If only half our jobs really were “lost” to AI
You may remember a big to-do, 5+ years ago now, in corporate media over claims that half of all jobs would be lost to artificial intelligence in ten years. Similar claims continue to be regularly barfed forth, accompanied with scaremongering over what will happen with such mass unemployment. Of course there’s absolutely no indication, in the real world, that robots are on the verge of taking over everything. But it all does get and hold some viewers’ attention.
What, though, if it really was true? There’s another possibility, being noted by some. But apparently it’s just too extreme, too radical, even too downright unthinkable to deserve serious attention by “serious” thinkers. Suppose that everyone who wanted to – a large majority, to be sure – worked less and retired sooner!
Sometimes people ask those who are dying what their biggest life regrets are. While there have been a number of surveys on this over the years, always at or very near the top is respondents saying they spent too much time at their fucking bullshit jobs. (OK, they probably don’t mostly use precisely that language. But that’s the answer they give, one way or another. Usually at or near #2, incidentally, is that they let old friendships fade away.) Which I don’t find surprising at all, especially given the way people bitch about their jobs. I do not except myself.
There’s something very condescending about the claim that a lot fewer jobs needing to be done by people would be a catastrophe. Namely, the implicit suggestion that most people just won’t know what to do with themselves, and won’t stay out of trouble, if not for relentless toil, and associated tasks like commuting, filling most of their days for most of their adult lives. Certainly the current state of affairs works very well for the greedheads, and for our existing power structure in general.
The plutocrats need us. We don’t need them. Perhaps it’s mostly just a matter of getting a critical mass of the population to really realize that. Not that that will be an easy thing to do.
Thanks for your feedback. If we like what you have to say, it may appear in a future post of reader reactions.