Published on September 16th, 2014 | by Dan Walsh1
The Future is Here and Humans Need Not Apply
Automation is Inevitable
Robots are everywhere. We might not recognize them because they don’t look like Rosie from The Jetson’s, but they are here: machines that do our work for us. And not just in factories. Roombas vacuum our floors, automatic toilets flush so we don’t have to, and smart passes have replaced ticket takers and toll booth operators. These seem like relatively simply tasks, but machines are getting smarter and more adaptable. The true automation of most of life’s tasks is on the horizon.
Google’s forthcoming self-driving car is the easiest example to conjure. A robot chauffeur? Sign me up!
There’s one problem though. The transportation sector employs 3,628,000 people in the United States alone. It’s the number one employment sector in the country. These jobs are quickly on the road to automation, which means a lot of fresh unemployment. Other top sectors like construction and retail are similarly on the very cusp of full automation. Self-checkout anyone?
The number of jobs that are easy targets for automation totals about 45% of the American workforce. At its height, the great depression only hit a 25% unemployment rate. These are scary numbers.
Creative professions aren’t safe either.
The future isn’t an economic apocalypse, however. Instead, it could be the most liberating change humanity has seen yet. Imagine a world where cliche’s like having a case of the Mondays, working for the weekend, and thanks god it’s Friday don’t exist because no one works at jobs they loathe. Sounds kind of nice, doesn’t it?
“We need to start thinking now about what to do when large sections of the population are unemployable through no fault of their own.”
Watch the video below to get the full run down.
Did the video get you thinking? My head was spinning the first, second, and 8th time I watched it. I’ll leave you with a quote by the famous futurist Buckminster Fuller. Hopefully it keeps the wheels spinning.
“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. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. 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.”
- R. Buckminster Fuller