There is a mistruth out there, one that manages to be both sinister and silly at the same time. It revolves around the concept of technological unemployment, a notion that instills fear in the hearts of many. However, let us embark on a journey to dismantle this myth and shed light on the reality. In this age of remarkable technological advancements, where automation and artificial intelligence are becoming integral parts of our daily lives, it is crucial to separate fact from fiction. The narrative of technological unemployment paints a bleak picture, suggesting that machines and algorithms will inevitably render human labor obsolete. But as we delve deeper into this topic, we will discover that this notion is nothing more than a fallacy, as human creativity, adaptability, and innovation continue to be indispensable in shaping the future of work.
WHAT IS TECHNOLOGICAL UNEMPLOYMENT
Technological unemployment refers to the hypothetical concept that advancements in technology and automation will lead to a significant decline in the demand for human labor, ultimately resulting in widespread unemployment. The argument behind technological unemployment suggests that as machines and algorithms become more capable and efficient in performing tasks traditionally carried out by humans, there will be fewer job opportunities available, leading to economic disruption and social unrest.
The concern stems from the belief that automation and artificial intelligence have the potential to replace human workers across various industries, ranging from manufacturing and transportation to customer service and even knowledge-based professions. Proponents of the technological unemployment theory often cite examples such as self-driving vehicles, automated factories, or sophisticated algorithms that can analyze data and make informed decisions.
WHAT IS THE ECONOMY?
What is an economy? By what methods is wealth produced?
The economy encompasses the system by which goods and services are produced, distributed, and consumed within a society. It is the sum total of all economic activities that take place, involving individuals, businesses, governments, and other entities.
Wealth is produced through four primary methods: labor, land, capital, and information. Each method possesses its own unique characteristics and potential for generating wealth.
Labor represents the physical and mental efforts exerted by individuals in the production of goods or the provision of services. It is the foundation upon which economic activities are built. However, there are limitations to labor’s productivity, as individuals can only work a finite number of hours in a day.
Land refers to natural resources, including arable land, minerals, water bodies, and energy sources. Land can be utilized for various purposes, such as agriculture, mining, or construction. Unlike human labor, land is not constrained by time or physical limitations, allowing it to generate output 24 hours a day.
Capital encompasses the tools, machinery, equipment, and infrastructure used in the production process. Capital goods, such as machines, can work continuously and often at a faster pace than land or human labor. They amplify productivity and efficiency, enabling higher output and potentially greater wealth accumulation.
Information, the fourth method, represents knowledge, data, ideas, and intellectual property. It holds immense power in today’s interconnected world. Information can be disseminated and replicated with ease, enabling the creation of products or services that can be distributed to a vast audience at minimal marginal cost. This scalability and the ability to duplicate and share information exponentially contribute to its economic potency.
In the context of wealth distribution, the progressive power of each method becomes evident. Landlords, who derive income from land ownership, can generate substantial wealth due to the perpetual productivity of land. Factory owners, who control capital-intensive production processes, often accumulate more significant wealth than landlords. However, owners of information, who possess intellectual property rights or access to transformative knowledge, can surpass even the wealth amassed by factory owners.
Understanding the relative power and potential of these methods in generating wealth provides insights into the dynamics of economic systems and the hierarchies that emerge within them.
IS LABOR INFINITE?
The thesis asserts that as long as there is a human demand for human labor, jobs will always exist. The essence of this argument is straightforward: as long as humans continue to prefer products or services produced by other humans, it guarantees the existence of jobs. There will always be certain roles or occupations that we prefer humans to perform, even in an era of advanced automation and robotics.
There may be some or many jobs that we do not want a robot to do:
- Athlete / Entertainer
- Religious leader
Consider professions such as basketball players, politicians, massage therapists, and religious leaders. Can we argue that there is an infinite number of such jobs? Is it possible that these jobs have yet to be conceived or discovered? Reflecting on history, prior to the industrial revolution, the majority of Americans worked in agriculture. If someone had predicted that farming would soon become a declining industry, they would have been met with incredulity and the question, “What will we all do then?” If the response had been “desk jobs like accounting,” they would have wondered how many accountants the world truly needed. They could not have fathomed a future where new professions, like computer programming, would emerge over time. They could not have imagined that the 2% of jobs in those fields could grow to dominate the entire economy.
