Who Will Prosper in the New World?

Tyler Cowen, writing in The New York Times, hypothesizes on who will prosper in the next generation. This is a very good post in entirety, but my favorite three points below:

THE CONSCIENTIOUS Within five years we are likely to have the world’s best education, or close to it, online and free. But not everyone will sit down and go through the material without a professor pushing them to do the work.

Those who are motivated to use online resources will do much, much better in the generations to come. It’s already the case that the best students from India are at the top in many Coursera classes, putting America’s arguably less motivated bright young people to shame. “Free” doesn’t really help you if you don’t make an effort.


PEOPLE WHO LISTEN TO COMPUTERS
 Your smartphone will record data on your life and, when asked, will tell you what to do, drawing on data from your home or from your spouse and friends if need be. “You’ve thrown out that bread the last three times you’ve bought it, give it a pass” will be a text message of the future. How about “Now is not the time to start another argument with your wife”? The GPS is just the beginning of computer-guided instruction.

Take your smartphone on a date, and it might vibrate in your pocket to indicate “Kiss her now.” If you hesitate for fear of being seen as pushy, it may write: “Who cares if you look bad? You are sampling optimally in the quest for a lifetime companion.”Those who won’t listen, or who rebel out of spite, will be missing out on glittering prizes. Those of us who listen, while often envied, may feel more like puppets with deflated pride.


PEOPLE WHO DON’T NEED MONEY 
We are used to thinking in terms of rich, poor and middle class, but those categories will change. Berlin’s eastern neighborhoods and Williamsburg, Brooklyn, are a window onto our future. These urban areas are full of people who are bright, culturally literate, Internet-savvy and far from committed to the idea of hard work directed toward earning a good middle-class living. We’ll need a new name for the group of people who have the incomes of the lower middle class and the cultural habits of the wealthy or upper middle class. They will spread a libertarian worldview that working for other people full time is an abominable way to get by.

Read the rest here.

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