In the Robotic Near-Future, Most “Will Live Off Government-Provided Income”
April 2nd, 2015
If you think the jobs market and larger economy are bad now, just wait for the future.
In the future, virtually everyone you know may be on the dole.
There are a lots of projections and scenarios about what to expect as technology advances to practically unimaginable heights.
Already many human jobs are being displaced by computers, and most trends point to a rise of automated assembly lines, computer-run logistics and services and robots to do jobs humans did before that.
China has already ushered in a workforce of robots, with less and less reliance on humans for anything.
What does this mean for the average American?
In a word: dependence.
From The Week:
The robopocalypse for workers may be inevitable. In this vision of the future, super-smart machines will best humans in pretty much every task. A few of us will own the machines, a few will work a bit — perhaps providing “Made by Man” artisanal goods — while the rest will live off a government-provided income. Silicon-based superintelligence and robots will dramatically alter labor markets — to name but one example, the most common job in most U.S. states probably will no longer be truck driver.
The article also discusses the impact that Amazon.com, specifically, is already having on retail business:
Just look at how Amazon is disrupting brick-and-mortar retailing. And even though tech firms such as Google and Facebook generate huge revenues, they employ comparatively few people versus industrial giants of the past, such as IBM or General Motors. In the 1970s, General Motors employed more than 600,000 people, 10 times more Google and Facebook combined.
Moreover, their use of robotic warehouse workers and coming use of delivery drones are sure to have further impact on jobs.
The Week also wrote:
Former Intel executive Bill Davidow… makes a strong claim: “For all its economic virtues, the internet has been long on job displacement and short on job creation. As a result, it is playing a central role in wage stagnation and the decline of the middle class.”
So the very few at the top will be owners — as they are now, but with perhaps greater clout over human affairs. A token few will have human work where “manmade” might find appreciation and market, and more and more and more will become utterly dependent upon the government.
Not only will the Middle Class disappear, but so will the “working poor” as there becomes less and less meaningful work to do.
If you thought the welfare state was bad now – with a record number of homes on food stamps, many out of work or giving up on work and a significant portion of what used to be the Middle Class struggling just to make ends meet – it may be that we haven’t seen anything yet.
While we can hope for things to turn around, we should prepare for the worst.
What happens if we all become hordes of helpless masses completely dependent on government for everything?
It might sounds OK to some, but time for a reality check: life at the hands of government assistance is no kind of life at all.
From health care to food and everything else in life, government and technology will be the provider. Ready for that?
This is why former SunMicrosystems CEO Bill Joy stated that the Future Doesn’t Need Us, quoting from Ted Kaczynski’s manifesto on the human condition under technology:
Due to improved techniques the elite will have greater control over the masses; and because human work will no longer be necessary the masses will be superfluous, a useless burden on the system.
If the elite is ruthless they may simply decide to exterminate the mass of humanity. If they are humane they may use propaganda or other psychological or biological techniques to reduce the birth rate until the mass of humanity becomes extinct, leaving the world to the elite.
Or, if the elite consists of soft-hearted liberals, they may decide to play the role of good shepherds to the rest of the human race. They will see to it that everyone’s physical needs are satisfied, that all children are raised under psychologically hygienic conditions, that everyone has a wholesome hobby to keep him busy, and that anyone who may become dissatisfied undergoes “treatment” to cure his “problem.” Of course, life will be so purposeless that people will have to be biologically or psychologically engineered either to remove their need for the power process or make them “sublimate” their drive for power into some harmless hobby. These engineered human beings may be happy in such a society, but they will most certainly not be free. They will have been reduced to the status of domestic animals.