Washington Post Op-ed: We’re Heading for a World Without Jobs

Let’s step back for a moment and take a look at the big picture in terms of what might be coming in our futures. We spend a lot of time here talking about the possibilities that could come if energy is cheap and abundant — especially when energy developments are combined with so many other technological advances that are taking place at a dizzying pace.

An opinion piece in the Washington Post by Vivek Wadhwa looks at where we might be heading. He spends a lot of time thinking about future — his current professional responsibilities are as a fellow at Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University, director of research at Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at Duke, and distinguished fellow at Singularity University.

Wadhwa’s conclusion is that we are heading towards a future without jobs as we currently know them. He writes, “Within two decades, we will have almost unlimited energy, food, and clean water; advances in medicine will allow us to live longer and healthier lives; robots will drive our cars, manufacture our goods, and do our chores.” He reckons we have only 10-15 years left of work as we know it, before robots, sensors, drones and other technologies start to do all the laborious work that humans have done throughout the ages.

Wadha says that in the West we will actually increase jobs in the near term as we build the plants and machines that will power our future — but that the job loss has already started in China, a manufacturing economy, where robots can now do work more cheaply than human labor.

For everyone who depends on a paycheck from a job for survival this may come across as a worrying scenario. Yes, the essential goods we need to survive may become far cheaper than before as energy and labor costs are drastically reduced — but it is highly doubtful that things are going to become free overnight, and if a jobless world is just two decades away we don’t have a lot of time to transition from our current economy to a completely new reality. We might turn to government to help us sort out this transition, but Wadha says government doesn’t really know what to do:

“They can barely keep up with the advances that are happening in technology, let alone develop economic policies for employment. Even the courts are struggling to understand the legal and ethical issues of advancing technologies.”

The only proposed solution that Wadha puts forward to help with the issue is to shorten the work week to 10-20 hours. I think most people, if economically secure, would gladly spend less time at work, but many people these days need to work as much as possible — sometimes multiple jobs — just to stay financially afloat, and probably would not voluntarily cut back unless they were sure they could survive.

Regarding employment Wadha says, “There is surely a possibility for social unrest because of this; but we could also create the utopian future we have long dreamed of, with a large part of humanity focused on creativity and enlightenment. ”

There doesn’t seem to be any let-up in the pace of technological change; in fact it seems to be accelerating. Personally, I welcome every useful advance out there and I see technology as being a key to solving some of the most challenging problems we face in the world. But there are going to be difficult issues to face, and the employment issue could be the most challenging one of all.

I am glad to see this topic raised in an influential newspaper like the Washington Post. I think it’s something that should be widely discussed. It’s going to take wisdom and creativity to be able to come up with innovative solutions that could help the world move into what I do consider to be a bright and inviting future.

  • Anon2012_2014

    “How is this system safe from dictator-types interfering and trying to control people under them?”

    The dictators are oligarchs.

  • Anon2012_2014

    World without Jobs: WRONG!

    World without jobs that have no value for a human to do them.

    There WILL be jobs for teachers, doctors, entertainers, and yes, Starbucks Baristas. We value the human interaction. All the non-human valued work, i.e. truck driver, delivery boy, manufacturing, and construction will be over.

    The question is how will be transform society in a world where machine capital has a much higher share of the GDP? Will we allow the teachers, doctors, and entertainers to earn enough machine capital at cost so as to thrive on the 20 hour work weeks and future retirement? How to get there is the real question.

    • Omega Z

      “teachers, doctors, entertainers, and yes, Starbucks Baristas”
      All can be replaced & the technology is already in it’s infancy.

      Imagine walking into a little cubicle. 5 minutes latter you step out. A complete extremely accurate medical workup. No 2nd opinions needed. You have the opinions of every doctor that is.
      Walk into a cubicle. Sit down. Leave an hour latter with a years eduction implanted. No Tests to fail. Note: They can already implant short term memories like a dream. Tho they quickly fade away. It could be time for some serious oversight in this field. Ripe for abuse.

      • Anon2012_2014

        While you are correct that the AI robots CAN replace this type of human job, most people prefer human interaction. Do you want your children taught by a robot? Most people will take the human.

        • Omega Z

          Note: The time frame will be much longer then spelled out in this article.
          A Jobless World is just scaremongering. By people who fear change. Fear the “UNKNOWN”. We will adapt.

          I believe it’s just a matter of time until knowledge is imprinted electronically. There will be no teaching as we know it.

          There will also be jobs. Just different. The ability to imprint knowledge directly to the brain will eliminate most of the concerns people raise.

          For a time, Robots may take some of our jobs, But ultimately they will free us from the more mundane. Allowing society to explore, advance and overcome our limitations. It only requires thinking outside of the box.

          • Anon2012_2014

            I’ve thought about this for a long time and done some research that I cannot post here. I think the world will be different as people will enjoy their work (i.e. teaching, being an entertainer, or a nurse). I think they will need to work less (i.e. 30 hours per week) to save for retirement and to support themselves because everything that was expensive will be cheap, including the ability to buy a share of the robotic capital to make all the daily necessities. Life will be better.

            The problem is the transition, as a monopoly on the robotic capital would make it impossible for anyone to save. We have to do better than to deprive the non-wealthy of their ability to have a good life by saving/investing themselves in the robotic capital.

            Do this thought experiment. Pretend that a robotic replicator can make food like the contrivance on Star Trek, i.e. Earl Grey Hot. Pretend it cost $400 and that energy to run it cost $0.00001 per kWH. Everyone just needs a replicator and a source of energy.

            The last problem (beyond monopoly on the technology) is unbridled population growth that uses up other resources (i.e. land) or if taken to the extreme, all the available energy in the new energy source. Any bacteria can eat all the food in the Petri dish. We have to educate people to their options not to commit Petri dish suicide.

            In short, the problem can be solved so that a steady state 10 billion can live good lives, and the have nots can earn enough money for their replicator shares by waiting tables or teaching school only 30 hours per week and with dignity. There will be plenty of European summer vacation time.

          • John De Herrera

            “imprint knowledge” ???
            How interesting, is that really possible? It is hard work and a very long process to get an education. If we could shorten the time and do a better job at educating ourselves and our children – wow!

        • you don’t replace human, you complement, help, enpower.
          I have been educated by pteachers, by books, by TV, by Internet, by xerox-machines, by electronic club and their benevolents and peers, by desoldering used electronics…

          Human teachers are only par of the story.

          MOOC are the future and they don’t replace humans, they use their competence more efficiently than to use them as VCR or as policemen.

          • GreenWin

            MOOC?? Agree Alain, complement human skills makes for positive co-creation. Drawbacks I see are AI lacks intuition and thereby, real (not programmed) emotional capacity. Emotional capacity is unique to human beings – which is cause for so much attention recently.

            Some AI designers believe they can teach humans without human leadership. Or without providing that leadership with abundant living. We suggest they let us know how that’s working out for them.

