The costs outweigh the benefits.
The idea that people need jobs to survive are a primitive notion. Any suffering that occurs in the process from the elimination of these tens of millions of jobs will be solely due to resistance in the minds of people unwilling to accept that work is not necessary to live.
The ethical duties vary for those causing the disruption. I notice engineers tend to ignore the wide-scale societal impacts. From my observations, engineers will fall either into the ‘basic income’ camp or the ‘sucks for those people’ camp. I think the biggest ethical duty that can be expected from those causing the disruption will be to:
- Have an understanding of the type of impact the innovation will have on society, particularly for the more vulnerable members of it (the poor, the socially immobile, the undereducated).
- To advocate for social safety nets that provide for and protect those whose livelihoods are destined to be destroyed by automation.
If machines are more than able to provide for all the food, transportation, and housing that people need, then there’s no reason for anyone to go without.