Are we talking about how automation will make us all useless and depressed again? Oh bother.
Read my damn future history.
My personal vision of a perfect future:
100 years from now): At some point AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) is created for the first time after a lot of trial and error. Created from reverse-engineering the human brain, she's basically just a human without a body. The next goal of the scientists who created her work to give her self-improving capabilities and make the leap from AGI to ASI (Artificial Super Intelligence), and she's super excited about all this.
ANI (Artificial Narrow Intelligence) is already seeing widespread symbiosis with humanity, taking on the forms of smart clothing and the Internet of Things in general, and experimental nanobot symbiosis in more intimate cases. "Texting" with the mind is becoming popular; telepathic messages are either sent on an individual basis or broadcast on the interhumanet like Twitter.
In the meantime, new generations of more environmentally-conscious populations are working to fix the damage their ancestors had caused. Extinct species are being cloned back into existence, and nanotechnology is actively reducing pollution and environmental damage. Space elevators are being created, and used as manufacturing platforms for space junk gathering and asteroid mining.
The Capitalistic system is taking all these changes surprisingly well but society collectively recognizes the need to adapt and is doing so at a steady pace; new, more effective institutions are being formed as vestigial institutions break down.
Third World nations have been taken under the wing of the developed nations. Hegemonies are being disbanded in favor of a more gentle guiding hand toward progress and prosperity. The population is reaching a stable, natural condition.
I am also a universally-loved visionary animator kind of like Walt Disney.
100 years later): In the intermittent period, ASI has become a massive force of change for humanity. They have diversified and seen widespread integration to society.
Symbiosis with ASI is in full swing, with a single human/ASI unit thinking as one, but simultaneously connected to every other human. Telepathy, while once more like Twitter with a mind-activated interface, now works more like a collective psychic link that binds every human together in a way that preserves individuality but in turn allows for superb empathy. Greed, need, death and hatred are things of the past. Inequality is a concept few remember. Mind uploading and copying are being researched. FIVR is a huge source of entertainment, but used responsibly and for recreation only.
The environment has fully recovered, and Earth has become a garden world of immense beauty. All old-fashioned human cities have been abandoned and overgrown in favor of fully-automated, rigorously planned, self-sustaining settlements. Plants and animals are being seeded with nanobots that are starting to fuel a united, planetary consciousness.
100 years later): All living things on Earth are linked to the planetary consciousness; massive-scale terraforming and integration of other planets and asteroids into our solar system is underway. For the first time in a couple centuries, the human population is growing once again, but on other planets that are also growing. The first settlers have been sent off on self-sustaining city-ships with cryo and FIVR for those who want it. Secrets to interstellar travel are being rigorously researched.
1,000 years later): Interstellar travel, if it is possible, has been discovered and is constantly improving. Dead worlds surrounding alien suns are being terraformed to similar life-networks at exponential rates. Every star encountered thus far is being surrounded by a Dyson sphere made of collected interstellar debris.
Some alien life has been found, but it may or may not be sapient.
10,000 years later): A good chunk of the Milky Way has been integrated into the Interstellar Consciousness. At this point a few sapient alien species have been found. If primitive, they are graciously integrated into the fold if they choose; if advanced like us, they are happy to see us and merge our respective networks together.
The first generation ships ever sent off have arrived at their destinations to find they are untouched; this was a kind gesture by the interstellar mind to ensure their efforts had not been futile.
100,000 years later): The entire Milky Way is a thriving network of life and extreme, god-like intelligence. Even now it has begun sending off intelligent matter to seed other galaxies and perhaps find more like it so they may also merge.
100,000,000 years later): A good part of the universe is integrated into the network of intelligent life; the universe is slowly waking up.
Earth's sun is aging a bit, but that's not really a concern. At this point the technology may exist to make a star live indefinitely.
100,000,000,000 years later): The Universe is an entity of intelligent life. It ponders if it can truly live forever, and if its inevitable heat death is truly inevitable.
My personal vision of the worst future imaginable:
1 minute from now): A gamma ray burst targeted right at Earth strips away its atmosphere and bathes the world in radioactive fire; everyone and everything instantly dies a gruesome death. Earth is now a lifeless rock and will always remain so. Cruel fate.