The society slowly understands what experts have predicted since the early 2010th. Automation and robots will replace many jobs. The public sees the automation as an evil thing. The citizens of the
The public opinion about automation is disreputable here in Germany. No matter who, everyone seems to dislike the ongoing automation. Everything from talk shows, newspapers, books, columns, to street conversations, reflect the negative opinion about automation. But what if automation is a good thing?
The concept of automation is not necessarily new. If we look back to the 19th-centuryUnited we see that labor is marked by hard work, biceps, and sweat. This hard labor has slowly been replaced by machines, and in the 20th-century, robots began to replace jobs. These machines and robots replaced hard and unpleasant work.
From the Factory to the Desk
Today, most of us sit at an office desk rather than working in a loud, hot, and dirty factory. The value out of our labor does not come out of our muscles and sweat anymore. It is also true that most of us cannot call ourselves an inventor, entrepreneur, writer, artist, or musician. For most people sorting papers, creating Excel sheets, or brewing coffee is not that much fun.
So what actually makes our office work valuable?
We decided that work is valuable itself because work is rewarded with a monthly paycheck. Many people go to work to earn their monthly (or bi-monthly) paycheck. Their work does not necessarily make fun neither does it have a real meaning or a real purpose.
But what is the real effect in our society where people work from pay check to pay check? What effect does work primarily motivated by a monthly paycheck has on us? Isn’t something deep inside of us dying while we are working in jobs we hate?
The Strange Choice
The strange thing is that truly valuable work like caring jobs or child care workers is often very poorly paid. a practical is even true for inventors who work all day on their inventions without having a steady income.
This is the strange point in our current system. People have the choice to between a steady income and dissatisfaction or no income and freedom. Neither of these options is very appealing. But what if automation is able to create a middle ground?
Many people, including myself, are choosing a path in the middle: Working less. We accept a stout pay cut, work less so that we only earn what is absolutely necessary.
Working less will become normal over the next ten years. Work as we know it today might disappear totally. Automation and the advancements in different technologies will allow nations to keep a high standard of living with less labor. The standard of living might even improve while the unemployment rate as we calculate it today might skyrocket to above 50%.
Automation means that many people will lose their meaningless bullshit jobs. They are not forced anymore to work in jobs they hate. They will have time to care about their own priorities and passions. People may discover their creative skills, become involved in elderly or children care, invent new things, or learn music instruments they always wanted to learn.
As I have pointed out in an earlier essay, a high basic income will provide all citizens with everything they need to live.
Loss of Bullshit Jobs will release Creativity
Of course, it is uncertain how automation will actually impact our society. It will not eliminate all jobs but it is certain that automation will replace many meaningless bullshit jobs. People who are currently restrained by their 9-5 job they hate will have the chance to prosper with their real creative skills and passions. However you might look at the upcoming automation, there is no real reason to be extremely pessimistic about the future.