What happens when we work ourselves out of a job?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by strantor, Apr 7, 2019.

  1. strantor

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

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    Society in general. When things become so advanced that we don't really need to lift a finger to do much anymore. I might be talking about 10 years down the road or 100, I don't know. Things are changing so fast I don't know how to predict. But each day more jobs are "lost" to Automation. I'm not talking doom & gloom; heck I'm the "bad guy" in this story if there is one, so I find myself thinking about it often.

    I automate industrial processes for a living. I help my customers achieve higher profits and more consistent output with Automation. Or in someone else's words, I directly contribute to the loss of human jobs. I don't really feel bad about it. I make life easier for lots of people, and if it wasn't me, someone else would do it. It's the direction world is moving and you can either hop on the train or get out of its way, but there's no stopping it. I'm just on the train. Maybe I'm driving it, but that sounds a bit grandiose.

    But when this train gets where it's going, what will that look like? When farmers are replaced with autonomous tractors, truckers are replaced by driverless trucks, fast food workers are replaced with robotic food prep machines, and so forth, and the people who used to service all this automated equipment have been replaced with self-diagnostics and repair bots?

    I'm thinking there will have to be a new class of people emerge. The non-working class. And it will probably (eventually) be the majority of people in western civilization. These will be the people for whom there are no jobs. Will they be homeless? Will we stick to our guns on the whole "get a job you lazy s.o.b." rhetoric even in the overwhelming evidence that there are no jobs in existence for these people? Or will we pay them for simply existing?

    There's been talk lately of a "living wage." I don't know much about it but I know it is or can be deeply political and I'd like to avoid the politics and focus on the thought experiment. When I first heard of the concept it offended me. I feel you should have to work to earn your keep. That's what's been instilled in almost all of us from a very early age. But at some point it almost seems as if it will become an unavoidable necessity. Where is that point? I don't think we're there yet but I think we are fast approaching.

    What do we as a society do with our "extra" citizens? Half the country works so that the other half who can't, won't starve to death; that doesn't seem fair to anyone. The people sitting around with no purpose are bound to have their own struggles. I couldn't live like that. I would go mad. I think most people would. And serving no purpose means, well, serving no purpose.... as in, why are they even here? The working people will surely ask that question. And it will be hard to provide a justifiable answer. Culling? I shudder to think. It seems the responsible thing is to be proactive; see the situation approaching and make course corrections. Like stop incentivizing people to procreate especially if their history of decisions already points to them being a likely part of the future non-working class. But how do you do that?

    I don't have any answers and the more I think about this the more distressing it seems. Do any of you have any thoughts on the matter?
     
  2. Hypatia's Protege

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    Like vanilla:confused: - there's always Hobbies, friend! Hobbies!:)


    TTFN
    HP:cool:
     
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  3. oz93666

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    Sep 7, 2010
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    The aim IS to "work ourselves out of a job" .... Humanity is about to become a fully developed space fairing civilization ... No more domestic chores , making beds , cooking and washing our dishes ....or "working "...all done by androids ... and we are free to explore our creativity.

    This is even a reality now (UK) ... no one is forced to work , free money , free food and housing ... I realized in my teens (now 65) I was born in a civilization in transition , work was being phased out , and I would be insane to look for a profession and surrender the bulk of my waking time, surrender my freedom, to a 9 to 5 !!! No need for it ... I've managed outside the system with a very high standard of living ... now retired to Thailand.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
  4. strantor

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    This might sound like the plot to an episode of Black Mirror, but one solution I've spent a lot of time pondering is virtual reality. Some friends and I recently discussed "what happens when virtual reality evolves to become indistinguishable from (and preferable to) reality? "

    Well, that seems like a good pastime for someone who has no place in the real world. If you could spend your whole life in a world unplagued by misfortune and disappointment, you might not care that your body exists only in a small, unfurnished room. You might not care that when you die you leave no legacy, if the story you create in the cloud is compelling enough. I think if a VR world as real as The Matrix were created tomorrow, we would see people lined up around city blocks to voluntarily spend the rest of their lives in it.
     
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  5. Yaakov

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    Jan 27, 2019
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    You might find these ideas from William Morris, founder of the Arts & Crafts movement, interesting.
     
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  6. AlbertHall

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    Yet in the UK now we have record low unemployment and record high employment. That doesn't seem much like jobs are vanishing.

    When I were a lad (60's) there was similar talk, and then along came computers and more talk of jobs vanishing. It just doesn't happen.
    The redundant gas lighters move on to new types of jobs.
     
  7. BR-549

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    I think robots(for labor tasks) and AI(for low skill tasks) will create more jobs than they replace.

