The age of automation arguably begun in the build up to the industrial revolution and has quickened in pace since then. Certainly, the information age with it’s constant doubling of computer processing power over a number of decades has given us untold opportunities to automate work and shake up the job market. Jobs have been lost, and jobs have been created.
But we’re now standing on a precipice of unprecedented change. It is expected that within 20 years up to 35% of jobs will be automated by intelligent machines, and that number could be possibly much higher depending on where you are in the world.
In its golden age, sci-fi was as political as it was fantastical. Dreams of a better world were free to wander into the minds of the public, with amazing visions of space travel, advanced farming and flying cars. Because tech as we know it today was in such infancy in the middle of the 20th century, it opened up a floodgate of possibility.
But we’ve gotten lost since then. We’ve seen new technology emerge rapidly and now we take touch screen displays, drones, and ordering everything online for granted. Our imagination appears to have been stunted and boxed. We’ve gone from dreamers to consumers. This has to change.
Advances in artificial intelligence and the drive toward mass automation will happen pretty fast over the next generation. This gives us crazy opportunity to dramatically change the way that we live our lives. Imagine a world where almost everything around is machine-operated, and humans are not needed to run much of our day to day. Farming, food production, travel, retail – all fully automated.
For most people, this conjures up images of an economic disaster, with millions of people out of work and living in poverty. But by introducing a basic, unconditional income to everyone, we suddenly subvert that dystopia and turn it into a full-blown utopia.
It could be amazing
Picture living in this world. Your life will no longer revolve around your job and status at work. You will enjoy significantly more leisure time, free to wander this entirely automated society, and pursue the things that truly make you happy. Many people will still choose to work, but they will do so according to their own desires and on their own terms. Technology will still continue to grow because humans are inquisitive and creative – scientists don’t typically do what they do for the money. Productivity will increase because people get to do it on their terms, and they won’t be boxed into political bureaucracy or turned into wage slaves.