The world is going through an acceleration of change. This rapid change is causing a paradigm shift, a radical transition of institutions and culture. Here are the key changes leading this shift.
The widespread adoption of remote work is creating a transient society and empowering a gig economy. Access to and the creation of information is increasingly abundant. And as a result, fads come and go at a rate more rapid than ever. What’s popular today is increasingly not so popular tomorrow. Our near constant access to the internet and growing computer power is creating a new type of digital transhumanism. Meaning the phone in your pocket now functions more as a second brain than as a means for amusement.
These simple facts are driving deep changes in society. And while many people are resistant to these changes and the constant bombardment of “new” things, the accelerating change signals that a Digital Age paradigm shift is well underway.
Remote Work Will Create a Transient Society
One benefit of the pandemic is that it accelerated adoption of remote work, a trend already underway. Now that many have conducted work remotely for almost an entire year, a process that was at first painful is now the preferred method. At least in some hybrid way, we can expect the shift to remote work will be permanent.
With this permanent shift, we will see a new phenomenon emerge. The relationships between employees and companies will change and be marked by less loyalty. Less time spent together in an office setting around the water cooler will lead to weaker relationships. And as remote work expands, hierarchical needs within organizations will change. Communications and organization skills becomes more important than political posturing and competitive games. ie: With remote work organizations, you show up and do the work, then leave.
Because of remote work teams communicate in new ways. The logistics of large meetings are more challenging. Organizing team members to collaborate remotely is challenging when balancing new & simultaneous tasks like child education. It emphasizes new organizational structures that empower clear, concise communications and empowers employees to make more decisions.
As a result, employees will face more novel problems and less routine. They will need to think critically, quickly making decisions on their feet, without the usual top down command structure. If you have to wait to get permission in a remote setting, coordinating across time zones to get multiple permissions, you needlessly slow the business down.
Remote work will cause both companies and employees to reassess their wants and needs for the long term. We’ll find that companies want different skills for managers and their employees. And many managers will find the communication and organizational skills required of remote oriented teams to be an undesirable challenge. We can expect a high rate of turnover over the next few years as workers seek out more compatible opportunities.
Incorporated Lifestyles Will Break Government Policies
And as remote workers seek out more compatible career opportunities, society will experience a renaissance in gig and freelance styles of work. A merging of the old and the new styles of entrepreneurship. Employees will frequently start at a company in a full time role only to leave after realizing it’s not the ideal fit. As they opt to leave, companies will become more comfortable asking them to consult on a temporary, project basis.
And this project based freedom supports a multiple income portfolio strategy that will be enticing for workers. This is a byproduct of building comfort with remote communications and building trust remotely over the pandemic year.
Healthcare & Tax
In this sense, more people will invest in themselves by creating their own LLC’s for tax, long term financial planning, and liability protections. As a deeper consequence, remote work will break up traditional tax and healthcare policies as more people adopt an incorporated lifestyle.
Governments will be forced to adapt laws and policy frameworks to accommodate this new style of living. And healthcare companies will be forced to adjust business models to support the flow of their customer base from the old model of living to the new.
As more people take on project based work on a global scale, it will change the financial services industries especially banking. Digital wallets and mobile payment solutions will become common at the business level. Businesses will increasingly “Venmo” project based consultants for their work. This will also include payments in cryptocurrencies as a new means of compensation. Not because of anonymity but because of ease and convenience. Governments will need to adapt their financial oversite to this shifting need.
We’ve spent a year working remotely and now that we know it works, why would we ever agree to go back completely to what was? These shifts indicate that we are accelerating towards a new cultural revolution. And I don’t mean this in the violent sense. More so in the massive change that society will experience as a result of the permanent 2nd and 3rd order changes remote work brings.
The Value of the Lindy Effect In A Transient Society
As a society experiencing accelerating change – we are so desperate for anything that stays constant. The things and processes that provide a sense of steady normalcy because everything seems to change all the time. Most people are not accustomed to the type of critical thinking needed to navigate a constantly changing environment.
In fact, many people just want to be told what to do. They want the operating system and playbook for their life. And so, any information that adheres to the lindy effect is desirable. ie: the longer it survives, the more likely it is to continue to survive. These people want to learn things that have longevity.
As an example because the rate of information growth is expanding, the paperback book is becoming obsolete. Instead. the digital or e-book is a better method of delivery precisely because it can be regularly updated with current facts. The e-book may not be lindy in it’s original form but it can be updated to maintain it’s relevance to society.
In an increasingly transient society, people will crave simple processes, consistency, and a predictable simplicity to what they consume.
Digital Age Transhumanism – Second Brains
Marc Andreesen recently said, “Writing was the first form of transhumanism”. In the context of his commentary, he meant that writing provided a means to have our ideas and sense of self live forever.
He was talking about transhumanism, which is the human goal of using technology to enhance personal capabilities. Performance enhancing drugs and the pursuit of immortality are common examples of transhumanist efforts.
In the digital age, your phone and computer have become a mental prostheses and transhumanist enhancement. These devices perform calculations and memory functions so you no longer have to. Instead, you can now look to enhance how you think, how you create, and how you can use the phone/computer/internet as your force multiplier for those activities.
The implications for society and culture are vast. Working side by side with an increasing amount of computing power and memory recall, the digital age is above all the beginning of a digitally enhanced transhumanist revolution.
The moral questions of this digital age become whether it’s fair or right to allow students to use performance enhancing computers on school tests. (they will ultimately use them in all other facets of their lives). Is it ok to become so reliant on artificial computing power to enhance our daily functions? What are the unintended 2nd and 3rd order consequences of a society increasingly reliant on computers for daily function?
The Digital Age Paradigm Shift
We have leapt over the fence marking society of the past and are racing with increasing speed towards our inevitable future. What we can expect from looking ahead is near constant change. Lifestyles of adaptability and willingness to try new things will do well in this environment. And despite the rapid breakdown of traditional institutions that is inevitable from such rapid change, the future and what it means for society looks bright.
Embrace change because it’s inevitable. Adopt the new ways of life such as remote work as they become available. Take comfort in knowing that knowledge and processes that survived hundreds of years will probably continue to survive. But most importantly, embrace the transhumanist mindset of the digital age. These changes are coming whether we like them or not.
I’m building a digital age worldview. Every Monday, I write and curate a publication called The Sovereign Individual. A weekly newsletter that includes news roundups and analysis to help digital age workers adapt and thrive in our changing society. Topics intersect at geopolitics, fintech, crypto, individual responsibility, and personal freedom. Don’t get left behind, subscribe below.