    At least it always has before.
     
  8. Alec_t

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    Unless we find ways to stop the continuing evolution of drug-resistant super-bugs, there will be a pandemic which will wipe out a large part of the world's population, thus creating plenty of job vacancies :).
     
  9. Papabravo

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    The Greeks may have been the last civilization to actually solve the problem. No evidence abounds that our society is ready for such a recurrence. We're all too mean and selfish to take care of our neighbors.
     
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  10. strantor

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    I got to page 4. The more I read, the more it felt like a communist manifesto. So I googled the guy's name. Yeah, it's a communist manifesto.
     
  11. Yaakov

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    He was a Socialist, not a Marxist. His ideas concerning work and utility are important no matter what political philosophy you embrace.

    I am neither Marxist nor Socialist but I learned a lot about the nature of human work from him. I think his opposition to the inhumanity of the industrial revolution doesn't require embracing a particular system. We can't turn back the clock, and I, for one, wouldn't want to lose the hard won benefits of industrialization, but now that we have the ability to provide pervasive automation, and to have incredible levels of prosperity never before known, we should consider the ideas about what "work" humans should do.
     
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  12. strantor

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    Ok then in that case I'll skim through looking for the part where he stops ranting about how evil and useless the upper class is, and gets into the good stuff.
     
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  13. killivolt

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    They actually believe they have a cure for "Sickle Cell Anemia" a women with it going to the hospital not able to work became a participant in a DNA splice where they used a Virus as a delivery to the cells, the AIDS virus was chosen to reverse a segment they had switch from B/A to A/B, I might have those backward, anyway once this was successful the women now had aids, but they were able to turn off the Virus curing her of AIDS. She is able to go to the gym, run and work.

    I think human advances like this will be the norm in society, humans will evolve to become more machine than human to the point we won't be distinguished between them and us. We will be the part of AI and Robotics that take over jobs, they will not have full control over everything, there will be a part of society which will not want to be part of that growth but, like the Indian Nations will have their own area to live, but will live off the rest of those who provide, just like the rich born into money in perpetuity living off the interest and income provided to them from their ancestors.


    kv
     
  14. Yaakov

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    I would also isolate the comments on “employment” which are very cogent. He lived a a time when “employment” was new, and the unconditional dignity of work wasn’t simply a background assumption.

    When we come to a point where we no longer have to work just to stay alive, as we are today, it’s interesting to question the meaning of work itself and how we can make meaningful use of our time. Most people like to do things that bring a sense of accomplishment, and provide something of utility to the people around them that represents a personal effort.
     
  15. joeyd999

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    We must rid ourselves of them.
     
  16. MrChips

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    Hey @strantor,

    You and I have discussed this many times in the past. My views have not changed. If anything else, as I grow older it becomes even more clear to me.

    The existential threats to the human species are global warming and nuclear annihilation. Yes, what we need to combat that in the short term for the long term benefit is:
    • A living wage
    • Shorter workweek
    • Public banking
    • Dismantling the corporate-industrial-military-media complex and its stranglehold on government
    • Multiculturalism
    • A more peaceful and compassionate society
    The concept of infinite growth is impossible on a finite planet.
    I think human society is getting where it needs to be, though now fast enough, because it is forced to do so.

    As quoted from Albert Einstein, you cannot keep doing the same thing and expect different results.

    My motto is LEAP:
    Love the Earth and All its People

    I have to keep it short for now 'cause I'm going out for a walk to enjoy life while I can.
     
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  17. ElectricSpidey

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    How do you implement a “living wage” in a society where everyone is taught they have a right to cheap consumer goods?

    I go to work and expect to get paid what I am worth, but when I spend my money, I want to pay the lowest possible price for your labor.

    How do you even begin to teach this concept to a population that has a large mental disconnect between their buying habits and the job market?

    And of course this is where somebody will say…well if I had more expendable income I wouldn’t be so cheap, but history shows us that the trend towards consuming cheap goods was well underway during a time where people had more than enough expendable income. So the chicken and egg theory is a bust.
     
  18. joeyd999

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    And don't forget:
    • An infinite series of wise, benevolent dictators
    • The willingness to murder those who refuse to get with the program
     
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  19. jgessling

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    Jul 31, 2009
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    I don’t get why this is some new crisis. Ever since the steam engine jobs have been lost to automation. People need to take on new jobs. Just do it.
     
  20. Papabravo

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    I don't think so. Once I was able to make my money work as hard as I did, I no longer had to work. As near as I can tell tell world of technology no longer needs my contributions. I don't miss it a bit.
     
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