A hypothetical exploration of the world we are heading towards

There have been 3 major technology shifts since 2022. The market has weighted one much higher in terms of valuation - Artificial Intelligence. But a second, more subtle shift was the launch of the MetaQuest Pro and improvement of visual tracking in Virtual Reality. A third, and final tech change is the rise of ZK technology in cryptocurrency enabling highly scalable, verifiable and largely anonymous currency transactions.

These three technologies - AI, Virtual Reality, and ZK - will hyper accelerate a long running trend of atoms to bits.

Let me explain a vision of the future.

You’ll wake up in a low crime, low tax jurisdiction. Maybe Singapore, go grab a bite at a hawker stand. Granted it’s about 1 PM when you wake up because your entire team is globally distributed. You put on your AppleVisionPro headset when you come back and step into The Office District. The Office District resembles a MMORPG like World of Warcraft, but it’s focused on work. It’s run in an unholy partnership between Tencent, Microsoft, Apple and SAP. It spans every major continent of the world.

Around the Office District are vast golf courses where you can see some people are having business meetings. Golf works really well in virtual reality.

But you’re headed up to a Digital Skyscraper where your “office is”. You see other people on the way in. They’re not silly avatars like the original Meta Design. They look exactly like people. A vague glow is around biometrically verified avatars - those that match their physical appearance. Though this is not required it’s considered a taboo for humans to misrepresent themselves in work settings.

Indeed - some Avatars are AIs, who don’t have this glow. Hence the taboo. You might not be able to tell the difference otherwise.

As you’re walking into your office you hear only English. Despite the fact that the Office District has over 20 languages being spoken, it all gets translated in real time with AI. You can turn translations off, but why would you? Your team is partly Russian, partly Iranian and partly Chinese. You’re an American.

Outside of the language gap, it’s a bit awkward paying people. First of all, every major country has implemented CBDCs. The second you start accumulating a big balance in RMB, Dollars, Rubles etc - you instantly get inflated or even automatically taxed if your balance is big enough. Furthermore - your company can’t actually pay the Russian guy on the team using the CBDCs.

So the team denominates in cryptocurrency. Everyone uses it and supports it. Ethereum, Bitcoin and a few others plug directly into the HR software to ensure everyone gets paid on time. Most tech companies use ETH because people have written useful smart contracts for vesting equity etc and because most companies in the Office District are tech companies, ETH is the unofficial currency.

Sure it’s volatile, but generally over time it goes up and everyone is making enough money (let’s say $400-500k in 2023 US dollars) that a 30% fluctuation in either direction doesn’t move the needle that much as most team members are based in low cost locations like Argentina. Plus you also get an extra $200k of team equity via a token. Your token trades on decentralized crypto exchanges so if you want to cash out you kind of have to use crypto even if it’s a pain. Living in Singapore is expensive but you’re paranoid about crime and want a family, so it is what it is. Plus the whole crypto thing makes you even more paranoid about getting robbed/ losing your private keys etc.

Crime generally has ruined most major cities, including New York, San Francisco, Paris, and London. Constant riots, and a full scale collapse in the real life office districts compounded by the rioting and mugging have driven people away from working in Western Democracies. Basically there are 3 viable living situations:

  1. Gated neighborhoods in poorer areas where armed guards are allowed to act like policemen, including the use of weaponry
  2. Police states - Dubai and Singapore are the most popular, but many younger people prefer to work out of HK which is now under complete control of the CCP.
  3. Rural / small towns in the Democracies - the G10 team members mostly live far outside the city. Their cope is that self driving cars make commutes more tolerable, but most of them in practice don’t leave their farm houses

You prefer living in a police state - just because it’s a combination of good food, and real dating. There are rumors that AGI is just around the corner anyways, at which point there will be a world government and solve all this nonsense. But anyways - about ½ your team - especially the younger ones, don’t understand why you want real life women. They use sex apps, and have robotic AI driven companions that link with the apps to simulate something they insist is better than real life. The police states outright ban these Sex Apps - so things feel a lot more normal here. But back in places like Los Angeles, hopeless people are plugged into Sex Apps 24/7 collecting welfare, sometimes doing drugs. It’s dark.

You’re spacing out at your desk. Your boss (who is a digital avatar walks by) - “Whatcha doing there?”

