There are many sources suggesting that productivity (including robotics and A.I. interfaces) will increase enough to have a significant impact on future employment world wide. This includes:
- Aug 2015 Wall St Journal discussion of “Humans are Underrated“
- “A World Without Work” in The Atlantic July/August 2015
Geoff Colvin, in his new ‘underrated’ book suggests that even in a world where most if not all jobs can be done by robots, humans are social animals and will prefer human interactions in some situations. The Atlantic, focuses on what the future may include for jobless persons when that is the norm. “The Jobless don’t spend their time socializing or taking up new hobbies. Instead they watch TV or sleep.” A disturbing vision of a world which currently includes, according to this article, 16% of American men ages 25-54. The article did not discuss the potential for younger men who see limited future opportunity to turn to socially problematic activities from crime and drugs to radicalization and revolution.
As with any challenge, the first step is recognizing there is a problem. This may be more difficult in the U.S. where work is equated with status, personal identity (“I am a <job title here>”), and social responsibility. One suggestion is the creation of civic centers where folks can get together and “meet, learn skills, bond around sports or crafts, and socialize.” These might be combined with maker-spaces and start-up incubators that become a catalyst for creator-consumer-funder collaborations.
So — what’s your future “job” — will you be in the “on-demand” economy? Perhaps engaging in the maker-world? — How might this future differ in various countries? Will Europe or India or ?? yield different responses to a situation that is expected to affect global economies over this century?