The Fight For Work. Humans vs Machines. Addressing The Real Issue — Part 1

(On this Part 1, I will introduce my opinion on the subject. Keep in touch for Part 2, where I will try to come up with some possible solutions to it, and ways to make a healthy transition)

So, as many of you, I kept reading this last few weeks a bunch of articles about the future of work regarding the advancements in machine learning, automation and robotics. Like a lot of aspects in life, some are in favor, some against it.

But what I didn’t find yet, in any of them, is an explanation of what is our actual role in work. Our present work situation. And don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about unemployment, or what will the jobs of the future be, nor anything of the sorts. I’m talking here about what does work means to us, as a species.

Let me start by stating that, although many are taught the idea of needing to work just in order to survive, it is not the intrinsic reason of why humans work. Sure, it happens to be correlated, of course, but correlation does not imply causality.

We work because we think. To work, is to put in motion the idea of achieving. Something. Anything. A mind that is not capable of working, is a mind that is not capable of thinking. And the other way around applies too.

Though I hope that the reader won’t rage against this article, I want to make a pause here to make it clear that I know that in the world today, for many many people it is not an option to work for work’s sake, and that in fact if they don’t work they don’t eat, thus they don’t live. I am fully aware of this. And that’s exactly why I’m writing this article.

The issue I am addressing here is that if we believe that working is an intrinsic condition and necessity of us humans, because it lets us achieve, it lets us express ourselves, it gives us fulfillment, then work may never die. Because that would mean the death of the mind. A society in which no one works, is a numb one. Do not think of “work” as your 9 to 5 routine which stops you from doing other enjoyable things. Think of work as the idea of getting things done by thinking. If that stops, then we would get stuck, forever.

So please, everyone who thinks that machines working will be the doom of every human worker and create havoc on society as we know it, take a second to assimilate the fact that no machine will ever stop you from thinking or achieving.

Of course, things will change, but follow me on this idea. We have mainstream solar energy for every house just around the corner. There is innovation on construction materials that let us have more resistant buildings for less money. Agro technology is always evolvingr to being able to produce food more efficiently. We have good quality education at a very low cost thanks to the Internet. We can communicate with others all across the world cheaply. The collaboration economy helps us do many things for fewer bucks, like fundraising, finding a place to live, travel, and so much more. Take one of the most recent advancements for example: yesterday scientists broke a new record on nuclear fusion, getting closer to unlimited clean energy.

If you are like me, then you are getting the idea that the costs of living are dropping, and the quality of life is increasing. Yes, I know that not for everyone. But as long as this keeps on, we will all be able to do work that is actually meaningful for each individual. And then, and I hope this will be of global interest, many of us will be working on spreading this conditions towards every inch of the earth, raising the quality of life on all cities, towns, countries that nowadays are striving to survive.

We. Wont. Stop. Working. We will be working on different things. Some, unthinkable right now. Others, of worldwide importance. So to everyone reading this, I ask you to start thinking forward now, start being part of those solutions that you may think today are unachievable, because believe me, if you do that, you won’t be needing to worry about work. You will be working/thinking your whole life on building a better world. And that mindset is something really hard, maybe impossible, to replace with a machine.

Like what you read? Give Ezequiel Boehler a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.