            • AI are enough to do the painful job of repeating, doing always the same remarks…
              the professor can parameter , teach the IA as the students, about the unexpected, add some intelligence… IA is not a professor but a kind of “method”, and professor manual.

              well used, IA can help teacher to focus on the unexpected. it can also reduce the pain of the student facing real humans when in error.

              the experiments show that for young and mature kids, coputer learning are good for most of the teaching. professor can unlock some problems, but since most problem are classic, a good IA can even detect the classic problems, sometime even better than inexperienced professors.

        • Ophelia Rump

          “Do you want your children interacting with real human beings or computers?” circa 1970

    • yes the transformation of work into capital is the cause of progress. we invest to work less…

      as you say the result is we focus on more funny activities, creating new job.

      about the increase of unequality in developed low growth countries, (in poor countries, poverty have deeply been reduced) one hypothesis (beside number tweak like piketty do) is that there is a tranformation of the business income.

      in the old time income was stable, and rich were rich for their life, or at least rich starting from a given time… having huge income.

      today we define income as non-liquid asset value increase… google boss cannot sell his company….value can grow and contract, or grow and stabilize in ways that are connected to bubble and have muh less practical impact than the numbers.

      note also that when people have real income often it is done quickly, but it came from years of accumunation, or it is done when people are lucky.

      for example the soccer playesr have huge salaries, but as long as they are young and in good health… they make their wealth in 5 years…

      there are also real cause, and not only illusion, of unequality.

      it is like in science, in fashion, in cinema, in software, in internet company, the “winner takes all” effect at the planet level.

      in the 19th century the winner take all in business or star system was at the country scale. today at the planet scale. same for the groupthink, the science funding… fasion, grouthink, are planet-scaled today…

      back to social justice, the error is today to base the income of people on jobs. It is stupid to steal the jobs of robots.

      we have to transforme even the poor in capitalist, in capital owner.

      it is already the case for the retired people who own most of company capital in their retirement fund.

      even unemployed young people should have a capitalist share of the robots work. Maybe also a share of the “winner takes all” that they elected in various domain.

      this can be represented by the “unconditional basic income”. the dividend of the capital accumulated by the previous generation.

      I defend a reduction of taxes except :

      – taxes on legacy, with results that can generate the basic income

      – taxes on thing where the government can propose an insurance, or give a free/unavoidable service … not really a tax , but a prime. if you refuse to pay you will not have the service, and if the service is unavoidable (like police, justice) it will be forbidden. if you refuse to pay, you can go away, won’t be a drama for the country.

      – forced savings/insurance (basic income is one) to avoid having to save the poorest from poverty if they refuse to anticipate or if despair make them victim of abuser who don’t count those savings in the minimum they offer. Basic income will reduce those savings as it gives a safety net for everybody.

      basically companies should not pay taxes but they should pay for any service they indirectly benefit, like having a safe land, justice, police, unpolluted, a a price that is valuable, and paying for their cost to the society… If they are not happy, they can move because they don’t give more than what they consume in that scheme. if they really give more, they should be paid.

      don’t remember that company don’t pay taxes, only their clients pay it.

      clients should pay all but no more than what they benefit from the company infrastructure/protection community.

    • Daniel Maris

      I think it’s more complicated than that Anon.

      Firstly given the choice between a doctor who may be pleasant but fallible and an accurate diagnostic robot (which will no doubt soon include any number of diagnostic aids like smelling my breath etc) why wouldn’t I choose the robot doctor? Similarly when it comes to a surgeon, why wouldn’t I choose the robot doctor that performs to the same standard every time and doesn’t get drunk the night before, doesn’t row with a spouse, and doesn’t hide his developing Parkinson’s disease etc etc?

      Similarly robot teachers won’t lose patience or try to cover up gaps in their knowledge.

      It may seem odd now but perhaps we will get used to robot teachers and doctors. When we want to exercise physically we are quite used to using inert machines – we don’t expect personal trainers. Equally, we are prepared to study privately using books and computers. You might say only a human being can communicate the excitement of a subject. Really? Don’t films for instance often inspire people about historical events or scientific discoveries. If films can do it, why not a robot?

      Of course there will still be doctors and teachers – but maybe not so many.

      Starbuck baristas? What sort of interaction can you have with people who are overworked and can’t speak your language very well. A robot barista will at least be able to communicate in any language.

      Entertainers…hmmm…I think most of them will remain human. I don’t think we yet want to sit down and listen to a flawless recital by a robot pianist. We do need to know that we are engaging in a common felt experience when it comes to the arts.

      • Anon2012_2014

        Doctors — The doctors will use the robots to run the screen, but for most people if they have bad news, they want another human to discuss the possible outcomes. Do you want a robot telling you you’re going to die? I would pay extra. It will be cheap enough as there will be a lot of excess labor available when we don’t have to drive trucks or make widgets for a living.

        Baristas — I don’t know where you live, but the wait staff at most restaurants and cafes are people who are interesting and enjoyable to interact with if you take the time to speak with them. They speak your language.

        Teachers — suit yourself. I prefer a teacher who actually cares about the children in a small classroom setting. The teacher enjoys the work if they are not overworked. With all the extra people available due to the AI/robotics, classes can go down to 8 to 16 kids. It is more human. But suit yourself.

        Entertainers — nothing beats sharing the success with an entertainer who has just hit that high note, made that dance move, or brought down the immaculate reception.

  • GreenWin

    How are we coming along on care taker robots anyway? I’ve yet to see a commercial model in action.

  • Daniel Maris

    Well you could have written in 1860 tha the ICE was going to revolutionise transport but it took more like 50 years than ten years.

    I base my predictions on what we can see robots do: we know they can for instance drive cars safely and accurately without need for sleep. We know they can pass over rugged terrain. We know they can produce life like facial expressions. We know they can fly independently of humans etc etc.

    There is no reason to suppose that these enormous advances in robotics can’t be commercialised. They are already getting ready to commercialise robot drivers.

  • Rene

    More leisure, more procreation, exponential population growth, slam into resource limits, strife, etc. Exponential growth is the best way to make a good thing go really bad in a hurry.

    • Daniel Maris

      Every indicator suggests you get lower population growth when people become prosperous.

      The sort of new technology we are talking about – transmutation, LENR, indoor farming and so on – will be low impact on the environment compared with current “soil and rock” technologies.

      • Rene

        It has been the case for developed regions that population trends flatten, and indeed developing regions tend to procreate to have sufficient scavengers, but this trend will take a lot to reverse. these arguments assume democratization of resources. That has never happened to date : http://www.harpercollege.edu/mhealy/geogres/gifs/popgeog/wwpopgr.gif
        That growth

  • Job001

    The idea of training and permitting people to use AI robots to meet their own needs with robot support seems attractive. Add to that caretaker robots for babies or individuals with needs different from typical.

