Do you ever imagine what it’ll be like to live as an uploaded disembodied mind inside a super-cooled super-computer on the surface of Saturn’s massive moon, Titan?
All the time.
Counting Crows concerts on demand. All you can eat Shake Shack. Unlimited pinball plays on Medieval Madness. Bunch of Zac Efrons walking around all over the place.
A perfect life inside a quantum computer run by a benevolent AI fully supported by self-replicating autonomous robots that do all the work for us mining the galaxy’s endless resources to make things endlessly ever more perfect for the human race.
It’s all possible, in theory. And we’re trending that way with technology. Hurtling toward a heaven of our own making.
Of course, there’s the sticky situation of whether or not human consciousness can actually be uploaded into a planet-sized server, and whether an all-powerful God would allow such a thing, but details.++
I told you in my 10 questions guest post at 1500days.com that I’d be talking about the future a lot more on my blog and how it relates to finance. Well…
Welcome to the far future, fool!
We’re well past the singularity, now, and man has melded mind with machine and chosen to live life in endless ecstasy. And…
The stock market is finally dead.
Matter of fact, money itself is obsolete. What use do we have for money when our friendly robot overlords have everything on automatic and we have everything our hearts desire at the tips of our digitized fingertips?
Friends, I say again…
Life will be glorious by the time the stock market finally flames out
I go to this happy place in my mind whenever I get a little jittery about the dizzying heights of the current market. Whenever I think the stock market is way too overvalued and it can’t possibly go any higher, whenever I’m too scared to put my money to work in the greatest wealth engine the world has ever known, I think of this theoretical and totally plausible far future. A glorious future where we calmly and casually set the stock market aside, because we simply have no use for it anymore.
When I get a little jittery about an overvalued stock market, I remind myself what the stock market represents. Only the sum total of human ingenuity and productivity and our relentless growth and development as a species.
Don’t believe me? Then, I invite you to read this fantastic Medium article on Why the Stock Market Always Goes Up in the Long Term. In it, the author examines the correlation between the growth of the S&P 500 and population and technological growth over time…
Spoiler alert: Everything curves up rather dramatically.
Then, I think about how far technology has yet to go to get to my dream distant future. I mean, we don’t even have flying cars. We’re not done until we have flying cars at least!
I think about how we’ve only just got a tiny little taste of the potential power of countless paradigm-shifting innovations that will soon touch almost every aspect of our lives.
Some innovations are so wild we really don’t know how to use them yet. Augmented reality anyone? Like when my sister put my face on her 3-year old daughter and sent that disturbing video clip to my phone portal. I do not endorse. Hear me?!
But I do endorse booster rockets that land themselves, apps that diagnose ear infections, pizza delivery drones, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
Speaking of reusable rockets. You are aware that we’re at the very beginning of a commercial space race, right? Perhaps you’ve seen that two of the worlds richest human beings are racing to be the first to place boots on places like Mars and The Moon.
Yes. There are publicly traded companies taking literal shots at the moon, right now.
But I’m even more interested in the companies that have eyes set on near-earth asteroids and eventually the asteroid belt and mining the wealth of resources out in the rest of the solar system. For those of you who think our growth is limited to the resources we can pull out of the Earth’s crust, I’d like to introduce you to an upstart company called SpaceFab.US+++, a real-life company that has a long-term goal of mining metal from asteroids and manufacturing structures in outer space. Just one of several startups trying to do such things.
And for an idea of the kind of super-structures and super-civilizations humankind may eventually build in space, binge-watch any number of Isaac Arthur’s genius futurism videos. He happens to be where I got the humans living in a super-cooled super-computer on Titan idea.
It’s all a long-winded way to say we haven’t even scratched the surface of human potential. And if you believe (like I do) that the stock market is the best reflection of this potential, then buckle up. The market is poised for a helluva gain and its relentless climb only ends when stocks are rendered obsolete in a utopian existence.
Of course, it could go the other way
Oh, the stock market could go down. Especially in the short term. It could be stuck in the doldrums for years before resuming its relentless climb. That’s why the money I put to work in the stock market is money I don’t plan to touch for a long time.
What I’m talking about above is that the long-term direction for the stock market is always up. That’s its natural direction, because it’s our natural state to keep innovating on previous innovations. And pretty soon technology just innovates on itself with hardly any help from us. Certainly scary in some ways (Hello, Skynet), but in many ways that’s what I’m banking on when I invest in the stock market for the long haul.
What if I’m wrong? What if the end of the stock market is not as happy as I imagine? What if the worst happens and the market crashes and can’t recover and we lose everything before we’re able to email Zac Efron’s brain to Titan?
Hmmm. That would suck.
Matter of fact, life would suck so much at that point we won’t give two shits about the balance in our portfolios or the Federal Reserve Notes in our savings accounts. Matter of fact, at that point, life would only be good for the smart few who invested in silver nickels and zombie-killing bullets (Well played doomsday survivalists. Well played).
Do you get what I’m trying to say, here?
No. You won’t be glad you sat in the “safety” of your low-yield savings account on the sidelines if the market crashes to zero. Because in a scenario where the stock market tanks and never recovers, civilization as we know it is in deep trouble. The banks are quite literally burning. Something really bad has happened and the leftover humans have switched from striving to simply surviving.
Think zombie apocalypse, alien invasion, a second Trump term (oh, you know I had to).
What about a period of prolonged stagnation? What if we just stopped innovating for a really long time?
Look around. The flywheel is already going. Inertia is on the side of the innovators. And technology is accelerating everything. There is absolutely nothing to suggest that trend won’t continue. And any force strong enough to stop it is just too catastrophic to dwell on.
I for one, choose to think positively, dear readers (even though I’m generally a negative person), to keep myself from getting squeamish about contributions to my 401k or other stock portfolios when CNBC screams “all-time high”.
I just remind myself that the stock market can, in fact, continue its relentless march upwards. It should continue to be the very best generator of wealth over the long term. And when the party finally ends, I’ll see everybody at the after-party on Titan!
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+ I am not a financial expert. Don’t take this as advice about what to do with your money. I just like to muse out-loud about what the future might mean for my money.
++ If consciousness is just the manifestation of neurons talking with each other, it probably is possible to transfer it to a machine. Just mimic the conditions in our brain with a hundred quadrillion or so silicon switches and slowly transfer thoughts and memories. Easy.
If consciousness is more metaphysical, part of a soul from a higher dimensional plane, then it might be much harder to cross the digital divide. I’m in this camp. But it’s still fun to think about living inside a computer.
+++ Full disclosure. I am an investor in SpaceFab.US through the Wefunder equity crowdfunding portal. I’ll take any chance I get to plug them. SpaceFab.US is not a publicly traded company.