Kurt Vonnegut touched on this theme in his first novel, Participant Piano, revealed in 1952. The novel is prescient, written 67 years in the past—and it touches on themes occurring immediately.
“What do you anticipate?” he mentioned. “For generations they have been constructed as much as worship competitors and the market, productiveness and financial usefulness, and the envy of their fellow men-and growth! it is all yanked out from underneath them. They cannot take part, cannot be helpful any extra. Their complete tradition’s been shot to hell.”
Simply this week New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said that,
“We shouldn’t be haunted by the specter of being automated out of labor. We ought to be excited by that. However the cause we’re not excited by it’s as a result of we stay in a society the place for those who don’t have a job, you might be left to die. And that’s, at its core, our downside.”
“We ought to be enthusiastic about automation, as a result of what it may doubtlessly imply is extra time educating ourselves, extra time creating artwork, extra time investing in and investigating the sciences, extra time targeted on invention, extra time going to area, extra time having fun with the world that we stay in. As a result of not all creativity must be bonded by wage.”
I really like her imaginative and prescient of the long run, it’s the imaginative and prescient that Gene Roddenberry had in Star Trek, a world the place there was no cash, and mankind solely labored for the betterment of humanity.
Lily: How a lot did this factor price?
Captain Picard: The economics of the long run are considerably completely different. You see, cash doesn’t exist within the 24th century.
Lily: No cash? You imply you don’t receives a commission?
Captain Picard: The acquisition of wealth is not the driving pressure in our lives. We work to raised ourselves, and the remainder of humanity.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, the good bogeywoman to the correct aspect of the political spectrum, is spot on in her evaluation. Dropping a job will be the equal of demise—many People immediately are one or two paychecks away from monetary catastrophe. With out a paycheck you can’t pay hire, your automobile cost, and generally, you lose your entry to well being care as a result of our medical health insurance is usually tied to our job. Dropping a job may trigger you to lose your self-worth. Think about working in a job for 30 years, solely to get replaced as a result of a machine may do it quicker, and cheaper, it has occurred, and can proceed to occur at a quicker tempo within the coming years.
We have to begin altering the best way we take into consideration work, and what we worth. Right now, somebody working in finance can obtain a better wage than somebody who truly produces one thing. Males who play youngsters’s video games earn greater than those that educate our kids.
We have to transfer on to a distinct system, one the place we’re not bonded to a job for a wage. Within the Star Trek universe, it was the invention of the replicator that introduced concerning the social adjustments that moved them towards a moneyless society. In Participant Piano the appearance of an automatic world turned out to make it a dismal place. We’re coming as much as a crossroads, we have to determine which path to take—a society the place wealth is not one thing to pursue, the place everyone seems to be equal, and all of us work towards the betterment of society. Or, we go down the trail the place the haves grow to be a smaller and smaller group, and the remainder of us surprise what occurred to our usefulness.