    Assisted self sufficiency keeps the tasks local rather than political and removes the problem from larger society to the extent practical and keeps people in charge of their own lives with higher AI than they have now.

    An assisted process of self sufficiency would satisfy more political, religious, and economic needs than “give away” proposals. Also attractive — less funds can be stolen when no funds flow.

    Robots made by robots don’t need profit(NPRG non profit robot groups), energy and material cheap by an automatic robot provision processes NPRG. Several energy hurdles exist which will be solved eventually by technology that could include fusion or fission or LENR or solar or wind or etc.

    Example of where it worked; The Roman empire used slave specialized labor to make households functional, with unnecessary cruelty. Jobs are being replaced, AI effective flexible robot machines can do the work that people cannot; low pay, hard, hot, dangerous, 24/7, no breaks, no vacation, unrewarding, no promotions, lacking meaning, etc.

    Consequently robot assisted self sufficiency may be a reasonable starting point. The capital cost will at some point be less than the average capital cost of modern societies as robot prices follow the learning improvement curve. Naturally, unintended consequences should always be explored in small scale trials.

  • Linda

    This trend was identified in the early 60s. It was predicted that workers would work less and less, and that because of this, leisure industries would be a good investment. We saw theme parks and malls proliferate.

    But the Elites had other plans. A “Moral Panic” prompted Reagan and Thatcher to create Neo-Liberalism, which essentially reversed all of the gains in productivity and destroyed the rising Middle Class. Productivity went thru the roof. But instead of working less, workers worked more just to survive. This is the world we live in today.

    Please do not imagine that we will live in some kind of leisure land like the article describes. A way will be found to ensure that only the Elites profit from this trend. The trend will be to force worker to fight worker for fewer and fewer jobs. The Elites hope to maintain their wealth, power and control at any cost. They will use surveillance, AI, store-bought political power, militarised police and the prison-industrial complex to enforce their will.

    Its nice to dream. But to dream, you must be asleep. In the 1960’s, we imagined that technology would automatically liberate us, us being the Working Class. Of itself, it has not, and will not.

    We must actively create the world you describe, which I call ‘Techno-Socialism’, a world where we are truly free from drudgery, and everyone has an equal share. We must actively organize and create it, in the face of fierce opposition. We must stop believing in magic.

    If you do not wish to be consigned forever to poverty and hopelessness in a jobless future that excludes you, you must decide to join the struggle for a share in the Techno-Socialist alternative.

    • Job001

      Techno-Self-Sufficiency is achievable and will create a higher effective GDP.

    • Fortyniner

      You are absolutely right of course – this kind of fairy story simply replaces the fairly stories that religion once provided, about a better life to follow. The reality is that the elites are winning easily and new technologies are continually extending their grip on power and the money supply. The problem is finding effective ways to fight when most of the population – as you say – is asleep and dreaming a fake reality.

  • Alan DeAngelis

    With all that spare time we can play ping pong with the robots. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIIJME8-au8

  • builditnow

    If we are luck, intelligent life will spring out of all the connected computers and we won’t know about it. The only sign will be that our systems suddenly start working so much better, we will think that we have finally got our act together, but, what’s really going on is that the intelligent life in our systems has evolved to thousands of times our intelligence in days or weeks and we just can’t comprehend it, much like sheep or cows can’t comprehend what the humans are up to.
    Life will be sweet for us humans.
    That’s if we are lucky and the intelligent life is good willed and takes care of us.

    If we are unlucky, the intelligent life in our systems will decide we are a nuisance and compost us all down. We will probably enjoy the process (till the last minute) because we were tricked, much like we trick the sheep and cows today.
    I’m hoping for the first scenario.

    A middle scenario is that the intelligent life considers us at about the level of snails. They barely notice stepping on us or running over us as they move around so fast that we humans can’t even move out of the way. We are bugs on the windscreen.

  • LilyLover

    Stupid and unmotivated people can stay at the bottom rung of the society but will still have all the necessities of life. All they have to do is live a crime free life and spend five minutes in expressing their desires, say survey on the mobile phones. In return they get basic quality amenities. No luxury items. President’s vote counts as 0.99 and anyone in the ‘servement’ is less valuable than people. Their skill accrual rate will be lesser than people. Throught random draft, volunteers and as a punishment to white-collar crimes – people will work. Work is a punishment for the crimes committed. Faster relief from the punishment can only be achieved with higher skill levels. Educated people will free themselves from work faster than less educated people. People will free themselves from work twice as fast as ‘Monitors’. It takes one to know one. The way military top commandant controls foot-soldiers – ‘Criminal cops’ are ‘helper boys’ and good-rated cops are ‘monitors’. Volunteers – say retired people (35 yr old), or intelligently written algorithms – monitor the ‘monitors’ all the time. Monitors ensure helper boys help people correctly. Say, crossing the road, cleaning the bathroom or whatever it is that needs to be done.
    Did I answer all your questions?

  • All the world will change, somethings slowly other things in bad, broken ways. Our financial system will collapse in the process, our political system also will collapse, and the adoctrianative educational system also will change. New systems will emerge, and a new kind of human been, the human that know to himself and change the egoistic nature to altruistic nature using the right education.

  • georgehants

    friendly, as you of course know, there in general has never been an unbastesised communist state run by consensus anywhere in the modern World.
    Only dictatorships.

    • bachcole

      george, if they are hiding, they sure aren’t doing a very good job of it.

    • friendlyprogrammer

      Consensus or even republics are not always the best forms of government.

      Imagine that scientists told us 100% true that in 100 years an asteroid would impact our planet, but if every man in the country would give up 20% of their wages a machine could be built that would thwart the disaster. Would we build the machine?
      No. Because if a President or Prime Minister started forking over trillions of dollars of my hard earned tax dollars (and my taxes increased a lot) then would I really vote for him next time. I won’t care if the Earth is destroyed in 100 years, but that 25% more on my paycheque can make my mortgages seem easier to handle.

      The above example is a bit extreme, but there are many more realistic. I was trying to make a point.

      Imagine you have the choice between two leaders. Leader A wants to cut your taxes and give you a $1000 tax rebate. Leader B wants to hike the cost of gas by 10% but it would end war in the Middle East forever.
      Whom would you vote for?

      The issues don’t really matter. The point is the “POPULAR” vote is not always the best one for the country.

      Do you know why Canada is a country? It is because they tried to raise an army/militia while under Britains rule and the politicians wanted nothing to do with it. Britain said they would not defend Canada against the US who were fighting amongst themselves in some civil war at the time.

      Imagine that. People not voting for an army when the US had huge armies with millions of men. Not even a militia.

      So a need was recognized to break off from Britain and unite the UK colonies from Nova Scotia to BC.

      All this because people would not vote common sense for an army.

      A country run by consensus would have us throwing parties at Area 51 and making the Government pay the booze and snacks. I’d vote for it. Then we could use Aircraft Carriers for Bahama Getaways.

