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Technological unemployment (aka: automation taking away your job) is a really hot topic right now. Like, to the point that putting links here is almost pointless. So I'll let people simply put them in the discussion. Anyway, from what I can gather all the writers frantically spilling ink on this topic* tend to forsee one of a few possible scenarios: Nobody makes any significant changes to the current liberal, globalist, capitalist model. Result: we all fall into a decreasing spiral as jobs get removed from the economy, demand slows and jobs are further cut/automated to compensate. This usually ends with us becoming serfs or homeless vagrants outside of the mansions of the 1%. Nobody makes any significant changes to the current liberal, globalist, capitalist model. Result: we all enter a golden age where people upskill to perform the jobs that can't be automated (creative-type stuff, mostly) and we get to eat cheap food and stare at cheap LCD displays while being freed from office drudge work. Nobody makes any significant changes to the current liberal, globalist, capitalist model. Result: 99% of the population lives in robo-assembled tenement flats and lives off of the dole in between popping out anchor babies. How the 1% can afford to pay for all the rest of us without having a market to sell to is left as an exercise to the reader. Nobody makes any significant changes to the current liberal, globalist, capitalist model. Result: we all enter the services/hobby/gift economy, where luxury goods and services are the only thing that hold value and we all take turns making artisanal cheese to sell to each other at fancy restaurants. This also gets combined with 1. to produce scenarios where the peons all sit outside of the mansions of the ultra-wealthy trying to sell them artisanal cheese. Now I don't know about you, but I can see a bit of a problem with all these predictions. For starters, they all seem to be running from the same playbook, where all of the newly-unemployed majorities don't suddenly say 'fuck it' and do away with the current liberal, global, capitalist model in favour of something else (I'm rooting for the return of communism, for sweet iconography if nothing else). Secondly, there seems to be very little thought given to second and third-order effects. I'm sure folk here will have some cogent thoughts on this matter. * I find it absolutely hilarious that the one thing that unites this lot is shock (shock!) at the idea that machines might come for their jobs now that we're done automating agriculture, manufacture and (in part) the service industry. That they've all, by pure coincidence, tuned in to luddite thought now that it's their bread on the line seems to go completely over the writers' collective heads.
Dreher got into the idea of the post-scarcity, post-work world in his own gormless fashion, so I figure we can do it too. I've thought about this one a lot and have written some hard and soft fiction on the topic (which I am threatening to unleash on this thread as a punitive measure), but have no real answers beyond "how it will play out will seem completely deterministic and intuitive after the fact". Before I let you all hash the concept out, though, I thought I'd post one of the comments from the above article that hits pretty close to the mark by my standards: