In the first part of this article I have described a world where all jobs are done by robots. By having watched the two videos that illustrated the article, with a little imagination, you can easily list all jobs that are might vanish soon. I agree, it is probably more difficult to imagine other types of productive jobs that can be create for us, human beings.
In my opinion, in a first stage, to avoid chaos, government will have to settle new rules to preserve the economic system. The first one will be:
“Work made by human beings will be fully allocated to robots and artificial intelligent devices”.
The second rule will be that the economic output of all work done by A.I. and robots will then have to be shared by all humans. That output will provide an income to humans with no jobs anymore.
These two rules would mainly insure the transition between systems and would be a way to smooth the shift from today’s economic system to the new one.
If one’s thinks in terms of the present economic system the key question would be:
How much would you pay a worker for a task that can easily be done by a robot or an A.I. device, with no cost or costing a fraction of the human cost? The answer is clear. Acting in today’s system with today’s rules, a company would not hire a worker if they could find robots that could do the job for free.
Lets look at the example of a primary sector, for example agriculture.
Today, with the ultimate technologies available, a single farmer living in the West, is able to command simultaneously several tractors and machines remotely in order to prepare the land, to sow and harvest her or his production. Plus, the larger her or his land is, the more easiest it is to gain efficiency. Will the use of technology make her or him richer even if he is the owner of the land? Not all the time. Will he be able to add value to the society, economically speaking? Probably not, because today, she is probably one of those farmers that are just able to pay the lease of the machines. Even if we are talking about a rich single farmer, usually she will still eat as one single person not as the five hundred that worked in the land with their hands.
On the other hand, industrialization of farming processes is not really adding value to the land on a long term basis, if one considers environmental issues. Yes, some pension’s funds have been invested in farms and land. But they are not the farmers and for how long? Probably, pension’s funds would be happy to have robots to maximise its profits, at least for the first year.
Presently, an highly technological farming system will not make the farmer a competitor in the market, because there are products coming from the other corner of the world that are probably cheaper. Why? Probably because labor costs are cheaper, plus automation of processes has advanced tremendously all over the world. In the current economic system, shipping strawberries around the globe is still possible. If you minimize labor costs and logistic costs it is still worth it to ship strawberries around the world. So with robots doing the job, you can imagine competition between Californian strawberries, New Zealand strawberries and so on….What is the point of eating in California some strawberry coming from New Zealand? 5 cents less per basket?
You can imagine the opposite situation as well. It is a real example. If a farmer would disappear, another farmer or investors would take over his land and then his work overnight, by using machines. That is today’s situation of most conventional farmers in the world. Ultimately the farmer himself will become unemployed.
See example of farming robots: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/09/robots-farm-future
Work is a process of today’s economical system on which our society is based on. The option we have is whether we want to make the transition to a jobless world without too much damage to all of us. There is no doubt that we are shifting to a new system in our society. We have twenty years according to today’s progress, but five years can be subtracted from this number without risk. The world is changing, as it has always changed. Not facing the fact that work will not be remunerated any more when humans are substituted by robots or A.I. will just leads us into a disrupting and dangerous situation, that will produce a more painful transition to the new economical system.
This is not the end of the world.This article is not against progress. As mentioned, “work” can become a nice occupation in times to come. When automation and hyper efficiency of processes to produce goods and services will be reached, work will become an occupation if desired. We will be able to achieve new discoveries for sure by using A.I.
We will be able to spend time at the farm, for example, by exploring new concepts of farming that are less grueling and damaging for our planet, even if made by hand and with interesting results in terms of productions. Some of us will dedicate ourselves to debate the meaning of life, others will spend their time engaged in some kind of hobby or activity they are passionate about. Others will engage in artistic endeavors and others, why not, will collaborate with robots on some tasks they like to do as well.
We will be able to change our occupations more easily as our role will be not to be productive and compete with others. There are lots of things to do in our planet.
Of course some of us can get lost in the abyss of lust and inactivity.
Ultimately, I believe there are more positive things than negative ones with the change into a jobless world.
Today, with the exponential technological progress, work is challenged at a faster pace, as well as the current economic system in which we are living. Now, it is up to us to think about this change.
Let’s work together on that.
Romuald Reber is an author of science-fiction. He takes present questions of society and places it in a future context through the media of fantastic stories with a visionary approach. He also writes on demand and on his blog, where he develops some questions with a more rational approach than in these books. He is the editor of these own publications. Aside her work as author, editor and blogger, Romuald Reber is a manager of enterprises and gives advices on the rising of new ideas from the society and their probable implications and or their applications on a long terms base. He likes to challenge himself and is a great subscriber of Mooc’s. Romuald Reber is finally and simply a great observer of our world.
Editions website : http://www.editionsrodarima.ch