Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That's OK: How to Survive the Economic Collapse and Be Happy

By Federico Pistono

The idea that the greatest aspiration a person could have is to work some mechanical and monotonous job, so that they can pay the bills, is an insult to the dignity of every individual.

To even consider the proposition that we should hang on to an economic system that hinders innovation and automation, in order to preserve repetitious and mindless jobs, shows the deep loss of perspective and aptitude of our out-dated institutions.

Assembly line workers have been performing the same mindless, repetitive, mechanical jobs for years. Before they started working at a factory they were masterpieces of evolution and natural selection, individuals with imagination, dreams, and aspirations. They had endless possibilities. They could have become artists, scientists, and musicians. They could have been the drivers of new amazing discoveries that pushed humanity forward.

We could have easily reduced the working week. Instead, we work more than ever before, on average. This is pure madness: the purpose of technology was to free our time so that we could dedicate it to higher purposes. Instead, our jobs have become the purpose.

The days when a high school education, a lot of good will, and hard work got you a decent middle-class lifestyle are long gone. Those jobs that have been outsourced are not coming back, period.

The more companies automate, because of the need to increase their productivity, the more jobs will be lost, forever.

The old jobs are not coming back. The new jobs will be highly sophisticated, technically and creatively challenging jobs, and only a handful of them will be needed.

In this universe, change is the only constant. Learn to love it, embrace it, and you will succeed. Fail to predict it, resist it, and you will be swept away by the torrent of change that is about to crush our civilisation as we know it.

Together, we can begin to transition towards of society of openness that benefits all, instead of one of secrecy that serves the powerful.

We know that politics is largely influenced by big businesses, which have the power to lobby extensively. As far as I am concerned voting does not happen in the voting booth as much as it happens at the mall.

Buy smart (more on this later), and stop being a slave to the corporate machine, take back control over your life. They want us to think that freedom is the liberty to choose between two hundred brands of toothpaste.

You must forgive me if I stress this point to the point of exhaustion, but I feel compelled to repeat and emphasise what I wrote earlier: what we described is irrespective of the technology, the time, or the market. This is physics. No matter what we do, with a 2.3% growth per year (which is much lower than the rate of the last 150 years), we hit the physical limits in a few decades at best. Not exactly a plan for long-term survival, is it?

To conclude, I would like to take and look at it from a larger perspective. As Prof. Murphy pointed out, we, as a society, are like children asking their parents for a pony. We have not learned to take care of our gerbil (peak oil, environmental degradation), yet we are asking for a pony (fusion or whatever supposedly infinite supply of energy we have in mind, space colonisation, infinite growth). This is quite arrogant and irresponsible at the same time. We ought to be better than spoiled little children. It is time to grow up and move forward.