Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

What Does The Future Hold? More Service! – Neal Dixit

About a month ago, I was discussing the new technology of self-driving cars with my VISTA supervisor over lunch. Although it will surely make millions of jobs unnecessary (e.g. taxi drivers, truck drivers), I am a big proponent of this automation, as it will create billions of dollars of economic value. The notion of a new era of automation and high efficiency technology got me thinking what this would mean for the future of service. I could only conclude one thing: more service!

Advancing technology does three major things for us, which will all contribute to allowing us to participate in more service. More automation will mean less time operating machines and more free time for service. Further, newer technology will create economic value, therein wealth, which will allow us to work less to satisfy the same needs. This in turn will mitigate the disincentive to provide voluntary work. Finally, in the future our lives will be much easier which will encourage us to seek satisfaction and challenges through participating in service projects.

Our time spent working has decreased precipitously as technological innovations have developed. Take a look at the following graph showing how we work less now than ever. In the future, we will be working even less:

average-hours-worked

With that reduced work time we are provided more leisurely time. Check out the growth of our leisurely time over the last century:

Screen Shot 2013-05-29 at 12.04.23 PM

Besides more leisurely time, new technology increases economic value, which will allow us to live easier lives. Easier lives allow us to do more of the things we feel are important to us, including service. The following graph shows the five-fold increase in GDP per capita in the United States over the last century. This will undoubtedly continue into the future:

US_GDP_per_capita

In short, new technologies will allow us to have more free time, along with easier lives, which will allow us to participate in more community service.

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