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Edward Riseman
Edward Riseman 6 June 2017

Never Mind the 2017 UK General Election - What about the 2067 one?

Technology keeps appearing as an election theme - from Wilson's "White Heat of Technology" in the 60's to today's "Digital Economy" . With that in mind, and keeping an eye on today's new technology, let's fast forward 50 years to see how it pans out.

With the UK 2017 election just days away we thought it might be fun to do some forecasts on themes for an election 50 years forward. In 2067 the tech just beginning to make its presence felt today like Artificial Intelligence, Chatbots, Driverless Cars, Predictive Technology, Robotic Automation might dominate the political landscape.

The Bot Tax

Shoshana Zuboff predicted in her 1988 book In the Age of the Smart Machine, “everything that can be automated will be automated”, so with that in mind and with robots now running the supply chain, is it time that the Robot Worker Tax is increased to include overtime and week-end’s?  

The Robots Rights Party object based on the principle of “no taxation without representation”.

If it does come into the political fold, the ‘Cyber’ vote could displace the ‘Grey’ vote as the politician’s favourite.

Nana goes AI

Chatbots and voice interface AI are big in 2017 and getting bigger according to Mary Meeker. In 2067, however, they might be so powerful as to blur the lines between life and death.  In 2067 we’ll replicate not just voices but upload a loved one's entire personalities into spoken word devices.

That’s right with the rise of chatbots, death is no longer a defined end. 

In 2067 Nana no longer lives on in a vase. Rather she lurks grumpily within a smart speaker, launching unasked for opinions, the same opinions she refuses to update ever since her hipster 2020's. 

She moves from smart speaker, appearing on your connected TV momentarily only to inhabit your Echo Look, passing comment on your children’s wardrobe. She is now free to roam through your entire connected home in her demi-embodied state, a futuristic poltergeist, even more omniscient now than in her ‘meat life’.

Her latest topic is The Forever Present Party. It advocates the establishment of a National Register to ensure the welfare of replicated personalities that have been cyberized into hand held and home devices.

The Chameleon Garment Tax

With the introduction of nanoparticles, by 2067 clothing/accessories could change style, colour and even size, should a ‘material change of use’ tax be introduced to mitigate the fall in retail sales tax revenue?

The Neutral Party argue this adds another layer of unnecessary cost to the daily wardrobe struggle.

Birth Tax

The Fixed Term Tax Party advocates a lifetime personal tax bill be set at birth. It is like a fixed term mortgage, in a sense, and calculated on projected and real-life outcomes. 

A new and audacious concept, FTT, will appeal to fans of the dystopian future first outlined in Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

In fact, think of FTT as performance related pay, except for tax. Discounts will apply for good grades and staying out of trouble. Promotions at work, Instagram likes and digitally monitored workouts will all earn money off.

The party’s digital campaign ‘#FTTFTW’ has drawn historical comparisons with the worst hashtag of all time, deployed in 2017 by Mexican politico Javier Zapata.

Road Safety

With driver-less cars now standard for over 30 years, road deaths and road accidents have been all but eliminated.

This, sadly, has been at the cost of excitement. A worldwide, real time transport blockchain authorises every manoeuvre. Every left turn, every over take is part of a deadening digital command sequence, overseen by a traffic cop of cosmic proportions.

Humans sitting in this over monitored traffic have had enough. The next breakthrough could be the car that can hard brake at high speeds without breaking your neck. The Live Fast Party advocate removing the old-fashioned concept of Speed Limits allowing road speeds up to 200 kpm.

Travel

10 of the 15 parliamentary parties support the completion of the transatlantic tunnel which promises to deliver passengers from London to NYC in 54 minutes.  As construction is now in its 20th year, The Go West Party promise 2099 as the launch date.  Debates rage as to our ability to withstand travel at 3000 miles an hour in a debate not dissimilar to Stephenson’s Rocket 238 years earlier.

Government

With fixed term limits finally introduced into the House of Lords after discussions that began in 1911, the public’s imagination has been fired up by their new name … The Time Lords. 

Reader, you might consider our predictions far-fetched, but consider the facts … to mitigate the replacement of human capital with automated labour, Governments around the world are already reviewing how a form of income tax can be applied to robot workers once capital cost is covered.   

With Alexa, Siri and Echo now taking on the role of a digital voice activated assistant and ongoing research into the workings of the human brain, is it really so difficult to imagine being able to introduce a truly replicated version based on a dead relative still playing a part in your life.

Setting your Income Tax Rate for life at Birth sounds far-fetched, but with progress made on longevity and other predictive technology, could it be a revenue forecasting model for future governments?

Driverless Cars are here already and even by 2030 will be a common feature on the roads but with an emphasis on traffic management and safety.  Surely it’s not out of bounds to hope that once the total infrastructure is in place we can all speed up a bit!

A train tunnel under the Atlantic – sounds like the realms of science fiction but the idea was first floated in 1888 and numerous patents have already been issued.    Vactrains and The Hyperloop are two systems considered feasible and several companies are actively testing & modelling them around the world.

And finally, given how long any progress on the House of Lords take, we think 2067 is pretty accurate and Time Lords would be highly popular!

Come election night 2067 we think taxes, government control, spending, road safety & The House of Time Lords are the big themes.  Sound familiar?

Benjamin Franklin said in 1789, “in this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes”  and for 2067 we confidently predict at least one of those will still be true! 

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