(The lack of) jobs of the future?

Voltaire wrote in his conclusion of Candide : “le travail éloigne de nous trois grands maux : l’ennui, le vice et le besoin”. Loosely translated Voltaire says that work safeguards us from three great evils: boredom, vice and need.

Why did I start with this quote? well, firstly because starting with a quote is always great fun, and it just also happens te be a quote I stumbled upon in the article on which the next post is will be based upon.

Assume for a moment we are not discussing wether we will become obsolete, let’s say we will be. The question then rises: What will we be doing in the future?

Important to keep in mind that not having a job in the future equals poverty. Let me elaborate on that. Assume that all construction workers are replaced by robotics, and in fact all the structural engineers and the architects. So basically the entire construction sector is now without working people schooled in the art of masonry or the science of structural analysis. This, to point out, that losing your job does not depend on social stature nor education. Why did they lose their job? because it was no longer needed. However if this happens on a large enough scale, so that many sectors are in the same situation the overall wealth is assumed to rise, machines can do things more efficient and don’t need sleep or rest.

Right, now we are all out of jobs but also don’t actually need one. What are we going to do? In the past the rich spent their time in art or philosophy. However are we all going to start painting, making clothes and wonder about the how and why of it all? What would you want to do?

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3 thoughts on “(The lack of) jobs of the future?

  1. Xiao.QIN

    In my opinion, the robots will replace some workers, but not all labors will be replaced. Since the population ageing problems, there won’t be a lot of workers in the future. Therefore, it’s not a serious problem. Further more, the governments, I think, will interfere the companies about the human resource decision when there is an extremely unbalance between the benefit of the company and the number of labors in the company.

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  2. nicolemmens

    This is some pretty hardcore hypothetical thinking :D. You’re partly describing heaven, a utopia where all unpleasant work is abolished and people can do what they want, given that automation can truly do everything and we find a way that resources / energy supplies can sustain this process. I feel like a true answer to this question is beyond the scope of what can fit inside this reply box. There are way to many variables and possible paths to even begin making predictions on how this kind of society would work and what it would look like…

    I like the concept Wall-E drew of this final (given that probably a lot of misery precedes it) utopia actually being a total dystopia ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1BQPV-iCkU ), in truth if it went as well as it did in Wall-E, even then I think people would succumb to massive existentialism crisis’. But like i said before, it’s impossible to predict what such advanced automation would mean for humanity.

    All in all I don’t think these possible doom scenario’s are a reason to stop the future you’re describing, whatever may happen is just part of human evolution, even if it renders actual ‘humans’ unnecessary in the end. That’s a problem only the future generation can truly address.

    If it were me, I’d probably spend my time experiencing as much as i could experience within this unrestricted but limited lifetime, and perhaps look for answers in the search for the Grand Unified Theory or other ‘how and why of it all’ research to ease my mind away from otherwise unevitable existential absurdism.

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  3. Jonas Meirhaeghe

    Well, I think that the world will be a mess. Construction works will get bored of doing nothing. More and more people will be depressed because they don’t have a purpose anymore in their life. Why would we go to college or university if everything is replaced by machines? Probably the violence will increase, more strikes will occur, … . But what about the police or the politicians? Can they be replaced?

    If I am looking to myself what I would do, than I guess it would be traveling. Since traveling also costs a lot of money, I am forced to work. Hence, this would also form a problem. Such as this example, everything will turn out in a vicious circle.

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