  • Iggy Dalrymple

    I would prefer anarchy to all the preceding utopian ideas.


  • georgehants

    At last after 60 comments (in my humble opinion) LilyLover below has hit the only and correct answer.
    One can only add or deduct from his comment to head for “perfection”
    Nothing can be passed on to ones children etc. except personal memento’s.
    A child of 16 is entitled to a one bedroom flat,
    Everything basic is free.
    No price rises, no inflation etc.
    The more one does for society, the more points one earns for luxuries.
    No money, no tax, no anything financial, except admin on ones credits.
    Half the working population wasting their lives in finance related jobs put out of work.
    All work shared.
    Those doing the important jobs in society, roadsweepers, nurses and all necessary tasks, well rewarded.
    No very rich.
    Everybody votes on everything, first local then national. etc.
    It is only necessary to improve and add on LilyLovers comment.

  • Bernie777

    Cost of living wage increases pegged to productivity increases (similar and in addition to inflation cost of living increases) would help ease us into this “new” economy. Trying to get that one past this Congress would be like pulling teeth. (:

    • Omega Z

      Interesting sound bites, but it doesn’t work that way.
      I’m in full agreement to cost of living & would add COLA+.1 or something there about This provides for a long term income gain. As in a gradual increase of standard of living.

      Productivity gains ultimately get passed on to the consumer. Else your & my computer would cost somewhere in the rage of $20K. The only reason we can afford computers today is because of those productivity gains that resulted in much cheaper product cost.

      Productivity gains seldom equal immediate increase in profit. This gain is nearly always provided by a newer faster piece of equipment that can take years to recover the cost.

      As an Example: You dig trenches for pouring a foundation for a new home. You bust your a$$ for a week with spade & shovel getting the job done.
      I buy a $60K backhoe & you dig the same trenching in 8 hours setting on the backhoe manipulating levers.

      Your productivity increased 500%. Your physical labor greatly decreased as did hours worked. A portion of this savings goes to make payments on the backhoe, some to reduced home price. Some may even end up in my pocket in the short term. Long term is intended to increase the number of homes I build, keeping you working 40 hours a week & while I make less profit per home, I earn more profit in volume home sales.
      Note, I’m not saying this is how it always works. But the way it’s supposed to work.

      Plus, According to your thinking, You need to take a pay cut about now. Productivity is presently trending downward according to officials. Tho I believe their statement about productivity declining, I would join You in argument against such an Idea of a wage cut. Simply because Business has increased hiring. There’s a learning curve, Productivity always takes a dip at this time. It’s Temporary. It will rebound…

      • Bernie777

        Omega, Your comment above “Productivity gains ultimately get passed on to the consumer.” reminds me of the Republican “trickle down” fallacious economic theory of the 80’s and 90’s. How has that theory worked for the middle class?

  • LilyLover

    Humanity: Do this to evolve.

    •Maximize efficiency.
    •End parasitism.
    •Man was not born to fill up forms and paperwork.
    •All people are born free.
    •The only work they need to do is to educate themselves to be competent to the level of expertise they desire and then spend 5 minutes per day in expressing opinion; or they can default to concur with ‘that friend of mine’ or ‘field expert’.
    •Basic food shall be free. All medical treatment shall be free, non-cosmetic or cosmetic. All education shall be free. A two bedroom house per couple shall be free.
    -We want a well fed, healthy, beautiful, educated, debt free and happy population. Then they may become thinking population.
    •Premium foods, extra bedrooms or bigger house, second helicopter etc shall be considered as luxury items – for which money will be needed.

    Stage 1:
    •Money needs to be redefined as ‘Skilled-Worked-Manhours’.
    -Large legacy low-skills will be unable to steal the fruits of population through “interest”.
    -Skilled-worked-manhours’ earning capacity shall stay constant. Say a Walmart worker earning @ 10$/Hr for one hour or say at Skill-Rate of 10 Units/Hr working for 2 hours will earn 20Units which will be able to purchase say 20 luxury-oranges, or a college professor @ 40Units/Hr working for 0.5 Hr will accumulate 20Units. These accumulated Units retain their purchasing power of 20 luxury-oranges even after 50 year. They cannot grow to 21Units ever.
    -Creditworthiness of the USA comes from the futures trading of the interest payments that would be made by people with low credit score that must pay a high interest rate to borrow for immediate needs. This upside down system is the essence of today’s economics capitalizing on human suffering.
    -Instead of concepts of credit scores, everyone is endowed with ability to start any and all enterprise, with necessary resources, based on a combination of probability of sucess times the return on investment, justified need, entertainment value, or people’s voting.
    -Every newborn has an equal currency-dilution-right.
    -Greatness of men shall be measured with their skill level achievement and donations of unconsumed accumulated Units at the time of their death.
    -Everything shall be electronically documented. But the records can only be read by jury, not the judges, nor the cops.
    -Authors increase their skill factor by being widely read, the book of course is free. Musicians increase their skill factor by their music being widely enjoyed, first hearing discounted.
    •No prisons. No inhumane systems. Crime committers become cops with a shock-collar around their neck – ‘the helper boys’; other cops that have earned 4 or 5 stars in amazon-ratings shall be ‘monitors’ of the helper boys. A loudly shouting person sends ‘helper boys’ or ‘monitors’ into temporary disablement. Monitors get an exception to this once they acquire electronic warrant from ‘Volunteers’ -judges, legal council or jury.
    •If sufficient workforce in unavailable – say 25% increase in Skill Factor can be peddled to attract people to that field.
    •You have right to remain voluble and nothing you say could be ever used against you for you might always be joking. Freedom of speech. Only proofs will do.
    -In the absence of audiovisual proof, in any dispute between people vs monitors, people win by default.
    -You have more right to feel threatened and to do what is necessary to maintain your safety, for the ‘monitors’ are trained and you are not.
    •Opinion factor of people is 1.0; of the president is 0.99; of the helper boy is 0.25; of the monitors is 0.50; of the soldiers is 0.50; of the volunteers is 1.0; of the jury is 1.0; of the various other ‘servement officials’ ranges between that of the president and that of the monitor.
    -In the event of your word against mine above opinion factors apply.
    •Any data once provided to the ‘servement’ shall be retained by servement to used as authorized by the people. ‘Servement’ can never re-request that same data without transferring of Units from ‘Servement’ to the individual. Man was not born to fill in the forms. Data will only be delivered to servement in verbal form; no one shall need to write or type he data themselves.

    Stage 2:
    •Money shall be redefined as ‘Skilled-Manhours’.
    •Attining epitome of your abilities matters. Quality matters. Quantity does not.
    •Minimizing Number of parasites in the society matters. Parasites are the non-productive members of the society which can be done away with, in an ideal society.
    •Maximizing the happiness is the goal.
    •Greatness is achieved by maximizing skill factor in multiple areas and exploring new worlds.