Today, we can envision a scenario where machines might replace 98% of jobs, leaving only a small percentage for roles like basketball players, politicians, massage therapists, religious leaders, and others. But how can these few jobs expand to sustain an entire economy? The answer lies in the belief that it will naturally unfold. While the exact mechanisms may be unclear, history suggests that new jobs will emerge. As automation makes certain goods and services incredibly affordable, it frees up more disposable income to spend on luxury items. Having a human element in certain domains becomes a luxury itself.
Consider a hypothetical scenario where everything is automated today—the prices of goods and services would plummet, potentially by 90% or even more. In some cases, prices could drop by an astounding 99.9999%, akin to the transformation experienced in the music industry. This would leave us with surplus funds to allocate toward other desires and aspirations.
In essence, the belief is that human demand, innovation, and the natural course of economic evolution will lead to the creation of new jobs and opportunities. While the precise future cannot be foreseen, history suggests that as automation advances, new sectors and roles will emerge, ultimately providing avenues for human labor to flourish and contribute to a vibrant economy.
THIS TIME IS DIFFERENT
Suppose you remain unconvinced, maintaining that “this time is different.” You argue that artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics represent a unique form of mechanization, lacking human involvement and devaluing human labor. According to this viewpoint, only a limited number of tasks would require human intervention, with no new fields emerging. However, even under these circumstances, it can be confidently asserted that technological automation will not lead to widespread poverty or a complete lack of work opportunities.
As previously expounded, an economy consists of four fundamental components:
In the event that all forms of labor were automated, humans would naturally transition to the next phase. They would redirect their efforts toward acquiring ownership of land, capital, or information. This paradigm shift would herald great prosperity for humanity. As emphasized earlier, each subsequent component—land, capital, and information—possesses an exponential increase in power compared to its predecessor. Consequently, the acquisition of these assets would enable individuals to enhance their wealth even further.
Rather than relying on their labor to earn wages by working for others, individuals would aspire to possess machines, land, or intellectual property. While the value of labor might decline significantly, the demand for land, capital, and information would skyrocket. This transformation would reshape economic dynamics, empowering individuals to amass wealth through the ownership and utilization of these increasingly powerful resources.
In this future, individuals would have the opportunity to shift their focus from mundane labor-intensive tasks to pursuits that align with their passions, interests, and entrepreneurial ambitions. The redistribution of labor through automation would provide newfound freedom for humans to explore creative endeavors, contribute to innovative ventures, and strive for personal fulfillment.
INFINITE LAND, LABOR & CAPITAL
While one can argue that the demand for human labor is finite and limited, the same cannot be said for land and capital. Land, in the grand scheme of the universe, is infinite from a human perspective. Although accessing certain areas of land may be challenging, the vastness of the universe provides an infinite expanse of untapped resources and potential territories. Even considering the limitations of Earth, our ability to expand into space, harness resources from celestial bodies like the Moon, Mars, or asteroids, opens up new frontiers and opportunities for land acquisition.
In contrast, capital holds even greater potential for infinity. If we fully leverage the resources available on Earth, the Moon, Mars, and beyond, each individual could possess an almost limitless amount of capital. The ability to construct and accumulate capital is not bound by scarcity in the same way that labor is. Capital can be continually created, expanded, and diversified, driving innovation, productivity, and economic growth.
Furthermore, the realm of information transcends the boundaries of physical resources. Information is an infinite and ever-expanding realm that can be generated, shared, and owned without depletion. With the advent of digital technologies, the creation and dissemination of information have become increasingly accessible and democratized. The potential for infinite information opens up endless possibilities for individuals to participate, contribute, and benefit from this vast pool of knowledge.
In a future where robots possess capabilities that rival or surpass human abilities, it does not imply an end to human work or economic viability. Instead, it signals a paradigm shift in how labor is valued and allocated. Humans can pivot towards harnessing the infinite resources of land, capital, and information. Rather than solely relying on labor for income, individuals can leverage their creative and entrepreneurial potential to cultivate and navigate these infinite realms.
HOW WOULD HUMANS MAKE MONEY
Instead of using our labor to earn a wage we would simply try to own a machine. The value of labor would go to near zero but the demand for land, capital & information would skyrocket.
Every human would simply own robots, or they would own land, or they would own capital or they would own information.
In the envisioned future, the traditional model of relying on labor to earn a wage would give way to a new paradigm where individuals strive to own machines. As automation becomes increasingly prevalent, the value of human labor is expected to decrease significantly. However, this decline in labor value would be offset by a substantial surge in demand for land, capital, and information.
