When robots liberate us from drudgery, when a guaranteed basic income redistributes economic wealth and will stimulate a post-productive relation with work, how will we consume and produce?
Consumption and production are the two sides of that make the economy go round. But when the scarcity mind-set (“there is never enough”) wanes and is replaced by an abundance mind-set (“there is enough”) production and consumption will change accordingly. Production growth won’t be the driving rationale of business, but rather increasing the quality of production. Consumption will change from a means to exhibit your buying power, to a means to relate meaningfully to yourself and your environment.
Monnik’s World Tree Model (WTM) suggest that the abundance mind-set is already present in developed economies. Especially urban cultures use consumption and production as means to relate meaningfully to the world. Work needs to express passions and worldviews. How and what is consumed show a shift in social status from ‘I Have’ to ‘I Am’. The emergence and increasingly mainstream appeal of values like sustainability, fairtrade, authenticity, open source, creative commons, local, artisanal and craft production are signifiers of this.
Technologically there is a shift happening,known as Industry 4.0, that would make it possible to return manufacturing to urban cores. Where machines used to need lots of space, strict safety measures, high capacity power, they can now operate on a smaller space, they are aware of their surroundings and can operate at normal grid power.
Shops become Workshops
In Shop become Workshops we show the convergence of technological developments, an abundance economy and a societal dynamic that show work and life in a situation where ‘I Am’ trumps ‘I Have’. Today’s strict separation of the sphere’s of work, leisure and education have dissolved into a more fluid and locally rooted environment where the obsession with ‘production growth’ has been replace with growing a web a meaningful relationships with things, people and nature.
The Toolbot combines ambient and tactile awareness of its environment with industrial speed and precision. Thus it can work together closely with humans, from which it learns new skills and procedures. Or it may download skills for new tasks downloaded from the AI-Cloud from a third party or the guild.
With the integration of AGI and advanced robotics into the economy the educational system was reformed to focus on skill acquisition and bildung. Mental, manual and social skills now exist on a levelled playing field. Degrees and diploma’s based on standardized testing is a thing of the past, rather peer-communities like guilds form communities of practice that cultivate knowledge, skill and provide training. From farming to rocket science, and bar-keeping to programming.
This bot is comfortable working with any kind of tool that people use. It slides over the workbench along its overhead rail, and can easily reach for tools and materials above and below the bench. Like most bench bots, it is connected to its Cloud Guild where knowledge of the Guild is pooled, and a catalogue of vernacular patterns and techniques may be accessed.
A community of practice organized around skill, education and knowledge. From historical documents and tools to a rich collection of neural net patterns. The Cloud Guild is as involved in training their AI’s with unique and cutting-edge skills, as in training apprentices and masters to keep pushing their particular craft forward.
The increasing desire to relate to our environment in a meaningful way shift our attention from global lifestyle brands to local brands, designs and materials. Local aesthetics, forgotten designs and traditional patterns formed the basis for a revival of localized styles. A continuous dialogue between local users and makers updated designs and evolved traditional styles into the contemporary.
On-demand Service Bot
A flexible and on-demand army of humanoid bots populate the city scape. A fluid pool of labor that runs errands in the immediate vicinity. Some neighborhoods have their own bots common, each with bot with a personality of their own. Others work with one of the global platforms like TaskRabbit.
Master of Craft
Master titles of Craft, Law, Science, Arts or otherwise are granted by communities of learning and practicing based on experience and mastery of skill, rather than successfully completing a standardized test. These communities, or Cloud Guilds, are not just a facility for education or just representing the interests of employers. They are loosely organized groups of practitioners gathered around an idea of how and why they practice their craft.
Autonomous Delivery Car
Global logistics will connects to the city through a network of self-driving delivery vans. For this and other autonomous automobility scenario’s see ideo’s automobility concepts.
Relationships between shopkeepers and patrons, makers and users, producers and consumers have experienced a renaissance. Sustained dialogue and feedback results in personalization of products and relationships that go beyond the mere exchange goods for money. Transactional relationships provide meaningful experiences for buyer and seller. The patron-shopkeeper relationship form a virtuous circles of the joy of producing and consuming good products.
At an early age children engage with various skills, tools and environments. Tinkering, making and playing form crucial experiences, and teach children about the how the world works and how they can engage with it through acquiring embodied knowledge of it. Hacking, farming, crafting, designing and engineering all provide different relations with the man-made and natural world, and children can explore these in the different workshops, labs, greenhouses, libraries and holodecks in the neighborhood. Many of these theme’s are explored in the Skill City project initiated by Henk Oosterling.