The future, jobs, and robots

Many interesting thoughts from this article by Vivek Wadhwa.

I think his time horizon is too short but. . .

Within two decades, we will have almost unlimited energy, food, and clean water; advances in medicine will allow us to live longer and healthier lives; robots will drive our cars, manufacture our goods, and do our chores.

There won’t be much work for human beings. Self-driving cars will be commercially available by the end of this decade and will eventually displace human drivers—just as automobiles displaced the horse and buggy—and will eliminate the jobs of taxi, bus, and truck drivers. Drones will take the jobs of postmen and delivery people.

The debates of the next decade will be about whether we should allow human beings to drive at all on public roads. The pesky humans crash into each other, suffer from road rage, rush headlong into traffic jams, and need to be monitored by traffic police. Yes, we won’t need traffic cops either.

and:

“The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment.”

It’s not all roses and sunshine either. With rampant and rapid automation societies will struggle –culturally, legally, and economically — to adjust fast enough and probably not be very successful in the short run. I do like Mr Wadhwa’s solution though: “The only solution that I see is a shrinking work week. We may perhaps be working for 10 to 20 hours a week instead of the 40 for which we do today.”

I’m a big fan of working less.

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