No More Jobs – What I Think Will Actually Happen

Insanely expensive reclining chair

This is part of a series: No More Jobs

I’m trying to figure out the least-bad way to replace everybody’s jobs with robots.  Thus far, I’ve explained why I disagree with 2 of the most optimistic views on universal automation, and I tried to figure out the unrealistic ideal.  Now I’ll list what I think will actually happen.

What I Think Will Actually Happen

  1. It won’t happen all at once
    Not long ago, I had the opportunity to tour a food factory.  I asked one of the guides how long it could run unattended.  I was surprised to find that it wasn’t designed to do that.  Instead, he said that if all the people in the factory disappeared, a lot of stuff would get broken and damaged very quickly, and it would make a huge mess.  Their process is simple enough that it wouldn’t be hard to automate the whole thing, from beginning to end.
    He said that they hadn’t made their line run unattended because it would cost too much.  Right now, it’s cheaper to pay people to run it manually.  Eventually, though, the cost of robots will drop low enough that they’ll be able to replace 1 station, then another, and then another, until the only people on the factory floor are the technicians.
    Even in a company where management doesn’t want to destroy their workers’ jobs, they can’t afford to be behind the curve.  If their competitors replace enough of their workers, the whole company won’t be able to compete.
  2. There Will be Signs
    I’ll dedicate the next post to listing some of these.  For now, the sign that’s most important is that there will be a long, stubborn drought of jobs.
  3. An Enterprising Politican/Movement Will Put Everyone on Welfare
    Imagine, if you can – the world’s first sustainable socialist state.  Even now, when the Greek economy is failing under the weight of its over-spending government, it’s very popular in developed countries to have the government provide “bread and circuses“, in exchange for higher taxes and fewer freedoms.  Imagine how popular such programs will be once robots do enough of the work that they’ll actually be sustainable.
  4. For a Long Time, There Will Still be Jobs for Some Humans
    See #1.  Those who prefer to believe that robots won’t eventually replace us all will be able to point to plenty of jobs done by humans, even when most of us are unemployable.
  5. Almost Everyone Will be Bored
    As I wrote before, we’re made to work.  Eventually, even video games get boring.
  6. Entertainment Will be A Matter of National Security
    If everyone has free time 24/7, there will be a lot of people looking for trouble.  The best way to keep us out of trouble will be to keep us entertained.
  7. Most of Us Will Become Lazy, Foolish, and Immature
    If you get everything handed to you regardless of what you do, why bother learning to work hard, make wise decisions, or grow up?
  8. Work will either become highly coveted, or disdained by all

 

This is part of a series: No More Jobs

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