The Guardian's Greg Jericho asks what will happen when automation raises mass unemployment to 20%. Albeit he presents various options as to what could be done to deal with it, he notes that by not tackling this issue we can expect to see "massive gaps in inequality and a pretty horrific change in the look of our society." In comparison, the 2008 market crash reached a plateau of 10% unemployment.
While watching the latest X-Men movie, Logan, one scene that particularly stood out for me was when the characters drove along a highway featuring driverless trucks. The trucks have no cabins and are essentially just containers on wheels. It was a particularly soulless vision of the future, in which there was not only automation but where the suggestion that humans had any control of say steering wheels or windscreen wipers, was absent too.
The path of automation is of course not sci-fi, but with us right now. And while there is the hope that, as with the industrial revolution, new technology will create many new jobs, the current path appears to be to making jobs redundant and creating new work that is also able to be automated.
|"The reality is that a lot of work will soon be done by computer."|
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|“It doesn’t matter what it is anymore, I just need a job.”|
|The problem is not the jobs. Its us. Most humans are simply not the kind of people a boss would want to hire.|
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|“Eliminating the time needed to stop and re-charge a conventional electric car’s battery.”|
|“That science fiction future where robots can do what people and animals do may be closer than you think.”|
|“Nobody is forcing the participants to stay, of course, but if they leave, they won’t be paid.”|
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|“This 160-step biochemical process is very well studied, and surprisingly inefficient.”|
|“We’re going to start to see chip implants get the same realm of acceptance as piercings and tattoos.”|
|“Our Internet handlers, not government, are using operant conditioning to modify our behaviour today.”|
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|“During this phase of decline, the US was likely to go through a phase of reactionary 'fascism'.”|
|“The shift from fuel and pistons to batteries and electric motors is unlikely to take that long.”|
|“The algorithm chose; Max attended.”|
|“After 78 years, the helicopter has been reinvented.”|