You respond you were just thinking about the world. That’s fine, you’re a designer and product manager anyways. Most of your work involves using AI tools to improve 3d avatars that get rendered into the Sex Apps - though formally anybody can license these avatars.

“Word.” Your boss intones and says “Anyways the team is playing golf after work today, encourage you to stop by.”

You work pretty intense hours. Usually 10 hours a day. And the team is expected to hang out in various apps after work for 1-2 hours. These “hang out” sessions are either golf with the team, or going to virtual bars where other corporate metaverse denizens talk business. The entire thing is a non-stop networking event. Which is both cringeworthy, but also useful because everyone knows each other. Can change jobs easily if you need to.

Biologic intoxication meters are another interesting part of the Office District. The new headsets automatically breathalyze you so if you’re at a bar you can’t just pretend to drink.

It’s also common to have lunch with the team. Your headset can pick up the food you’re eating, and render it to other teammates. So you’ll sit at your kitchen table and everyone else can see what you’re eating, and vice versa.

The work-life balance thing that was happening with remote work initially is long gone. You’ll grind til 11 pm or so, hang out til 1 AM or so. Go to bed by 4 AM. Your girlfriend works similar hours at a Digital Fashion house and Singapore is actually cool/ nice at these hours so it’s not the worst thing in the world. Because you’re talking and using the kitchen, she has to be in a separate flat all day.

She wants to travel to Bali next weekend - but tickets are enormously expensive. The equivalent of $10k in 2023 US dollars. Even though the flights are only a couple hours, governments have their hooks in the airlines and force them to pay large carbon taxes to operate. This has effectively killed the tourism business, leaving it to be a hobby of the elite. The people who can’t afford it just drown their worries away in headsets while the rich influencers have less crowded beaches as a result. Maybe it’s a win win, but you miss the old days of your childhood when flights were something everyone did.

She’s a child of a “Family” - which essentially is a group of people who were key to one of the 3 main industries before massive fiat currency devaluation (crypto, artificial intelligence, virtual reality). The Families have multi-generational wealth but are notoriously stingy with things like travel, as they tend to be socially conservative. So she can easily spend $10,000 on a bag that she likes (whether physical or digital) but not traveling with a boyfriend.

You’d think she could sneak - that crypto would have made everything anonymous, but it mostly just shields transactions from governments. Because the entire economy operates at the app layer, corporations still know everything you buy and measure everything you even think about buying with your eye motion. Members of the Family can just turn on a setting to ensure they can track all of your girlfriends purchases in exchange for her generous allowance. There is so much multi-generation wealth in the Families that her job is more of a signaling mechanism to ensure that she gets her inheritance than a way for her to actually generate income.

Your girlfriend spends an enormous amount of money on her digital avatar, digital fashion and an entire world that’s beyond your pay grade. You met her in the office district. Many unemployed, luxe daughters of Families do hang out at the bars there.

She mostly dates you because you’re not addicted to the Sex Apps - so in a way you’re similar to one of her handbags (a status symbol). Her mother is always saying how she’s way out of your league and decrying the state of modern men. You always listen patiently when she does this. Due to advances in genetic editing technology, you’re likely going to be stuck with her for a long time if you play your cards right. Members of the Families are, for all intensive purposes, immortals.

They have nanobots in their bloodstreams that detect if one of their organs is malfunctioning, as well as continuously optimized diets, exercise plans, and customized drug regimes. And if something does go wrong, there are immediate peptide or stem cell therapies that get applied. Your girlfriend - you’re pretty sure though you haven’t asked - is genetically modified so she doesn’t ever get sick and essentially doesn’t age.

The main purpose in life of anybody outside of a Family - is either to forget about their sorrows immersed in the apps, or to become a member of a Family. You’re obviously going for the latter, but honestly, you actually like your girlfriend.

You sigh. You’re daydreaming again, and the Project Manager AIs at work play back your entire interaction with your job to produce your weekly performance review. You turn on pass-through mode on your headset and step out into the humid Singapore air on your balcony looking out over the City as you type on your digital keyboard. The scent of parathas wafts up. You see in the corner of your notifications that your girlfriend has sent you a video of her with her new favorite purse walking the long haired chihuahua you share - Daisy. Daisy is skipping and prancing in the fresh air after the rain, her long ears flopping about as she does so. In the back of your head you’re a little annoyed that Daisy makes as much money as you do in impression revenue from X. But indeed, life ain’t so bad.