybernoetic man

I posted the comment at a different place, but since your newest blog entry is here, I might as well post it here:

First of all, I like to congratulate you on your very intelligent blog. I am very impressed. ( just between you and me, are some of the people posted your alter-egos? You and the people have too short of time intervals--I am talking about the time stamps) But either way, it's a stimulating conversation--either as an imagined intellectual exercise or real in cyberspace term (which is virtual)--It's all the same on the internet.
Now, I am in my 20s, I've been aware of the technological singularity since high school. Barring accident, I will most likely see the unfolding of the encroaching event horizon whether by Singularity occurs by Kurzweil's estimate or yours. Of course, I was in the very minority of my age group who constantly thought about the upcoming singularity(which is a "fun" conversation topic, I assure you, judging by the number of blind stares I get).
Now 10 years has gone by since my mind was blown by the idea, to me, the ideal scenario involves upping our ability to see beyond the "prediction wall" because although the for the fish, the human society is incomprehensible, but imagine an AI fish, augmented with sensors of high technology, will able to some extent understand the world and predict the world a few years ahead. Thus the AI fish has broken the prediction wall of the real fish.
It's quite conceivable that similar "cognitive enhancement" will elevate the ability of a minority of cognitively enhanced individual ( by no hubristic assumption, do I assume that minority member to be myself, as I turn out to be quite a bit of disappointment after college), But the point is, there will be a minority of enhanced individuals who catch up cognitively with the ever shortening-event horizon. (again I want to emphasize that not all enhanced individual will have this ability, as not all tool users are of similar efficiency in the use of the same tool)
In other words, there will be a spectrum of prediction wall for different people, both among the unenhanced (as predictive capacity varies among the people over the centuries) and enhanced (different individuals still possess different skills when it comes to the same tools--not all rocket scientists are the calibre). For majority of Jules Verne's contemporary, prediction wall was much shorter than 120 years. But you cannot say for certainty either that at Vernes' time, the prediction wall for humanity as whole was 120 years because it's entirely conceivable that there are individuals who have forecasted predictions that came true about computing, but were not widely noted. (thinking of Babbage, Samuel Johnson, [and I forget his name, kurzweilai recommended his book, this guy apparently predicted modern age with remarkable accuracy 100 years ago])
Anyway, always be conscious of the spectrum. Let's hope that cognition will not be static for humans--or the singularity will be very ugly when I am grandpa.

cybernoetic man

Just to be clear, I was aware of your blog probably about 6 years ago, so not really a newcomer. But the first time that I bothered to post a comment after soaking in the wonderful analysis. I do hope that you can perhaps reveal some more information about yourself as you are strikingly intelligent--it's rare to encounter an individual like yourself in real life. It would also be fantastic, in your future blog post, if you could reveal a little bit about your own intellectual history when you encountered the idea of technological singularity--has your idea changed at all over the years (try to be as objective as possible, treating the ego as another person), and what do you do(if anything at all) to prepare for the upcoming singularity?
about the the last question, I personally see that it's very likely that humanity may branch off into effectively many different strata/species. Overall, I am a rational optimist(that is I believe with technology, all socio-economic classes will benefit in absolute terms--"better angels of our nature" to use Pinker's words), but "computing power" will become a form of leveraging capital, which will enable the netocrats to perform near superhuman tasks. I am no where near as optimistic as Kurzweil on the social question of inequality--with encroaching event horizon comes greater relative inequality. Kurzweil can be sometimes a little naive on the social issues--though I do maintain that on the whole he is correct.(80/20 rule for us all) (as I speak/understand 5-6 languages and have extensive 1st hand experience witnessing abject poverty in the countries I've travelled to).
To sum up for my own response to my own 3rd question, I think there will still be singularities after singularities ( I do not believe intelligence explosion will be infinite, it will taper off at some point) but I worry that it will be accompanied by "godly-vast" inequality--I am not a materialistic person, but I think this idea has come across a lot of acceleration-aware people's minds--in order to be "maintained" by nanobots for longer life extension will likely require a vast financial fortune.(you can't rely on Moore's law on everything since biological life is finite) So by the time that the commenters on this blog are 70s, 80s, 90s, 100s--it still will be unknown how expensive life-extension will be. So my question to you is, do you actively think how you can offset the risks of (a very expensive life maintenance procedure), how to you prepare for the singularity? Or do you by definition, think that singularity cannot be prepped for?