    Interest exhibited = will write a book.
    Suggest a better name for ‘servement’.

  • GreenWin

    We regulate communications, finance, utilities, environment, health, agra, pharma, etc etc. Regulate robots. Like unions; limit job displacement – for those who want to “work.” Someone’s got to design, manufacture, sell, install, and maintain the billions of distributed energy appliances that will replace the grid. Non-human bots can fill only manufacturing jobs.

    And why worry? “In a holographic world worry creates problems.” Al Neuman

    • bachcole

      My son just had a root canal. Are we soon going to have a robot to do root canals? (:->)

      • Ophelia Rump

        Having wondered if several root canals were performed simply because the dentist needed to make a down payment on a piece of land in Hawaii, it might not be as bad an idea as anxiety over the possible experience might suggest.

        • GreenWin

          Employment of dentists is projected to grow 16 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. There are 147k employed today. Average salary is &150k annual. US Bureau Labor 2014 — Most dentists own property in Hawaii. 🙂

          • Ophelia Rump

            It is impossible to express the feelings one experiences sitting in “The Chair” while getting your root canal and listening to the dentist discuss his retirement plans for living in Hawaii.

            There are those who will think you made up your statistics, I have no reason to doubt.

  • Ophelia Rump

    No, they feel that they are better, or if that is only pretense, they are glad to be in the better position and will do anything to defend their personal benefit.

  • Curbina

    I will probably raise some eyebrows, but in this regard I’m in total agreement with the late Richard Buckminster Fuller:

    We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian-Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living. (“The New York Magazine Environmental Teach-In” by Elizabeth Barlow in New York Magazine (30 March 1970), p. 30)

    Even Keynes recognized that technology would create, inevitably, more unemployment. A paradigm shift in energy won’t come with a paradigm shift in how humans organize to exist…

    • Omega Z

      What I see a lot of evidence of is Made up jobs that contribute nothing to society while work that needs done gets neglected.
      We educate 1000 people to fill 10 positions in field 1.
      We educate 10 people to fill 1000 positions in field 2.
      This would be an issue even if it was by individual choice,
      But sadly, Much of this is by design.

      • Curbina

        That’s something I totally agree with. In my country examples of that are doctors. The eternal shortage of medic specialists. And on the other side, lawyers, journalists, commercial engineers, and endless amount of them struggling to find a job. Seems totally nonsensical, ain’t it?

  • pelgrim108

    My favorite solution is we-the-people owning the production.
    The USA government already owns a substancial portion of production but is hiding it from public scrutiny. So they are well on their way for this solution.

    When did your favorite USA news outlet tell you about CAFR ?

  • Donk970

    A hundred years ago Karl Marx envisioned a world where automation of production allowed everyone to have time to do their own thing. People would only work if they wanted to or at the least would only need to work a small amount of time to earn the income they needed. What has really happened is that automation has allowed the owning class to make more and more profits with fewer and fewer workers. This is putting a huge strain on our economy and will eventually destroy it if we don’t do something. This has also put a huge strain on our society because many people, like myself, have this deeply ingrained belief that people should work hard to earn a living and that someone who isn’t working is fundamentally lazy. This is a belief that we must shake because it is at odds with a reality where not everyone can work full time. The idea of an Unconditional Basic Income economy on the surface seems like a terrible idea but when you really look at it in the light of todays economic realities it makes perfect sense.

  • Daniel Maris

    In dealing with the social consequences of the new age of NECTAR (New Energy, Communications, Transmutation and Robotics), the first thing we need to do is to bring in a legal right to work for a living wage.

    The second is to put in place legal duties on companies to create mass employee share ownership.

    The third is to create co-operatives (as we see in Germany and Denmark with green energy co-ops) that will allow people generally to share in the productive wealth of society.

    • Ophelia Rump

      I like your suggestions.

    • Omega Z

      “allow people generally to share in the productive wealth of society”

      We already have something of that nature, but many don’t participate.
      It’s called the stock market.

      • Ophelia Rump

        Like being allowed to play Russian roulette with a fully loaded gun.
        The debt we should all feel to those generous masters who give us all the bullets we can use, cannot be expressed here.

  • Jonnyb

    I remember the same thing when I was a young child, what will we do with all our spare time. Now in the U.K. those of us who do work, usually work longer, harder, wages going down in real terms. In the mean time the rich just take more out. You still have to deliver this junk we buy, and as for paperwork all I do now is fill out needless paperwork, I thought computers were meant to stop all this. Just complete nonsense in my opinion.

    • Daniel Maris

      It’s an aberration – a hiccup, a product of socio-economic changes (serious degradation of trade union power among other things), globalisation and market ideology being spread throughout society. But there are limits to what the free market can get out of people in a modern society.

  • Charles

    Wadhwa is a genius at stating the obvious.

    Right here on e-cat world we hear constantly about LENR, 3d Printing and Robots etc. etc. Billionaire Slim is yakking about the shorter work week and over a year ago I was commenting on the fact that our politicians have no idea this is about to hit them in the face. One of my complaints at the time was that our Organic Chemists have not developed the process of turning grass (or oil, or dirt) and water into beef and milk. For crying out loud, a cow is a test tube we can observe and test. Just study their process and then do it. About 1941-42, my 6th grade class went through the processing of food by the human body, starting with the conversions done in the mouth by saliva, followed by what the stomach did and then the small intestine. It makes me feel like chemistry stopped 70 years ago. 50 years ago HAL was running space travel.

    The Mayans said that Dec 21, 2012 was the end of the age (not the end of the earth). We are now in a new age and the change, it is a-coming.

    • BroKeeper

      Interesting, does anyone know what may have changed on Dec 22, 2012? When did the first TIP occur? Dec 2012 wasn’t it?

      • Charles

        You got me bro. What’s TIP?

        • BroKeeper

          “Third Independent Party”. Is often used here for 3rd Party testing but often referenced as the 3rd 3rd Party or “3rd Independent Party” testing of the E-cat. Confusing isn’t it. 🙂

          • ecatworld

            Testing started in November in 2012 and concluded in March of 2013. Report was published in May 2013.

            • BroKeeper

              Frank, to clarify between the first two early tests for those who are unfamiliar with the May 2013 report:

              May 23, 2013 by Lisa Zyga
              “The paper presents the results of two separate tests on two different prototypes, called E-Cat HT and E-Cat HT2. The first test was carried out by Levi and Foschi in December 2012, while the second was carried out by all seven authors in March 2013. Although the E-Cat HT2 had several improvements over the E-Cat HT, both tests revealed the same important result: more heat was produced by the device than would be expected from any known chemical source of energy.”

