Humans are quickly becoming redundant. The rise in automation will see an unprecedented level of unemployment. From truck drivers to doctors, no one’s job is safe. And with the exponential rates of development in technology, the influx of intelligent machines is going to hit us far sooner than we care to imagine.
What I’m suggesting is not a revolt against technological advancement. Would there not be more merit in coming to terms with the not so awful idea that there is no need for every person to have employment? When Kodak and it’s 145,000 employees were usurped by Instagram’s 13 there was a major lesson to be learned.
Very clever man.
The way to make such a system economically viable for the rest of us; a basic income. Governments heavily tax corporate entities, try very, very hard to resist their corrupt inclinations (robots can no doubt assist in policing this) and distribute the money amongst the entire population as a sort of unconditional welfare payment. The idea has already been seriously considered, with Switzerland’s government coming very close to passing a law for basic income. And you know if the Swiss are thinking about it it’s probably a good idea.
While the proposition obviously requires a change in policy it also requires, more fundamentally a change in mindset. Perhaps the purpose of life is closer to achieving a state of being in which robots are in fact doing all the work and society is allowed the time and the means with which to do whatever else it is they might, conquering the rubix cube, reading Plato, mastering the art of Tai Chi, for instance.
There seems to be a persisting idea that the purpose of our homogenised lives is to work, consistently, for an income with which we can purchase all the things we do or, more likely, don’t need. Just because this is the way things have always been does not necessarily mean it needs to continue.
Buckminster Fuller said it best about 40 years ago:
“We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest… We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian-Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.”