A world without employment

We’ve talked before about a world with half the current rate of employment. A complex world, close at hand, full of automated systems and robots. But there are those who go beyond that, and do it from a place where we know from experience the future is defined — Silicon Valley. There are those who talk about a world without work, without employment.

Steve Jurvetson, a partner at the Silicon Valley venture capital firm DFJ, said during the XPRIZE Visioneering event that the world has to think about how to deal with the increasing gap between the rich and poor and not about how to employ people who will inevitably be losing their jobs.

I met Jurvetson two years ago in San Francisco. This investor in futuristic technology companies — like SpaceX or Synthetic Genomics itself—is a guy that when he talks seems to describe with precision a world that only he sees, but explains it in such a way you understand and envision it, in all its overwhelming logic.

Same as Jurvetson thinks that “the pace of technological progress is decoupled from the economy” and that the gap between the rich and poor can no longer expand and contract as it has at other times in history, the middle classes are indefatigably decreasing and in some parts of the world tend to even be disappearing to make way for other “low-cost micro-bourgeoisie” models.

Supposing, as Jurvetson says, that all industries will experience a moment in which robots and software eliminate unwanted jobs, so there aren’t enough jobs for all human beings, then a small portion of mankind will control the information technology that would make “global automatization” possible. That — keeping in mind the current economy isn’t keeping pace with these advances — could create a terrifying scenario in which almost 80% of the population able to have a job, won’t be able to get one.

Imagine a world where it’s hardly necessary to work because everything is automatized. It seems like science fiction, but it’s becoming less fiction and more science all the time. Carstransport, operators, mechanics, manufacturing, mining, education, medicine, and anything else you canimagine, already have automatized components, or by-products, giving us a glimpse of what the immediate future will be like.

The challenge is finding the way to attain that “wonderful” opportunity of “automatization” resulting in the entire world population having access to fundamental human rights. Healthcare, knowledge, culture, food. A robotic world to make life more human. For this to happen, a “smooth transition into the world of plenty” is required.

Can you imagine it? What will that transition be like? When?

spanish version here