I wrote a paper for a college course in 1994. I'm not sure what the topic was, but I did touch on the fact that computers will get so advanced they will displace human workers. Fast forward to today. Robots, algorithms and automation is advancing rapidly. Moore's law is in effect. Thousands of company's are racing to find the solution to reduce the human factor in many complex tasks.
And why not? The goal is to reduced costs, increase sales and streamline processes. By removing the most expensive part of the equation, the human, you can significantly increase profit. Human's are a substantial cost. Aside from hourly wages, you have healthcare, unemployment tax, vacation days, holiday days, sick days, smoke breaks, etc. So it makes sense to automate as much of the process as possible.
Just Low Income Jobs?
Many low income jobs can and will be displaced. However, it will not be limited. Middle class jobs will also be automated. As will high income jobs. At some point, when technology advances sufficiently, just about any job will be under threat for automation.
What will people do?
When a person loses a job now, they go on unemployment, until the benefits run out or find another job. Or take a lesser paying job which requires less skill. What happens when half the workforce is out of work? Social anarchy? Revolution?
I think not.
In order for there to be an uprising, you would need to have a strong network of like minded individuals. Those people would need some type of communication. And means to arm themselves. And fight. Well, our communication is tightly monitored. People can't stand each other and I don't see them coming together for a common cause, because the temple of babble is in effect. By design, people have been divided against each other, the social fabric or the glue which holds society together has been rapidly stripped away. It's every man and woman for themselves. And as far as arming themselves, loosely organized bandits are no match for the rise in police state with their surveillance techniques, their weapons and intelligence.
Believe it or not, the social posts on Facebook, Twitter, etc. are actually forming social reports on every individual. You can be scored and labeled based on your characteristics. As well as possible threats to the establishment. If you have tendencies to be a dissident, you've already been identified. And you gladly helped them by posting opinions on the web. As well as your shopping patterns and such. Big Data has allowed Big Intelligence.
Why hasn't the automation happened faster? Because the United States was still wealthy. And because of that, they would never allow such consolidation of wealth and power to occur. So before that could happen, the wealth must be stripped out from the US. And that happened by systematically dismantling of the economy. By lowering interest rates for too long, to create the housing bubble and wiping out the wealth, by transferring it back to the top. Prior to that, same thing happened with the stock market bubble. And it resulted in the crippling of the economy. No more road blocks.
Concentration of Everything.
Next you will see an organized attempt to centralize power. Just this week, Bill Gates said we need one Government organization. And with that, we'll probably need one Military. And who will be the military, Robots perhaps? A cheap, automated, fierce, strong soldier who's obedience is never questioned. Only cost is manufacturing, as they don't take sick days or require healthcare benefits.
Internet of Things.
When every electronic device is connected, some system will be able to track everything in real time. People too. So how will people barter in the future if everything gives off a signal. If no money exchanged hands with a new owner, that will be traceable. Why was the transaction not recorded and why was no tax paid. Every item will be accounted for, it's born date and termination data, rightly owners, etc. The Internet of Things will connect all devices and all devices will be trackable in real time.
Human Basic Wage.
With millions of people unemployed, how will they survive? People have discussed the Basic Wage. Sort of a welfare package, basic sustenance, demoralizing as it is, to create a welfare state, or police state, whichever you prefer. Automation and Robots will be doing your job as well as your neighbors. Perhaps some weird disease will trickle through humanity and wipe out a good chunk, similar to how the Spaniards wiped out the Native American Indians through the transfer of blankets when they arrived in the New World. With less population, less Humans to sustain, less of a burden to those with money and jobs and power.
Free up your time?
After all, we have the freedom to earn and spend money. If there's not jobs available, we won't be spending as much. And a consumer society requires consumers. What then will be the purpose of many human beings? Free up leisure time? More like a prison, dependent on your rations.
Ready or Not.
Now that the Earth is financially equal across all countries for the most part, there's very little resistance to move forward with the plan to automate, using algorithms and robotics, to dismantle the workforce and consolidate and centralize power. Ready or not, here it comes.