The Future (Location) of Work
In this post, I will discuss why I expect work in the Virtual Age to be very different from work in the Industrial Age as it exists today.
By the dawn of the Virtual Age in the early 2040s, the majority of “real world” jobs that exist today will likely have either been automated or have gone obsolete, due in large part to the effects of the virtual reality spiral. Fortunately, virtual reality technologies should also have vastly expanded human job creation capabilities by this point. As a result, the most surprising thing about a typical job in the 2040s is not what it will be but where it will be located. Most human work in the Virtual Age will take place in virtual reality environments.
In the Virtual Age, I expect that the vastly increased access to experiences that virtual reality and other technologies will provide will have resulted in very high living standards around the globe. People will likely spend the bulk of both their work and leisure time in immersive virtual reality environments, enabling them to subjectively experience a much higher quality of life than is possible today, while generating a smaller aggregate ecological footprint.
Private sector jobs and companies will also of course still exist in the Virtual Age. However, the private sector is likely to be much smaller than the public sector, after having shrunk during the economic turmoil of the virtual reality spiral. As public works programs will most likely have to be used to offset private sector job losses during the virtual reality spiral, I expect the public sector to be the largest employer in the Virtual Age.