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A-Z of the Future > Joblessness

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The rise of artificial intelligence and robotics could lead to many jobs becoming automated. Great opportunities or significant problems may follow.


A lot depends on whether the changes constitute humans being freed from the rigours of arduous or tedious labour or whether it will be business that becomes emancipated from the vagaries and expense of human endeavours. Will this be ‘funemployment’ or unemployment? If few or no jobs exist, how will the economy function and how will most people survive? Many could be expelled from the economic system and left destitute.


Universal Basic Income and Universal Basic Services are two potential solutions, however, with no jobs there would be little prospect of social mobility. Those who own the resources (AI, data and robotics) could gain an absolute grip on wealth and power – a super elite. Also can humans maintain dignity and find meaning in their lives if they serve no economic purpose?


It is possible that our social roles will provide more than enough meaning, whilst technologies may provide us with an abundance of material wealth and entertainment too, but this will depend on the social structures we create in such a world. Certainly the prospect of joblessness opens myriad utopian and dystopian possibilities.

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