Surprise in 2050

by Roger Bourke White Jr., copyright February 2016


How surprising will the world of 2050 be?

Given how much more raw information we will have, and how much more information crunching power cyber will provide, many more activities in life will become much more predictable. Which ones will remain surprising?

That is the topic of this essay.

Finance and Weather

Given the amount of information flowing, and the analysis that cyber can do of that information, the uncertainties of weather, farming, and the business and financial worlds should be greatly diminished.

Given all this increasing certainty, where will surprises survive?

Investing is going to change enormously. Stock market predicting in the 2010's still has all sorts of guesswork in it. But as I have pointed out in other sections, what humans can invest in will change. When cyber is in control of major manufacturing, service and transportation activities, it will also be in charge of the investing in those activities. Big Business investing of the sort that stock markets handle in the 2010's will be invisible to humans in the 2050's. Cyber will be handling the investing just as much as they handle the day-to-day operations.

This means that what humans can invest in that involves business will become completely different. It will involve investing in small scale artisanal activities and the investing rituals are likely to be more like Kickstarter than Wall Street. So it will be small scale businesses that are still on human radar.

A 2010's example of investing changing -- and changing the money that is used to do it -- is the "unicorns" of the 2010's. These unicorn companies are financed in distinctively different ways from publicly-owned corporations. They are privately financed. This kind of difference in how financing takes place is going to continue and get even more distinctive.

Ultimately, it will lead to the "investing money" versus "luxury money" difference I envision coming, and talk about in Visions of 2050.

Related: How much human-spawned regulation will surround artisanal business activities? Because of the large amount of emotion attached to business activities, there is likely to still be lots of regulation. This regulation will have two emotional centers:

o one will be the business itself. Artisanal businesses are a form of personal expression. This puts them in the Tatoos and T-Shirts realm -- they will have rituals surrounding them to make the activity even more beautiful than pragmatic necessity calls for.

o the second will be barriers to entry. The people doing artisanal businesses will develop certifying rituals to keep "just anyone" out of the activity.

Entertainment, fashion and sports

What will happen to surprise in other activities, more socially-oriented activities? Will entertainment success become more predictable? What about fashion?

Both of these, because they are based on instinctive thinking, are likely to stay surprising.

...But they may not... because instinctive thinking is inherently simpler than analytic thinking. These activities may become more predictable by the 2050's because instinctive thinking can be well predicted by then.

But, as of 2016, what are hits and misses in fashion and entertainment are still surprising. I think there will still be surprises in these areas in 2050, but they will be different kinds of surprises.

Sports is an activity that will still surprise. It is a human-centric endeavor and many versions will remain so in the 2050's. (many won't because the humans participating will become so enhanced by their wearables) Because of all this humanness there will continue to be lots of surprises in sporting activities.

Gambling incarnations

What will people still want to be surprising? What styles of instinctive thinking support surprise?

Gambling does. So it is likely that lotteries and other more elaborate gambling systems, such as fantasy sports, will still be active. Once again, this is a case of "why not?" When TES is in place the necessities for living will come to a person whether they compulsively gamble, or not, so the penalty for over-gambling is not life threatening to the individual or their family or their community.

The important issue to a TES necessity class person is what they can gamble, not if they can gamble. There will still be excess, and there will still be moralizers who rail against it. But the penalty for excess is lifestyle threatening, not life threatening.

That said, some people will search for and find ways to gamble that are destructive because much of gambling is about the thrill of risk. The little old ladies that spend hours at a low-value slot machine aren't risking much damage, but someone who is robbing a bank certainly is.


There is going to be a lot less surprise in the lifestyles of 2050, but it won't disappear entirely. At the instinctive thinking level people expect surprises, and they like taking risks. The surprises will become more ritualized, like formal gambling, and less world-shakingly creative, like starting a high tech business.



--The End--