So robots are going to be smarter, cheaper and do more and more work. Already, some New Zealand farmers have laid off staff. They get up at 10am instead of 5am, the cows having been robo-shepherded into their milking stalls, the milking cups auto-attached, the milk hygienically withdrawn from the animals, processed and sent off to market.
“They’re happier, too!” The farmers proclaim. Well, the farmers sure as hell are – the ones who can afford this level of automation, anyway.
Soon your car will drive itself. Big deal, people won’t need to learn to drive any more … but think about it. It’s easier to develop and test driverless features on a car than it is on a large vehicle. I predict the real aim is driverless buses and trucks: no sleepy long-haul drivers, no wages and best of all, no pesky unions for owners of haulage companies to deal with any more.
Have you heard of the post-work future? Your job is probably already meaningless, if not mindless. An uncomplaining robot with machine learning could do this while you lay on the beach.
Except you won’t be. Think about that, too. Robots can make (and already do make) many of the things we want to buy. Not just equipment, tech and clothes, but even food.
And how will you buy it? You won’t be working. Universal wage? Right … that would come from the government, and robots won’t be paying taxes. Nor will you, as you won’t be earning. The rich don’t pay taxes already. Their Artificial Intelligence accountancy software will be even better at micromanaging their money so they don’t.
So governments will have no revenue as they will get no taxes. What are they going to pay you with?
Which makes you worthless. Dispensable. And seriously, what do you reckon the rich will do with you? Put you in a fun park? You create problems: sewage, for one thing. You breathe the air, drink the water, demand feeding, and you can’t buy anything and you can’t do anything useful. You’ll be completely irrelevant. The rich could wipe 90% of the population and live like lords with no more crowded cities, no more pollution, loads of space, and they could only use sustainable energy, so that fixes global warming, as oil would be irrelevant too. They’d keep a class of technocrats to keep things going, and to design and innovate a bit, and that’s it. No hoi polloi messing up the beaches, filling up the streets and airport terminals, peskily existing.