As technology evolves and continues to take over our lives bit by bit we begin to wonder where this will eventually take us. From the industrial revolution to self driving cars, where will our jobs be? How will society function as a whole with no human interaction? Why is this a good thing for humanity? And can we afford it?
Lets start with where our jobs will be. In the current state of societal means we have jobs, careers, or occupations that we sustain to keep ourselves afloat in modern times. If we break jobs down by most popular in America (because that’s where I live) we have retail salespersons, cashiers, food preparation, office clerk, and registered nurses as the top five. As automation grows, many of these jobs will be rare to find or gone to the automated machines forever. Especially in the near future when we have self driving cars, which are already on the streets, and once they get perfected in the next two years taxi and truck drivers will most likely not be needed for commercial use. We still need people to unload and repair, but the drivers themselves will be put out of work if they cannot adapt.
Lets stay on the driving aspect of jobs since it will be the one “in danger” sooner than any of these others. We think this is going to be a bad thing, put many people out of jobs and ruin their lives, well not exactly. When technology in factories went from an assembly line of people and to an assembly line of machines, almost everyone that worked in these kind of factories lost their jobs. They still needed people to repair the machines, and people to actually check to make sure everything wasn’t burning to the ground, but majority lost their job. As humans though we adapt, we learn new skills, find a new job to do and become self sufficient again. If a truck driver looses his job to a self driving car, all they have to do is learn a new skill. Will it be hard? Yes, life isn’t easy especially during a season of change, but we adapt, learn, and move on. It will force people who never liked their job to strive for something more, and someone who wanted to learn a new skill to finally learn it.
Now let’s say everything is automated. Our cashiers, retail stockers, software developers, gas pumps, and drivers. There are no jobs available and everyone is now living off of a fixed income from the government. Fixed depending on age, marital status, kids, dogs, anything and everything about your life depends on how much you get on a monthly basis. Sounds pretty sluggish doesn’t it. However this can be a good thing. For far too long humans have roamed the lands working to keep a house that they need to live in so they can sleep in so they can wake up and go to work to support the house they live in, in the car they drive which their job got them to get to the job and home again. A vigorous cycle we do for 50 odd years so we have saved enough to actually live our life for maybe 30 more if we are lucky.
This is not saying that all jobs will be gone, we still have ideas, startups, entertainment, and that is something machines can’t take away. Except if you are a writer. Whatever you think has already been thought thanks to the library of babel. Eventually A.I. will get to the point of out smarting humans, creating their own with their own imaginations faster than we could ever dream. If you want to work, there is always work. Use the new found time you have to learn a skill and make something of yourself. With a new automation comes a new job. But wouldn’t you rather travel the world, sit and talk, do nothing for a week, or do everything you ever wanted? Maybe life will get so automated that having a human employee will be a selling point for your restaurant.
Honestly, I don’t know if we can afford to have everything be automated. How will we earn money? How will companies earn money if we have no spending money? The only solution is to have automation come out slowly. To have something like self driving cars in a groove so everyone that lost that job has found something else to work on or not work on. We can’t stop it from happening so we have to adapt and get ready for it to happen.
Let the machines do the work that we have been doing so we can live the life we haven’t been living.