cybernoetic man

I'll add a few words that's relevant to this blog post at least on self-education. MOOCs, to a capable,motivated self-learner, is not that fundamentally different from opencourseware of the past. The assignments, peer grading, actual deadlines, forum interaction, and potential virtual study groups add a little spice, but the completion rate for MOOC courses is at an abysmal rate of 2-3% (which translates to a lot of people nonetheless). There is still the missing factor of "motivation" involved in MOOCs. I do believe that MOOC 2.0 will be a combination of gamification(not the crass kind) and augmented reality and the current existing MOOC framework. When that comes, even a true revolution shall begin. So far, It's still quite tepid primarily due to that fact that vast majority of individuals are not capable at self-discipline. Most cannot manage a strict information diet with the garbage from facebook, twitter, and news stream--which all cut into the precious spare time we have. There is a term called "meta-gaming" among gamer community, in which the time they do not game is often spent on fantasizing and thinking about games, reading up random wikis and guides and forum comments about the game. (been there myself) A similar effect of the social media is what I would call "meta-facebooking" and "meta-twittering", lack of information diet in the vast majority of people (in addition to the sundry shit that life may throw at them) does make the current MOOCs still not as revolutionary as it could be.

Motivation is a scarce resource. Once MOOCs are designed with the addictive quality of online gaming, most universities (except the top-tier ones) are indeed doomed.

I personally consider myself to be an auto-didact. The reason I talked a lot about motivation and the current limitation of MOOC 1.0 since 2010 (the likes of coursera, udacity, edx, etc) I find "motivation" to be still the key barrier for me personally. I've listened to 1000+ TED talks, thousands more of intelligent podcasts, watched hundreds of documentaries, and lectures (such as by TeachingCompany), but there's still that element of motivation which I have yet to solve for myself. I know that I ought to be perhaps engage in some MOOCs to brush up my programming language skill (I still learn foreign languages in my spare time, but I know that programming language is probably far more important than foreign languages in terms of relevance in this digital age) inter-linguistic communication will be solved in a decade time, rendering the polyglot achievement a mere bragging right and not of actual utility (though cognitively, it may indeed enhance your ability to perceive from different perspectives a tiny teeny bit). It's also likely that learning languages in the future with google glass and augmediated reality will be so absurdly easy, it's like wasting time learning the languages. (my previous goal was to get at least intermediate level for the world's 10-11 major languages, which I regard are: English, Spanish, French, German, Russian, Portugese, Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, maybe Korean and Italian) I haven't used MOOCs that much for my language effort as I have developed a systematic way to approach learning new languages over the course of learning 5-6 languages. But learning new programming languages not only involves the memorization of words, but also of concepts--and the snarling agony of debugging.

Do you actively utilize MOOCs yourself? How does upcoming tech(wearable computing, augmented reality, occulus rift, etc) play into this? By 2030, what will it look like? Do you have any advices for individuals who know that they ought to take some MOOC courses so that they don't fall behind, yet lack the motivation or self-discipline to do so? Btw. do you keep any other blogs, books or youtube/social media channel?



Interesting conversation to say the least. My expectation for the future is a robot tax to fund a welfare state, with some sort of universal minimum income. So we have a few, very rich people, a small middle class of entreprenuers and craftsmen trying to be rich, and a large, leisured, underclass. If we don't go full luddite and smash the looms.

Of course, as we approach the event horizon for the singularity, these types of disruptions will become more and more sudden and severe. Universities will soon yield to on-line degrees, but that too may only be a temporary trend. Next will be no degree at all, just a computer companion that figures everything out for you, and can answer any question. Your value as an employee will be a willingness to show up, and your ability to ask smart questions. Then of course we eventually just send the computer to work in our place. Of course everyone does the same thing, and the value of such decreases exponentially.

Look at the music business. Not just the sudden difficulty in monetizing talent. Look at the orginality. What "new" music trend has come along since the 90's? Grunge is the last thing I can remember. Songs, styles, trends - it has all been put in a blender, then audience tested to find maximum favorable content. And that gets us to...beiber. Taylor Swift. Robin Thicke. Guess what - Lots of people have nice voices and can sing. Many of them are good looking. The differences in popularity are now mostly marketing.

How about movies? Almost everything is a sequal or ripoff of something else (lately, comic books). Movie attendence is in freefall, not just because of price, but because there is literally nothing new to see. Heck, we had 2 major Hercules movies this year. A sign of the thoughtpokolypse.

The computer doesn't have to INVENT new things, maybe it never can. It just has to make every idea ever invented availible to everyone, everywhere, all the time. Why think of anything new when you can simply copy something that worked before?

