I believe that the combination of those two futuristic technology described below would allow us to live in an utopian world where scarcity is a thing of the past. I m really wondering how it would affect society.

1) Nearly unlimited energy source. Imagine that we eventually manage to solve the issue of hydrogen based fusion power generation. This would basically give us a renewable, nearly unlimited source of power. Thanks to 2) we would be able to build as many of those energy source as we need. The only limit of the amount of hydrogen we can get our hand on. Hydrogen the most common thing in the universe.

2) Nanorobots. Imagine that we manage to make molecular nano assemblers which can modify any molecule and change it to another one. The process would obviously need a lot of energy but 1) solves that issue. This essentially means that anything can be built at whim, including those nanorobots and their power source. The only limit is the amount of matter that we can get hold of.

Scarcity is no longer an issue since anything can be made and energy is nearly unlimited. I would love to live in that future. People living in the future will look at us the way we look at cavemens. They would take pity of the miserable life we were living.

How do you think that society would evole in such an era of Abundance?

Would it trigger an immense population growth? An era of space exploration? war? decadence?

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    $\begingroup$ Short answer: it would change A LOT. Long(er) answer: the technologies you're proposing are so radical and influential that there's really no way to accurately predict what effect they might have. While this scenario lacks the presence of strong AI, it bears great resemblance to the popular image of the technological singularity, past which predictions of the future are largely meaningless. $\endgroup$ Dec 2, 2016 at 2:37
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    $\begingroup$ It really only modifies what is scarce, because many things can't be manufactured. How do you make more land, more open space? So people would have a lot of high-tech trinkets, just as many people today can buy (and fairly cheaply) devices that let them communicate, play music, watch videos, read books, &c. But (barring significant population reduction) the poor would still be living in crowded inner cities, the "middle class" in slightly less crowded suburbs, and only the rich could afford to live in the country. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Dec 2, 2016 at 3:22
  • $\begingroup$ Yes I was also thinking about AI, if we reach such an advanced technological level, we ll probably also have very advanced AIs. $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Dec 2, 2016 at 3:26
  • $\begingroup$ Unlimited energy? You would cook the planet Earth. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Dec 2, 2016 at 7:38
  • $\begingroup$ We've already done unlimited energy, it glowed $\endgroup$
    – Separatrix
    Dec 2, 2016 at 9:17

3 Answers 3


Peter Frase wrote a book on this topic recently, looking at the positive and negative possibilities of futures with unlimited energy and/or nanobots and similar "manifesting" technologies. Here is a summary.

Basically, he says (quote from summary): this ideal might be realised by robots running on an unlimited clean energy source, providing the material basis for a post-work, post‑scarcity and post-carbon world. Just because the technical preconditions for such a world exist doesn’t mean it’ll magically materialise, however. This is the central argument of Frase’s book: building the future we want is ultimately a matter of politics, not technology. As he points out, economic elites will surely want to preserve their privileges even if a system of wage labour is “totally superfluous” for production. “Having power over others is, for many powerful people, its own reward.".


I believe working hours would be much less but work will not be abolished. People are needed to design better nanobots, more energy efficient system and for creative entertainment. Weddings will be performed, churches will manned, universities will have professors. These fields will flourish as people will not need to work for food. Architects will keep their jobs as well as people who would oversee buildings. People will be needed to oversee the food production by the nanobots. Medicine and the doctors will not be changed.

Overall, there will definitely be a paradigm shift in work industry but people will be people. Space exploration will definitely flourish as well as tourism. Post scarcity is not extremely different from what we have today. Maybe your society will be comparable to our society when you compare our society to the times where food and shelter was the only concern. People might disagree but the situation that you described will be like advancing 2000 more years into the future.


If you would like to know what a world would look like with unlimited energy, you do not have to look further than out your front door. This world has unlimited energy: aka the Sun, the Wind. It currently has the capacity to feed all of its denizens as well. What it does not have is the capacity to satisfy everyone's ego.

Your world would be fundamentally the same as the one we live in now, with more invasive technology. There would be those, as there are now those, that hoard things to create scarcity. Scarcity that would be used to create differences of potential in individuals. Where those differences are exploited and abused, just as we have in this reality.


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