              Read more at:


              • ecatworld

                Correct, BK — in addition there was a test run by Levi in November 2012 in which ran out of control causing the reactor to overheat, and melt. So that test was abandoned. (Although I think that was quite an important thing for the testers to witness and report)

                • BroKeeper

                  But you heralded in the new epoch with the Dec, 22 2012 post:
                  “Evidence Mounts in Favor of the E-Cat”. 😉

              • Omega Z

                ummm you mist one. Technically, There were 3 test runs.
                Number 2 had a nervous melt down.
                The data provided was for #1 and #3. 🙂

                • BroKeeper

                  You’ll have to battle it out with Frank as to which it was #1 or #2. 🙂

                • ecatworld

                  It was the November test (#1) that melted down.

      • clovis ray

        That’s the way i remember it also. i can almost here the trumpets now,dawn of the new age, thank God, humanity has waited , and waited for such a long time, I say to all that are alive now, we will get to see this great change come about.

    • Daniel Maris

      I agree there are some huge changes coming – far bigger than we’ve seen really since the advent of the early 20th century.

      I’ve often wondered about milk as well…but of course it is not just an end product of digestion – it is a fatty food stuff produced by the body – so a bit more complicated no doubt (ie. you need to be able to replicate the fat cells, not just a bunch of chemicals).

      I think robotics will be the first wave of the huge change about to hit us. In the UK hundreds of thousands of people are in reasonably well paid employment as lorry drivers, taxi drivers, van drivers, coach drivers. All those jobs could vanish within a decade or two with robot drivers. I think most jobs in supermarkets will disappear as well – such as shelf stacking, warehousing, unloading and checkout work. Robot chefs may follow quite soon after that eliminating hundreds of thousands more jobs.

      • Ryan

        I personally see a convergence of several fields causing us to rapidly spiral towards what the author is suggesting. Robotics is definitely one of those areas and I feel that molecular manufacturing, advancing AI and a superior power source will all cause the process to go much much faster.

        Molecular manufacturing will allow for production at levels and in ways we can’t do today. It will also make the production costs far cheaper, possibly completely negligible. While we haven’t achieved it yet I’ve read interesting things that would indicate that we are getting closer and closer to this goal. From there if we could achieve programmable matter then things would really get weird.

        AI, once we achieve it, will possibly be the most dramatic game changer but its hard to determine at this point until we actually achieve it and determine how quickly we can advance it. As it stands we’ve already technically achieved smart systems. IBM’s Watson looks to be infiltrating a number of fields such as medicine and law and potentially offsetting the need for a number of people in fields that otherwise could have been thought to be safe for a while and that’s just the one that’s publicly known best. Heck its already showing a much more accurate diagnosis rate than human doctors when applied to the task and this is still the early days of such systems.

        A power source, such as LENR, becoming widespread will also accelerate things. Right now we rely on sources of energy in which the costs continue to increase and the supplies are only seen to be unstable. A better, cheaper power source that uses common, readily available elements will open up new avenues and allow research that might not have been possible or cost effective before to progress. How much doesn’t get researched because it simply isn’t cost efficient due to power costs?

        I guess I would also add genetics research/biotech to the list. We’re already reaching a point where we have the tech to genetically alter living, adult beings. Add in being able to print on the fly organs or body parts that are needed and improving on the body parts we already have by editing out defects or enhancing what already exists will be a dramatic changer for people when it comes to medical costs and living healthier and longer. We may actually be headed for an era where we cure and fix things permanently instead of having band-aid medicine that ends up causing more ailments than it fixes and only serves to enrich the corporate types. One group working on genetic fixes for problems says that even now the number one cost for them in their current research is acquiring the processing power to crunch the numbers for them and that once those costs come down you could have small research teams fixing otherwise intractable diseases for a few grand instead of millions of dollars or more for something that doesn’t fix anything.

        All that said I have to agree we have a problem when it comes to leadership. Given that we don’t elect people that are knowledgeable anymore (yes there are some but they are rare) and instead seem to focus on electing our sociopaths to office, we’ve had a dearth of anything that resembles considered, thoughtful governance. Perhaps there are some that realize what is going on but they either don’t have the power to initiate anything, are laughed at by people who don’t understand or can’t comprehend the changes coming our way, or are blocked by those that fear having their current power structure torn away from them. Unfortunately I can only assume things will get rather bad for the average person before major changes are made. I hope I’m wrong but looking at the way things are going now I see little hope for actual planning or even projections for what to do based on the dreck (corporate tools that serve their masters quite well but the people horribly) that infests our political offices currently.

        • Ophelia Rump

          Medical diagnostic software was better than doctors in the 1970s when it was first introduced, that was not received well, they had to dumb down the interface so that it would merely assist doctors in a less dominant role.

          • Ryan

            Essentially that is what is happening with the Watson as well though this time IBM is assuaging doctors by saying that Watson will only assist them (ie allowing them to get rid of those pesky assistants they pay right now). I think in this manner when it comes down to it they won’t be aware they are being replaced until it is too late and people are comfortable getting their diagnosis straight from a computer instead of going to a doctor. There’s still a lot of people out there that don’t like the idea of getting their treatment from a machine. I on the other hand feel like it couldn’t get any worse than the care I already get from my general practitioner and would actually prefer a computer to him.

            • bachcole

              There is no reason why a checklist sort of diagnostic tool couldn’t be implemented on the Internet, but I haven’t seen such a thing.

          • bachcole

            Of course, if the computer’s database is filled only with pharmaceuticals and nothing about nutrition, herbs, essential oils, etc., then it is basically ess ache eye tee.

    • Omega Z

      Slim says cut the work week to about 20 hours.
      He’s just looking out for Government. They always get the 1st 20 hours in taxes. This leaves everyone without anything.

      Actually, It is the Intellect of these kinds of people who create much of the mess in the world. Idiots.
      Like to see his Fat a$$ walk into a hospital claiming I think I’m having a heart attack. I need a Doctor.
      I’m sorry Sir, All our doctors fulfilled their 20 hours for the week on Tuesday. You’ll need to come back next week. 🙂

  • pelgrim108

    Where does the unconditional income come from when robots are doing the work and almost nobody has a salary.
    It would have to be paid up by the private producers who will see there profit margins shrink to the point that its no longer worth while to produce. Or if profit margins stay high enough its going to create a 2 tier society, producers versus consumers. Not very utopian.

    • Daniel Maris

      Money is simply a voucher entitling you to a share of the production of a particular society.

      Society can still decide to produce the vouchers even if people aren’t working. We saw that in the depths of the recent recession – central banks in countries like UK were creating trillions of dollars’ worth of money simply by pressing keyboard buttons (it’s called quantitative easing).

      • pelgrim108

        Pushing that button creates a loan that has to be paid back with interest. Isnt that a nice scam. Also not very utopian.

  • HarryD

    Time to implement the “Unconditional Basic Income” economy…..

    • yes, unconditional so you never need to work, or have any interest not to work.

      you have to add more freedom to make business as you like, provided you take the risk.

      with an unconditional income you can dare to take risk provided the long term consequence are only losing your investment and your efforts, you don’t need to commit crimes to survive…
      can be good.
      or course greed maye make you desperate too… but that is not like needing home and food.

