Steps in Human Progress
I am often asked for my opinion in regards to the steady elimination of jobs by machines. This question has come up so often that I sensed the need to write an article on the subject. I’ll keep my points on the matter brief.
Let me begin by stating that work is a means, not an end. We do not work for its own sake, the end of all labor is production. This production is the visible wealth such as housing, food, transportation, etc. As efficiency rises, the human collective will produce much more using much less. This freeing up of human energy is a great blessing, not something to be feared.
I believe a sort of universal basic income is the future that awaits mankind. It appears to be an inevitability because technology will not only produce more but will require less maintenance to do so. Machines will repair other machines. There will certainly be a small technical elite managing and improving this technology, but engineers are extremely scalable. Society does not need that many of them.
What will people do you may ask? Wouldn’t decadence become the norm if people don’t have to earn their living? That is certainly the thoughts of people who believe that life is a battle where one must fight in order to live. Putting this barbaric concept aside, I’d like to humbly propose possible alternatives.
When the baristas, insurance agents, security guards, and the likes are free from their monotonous work, their energy and time will be used on more creative forms of work. Money is not the sole potential end of labor. They are higher forms of labor whose goal is completely unrelated to dollars.
Work such as space exploration, discovering the underwater world, forming stronger language connections with animals, deciphering the knowledge trees have to teach us, etc. These are far above financial objectives. Such work will finally get the time they deserve.
Higher Human Forms
Humans spend a lot of time chasing money. This formidable amount of vital energy could have been used to develop the person. The average man or woman could have made themselves more beautiful, more kind, more intelligent, etc.
Like the wealthy, humans who are free from the drudgery of labor will use this time to cultivate themselves. They will refine their outer appearances but more importantly, they will also cultivate their inner forces. No one knows the limit of the inner world dormant inside men and women. This is a greatly unexplored field whose discoveries will achieve wonders that dwarf all our past achievements. I believe many will harness their inner forces to levels we consider supernatural. The X-men might be fantasy today but reality tomorrow.
In conclusion, the need to labor for a decent living is a result of old conditioning. We have certainly come a long way in terms of labor conditions but much progress remains. It may take several generations to get rid of Darwinian thought patterns. We have to be patient.
The next step in human progress is inner cultivation and connecting with our ecosystem. In order to achieve this, humans must be freed from repetitive labor that machines can do. Therefore, automation and UBI are both good.