- Life extension and its relation to long-term planning;
- Outcompeting future competitors in the present;
- Focusing on knowledge with the longest ‘half-life’;
- Compounding knowledge and money.
This chapter is a follow-up from the chapter ‘09/17/2019 — Preparing for the Future, Technological Singularity’
The other thing I think is important, is to already right now take into the factor that the increase of the average life span will be higher than the time that passes by within this century, or in other words, every year that passes by, your life expectancy increases with more than a year. We practically won’t die because of a ‘natural death’. We will, instead, speak of a half-life, meaning the probability that you will die at a certain age e.g. being 200 years old makes you at that moment have a probability of 10% to die within the same year, either because of a car accident or something else that does not constitute our current definition of ‘natural death’.
Why already take this factor into account? Because it allows you to prepare right now before most people will in terms of planning long-term or gaining long-term knowledge. Or in other words, before your competition will.
Now, the next question is of course, whether there will be competition at all in the way we experience it right now: between individuals. Maybe we will connect our minds together and become one collective or many different collectives all having their origin from humanity, so there might still be competition, just not the way we experience it right now. The probability of something alternatively happening like that is, of course, not 100%, so it is not completely useless if we try to outcompete our future competitors in the present, when there is a possibility the future didn’t unfold the way we or I expected, and therefore prepared for.
So taken the main factor into account from the subchapter “Half-life and ‘natural death”, what can we do to prepare not only earlier than our competitors, but also more efficiently or better? Well, a nice possibility is to learn knowledge with the longest half-life, or in other words, learning information that won’t change or be disproven in a very long time.
“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.” — Socrates
Or something psychologists say:
“The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.” — Carl Jung
And to try to find knowledge that will last and be applicable for a very long time. Seeking first principles, something that Elon Musk does, is also a good way.
Some examples about first principles or fundamentals:
The inside-out mindset → to focus first on that which is most within your control before focusing on that which is least within your control
A quote that follows the inside-out mindset:
“You are only responsible for your effort, not the outcome.”
Effort → most within your control
Outcome → least within your control
…And so on.
I would recommend reading this article to know more about the half-life of knowledge:
https://medium.com/accelerated-intelligence/the-math-behind-the-5-hour-rule-why-you-need-to-learn-1-hour-per-day-just-to-stay-relevant-90007efe6861 — The Math Behind The 5-Hour Rule: Why You Need To Learn 1 Hour Per Day Just To Stay Relevant
Another way to outcompete our future competitors, is to make sure that the knowledge you learn can be used to learn new things faster. Connecting and building chunks of knowledge upon other chunks of knowledge. This book tells more about the idea and how to make chunks, which can accelerate assimilating new information faster and faster:
Another way is to make more money of the money you have. Warren Buffett is the most excellent example I can think of that has done this very well. Now, I want to be a bit careful with this subchapter, because the notion we currently have about our main currency ‘money’ might as well be different in the future. Maybe money won’t exist at all or maybe there will be a universal basic income, the latter which is an obvious element in a post-scarcity civilization.
This documentary speaks about a society that doesn’t run on money and how it can thrive:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yb5ivvcTvRQ — The Choice is Ours (2016) Official Full Version
Let’s do some calculations based on a 6% yearly return on investment. Let’s say you invest $1000 in a S&P 500 by Vanguard. The calculation you make is, 1000 times 1.06t where t represents time in years.
30 years would give us this calculation: 1000×1.0630=5743.49
Now, let us take into account that we will become 200 years old, and most likely, even older than that, we get the calculation:
So yeah, that is a pretty big number from just a small 1000 dollar investment.
One must remember that the average citizen and even poor citizens in first-world countries are living lives that would equal or even triumph that of Roman emperors, so a universal basic income could be more than enough to live off. There’s no need to hurry and make as much money as possible if all you want is to enjoy life and contribute to humanity, you can easily do that without much money in the future. Even if money still exists, you can outcompete others on other areas of course.
So I hope these two chapters about ‘preparing for the future’ gives some nice food for thought.