In the paper this morning there is a report that, researchers from Oxford and Yale say: That artificial intelligence will out perform all by 50% within 45 years. They all so say that anyone in a job earning $20 per hour, is likely to have it taken over by robots in the next few years. If you earn $40 per hour you have a 4% risk of this in the same time frame. They think that in 120 years robots and A.I. will do all jobs. In my life time I have read many articles on how the future will look, about this scientific progress which is always painted in glowing terms but I'm not reading scientific papers on how, society, how people will cope with this.
I am thinking as I'm writing so forgive me if my thoughts come out a bit scrambled but I do hope to give you some points to ponder on.
Why do we work?
- Well for many reasons I think. Naturally we need money to live, so we work to earn money. What work we do defines us, it gives us a standing a status among our peers. If we are lucky we find challenge, absorbing interest and passion in work. Or we have learnt to do a job very well and take pride, sense of accomplishment in doing that job well. We work for the social aspect, we need to interact with people. How often do you come across someone who has had and early retirement but they are now working in Home Depot, Cosco or other big box stores because they missed people.
- Well most developed societies have some people who are constantly out of work, there genuinely may be no work in their area. Or they kind of like being unemployed, they know the welfare systems and the charities and they can live on what they get. My father used to describe such individuals as..... starting at the bottom and liking it... There are of cause those who have physical or mental conditions that stop them working or work does not accommodate them and their restrictions.
- Human nature? some people fill their free time with activities or hobbies, doing volunteer work, ( Although in my area we find it very hard to get younger people to volunteer to do anything). These people are self starters, I am one of these, I say my number one talent is making work for myself LOL. Other people with free time express boredom or only want to be entertained. I know people who go walking round shops to fill their time. I'm not saying one is better than the other, this is just how they are. Others with free time find themselves getting into trouble, drinking, gambling, crime or such, I guess they are seeking the rush and thrill. Young males and young women too because these days they seem often to be as near violent as the teenage males, can be in gangs. The young need physical and mental challenge, they also need to be in a social group with leadership. ( In Africa now, young male elephants often cause damage or are dangerous. They are turned out by mothers at a certain age, it used to be they would find a group of other young males and old bulls to live with. The old bulls would not stand for any messing of the youngsters and put them right, they learnt manners. Now with poaching there are fewer old bulls to do this vital task, so these teenage elephants get in trouble). So often youngsters do not have fathers round .....the father figure is vitally important for young boys and the girls. That is not to say single parent families can not do a wonderful job but I think any single parent would agree two parents make it easier.
So are we humans ready for extended free time? Are governments prepared for so many more without jobs without income? I think not, I think education needs to keep this future problem in mind. We need to foster creativity in schools, if a government thinks school cost are to be cut, the first things cut are the arts. An interest in any of the arts gives interest for a life time. There used to be full availability of adult learning classes everywhere, not so much now although I know you have the open university in UK. Perhaps companies should be encouraged to extend classes for their workers and plan for day time off to attend. Don't hold out much hope of that because most companies don't even do their own research. More organized sports for all levels of ability with the emphasis on fun at reasonable charges.
I believe that Finland has already had a limited experiment with the governments giving out a universal wage and I think Switzerland has discussed it.The entire population given a minimum wage......I don't know if it would be decreased if you earned a salary that exceeded it? I think I have read of a scheme in Japan, if you are retired but would like to do something you can be assigned one or two old people living near you. You will do shopping, take them to the doctor. mow their grass jobs like this.Or help them with a computer, fill in tax forms or take them to the bank.
This enables that old or infirm person to stay in their own homes, they are happier and the government saves money. The Japanese have centres sort of clearing houses for odd jobs. A shop keeper wants someone to box up something say two days work, he posts that job at this centre. Healthy interested retired person gets a couple of days paid work. All kinds of odd jobs available - the retired person does not have to give a long term commitment, can find a bit of paid work when they want it. They feel useful and they are socializing plus I think they get a tax break.
All countries are going to have to think out side the box because this is going to be a problem and it is coming sooner or later. We have politicians shouting about how they will bring jobs, jobs. jobs to their citizens. Is that even realistic? Perhaps we have already started on this societal revolution? It is going to be a big revolution and not without pain. Perhaps those politicians should be doing other things and experiment in chronic unemployment areas? Any ideas fellow bloggers?