An Oxford University study detailed the likely hood that manned jobs will be replaced by computers and mechanization. And we’ve all seen the dystopian science fiction films about humans becoming obsolete and the ruthless efficiency of robots. So queue the maniacal string instruments.
This got me thinking about how about human value. Well, actually first it got me thinking about how there are possibly alternate timelines involving Nikola Tesla references in the Terminator films. But then that lead me into thinking about how, barring the rise of communalism or the rise of spirited benevolence, everyone else will need a viable strategy to make money during the inevitable rise of the machines and their monopolization of labor.
Essentially, how will people buy things if no one has jobs? Because already machines have semi-replaced the bank teller with the ATM and smartphones. General Electric has made robots able to climb then fix wind turbines, and flexible surgical robots. Google is building self-driving automobiles, which one can assume will make the truck driver and jovial cabbie obsolete. Grocery Stores have self checkout lines and self scanner. Fast-food stores have self ordering kiosks. Hospitals are using computers to diagnose Cancer and provide chronic illness treatment by scanning and digitizing medical books and medical histories. Computers are even taking the jobs done by paralegals and lawyers with the help of complex algorithms and a robot named Ross built by IBM.
Mechanization is compelling to businesses. It keeps future costs low since computers aren’t bothered by human weaknesses like eating or sleeping, and they don’t command a salary, a pension, or healthcare. Nor do they complain about student debt.
Assuming that the monopoly of wealth continues on its current path where 85 people own as much as the poorest 3 billion people on the Earth (fingers crossed) and everyone else swallows what trickles down, what will happen?
FROM WALL STREET TO CRAIG’S LIST
Two of the possible many scenarios will be, 1) either these poor robot-less bastards will turn to sex work in an ironic twist of fate irrevocably shifting the imbalanced gendered wage scale or 2) they will be murdered in the coming Terminator themed apocalypse minus the Tesla references — obviously minus the Tesla references.
So how will, the under privileged, over qualified college graduates and hundredaires make ends meet without selling their mouths to the lowest bidder? (Because who are we kidding, sex won’t have much of a market value when there are 7 billion prostitutes).
In this case, we must all be thinkers. We must all have a skill that goes beyond rudimentary work. The basic and menial will be irrelevant. All that will be left are the high conscious professions that can’t be mimicked (yet) by machines.
Fuck you, SKYNET.
Although according to economists any effect on one market and it’s supply has an effect on the demand of other markets.
“…As technology substitutes for labour, there is a destruction effect, requiring workers to reallocate their labour supply; and second, there is the capitalization effect, as more companies enter industries where productivity is relatively high, leading employment in those industries to expand.” (pg 13 of 72 in the PDF)
What economists fail to mention are how fast jobs will expand in one market versus the rate of contraction in other markets. If an economy is hemorrhaging more jobs than being gained, labor and the middle class along with it will shrivel up. In America Cities and States have taken precautions by increasing the minimum wage but that has seen aggressive push back at every turn.
So far novelists, citizen journalists, and independent artists and filmmakers have relied on the philanthropy of everyday consumers of unique content. And the millennial has deemed worthy a select few of entrepreneurs worthy of their donations: Democracy Now, Kickstarter among others.
So how can we establish viable professions to relegate corporeal beings (God forbid ghosts try and steal jobs) as indispensable? In a sense we must all be freelancers, not intern ourselves to one market, not to one employer, or even to one nation. Search abroad for jobs if necessary. Search mid state or mid country. Create an efficient business model that sells you. Become an indispensable commodity and think of yourself as a tradable asset. Would you buy you on the stock market?
Turning the Tables on Artificial Intelligence.
Do not think of degrees or trade certificates as a license into the workforce but as an explorer of future possibilities — in how many ways can we flip our skills to diversify our worth, our market appeal, etc.
Today’s and tomorrow’s generation has to be its own job creator because yesterdays “job creators” are trying their damnedest to replace the present and the future with more efficient and cheaper appliances.
Einstein said a wealth of imagination is greater than a wealth of knowledge. It’s about time we begin to believe him or man our bunkers and brush up on apocalyptic survival guides.
by Jeremy L. Pasker