Those who have power will do anything to keep that power; with abundant and free information, fake news and misinformation will be used to control the masses.
Probably the world will be in such a state that:
1. Most of the rules in society will not make sense but you will accept them anyway simply because everyone else accepts them and there will be a lot of myths and misinformation to justify the rules.
2. Not believing the myths and not following the rules will get you imprisoned or killed (as has typically been the case throughout human history).
I think 'government regulation' is increasingly taking the place of religious doctrine when it comes to protecting the interests of the rich and powerful. There are a lot of arbitrary laws which were introduced under some vague pretext whose real purpose is to create a moat to protect corporate interests.
What will be interesting to see is how the governments keep finding the money.
i) Human working population is shrinking, but robots are rising. Remember this person doesn't exist
(but they look much like the real thing). See Boston Dynamics's Atlas, Spot etc. So, yeah, don't worry about demographics. Robots & robot assistants will multiply like rabbits (or rather like Windows 10 SW). This will overcompensate for the drop in working population.
2) Inequality is real. It's extremely dangerous and getting worse (tax cuts anyone?). But that doesn't mean it will reverse itself anytime soon. Most of humanity lived in bare subsistence levels vs the rich during majority of human history. If anything, equality is an aberration from the norm.
3) Access to information is awesome. This means governments & powers that be are hard at work stopping it :) Censure, regulation, control will be the norm going forward. Wild-west attitude towards information dissemination will reverse course.
I'm sure improvements in technology and production played some part...
Typically? You wish!
Look at what happened in many states of Latin America. They have huge inequality problem. And they are not closer to solving it than they were half a century ago.
What IMHO usually happens is the rise of authoritarian populism. Until the inequality is addressed, it might then oscillate between fascism (like Pinochet) and populist-socialism (like Chavez).
P.S. I like the blog post overall, except it completely ignores the ecological crisis and global warming.
1) Humanities general inability to foresee the future.
2) The surprising resistance of political bodies to trying new things when the current method 'seems to be working'.
I've come around to the idea that China's 1 Child Policy was a a very responsible idea. It was probably executed with the characteristic horrors of an authoritarian government - but the idea that population is just going to sort itself out is imprudent.
There are 3 futures. One where population naturally levels off and finds a sustainable level, one where growth turns out to be truly exponential in defiance of physical limits and one where a lot of people discover they can't be supported by what is on offer and die of starvation or violence.
The good news is that is 2 happy endings to 1 bad one. But humanity has a very long history of need-resource-access-driven violence and evolutionary factors will push us back there if it isn't politically resisted at a grand scale.
I think it's going to be incredibly challenging to avoid potentially catastrophic harm to the environment due to politics and incentive structures. As far as food goes, beef and pistachios stand out to me as particularly environmentally harmful/wasteful, due to methane from cows and enormous water requirements for nuts, and it's not clear that anyone can change incentive structures to sufficiently change peoples' habits regarding these foods. (though in the grand scheme of things my understanding is beef and pistachios pale in comparison to habits such as flying for climate change.) I usually see people who think about this topic discourage the idea of technological development as a magic bullet, but I'm biased in this direction (it's also fitting for people who read hacker news) -- advances like impossible foods are inspiring to me. They've created "fake meat" aimed at traditional meat-eaters, allowing people like me to keep our luxurious food preferences in a manner that's much more environmentally friendly. They've had an impressive amount of success so far, with deals with chains like Burger King. If they can convert a sizable fraction of meat-eaters, they will have made an enormous impact on climate change.
You're putting it mildly. The second scenario is a delusional fantasy, I don't understand how it can be mentioned seriously.
We may end up closer to the first scenario thanks to the prospects of the third one. I hope we do.
(Can't link to the specific stat, but take a look here for raw data and projections https://population.un.org/wpp/DataQuery/)
the authors discuss & model different interventions & policies that could be put in place to try to prevent the "overshoot and collapse" type scenario where human population peaks and then crashes.
some academics argue that things are tracking somewhat consistently with projections of the modelling from 50 years ago: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/02/limits...
a lot of the critique of the "limits to growth" modelling is of the form "a crash in global population was predicted by time T, but that didn't happen", but the modelling doesn't really try to make predictions in terms of specific events happening at specific timescales, it's focused on understanding the underlying behaviour based on the structure of the system.
I think theres a 4th future, which is that natural selection and evolution ultimately control population on a global scale and is the single biggest factor influencing the world today.
The biggest, most important force shaping the world today is the invisible hand of evolution.