|Well, not so much a pen, as a keyboard.|
Thinking about this in the forward perspective lends us a new understanding of our place. Soon, kiosks will be eliminating the need for cashiers and clerks. You may have even seen these already in your local grocery store, fast food place, soda or snack machine, theater, or even on your phone or computer.
|That's a picture from Taco Bell's website.|
Fair use since I'm discussing the digital application!
They aren't paying me for this endorsement.
I just really like tacos.
Let's jump forward perhaps ten years. Driverless cars will be here, and will be gaining some serious footing. Imagine, you pull up your Uber app, and a car with no driver picks you up. Since the car doesn't have to be piloted by someone, it can be driven any time, day or night. No person means no salary, and potentially a savings to you, the consumer.
Maybe you can see a problem already. Fewer jobs to be done by people means that fewer people will be making money. Regardless of how much I might like to work, if I can't be competitive, I'm not going to make any money. Sure, there's going to be some jobs that only humans can do, probably even for the next two hundred years. However, the number of jobs that don't require a human has increased drastically in the past 30 years or so. This means fewer people making money, and therefore fewer people spending it.
It is therefore my prediction that a sort of socialist society will, by necessity, grow out of it. It won't make sense to pay a small fraction of the population to work, when the rest of the population will have no money to spend on things. Eventually, the system will have to allow most people to live in some other kind of economy. In fact, I can imagine that even within my lifetime, the average work week may well be decreased per person, in favor of employing as many people as possible. Spreading the work around isn't a bad idea. Imagine if you could have all the benefits of working, and so could your neighbor, and neither of you have to work over 20 hours a week, perhaps.
Of course, this is quite a way from being a reality. The problem right now is that we simply don't have as many jobs available as we did in the past, and we've got more people who are able to do those jobs. Simple supply and demand demonstrates that we'll have a problem. Factor in various things like inflation, growing numbers of retirees, and the fact that the economy is not designed to not include people, and we've got a wonderful set of problems we are going to have to rectify soon.
Well, we don't have to, but the problems aren't going to solve themselves. Ignoring this is a solution, one which will lead to inevitable collapse of our current society and economy. We've seen failed economies before, but at this rate, it's going to be a new kind of failure. Perhaps WWIII will be fought in economics, rather than traditional weapons. Do we really want to wait until the last minute to find out it's the only option left?