I’m always deeply skeptical about prognostications that rely on immature technologies that are generally misunderstood even by many of those who attempt to study them. AI is not what it seems in sci-fi movies so it won’t provide handy solutions to mitigate standard human folly. Rather it will, for the next few years, amplify standard human folly by feeding us nonsense our prior attention patterns have indicated we subscribe to. Hence Trump, Brexit, et al.

There’s also a fundamental mistake in the analysis of human happiness (or at least contentment): we know it’s not the absolute wealth we have, it’s our relative wealth that determines how we feel about it (once we’ve got past the problem of meeting everyday needs, that is — a problem many people will never get past). Years ago I was at a dinner for various tech high-flyers and the woman sitting across the table was looking very glum. She explained that with a net worth of only $400 million she was the poorest person in the room (I quickly disabused her of that notion: I was definitely the poorest person in the room!). Surrounded by billionaires, she felt sad.

We’re a primitive primate species with a very limited intellect. Happiness will not be a function of narcotics but rather of adjusting the stories we tell ourselves so as to mitigate our hardwired urge to measure ourselves only in terms of other people.

Unfortunately, modern market economies are based on precisely the opposite: ensuring people buy ever-more items they don’t really need, in order to assuage their fears of being “less” than the neighbors.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.