Speed Reads

They took our jerbs

What do we do after robots take all the jobs?

What do we do after robots take all the jobs?

CGP Grey, in perhaps his most ambitious video to date, has tackled the subject of automation — in short, robots coming for all the jobs. Whether you work in transportation, white collar trades, or even the arts, there's probably a programmer working on putting you in the poor house as soon as possible. Or worse, a programmer teaching a robot to teach itself so it can put anyone out of work.

A little unsettling, huh? The best piece I've ever seen trying to game out the long-term effects of automation is "Four Futures," by Peter Frase in Jacobin magazine. By imagining two axes of possible development — scarcity versus abundance, and hierarchy versus egalitarianism — he outlines four possible futures of the human race. They range from a work-free utopia (as outlined by Iain M. Banks in his Culture series), to a terrifying war of extermination by the rich against the masses of useless poor.

Frase's piece is an excellent complement to the above video, which is rather vague about the political implications of the subject. Definitely give it a read.