You may have noticed Bill Gates, Elon Musk and tons of other technology executives talking about the reality in which we will need far less humans for basic tasks like retail, manufacturing, driving and so on – tons of jobs will be going away. Their solution: tax companies that leverage robots and kiosks in order to provide a basic income for folks that won’t be able to find employment. Two thoughts on this:
Between Bob & Robot, I’m gonna hire a robot. 100% of the time.
I don’t even know Bobby!
But here is what a robot will not do: Take personal time. Not show up for work. Show up for work stoned. Show up for work angry, hungry, sleepy, horny, bloated, sad. Robot won’t quit without notice. Robot won’t get into a fist fight with another robot. Robot won’t get too drunk at lunch, throw up on my couch and proceed to throw up and clog a community sink. Robot won’t come to work at 11pm and bang another robot, under the security camera. Robot won’t masturbate at work at 3am to Tumblr pissing videos.
Yes, it happened. All of it. F’n humans.
So no disrespect Bobby, but I’ll take a robot over you every damn day. At worst, the robot will just be there on time not doing any work – already better than 50% of the folks walking around.
Those that are seeking a massive tax as a deterrent to robots removing them from the job market.. sorry, but it’s not going to work and that brings me to the second point.
Why is this something tech CEO community is concerned with?
Well, who do you think will be building, programming and managing those robots? Not Bobby the truck driver or Bobby the manufacturing simpleton. Sorry, it’s going to be Bahrat (Bobby) Patel from whereever the IT labor is cheap and $1000 a month goes a long way. It’s the tech companies that are going to be bringing the next massive forced obsolescence of labor – much like they have for the past 4 decades.
But why are they talking about taxes all of a sudden? Since when are a bunch of billionaires from California concerned about the rust belt?
My opinion, for what it’s worth, is that they are seizing the political climate in which half the country is almost religiously devout to the notion of lower taxes and not paying those lazy people to sit on their ass and collect welfare! Danggumit! Get a job!
Tech companies can quickly focus on developing robots and disrupting industries with minimal government interference and obstruction until it’s too late for people to understand their jobs just got jacked.
They are talking about a basic income, literally free money handed to you for the sole reason that you were born in the right place at the right time, because they know the current political climate will not allow it to be discussed, debated or have their agenda impacted.
It’s not the cost that has kept robots at bay – it’s the social norms. When supermarkets and warehouse stores came out with self checkout lines people hated them. To this day I age discriminate when I’m buying groceries at Target – If you look like you’re under 20 I am waiting in the longer line that has an older person working the register. You know why? Someone that’s over 15 knows what vegetables are and doesn’t have to play the fucking Pictionary game in the checkout line for 10 minutes trying to figure out the difference between garlic and white onion.
You’ll soon see self driving cars. And centrally managed 18 wheeler trucks. And farming. And, and, and until whichever industry you or your clients depend on to make a profit gets rid of enough humans for you to realize that you might never have a job again.
That’s depressing. But by talking about taxes enough people will get upset about a side argument without considering the big picture.