      • Donk970

        I have this gut reaction to this idea of an “Unconditional Basic Income” based on a lifetime of working hard for a living. My unreasonable self (my gut) really hates the idea. My reasoning self realizes that an “Unconditional Basic Income” economy is probably the best solution to the growing problem of an automated world making workers unnecessary. In an “Unconditional Basic Income” economy everyone receives a SUBSISTENCE level of income. SUBSISTENCE!!! This type of economy does two things. First it encourages anyone who doesn’t want to be scraping the bottom of the barrel for subsistence to find a job. Second it allows good job mobility at all levels of income by creating an environment where a worker can simply decide to quit and go look for another job. Hand in hand with the idea of a basic income is that you eliminate minimum wage, unemployment, welfare, social security and other such benefits which should make the rabid right really happy. Also an “Unconditional Basic Income” would eliminate tens of billions in administrative and enforcement costs every year which would make government significantly smaller which should also make the rabid right happy.

        • Ophelia Rump

          We are taught much about the responsibility of the person to society, and what of the society to the individual?

          It is more than a guarantee of subsistence that your Mother and Father, Sons and Daughters may need someday, would you have all of humanity scrape by on subsistence, because the world does not need them?

          The role of society is not being fulfilled, do you even realize the obligation of society to the individual to support them and guide the individual to a successful existence as a human being? Do not blame the people with this subsistence nonsense. No one should live a life disenfranchised within a society calling itself civilization.

          Is there a job for everyone? Who sees to that detail?

          • Billy Jackson

            I would agree with this almost 99.9% .. but theirs a large push in today’s society that abhors individual responsibility. There is a large group of people that would oppose this. they wish for individual growth, to push the limits of their own abilities and to reap the rewards or failure of their own efforts.

            I am not ashamed i have been on welfare before. It helped us out in a time where we were struggling to make ends meet. Its not the individual honest cases of help that strain the system. Its the lifetime welfare recipients that refuse to better themselves and are willing to live in very poor conditions as long as someone else pays their way that strain the system.

            I would propose a change to our education system. We need better ways for our adults to re-educate themselves or to go back to school that’s not ruinously expensive. The average cost of college for a family of 4 at the lower income levels is nearly impossible to balance.

            we need a way to prevent the financial barrier of college level school stopping those who seek to improve their situation and lives. Education and a desire to improve oneself will be the driving factor to lift people out of poverty.

  • Omega Z

    All this new fangled technology & fancy automated equipment.
    What are people going to do. Government should ban the manufacture of tractors & plows an such. Whats to become of all the plow horses. The Sky is falling.

    Projections for replacing half the worlds Fossil energy with Green technologies is about 25 years. That’s with increasing tax breaks & subsidies beyond what they are now. Even if this guy is aware of LENR, the time line is extremely optimistic on the energy scene.

    The World population is aging. Partly due to increased longevity & partly because population growth is declining. Most countries are on the verge of starting a peek population phase. A manpower shortage is coming in the near future. There will not be enough people to take care of people while producing the products we need for society to survive.

    The world is divided. The developed world of which the majority of it’s infrastructure is 75 to 100 years old all of which is in need of replacement, And the undeveloped who needs to build infrastructure the 1st time around.

    There’s more work needing done then there are people to do it.
    Even with Bots, The issue isn’t a lack of work needing done. It’s poor management by those in charge.

    • Ophelia Rump

      There is no need to manufacture what you cannot sell. The world is spinning down as the fuel becomes more precious. The first step is in balancing the standard of living for the global population, if you happen to be on top, there is a long way to fall. If you live on the bottom, there is no where to go but up.

      • Job001

        You may be more trusting than I of monopolies that provide our energy. For instance, excess Cartel/monopoly profits are far more than Federal gasoline tax and this monopolistic tax goes to Wealthy owners of fossil fuels.

        Likewise for diamonds of which huge supplies exist which are released at controlled shortage rates.

        Likewise for healthcare which is artificially priced at near 20% of US GDP vs 5% for the rest of the world.

        Monopolies don’t develop reserves until they need them and hide them when declaring a price raising artificial shortage, so we are more in the dark about reserves than not.
        However, we do get warmongering, terrorism premiums, hiding of storage tankers, refinery shortages and outages, Enron game playing, globalization(to raise prices) of national resources, and so forth which leads me to not trust these robber barons anymore than a crack head with a gun.

        • Omega Z

          Most people are still focusing on the Military Complex. 3.5% GDP.
          They are misdirected & haven’t yet noticed that the money changers have moved on. It is now the Medical Complex they need to pay attention to. 20% GDP climbing fast toward the 30% mark.

  • Ophelia Rump

    It will not be the E-Cat, more than two years ago I heard it said and I am quoting here, “Industry no longer needs employees, we will not be hiring another generation.”

    The gist of it was that you do not need the jobs of a very large segment of the population when you can automate entire sectors of it. What those people will do, is another matter entirely, not addressed.

    • Pedro

      Let’s be realistic… It’s a natural tendency for corporations to try to get rid of jobs, to do the same work with less people, to increase production, invest in automation, etc. Corporations have NOTHING to do with job creation. It’s all about money creation, and IF that takes more jobs, so be it, but only as a last resort.

      So yes, we need to look seriously at a “Unconditional Basic Income” for every adult, instead of handouts for 50% of the population and minimum wage for another x% of the population. There are plenty of suggestions how that could work in practice, but nobody seems to see the logic and many see it as unwanted, unfair or undeserved.

      How fair is the current system?????

  • Billy Jackson

    Disruptive technologies, such as the e-cat are going to cause social issues. this has always been the case and always will be. That does not mean we should not improve or adapt to the changes as necessary.

    our past is riddled with instances of progression that has interrupted the status quo. resulting in job loss, social tensions, or burdens on our social services. We have saftey nets for a reason. to prevent out right starvation and to provide at least a minimum of living standard to those struggling. Its not adequate for all, nor does it provide a way to improve one’s situation.. it serves its purpose and i am sure that we will put further burdens on it.

    the time of the uneducated, unskilled worker is slowly dying. as our technology improves so to does our demand for skilled individuals with the ability to adapt and learn the necessary skills of a given work area.

    It is vital now more than ever for our children and young adults to take advantage of the education institutes we have, public or private to ensure that they remain viable into the future. We all know about the standards of the public education system, while we hear more about the horror stories in the news than the successes.. it is adequate enough to at least give our children the hand up if they choose to make use of it..

    Our system will slowly change to adapt to the new realities of the coming technologies, those with thier heads stuck in the sand refusing to see the training coming toward them will suffer the consequences of being willfully ignorant.

