People have augmented capabilities that boost their productivity and skills, becoming working machines that produce non-stop. For them, the line of separation between work and home may fade, and financial success could simply allow the purchase of more skills to earn more money, falling in a dangerous cycle.
How the scenario could unfold
In this hypothetical environment, we speculate about a world of increasing opportunities to self-optimise.
Medical technologies continue to emerge that delve deeper into genetic manipulation and other biological means of improving the human condition both physically and mentally removing defects and enhancing capacity. The development of technologies such as cloud computing, IoT and AI could enable service systems that live on, around or in the human body with more and more prevalence. These new types of technology may integrate with people in ways that blur the boundaries further between human capacity and technological capacity.
We consider the significance of this context from the perspective of a future character we created based on our research with real people.
What might that mean for Thomas?
Thomas’ relationship with work is about dedication. He believes that you get what you give, and he wants to get the maximum. We explore how services may evolve around people’s new relationship with work.
Don’t be a snowflake. Nobody owes you anything – It’s down to you.
Automation and climate change will cause huge turmoil in economies, people may be working online, based on their chosen field or “gig”, and move in search of better economic environments. Reputation will become ever more vital as people have to quickly and consistently re-establish themselves and we will see more online platforms supporting offline gig workers’ skills.
Thomas is a contract developer working for one of the fastest growing startups in Europe. He is highly paid for his age, so he earns the right to party whenever he wants. His old friends joke that he’s now part of the privileged elite, which makes him angry because he feels he has made it on his own merit. He feels conservatives are underrepresented in tech, so he often ends up confronting people who he feels are liberal just because it’s ‘cooler’.
Happiness for Thomas is living in the moment, pushing his life to the maximum. He believes results speak for themselves and success is earned on a daily basis, so he does everything he can to always perform at his peak. He doesn’t feel like he’s making progress unless he’s causing friction, but recognises that sometimes he goes overboard and has recently signed up for a mindfulness app.
Thomas’ goals are to keep ahead of the ‘competition’ at all times by constantly building on his own success. He wants to optimise his schedule and all of his ways of working, but wants to find more balance, perhaps by reconnecting with his friends.
Thomas thinks that work is a stage on which you prove your worth and a means to maximise the quality of your life. You should give it everything you can.
Explorations in ‘Self expansion’
We explore the future by looking for potential points of friction between this scenario of Self Expansion and the needs of someone like Thomas. These explorations are outlines of services that act as emerging spaces for solutions or spaces to explore the problems and provocations elicited by the services.
Digital drug store is a store specialised in augmentation technologies that can be installed on or into humans. The range of options is ever expanding. There are tools to enhance muscle growth, support memory, perfect your nutritional balance, improve concentration and reduce your need for sleep.
Some augmentations are permanent, some are one-off and fade over time, others come with free installation, but you pay for performance boosts as and when you need them.
If you prefer a more natural approach and wish to avoid capacity enhancers, Digital Drug store also offer innovative sensing technologies that provide advanced analysis of your physical and mental performance, which, in conjunction with our expert consultation service, helps you tune yourself through lifestyle changes.
Team: The Lab
From this exploration, we can speculate that services may emerge, which expand human potential either by enhancing our capacities, supplementing our bodies, adding new functional attributes or simply by finely tuning ourselves through our lifestyles.
These services may raise numerous questions for individuals and society, but for people like Thomas, whose work means so much to them, this may seem like a new world of huge potential.
If it is possible for people to dramatically expand their capacity in the working environment, in competitive cultures this could lead to an ‘arms race’ type mentality or performance inflation. Should everyone in the office improve their numerical computing capacity and upgrade their attention span and memory skills, what might people need to do to get a promotion? We may also see a heightened exploration of what makes specific individuals good at certain tasks, because potentially these innate or pre-existing strengths may have advantages over purely enhanced capabilities. Or perhaps, certain attributes won’t be so readily augmented and therefore more in demand.
In this scenario, It’s plausible that we may also see services emerge that help people find balance through reducing such a competitive mentality in individuals or workplace environments, opting instead for opportunities to build capacities that lead to exceptional collaboration. We may see questions being raised about why we work, about quality of life and potential enquiries into how we could make these technologies that help everybody reduce the need for work.
An additional area of discussion could form around the challenge this may pose to notions of equality. If such technologies became available, who would they be available to? If access was controlled by wealth and power, and access leads to more capacity, then these technologies have the capacity to also drive inequality into even more dangerous territories.
Related to ‘Self Expansion’
Optimising and Editing yourself and your life to meet your personal criteria for success.
Pyro has the best access to the latest and safest physical and mental augmentations on the market. As soon as these products and services are on the market, you can get them from us.