“Liberty, freedom, justice. Now things have changed. Now everything comes to us on a platter. Man’s got nothing left to fight for.” — Logan’s Run
In the classic 1967 novel Logan’s Run the world of 2116 is an idyllic place where people have a blissful existence, total freedom and a ‘Thinker’ (artificial intelligence) that makes all decisions. It’s a vision not dissimilar to that of many prominent ‘techno-optimists’, including Andrew McAfee, Erik Brynjolfsson, Alec Ross and Peter Diamandis, who envision future technological advances that reduce the need for human effort. In their future world, humans will receive a ‘guaranteed minimum income’ (i.e. free money) so they can be free to paint, contemplate the universe, recite Plato and eat grapes. But perhaps there is one small catch these techno-optimists should consider as part of their Logan’s Run-esque utopia: When the good people of 2116 turn 21, they must voluntarily go to a ‘sleep shop’ and kill themselves.
This reminds me a bit of how some people fear the potential elimination of certain commercial real estate sectors from the forces of technology. It’s true that new forms of technology, led by the internet, wifi and its progeny the ‘sharing economy’, may reduce the need for brick-and-mortar retail and office property. Taking the technology argument to its logical extreme, the only forms of commercial real estate that may be absolutely necessary are industrial (a place to store stuff) and multifamily (a place to live).