What Really Will Happen if Automation Phases Out Work?

Last month, I wrote a post called, “Will Automation Phase Out Work?“, in which I talked about how a fully automated world is still along ways off and that there will still be plenty of jobs for humans to fill, even if there aren’t enough jobs.

But what may happen if that fully automated world were to come about?

First, this assumes that the machines are so well made and systems so well-developed that there would almost never be breakdowns of any kind and those few that do happen would be taken care of by other machines.

With humans not being able to get any job no matter their credentials or who they know, the concepts of income and the world of work would have to change. Only CEO’s of large companies and those fortunate enough to have machines working for them could realise any sort of “traditional income”. 

What about the rest of us? Well, most likely, at first, people would still try to find jobs of a sort, but these would be few and far between for probably little money or just barter. Once most people run out of money, it would have to be barter only. Some might become entrepreneurs, but even here, such people might have to resort to accepting items in payment instead of actual money.

Now, to prevent the possible widespread poverty that might result from this scenario, a new concept of work and income might have to be instituted.

Here’s one scenario that I can imagine.

Both taxes and money might have to be eliminated, at least temporarily, and people given a certain amount of “credit” to start their lives with, and have a robot given to them as well. It would be the robot that would go looking for a job and ultimately support the person or family, as no human would have the skill to do any job as well as the robot could. And, combined with barter, perhaps the family could obtain a second robot and “second income”. Money could then be reintroduced into the economy.

Now, of course, this is a very simplistic example, and in real life, there would certainly be lots of possible variations, but I believe that something like this scenario would have to be the result, or there would be a widespread revolution, as people would not want to live with the level of poverty and unemployment that would otherwise result if we tried to hang on to today’s economic culture and mores in a fully automated world. How can anyone expect one to get a job in a world where truly none can be had?

People will always need something to do and, more importantly, an attainable means of supporting themselves.

A fully automated world may be a long ways off, but it is an interesting thing to think about.

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And thanks for reading!  🙂