A recent article about the rise of robotics in manufacturing makes for an interesting diatribe about the future of humanity. The article explained how the increase of industrial robot installations globally, and particularly in China, may replace many jobs currently filled by humans.
It is difficult to imagine a scenario where this trend does not continue, as robotic technology improves over time while human “productivity” can never really “improve”. There are only so many movements a human can make in a single day, regardless of training, or education.
Now let me explain why robotics are a good thing for humanity, for the simple reason that our goal as a species ought to be full enjoyment, not full employment.
Economists, politicians, and other “powers that be”, including our social culture and educational systems, are designed to convince us that employment should be our main goal in life.
If we are fully employed, the logic goes, we will be able to enjoy the fruits of our labor (in the form of spending our money). However, I know of very few people, who, if given the choice, would prefer to go to work if they had to option not to go to work. The idea that we must get a job and work our way up the ladder in order to be happy in life is a fallacy. For most of us, full employment does not deliver full enjoyment… going to work is an obligation, not a choice.
Imagine instead, a human population that was geared toward full enjoyment instead of full employment. If robots were providing for our day to day material needs – clothes, transportation, Iphones, etc – humans could be left to do “God’s work”, that is, dedicate time toward raising and loving our children, growing organic food for our community, rehabilitating the Earth by planting trees and applying remediation technology, and engaging in art, music, and other creative endeavors. In short, human beings could be left to “enjoy themselves”, their natural environment, and the communities to which they belong.
The value of “full enjoyment” has been unfortunately lost in favor of the “full employment” doctrine that says we should all get a job so we can get loans to buy stuff and then spend our lives trying to pay back those loans.
Jobs Contributing To Full Enjoyment
Here are just a few of the types of “jobs” we could “enjoy” if manufacturing (and other services that will be replaced by technology, such as accounting, law, and finance) were performed by robots and other advanced technologies:
⦁ Local organic agriculture (small scale, localized agriculture is unlikely to be performed by robots)
⦁ Localized plant medicine development and use
⦁ Communion with and rehabilitation of Mother Earth
⦁ Art, music, cultural and community events
⦁ Exercise, Yoga, Meditation
⦁ Travel and intercultural events
⦁ Sitting in a park, laying on a beach – the things most people only do while on vacation
But Where Will All The Money Come From?
People reading this might wonder how we, as a society, could possibly afford to live if a large percentage of our current jobs are filled by technology.
The idea is that technology will advance (and financial systems will change) to the point where our current idea of money will no longer exist. Instead, we will trade tokens of value on a blockchain in order to facilitate trade, without the need for banks or a debt-based money system. Trials for such systems are already well underway.
It is also quite likely that new technology will provide a form of very cheap energy that enables any community to produce their basic energy needs. While solar is far from “free energy” it is making great strides in terms of providing affordable energy across the globe, even to areas where the electric grid does not reach. Other technologies may soon arise to provide even cheaper energy sources.
People will start to realize that they don’t need the latest brand name clothes, or any of the status symbols we think we need today, thereby eliminating a lot of the “need” for money.
Communities will develop so that real needs – food, water, energy, and shelter, are available to anyone who contributes a modest amount of their time toward community development projects. Those contributions will be voluntary and exactly match the desired activities of the participants. Our contributions will be recorded, and an aspect of “fairness” will be programmed into systems of identity, reputation, and trade, to ensure slackers are not unfairly rewarded.
Instead of being chained to a job, we will be free to explore our role in our community and trade with other communities without the need for government force.
What If The Robots Take Over?
Some may wonder what will happen if robots gain the upper hand over humanity and become determined to take control through violence as has been depicted in movies. In my view, it is critically important that we support open source software whenever possible.
For non-techies, open source is different than closed source in the sense that with open source, everyone can read the underlying code and consensus mechanisms to determine which code gets adopted into the program. Closed source software, on the other hand, is privately managed and only a select few people can control the code that runs the program.
In theory, open source systems would enable humanity to always intervene if it were deemed appropriate or necessary for our survival, whereas with closed source systems, a few power mongers may try to advance robotics for their own personal gain. Indeed, the battle for decentralization/open source over centralization/closed source is the battle of the day and it is up to each of us to use our discernment in order to adopt open source technologies (and systems of all kinds) whenever possible.
Let Us Embrace The “New Age”
In short, humanity will eventually learn how to simply enjoy their time on Earth instead of struggling to pay bills. The Industrial Age brought great inventions, the Information Age is bringing real time information exchange, the Blockchain Age will establish voluntary, open source systems of global trade, identity, and reputation systems, and the Robotic Age will automate manufacturing, all of which ought to usher in a sort of Enlightened or Ascended Age.
This type of world is possible through a combination of advanced technology (robots, blockchains, free energy) and a dramatic change in values from material consumption and status symbols, to environmental and community based “enjoyment”. If we wish, we can work toward the full enjoyment paradigm right now, a model for which will be sketched out on this website in the near future.