In this transformed economic landscape, the ownership and control of productive assets would take center stage. Individuals would seek to possess and operate machines, leveraging their power and efficiency to generate wealth. By shifting focus from labor-intensive activities to the acquisition of machines, people would tap into the potential of automation and enjoy the benefits it brings.
Simultaneously, the demand for land, capital, and information would experience an unprecedented upswing. These resources, which are inherently more potent and capable of generating exponential returns, would become highly sought after. Land, for instance, would retain its value as a finite and valuable asset, while capital in the form of machinery and technology would become instrumental in driving productivity and innovation. Furthermore, information, including intellectual property and knowledge, would continue to play a crucial role in shaping industries and fostering economic growth.
The interplay between the decline in labor value and the surge in demand for land, capital, and information would redefine the dynamics of wealth accumulation. While the traditional wage-based model might see a decline, individuals who successfully transition to ownership of these productive assets would have the opportunity to thrive financially. This shift would unlock new possibilities, empowering individuals to leverage the benefits of automation and technological advancements to enhance their economic well-being.
It is important to acknowledge that this transition would not be without challenges. Socioeconomic structures would need to adapt to ensure equitable access to resources and address potential inequalities. Additionally, individuals would need to develop new skill sets and adapt to the evolving demands of the digital economy. However, by embracing the changing landscape and harnessing the potential of land, capital, and information, individuals can position themselves to thrive in this future where machine ownership and the pursuit of valuable assets take precedence.
THE AMAZING WORLD AHEAD.
Envision a future where the cost of everything you desire to purchase is reduced to a mere fraction of its current price. In this extraordinary world, a million-dollar house becomes attainable for a mere $10,000, a car becomes accessible for a mere $1,000, and even a delicious hamburger costs just a nickel. Now, consider the immense wealth and material abundance that would accompany such a reality—a world in which robots seamlessly handle every task.
Automation, with its remarkable capabilities, holds the potential to transform our lives and reshape our understanding of wealth. The impact of automation can be witnessed in the realm of production, where machines and robots take over the responsibilities that were once solely entrusted to human hands. As a result, the cost of manufacturing goods plummets, rendering them significantly more affordable.
The implications of this newfound affordability are profound. As the prices of products and services drop to astonishingly low levels, the purchasing power of individuals skyrockets. This abundance permeates every aspect of life, enabling individuals to enjoy an unprecedented level of material prosperity. The dreams and aspirations that were once restrained by financial limitations are now within reach.
In this future of automation, the pursuit of material possessions takes on a new dimension. The acquisition of luxurious items, once reserved for the privileged few, becomes accessible to a wider population. As individuals revel in their newfound wealth, they are afforded the opportunity to experience the joys of materialism on an unprecedented scale. The extraordinary level of abundance that automation enables transforms our perception of what is attainable, creating a world where aspirations are magnified and fulfilled.
In this extraordinary realm where robots possess the capabilities of humankind, we shall not succumb to despair or idleness. Instead, we shall transcend the concept of universal basic income, for this realm is a divine bestowal granted to those who wield it wisely. Within its bounds, boundless wealth awaits us—a treasure trove unmatched throughout history. Let not the fear-mongers deter you, for they dwell in the shadows of deliberate deceit or limited understanding.
Let us embrace this plentiful future with hearts ignited, for the offerings it presents are as limitless as the heavens above. As the tapestry of human existence intertwines with the grace of automation, we shall uncover unexplored frontiers of prosperity, where dreams manifest into reality and aspirations soar on wings of possibility.
Therefore, stand tall, fellow travelers, and cast aside the shackles of doubt and uncertainty. The world that lies ahead is a symphony of marvels, where human potential converges with the embrace of technological wonders. Let us honor this gift, harness its power, and illuminate the path towards a future where abundance and prosperity grace each step we take.
For within this remarkable union of man and machine, we embark on a journey that transcends the boundaries of imagination—a testament to the unconquerable spirit of humanity, ceaselessly advancing towards horizons yet unfathomed. Together, we shall pioneer this grand epoch, a testament to our collective ingenuity, as we usher in a golden age unlike any before.
Truly, we stand on the cusp of a most blessed era and a most blessed world—a gift from God for those who employ it rightly. We shall all partake in vast wealth like never before. Indeed, we find ourselves at the brink of an extraordinary epoch, a time that promises unparalleled blessings and unimaginable prosperity. As we embark on this remarkable journey, it is vital to acknowledge the immense abundance that awaits us. The advent of advanced automation and the fusion of human ingenuity with technological brilliance heralds a world where abundance flows generously.