No More Jobs – The Unrealistic Ideal

What could possibly go wrong?

This is part of a series: No More Jobs

Unless civilization collapses, someone will eventually make a robot that can do anything you can do, for free.  I’m trying to figure out the least-bad way to do this.  Today is brainstorming day – in which I’ll try to come up with the most idealistic, unrealistic, best imaginable way this could turn out.  I hope that this will give me some ideas for how we could improve our lot outside of utopia.  For the benefit of utopians who actually believe that this best-case scenario would work without any serious problems, I’ll also explain why it won’t work in practice.

As robots take more and more of our jobs, we’ll have ever more free time.  This’ll allow us to:

  • Spend time with friends and family
  • Go to school
  • Do hobbies
  • Make art
  • Play sports
  • Actually pay attention to politics
  • Play video games
  • Help others
  • Seek God
  • Do only the work that we want to do, when we want to do it
  • Do whatever else that we really want to do, but can’t because we have to work

If robots do all our work for us, that means:

  • The work will get done better
  • Poverty will be eliminated
  • We will live in a true age of abundance, in which we have more resources than we would ever need, and more resources than we can ever properly use
  • Politicians will be incorruptible AI
  • Customer service will always be friendly
  • Robot engineers will always know what they’re doing
  • Everyone can have the world’s best teacher tutor their kid one-on-one
  • Police will catch criminals as they try to commit a crime, and know who to keep in jail

Conflicts that universal automation could conceivably eliminate:

  • Any wars due to limited resources
  • Rivalries between the “haves” and “have nots”, because everyone will be a “have”
  • Political conflicts where 1 side’s main argument is that there’s not enough money to do it…

…And this list just scratches the surface!  So why wouldn’t this actually work?

In short, because human nature won’t change.  We’ll find ways to mess this up.  As the prophet Jeremiah wrote, “the human heart is deceitful above all else, and desperately wicked”.  If we don’t have to do something productive, we’ll dream up evil things to do.  We’ll even convince ourselves that we’re actually doing good.

If robots eliminate poverty, that will definitely make people less likely to fight over limited resources, but we’ll still find something to fight about.  Communists will still want to fight for communism, and those who believe the parts of the quran that command violence will still fight for world domination.  I’m sure that there are many more causes that at least some people are willing to kill for.

And as I mentioned in my previous post, without work, we’ll get very bored.  Imagine – if you can – how much trouble 7 billion bored people can get themselves into.  Here’s a sneak peek.

This is part of a series: No More Jobs

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