I do feel like we are decades away from being able to create a leisure economy, and I think it’s a necessity.
On the epoch of the information age, we have been doubling our ability to store, archive and create data. We do it on blogs, on social networks and as we browse each website, and as we search via google. We are creating data from satellites, from outside our solar system and we are creating data at home with phones, camcorders, games, and cameras.
As a software engineer I think that we are upon an age of personal manufacturing and automation like we can not even begin to imagine. With so much data, and so many opportunities to create, organize and discover what all of this data we are entering into an age that demands creativity. It won’t be the means of ‘work’ or ‘production’ that enables great ideas to flourish, but how we share, discuss and appropriate resources to those ends.
We will demand creative solutions to existing problems rather than productivity. The means of creativity might be described as prolific, but not as something that can be measured in hours. I think going forwards as more jobs implore creative solutions, will will find that productive work will be taken over by systems that can be automated. Our network should start to fall, while our creative means will be required to increase.
Centuries ago economist and philosophers would talk of the leisure economy, but it was something that only the aristocrats could participate in, however, those that did, designed the 1st telescopes to explore the stars and the first microscopes to explore our cells. We had an age of enlightenment like never before in our history. Today we are on such a dawn, such an age where all of us should have the creative freedom to explore again, to investigate the vary nature of our world and to share in the tools to do it.
Software like Code Academy, Udemy, are putting classes online and disseminating knowledge like never before, while tools like ‘Light-Table’ will make it easier for anyone to understand how programing works. Did you ever wonder how someone might reconfigure a warp coil in 15 min on Star Trek? I can tell you that if they had to use the software debugging tools we have today, that it would always take hours. In the future we will have tools that as you work, as you create, as you think through a problem we will have smart agents that understand us and will test out millions of variants as part of that dialogue between us and our computer counterparts. Debugging and analytics of our designs will be a solve problem, we will measure everything in a simulation and we will be able to predict with ease the results of our creative effort.
The a new age of creativity and leisure is upon us. Those that wish to experience it first will find a way to limit their own ‘productive’ work, and will increase their creative means.