Automation and the end of Human usefulness

 

The end is soon! More and more I am hearing people mimic the Democrat's position that the world will no longer have a place for human life. They have already told us the end of the world will be in 12 years once climate change renders the earth unusable. Now we are told the robots are coming to take our jobs! The only way for humanity to defeat the robots, is to end the age of productivity, and implement the Democrat's socialist wet dream. 

The race is on! What will end the world first? The climate, or the robots? 

It sounds like a genuine fear. Once robots are driving all the commercial trucks and making deliveries without humans involved; what happens to the humans that relied on those jobs? As more jobs become automated, the people working those jobs will go without pay, and food. 

This fearmongering relies on a socialist's worldview. The view that there are only so many jobs, and only so much money. All the jobs will be done by machine makers, and they will get all the money. People that drive trucks will have nothing to do, and will lose their lives since they cannot find work. 

There are multiple things wrong with this worldview. 

First, the concept that there are a set number of jobs that people fill, and once we run out of jobs, we run out of opportunities for people to make an income. Don't hang your hat on the number of available jobs. We live in a country of markets. When there are no jobs available for a person to do, they will either learn another skill, or create a new job for themselves. 

Most people would give the example of coal miners during the Obama presidency. With coal shutting down, they learned programming. I have a better example. The introduction of farming equipment during the industrial revolution. The majority of Americans were farmers. That number was decimated once the diesel powered robots from the future took over. Currently, almost no one is a farmer. So what happened? Why didn't everyone become an unemployed bum? 

They found another thing to do. The same thing will happen with automation today. People with a laptop can work for any company in the world from their living room. I don't think people will have any issues finding something productive to do.  

Second, The concept that 'all the money' will be concentrated by a few people. Is all the money from farming concentrated into the diesel powered robot companies? Remember what money is. You are trading your time and skills for someone else's time and skills. Humans will always be a part of markets. We buy things. Without Humans, why would the robots drive the trucks to deliver anything? Humans buy the things they are moving across the country. The idea the robots will take all the jobs is self-defeating. Robots aren't going to buy celery or fortnite skins. 

How do we stop skynet? 

 

I'll admit the idea of creating a job for yourself sounds nearly impossible. In a system of markets, all you need to create a job for yourself, is to do literally anything, and sell it. Chop trees in your back yard and sell the firewood. Make pancakes in your kitchen, and sell them to the morning work-goers. Knit sweaters and sell them from the windows in your house. Our current systems of regulation, making money for yourself is impossible. 

With the FDA's regulations on restaurants, there is no way your kitchen can pass a health inspection. Granted, you cook for your family and friends, and no one will get sick or die. Nevertheless, your kitchen would be deemed a health risk and you would be shut down. 

With the Americans with Disabilities act (ADA) there is no way your house could pass regulation. Your doorways and hallways are too narrow. Your bathroom needs a complete plumbing renovation to lower the sink, move the toilet, and widen the doorways. Of course, you need a wheelchair ramp to enter your house. It doesn't matter if you will ever do business with a wheelchair bound individual. You must invest tens of thousands of dollars to get your house up to code before you can start to do business. 

This only applies if your home is in a commercially zoned property. 

The answer to 'not enough jobs to go around' is no regulation on businesses that make less than $300,000. Give people the ability to make supplemental income in their home. If they are really on to a great idea or process, they can expand into a licensed company. Otherwise, let people pull in some side money to make their lives easier. It would make households far more resilient to job losses. It would increase competition in every industry as people directly compete with companies. It would push American innovation back to the top of the world as millions of companies compete in a safe environment to become 'the next big thing'.

The concentration of money in the hands of ultra-powerful entities sounds terrible. And I agree, that is a market destroying force. There is a legitimate role for government in the realm of markets. That job is to ensure competition, buy preventing anti-competitive behavior, and breaking up ultra large companies. These rules (if they are ever actually used against any company with a lobbying team) will prevent a few companies from stomping all over your life. 

In this automation fantasy, competitive markets will even ensure you get your own robot. You can challenge the truck driving robots for a duel over the right to drive the trucks. Who knows. The future can look scary, but if the markets are kept fair, you get the cool shit too.