    The America my parents grew up in is not the same as the one i grew up in. nor will it be the same for my children as it was for me. Technology and Social issues force change ,and change is about the only thing guaranteed to stay the same. Those who recognize this and prepare themselves and their families will benefit.

    • moderne economy seems to have a difference from the industrial in that there is highly skilled workesr needed and low skilled worker…
      in the middle much less…
      the average educated worked is not valued.

      the future of work will be few creative experts , and a mass not of unemployed but of service, care, nurse, nanny, guide…

      the human factor will be the next industry. people with love, smile, empathy will be appreciated to serve on what robots of all shape and intelligence cannot do…

      there is no doubt that if product are cheap, people will invent new work in leisure and tourism, beside the mass of work require to aging population, and parents.

      there will be work, but which work.

      one problem with the “human factor” work that are emerging, is that :
      – they are not valued socially, so not well paid, not attractive
      – low educated workers after school, have often a lesser ability to accept the aggression of those difficult jobs, especially is not well considered and not well paid… (immigrant can temporarily accept the difficulties and the lack of recognition, but not their chlidren).

      for me the vsocial unsest will came from the transition to “caring works”.

      people , unemployed despite intermediate diploma, with unrespected job as only alternative to unemployment, will be furious and feel screwed by the system (see the Tunisian guy who burned himself in front of a police office because with a good diploma he was unemployed, selling illegally some fruits and insulted by police woman)…

      the value system will be harder to change, but it will have to change. a Nurse should be better paid than a surgeon because it is a more dirty job… at least it should be better paid than an office job, an executive job.

      • Billy Jackson

        well said.. and i agree.. our value system will be forced to change.

  • pelgrim108

    So if nobody gets money from work because the robots are doing the work, then who is going to buy the product the robots are making?
    Only solution I can see is:

    The nation buying up production facilities to then distribute the products
    to the nation.

    As percentage robot work grows -> so can nation owned production grow.

  • friendlyprogrammer

    Yes. Since the advent of computers various industries are vanishing faster than ever with only a portion of job creation.

    Printing industry. Machines that operate 6 times as fast as 20 years ago coupled with no need for telephone directories or 1/100th as much junk mail and magazines/books.

    That industry was once 25% of industry.

    Hospital workers no longer deliver food/laundry to patients. They do but TUG robots deliver it to the correct floor and locations.

    Drones will be policing (they can already shoot stun/real guns).

    Remember Pricing Guns and people who checked store inventories daily who were mostly replaced by bar code scanners. Pinsetters in bowling alleys. Guys who pumped gas.

    Accounting? So much software can handle business accounting.

    Programming even. I used to sell wedding websites in my youth for $75 each, but now you can buy a program for under $20 that will do the same thing and do a better job (their version did a quiz on the couple).

    Even truck drivers. Computer logistics design better routes, while GPS devices can track drivers on their routes so drivers no longer have the freedom to stop for coffee if their boss says no. (I saw you at Starbucks). This means less drivers required.

    I could go on for hours. Every improvement in any industrial machine puts people out of work.
    Remember typewriters? Remember paper mail? Remember paper?

    The government has two choices. Expand social services and tax businesses that rely on automation more, or start jailing the population as they have needs to steal for food.

    I’ve thought about buying a half dozen reliable CNC machines to be my private work force and sell carvings or whatnot. They don’t take lunches and do what they are told. The only drawback is the noise might bother my neighbors.

    There are new jobs surfacing, but not as many as before.

    I have 3 children. There is only one thing I tell them. Whatever job they choose make sure it is something that will exist in 40 years.

    Do you really think we will need bus/taxi/limo drivers in another 20 years?

    Would your job be safe in 20 years?

    Even doctors. Bless them all, but most of my appointments are interviews about what ails me coupled with a prescription for medicine or surgeries. I think a computer can diagnose better than some of the old time doctors educated in the 60’s.

    I no longer stigmatize those on welfare. I see it as a sign of the times.

    Id be interested to know what jobs are safe.

  • gdaigle

    Utopian bliss or unemployment nightmare? Certainly it would encourage those who never had a chance to seek higher education or to express their creativity to do so, but then who pays for this?

    One thing that humankind is good at is exploring beyond the next horizon. If a technology were to come about in that 15 year timeframe allowing travel to the 100 stars closest to Earth in months rather than decades, then who better to face the unknown than humans (not robots). More likely, automated ships would go there first to bring back observations and if something of interest is found requiring ingenuity and a desire to know more – humans could follow.

    • Daniel Maris

      Who pays for it? If the productive ability is there, then it shouldn’t be a problem. If cheap transmuation and robotics become possible then you can produce virtually anything from scratch.

      But also higher education becomes a cheaper option with the possibility of holographic lectures, robot tuition and so on.

      I’m not sure I like the image I’m conjuring up, but these are real possiblities almost with us now.

    • Pedro

      There is something called “education inflation”… At some point so many people have a high education that only the best get a job, all the others become second grade.

  • optiongeek

    As a financial portfolio risk consultant, I have no concerns at all about my future employability. Our future robot overlords will still need someone to craft an investment strategy that will meet their retirement goals.

    • Daniel Maris

      They’re probably planning a 1000 year retirement. You might find it challenging.

  • Tim

    Someone’s gotta repair all those robots. Besides, too many humans wouldn’t know what to do with so much free time. Employed people are a lot less likely to turn to criminal activity out of sheer boredom.

    • David Taylor-Fuller

      not true, if you make the robots easily recyclable, you don’t need to fix them just have an automated process disassemble them and use the new raw materials to build a new robot. If we keep our current financial system while doing this then instead of buying the robots you simply lease them and send them back if they are broken.

      Its far more likely that you will need a human to program it. Mainly because after humanity’s collective experience with slavery I believe we are going to want to stay as far away as possible from building sentient machines, and I believe that general unforeseen problem solving requires a machine to be sentient.

      • Daniel Maris

        No one knows yet whether you can build a sentient machine. The Turing Test was passed years ago (in the sense of someone being able to fool another human that it is a human they are conversing with). But no one seriously contends any current robot is sentient as we are. But that is irrelevant. The issue is whether machines can perform cognitive functions as well as or better than we sentient beings. It appears they already can in many areas and that their performance can only improve.

        The risk of enslaving robots is a real one since a robot might programme other robtos to enslave humans – whether to a defined purpose or out of pure caprice hardly matters. There is also the risk that just as malevolent humans and regimes create viruses on computers so too they might create malevolent programmes for robots to carry out.

        • bachcole

          “No one knows yet whether you can build a sentient machine.” I am positive that it is absurdly impossible, and I am sorry that that is not self-evident for you.

  • DDD

    We have all heard this story before. Many movies have been produced and books have been written about this very subject but 10-15 years? Never happen. There are many things that robots will never be able to do and those jobs will be what we will find ourselves doing far into the future. Some robots doing mundane jobs will simply give imaginative humans more time to think of ways to improve there lives and the time to do those very things.