by Roger Bourke White Jr., copyright August 2016
Predicting what people are going to be doing for meaningful work in the Total Entitlement State (TES) environment is a tough task. Related: What are people going to be doing when they aren't working? What will leisure time activities be?
That is the topic of this essay.
One of the challenges of structuring a stable TES is building an enfranchising environment so that people don't feel like spending a lot of time and effort on betraying their fellow community members. Building enfranchisement will be one of the top priorities in whatever is work among those earning mostly necessity money.
Leisure time is going to get a lot more time and attention in the stable TES environments of the 2050's -- people will not need to spend as much time at work, so lots more time and attention can be spent at play. For this reason determining what leisure time activities will be, and how they will be thought about, is important to understanding the TES cultures of the various communities of the day.
Everyone in the 2050's will be spending lots of time in Augmented and Virtual Realities (AR and VR). These will show up in work environments and be the core of leisure time environments, especially for those who earn mostly necessity money.
(Related, but less common, will be avatar realities -- controlling a remote robot in some fashion. One of my earliest concepts about 2050's leisure time was spending time on avatar cruise ships. These are cruise ships crewed with cyber and passengered entirely with avatars. The main virtue is these are very cheap to operate.)
All sorts of activities will be possible on these AR/VR devices. But, like Top 40 music, each user will engage in only a small handful for 80% of their time on the devices. They will have favorites and spend most of their time with them. For young people the favorites will change steadily, for old people they will get more and more fixed.
AR/VR is likely to take up 80% of the leisure time. Most choices will be indoors and sitting, but Pokemon Go has demonstrated that outdoor wandering around can be supported as well, and popular. This outdoor style is likely to be encouraged by the powers-that-be just so people will get out and get some outdoors activity in.
How will something like VR Ping Pong be handled? This will get the player some exercise so it will be encouraged. Will playing against another remotely located human be a common form? How about something as physically wide-ranging as VR tennis? One virtue of VR tennis is no one has to run about picking up balls, but if the running around is supported, an area big enough to be half a pseudo tennis court will still be needed.
As it always the case, leisure and education are going to mix. In older times children who spent their after school hours playing in a creek were learning a lot about local wildlife and how their bodies interacted with it. As watching TVs and smart phones has become the more common way of spending after school time, TV shows and computer games are what kids are learning in their leisure time.
This mix of leisure and learning experience needs to be recognized. It needs to be taken advantage of. This means that part of the AR/VR range of offerings should be education-oriented, meaning, games that are deliberately structured to teach about formal education topics as they progress.
The more education and leisure are mixed together, the less dramatic will be the disconnect between TES thinking styles and harsh reality that I worry a lot about, and write about in my TES thinking essay.
Where people vacation will depend a lot on what kind of money they have to spend -- necessity or luxury. If they are spending necessity money they will go to familiar places and be there with lots of other people. I envision Disneyland parks as being popular necessity money destinations. Conversely, those spending luxury money are likely to seek out more exotic, less crowded, and more remote locations. I envision luxury vacationers going to small resorts on remote islands in the Bahamas. As my mother used to say when I was a youngster, "I want to visit places that don't have a Hilton yet."
One of the differences between luxury and necessity leisure time activities is how much time is spend waiting in lines. Necessity people are immersed in a "be fair" style of thinking while luxury people are immersed in a "time is money" style of thinking. The result is that necessity lifestyles will incorporate a lot more time waiting in line. The luxury lifestyles will devote a lot of attention and expense to shortening line waits. An example of a place that incorporates a lot of line waiting in the experience is Disneyland. This is why I pick it as an example of a necessity vacation spot.
This difference will be a "class difference" in the sense that the two groups will notice and gossip about it. When times get tense or people are complaining over beers about how hard and unfair life is, it will be an topic to complain about.
One activity likely to take up lots of time in the TES lifestyles is cosplay. This is going to be an interesting activity because, like vacationing, it is likely to be conducted very differently depending on how a person gets their money -- the ambitious class people who earn lots of luxury money will not cosplay in the same places or with the same themes as those who live mostly on necessity money. It will be like the difference in vacationing mentioned above.
Necessity cosplay themes will be familiar mass market adapted themes. Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel Comics style themes come to mind as the popular topics of necessity cosplay. Luxury themes will be more exotic -- themes such as ethnic costuming and Renaissance Fairs are likely to be more popular.
In both cases enthusiasts will want to spend a lot of time and attention on their costumes and antics. Necessity people are likely to include getting better cosplay resources as part of the rights they will chronically protest to get more of.
Leisure time is going to be a big portion of most people's lives in TES communities. Thanks to AR/VR and the split between necessity money and luxury money, leisure lifestyles in TES communities are going to be very different for the various community members, and they are going all going to be very different from how leisure time is spent in the 2010's.