I think we all imagine this flowering of free time and talent...but I suspect we will see a great stagnation for most people.


What a great article. It'll be a good thing when these universities bust.

Oh, by the way, I wanted to ask the esteemed blog host a question via email.


The Futurist

Hi Anonymous,

There is no email, but you can ask your question in the comments of one of the old articles, where no one else will see it. I will delete it after answering...



Hi Futurist,

Are we now at the point that you predicted in your piece on the timeline for the importance of petrostates - where there are enough energy sources to keep oil in the approximate range of 60-100 dollars a barrel so that it will just be a background cost?


The Futurist


Yes! Thanks for noticing how accurate my prediction formula from 2011 was.

1) Oil will have trouble going above $100, and $85 is the more likely price level now (eventually, it will be $70).
2) The US consumer is no longer troubled by $100 oil, and only $120 will truly force people into carpooling, etc.
3) The steepest part of China's demand growth is now in the past, so world demand is plateauing, with no chance of a further jump in demand.

So oil is now rangebound at a level about $30-$35 less than the painpoint for the US consumer. It used to be above the pain point.

Great news all around.


Best news of all - Venezuela, Saudis, Iran, Russia, and a host of other unpleasant regimes have structured their economies around >$100 oil. Economic defenstration couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of guys. Look at the current situation in the middle east - something like that in the past has spiked oil prices....now they are slowly falling. We live in a new age, and people are only just starting to realize it.

In more good news, the worst impacts of anthropological climate change are probably past us, and will likely be fairly mild and tolerable. The current pause in global warming is completely consistent with the cliamte having relatively low sensitivity to carbon dioxide.

I now think we have 30 to 50 years before we need to find an alternative to oil. Plenty of time for solar and nuclear to be perfected and deployed.


2015 Misandry

Apologies if I'm jumping the gun on a post that you were going to make next year, but we are almost half way through your decade of the Misandry bubble.

Culturally, I can see both the continued misandry as well as greater and more successful pushback, so I can definitely see that flip happening quickly.

What I wonder is what metrics could be used for tracking? If there are fewer marriages and fewer divorces what does that signify in terms of the bubble? Is labor force participation a metric? I was in the frame of mind that female participation had been largely pulled by monetary/independence desires, but have recently come around to the idea that a lot of it might have been due to available time due to reduced housework because of technologies such as clothing/dish washers and vacuums.


The Futurist

Hi Drew,

Thanks for keeping track. It is hard to find quantifiable metrics (since for the marriage rate, the effect is bimodal - men at the bottom are unwanted, while the top men use up the primes of 2 or more women while still not marrying).

The 'pushback' against misandry, however, is rising quickly. Note 'ShirtGate', etc, as well as the fact that major bloggers now write against misandry almost daily.

Technology (always invented by men) always rebalances power between the genders. The last few waves moved power towards women (either directly or via government as a middleman). The next one might move it towards men (or at least the non-mangina men).


As for metrics, the red pill reddit page is rapidly approaching 100,000 subscribers, considering it was at 20,000 only 12 months ago, could this be a sign of the exponentially increasing awareness of misandry? At the very least it does me hordes of internet savvy young men are now totally red pilled and aware of the mechanics of the world they live in, and this will have profound societal and political results within the next ten years .

The pushback against feminism is here, as predicted. I too would like to see a half way post on the Misandry bubble, but I know you have other irons in the fire.

The Futurist


Almost a 5x gain in subscribers in just a year? That is great!

Side note : I wonder why the Red Pill Reddit keeps The Misandry Bubble as a .pdf, rather than a link here. I am missing all that traffic. But I don't want to register just to inquire about that....


The Futurist, Welcome back. We missed you. If you can't write often because of the investment in time, how about getting a twitter account? Tweeting is a lot easier, yes?


I became an aerospace engineer without benefit of degree. That was about 30 years ago.


What is holding up the system in the US is labor law. Employment is no longer at will. So the cost of trying out some one is high. If you are interested in going non-degreed, the easiest way is as a contractor. Which is still at will.

The Futurist


What is holding up the system in the US is labor law

Are the laws very different than 15 years ago? If so, then yes (I don't know much about the law in this area).

I would say health insurance costs under Obamacare are also holding up employment.


Will you do similar research for 2016/2017 tendency?
As for me, the problem does not exist. Those who really want to get quality education, get it. Even without governmant support. Scholarship programs, free online tutorials, libraries, even writing services (for example http://www.paythegeek.com/) available. Just my opinion.

Lucy Crouppen

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