No More Jobs – Won’t it be Good if Robots do All Our Work?

Well...somebody was bored...

This is part of a series: No More Jobs

Ever feel chained to the office?  Bolted to the assembly line?  How would you like to be freed from bondage to work?  Imagine, if you can, working a 0-hour week, every week.

Unless civilization collapses, engineers will eventually make this possible.  Imagine:

  • No poverty
  • No drudgery
  • Freedom to be with your friends and family
  • Freedom to do whatever you want
  • And you could have nearly anything you want, just by ordering it

This sounds like utopia, and therein lies the problem: utopia is literally “no place”.  So what’s the catch?  Without any need to work, we’ll also have:

  • Nothing productive to do
  • Nothing meaningful to do
  • Far fewer challenging situations in which to grow as people

We make robots to replace human labor, and to an extent, this is good – by all means, let’s make bigger and better tools to help us do better work.  Without automation, we wouldn’t be able to support nearly as many people on this jewel of a planet.  But those who want a future where humans need not work forget that God made us to work.  We’re his robots, and he built us to rule the earth – among other things.  Thus, all honest work is honorable – even dirty and menial work.

Imagine how ridiculous things would get if our robots started replacing themselves in the same way – we’d have a nearly endless string of robots whose only purpose is to be served by the bots beneath them.  It’s sort of like the factory that makes a factory that makes a factory to make the exact hammer you want for your hobby project.

If we completely delegate our jobs to our own creatures, what will we do with ourselves?  Here are some ideas:

  • Do hobbies
  • Spend time with friends
  • Play video games
  • Watch movies
  • Party
  • Make trouble
  • Be bored out of our skulls
  • Get depressed
  • Live and die without accomplishing anything
  • Answer to God for wasting the talents and opportunities that he gave us

The first few sound fun, but by the time you get to the bottom, you’ll hopefully start to realize that life without work isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  If we don’t have to spend our time doing something productive, most of us will spend our lives doing things that are pointless, or even evil.

Imagine, if you can, if the whole world was like 4chan – lots of kids with nothing to do, trying to entertain themselves.  It would be only a matter of time before they spawn the next anonymous.  We’d have huge mobs trashing entire cities just for fun, and then the robots would fix everything within a week, and they’d have another mob.  If they hurt or kill a few bystanders, they won’t care.  For their entire lives, they’ve only done stuff “for the lulz”.

So what’s the solution?  I don’t see a good one.  But I still have a couple of ideas about how to make it turn out as not-bad as practical.  First, though, I’ll describe my impractical utopian ideal.  Sometimes, trying to imagine the best-case scenario can reveal a better way than you hoped – one that’s actually workable.

This is part of a series: No More Jobs

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