For example, how would finding a toe effect the world ecomomically?
Its hard to say what the effect would be.
However if you consider the effect of Quantum Mechanics and the development of electronics its hard to find some area that wasn't affected.
A TOE would theoretically unite all of physics and we may either discover some new source of energy that would revolutionize humanity or realize that physics is still incomplete and that there is more to discover.
"The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything (computed by) the supercomputer, Deep Thought, specially built for this purpose. It takes Deep Thought 7½ million years to compute and check the answer, which turns out to be 42. Deep Thought points out that the answer seems meaningless because the beings who instructed it never actually knew what the Question was."
As they say "It all depends on what you mean by" the theory of everything". It is not logical to think in terms of being able to map and predict every event and all we can expect is incremental steps in the direction. It really is naive to expect that we will wake up one day and 'understand' everything. That's the sort of thing that many religions seems to promise for the faithful, after they die. It's the same sort of hyperbole as immortality; something that we can't actually comprehend but which gets talked about an awful lot.
Technology will always take advantage of theoretical advances when it can. But Economics involves humans as well as technology and that will greatly dilute the impact of a TOE.
The recently publicised advances in robotics and AI suggest that we could be heading for a computer driven system. All the themes the Asimov explored, so many years ago, are getting a airing. If the future computers 'decide' that a TOE is desirable, then they will drive it forward, with or without human approval. (I'm sorry Dave; I can't do that.")
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