killing off huge sectors of our economy
“The analogous classic example, favored by LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman, is story about the American…
Edward Kirby
154

Hold Your Horsemen of Jobocalypse

Automation of labor is the enemy only in the heads of the work-crazed

By MARTIN REZNY

“Killing economy” is a very dramatic way of saying “making the need for human labor obsolete”. It’s not only not a problem, it’s the stated goal of the enlightenment and the industrial revolution. It’s a veritable miracle.

I don’t disagree with your analysis of the negative consequences that it has had, and may again have, but it’s important to note that the apocalyptic failure here is that of our psychology only. We’re kind of retarded that way.

The fact that we can’t accept the human condition improving, and that we just so extremely and pathologically don’t want to share our toys that we rather kill each other, that’s what’s causing the upheaval and the economic crises.

To adapt means simply to shorten the work week while maintaining the same pay in the short term, and in long term, accepting the objective fact that every person can be taken care of even if they don’t productively contribute, as long as the few remaining jobs are being done by volunteers and machines.

The generally assumed radicality of this simple idea is baffling to me. It won’t result in a perfect world, but nothing would, and what we have now is much worse — there are people in existential danger. In a world without forced labor, our worst problems will be boredom and diminished sense of purpose in life. And exactly the same bullshit prejudices and animosities.

The only scenario in which it becomes a problem for the general public is when wealthy people in power decide they will not share their profits with the public — the public that has previously paid for the research necessary to develop the means of the automation of labor through taxes.

Which they will undoubtedly attempt, of course. Why would they give away anything without a fight? This is the mentality that allows 1% of people to hold onto 90% of resources. Which is objectively speaking pathological, unjustifiable, insane, and thoroughly unacceptable. It’s also baffling to me that so many people who do not benefit from this situation have a tendency to defend the richest of the rich on their right to exploit everyone everywhere.

Because how else can it be a problem for normal people? Only a mental problem again, if you believe in the Czechoslovakian communist, Christian, and apparently also capitalist motto: “There are no cakes without work”.

Climate change is also not the end of the world, just a reduction in the carrying capacity of this planet, a downgrade if you will, at the current level of our technology and management capabilities. If people decide to cooperate, as they often do in the case of a natural disaster, there don’t have to be wars and mass deaths even in the worst case scenario. It’s a question of priorities.

Humans have a choice in how they will respond to these challenges, or in the case of making labor obsolete, these blessings. We’re only doomed if we decide to doom ourselves. Which we might. Personally, I don’t hold human race in a particularly high regard. But nothing is preordained, or inevitable. Certainly not things that are objectively fully within our power. If our leaders fail us, which appears likely, then it just falls to us directly to choose better leaders.

Also, singularity, A.K.A. “geek rapture”, is not much more than science fiction.

(At least in a way in which it’s often presented by the “singulaterians”.)

So, why don’t we just…

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