The four driverless cars of the Apocalypse

Well it’s official. We’re all going to hell in a hand-basket.

The hand-basket will be delivered by a drone, the transaction will be verified on the blockchain and we’ll get there in a driverless car. Which is another way of saying that jobs for retail assistants, drivers, construction workers, receptionists, waiters, insurance underwriters, real estate sales people, telemarketers, accountants and clerks are on the way out. An Oxford study says.

And if you doubt that, read The Economist, findings from the World Economic Forum or the book, Second Machine Age: “wrenching change”; “professions upended”.

Not just a problem for the unemployed, their families and social coherence. Governments won’t collect as much tax and will have to fund more social security. Public debt is already a crisis. Thirty years ago in America public debt was 35% of annual GDP and now it’s 103%. In Australia, public debt as a share of GDP has nearly quadrupled in the last ten years.

By the time the Four Driverless Cars of the Apocalypse are through with us, (Internet, Robot, Blockchain, Globalisation) governments will require massive tax increases and students of history know how that ends…

Gif of angry army charging with swords drawn

Where are the future jobs coming from? In the past we’ve relied on industry to generate these as a by-product of the profit motive, but industry is on the Robot’s side. If current trends continue we will need to create not just new jobs but new kinds of work.

Given that we have a say in the matter, and given that we have imagination, what new kinds of work would be worth creating? In terms of human potential, what would connect, enrich and fulfill us? What do you think? Here’s one idea to start you off…

Touch

When was the last time a stranger gave your back a rub? When did you last take a little old lady’s hand and help her up the stairs? Do you bear-hug your boss on a Monday morning?

Science is unequivocal on the benefits of touch, but our social conventions are embedded in conservative cultures long gone.

An economy of touch is within our grasp. Where touch is not confined to family, lovers, friends and masseurs. Where our fear of other is managed and our connections are richer. You can say that’s Utopian, but it’s imaginable, achievable. Instead of another night on Netflix, you and your partner head out to a Touch Café. 10 cents for a High-Five or a handshake. Dollar for holding hands. Couple of bucks for a neck massage.

Email me to get on the list as a volunteer or brainstormer.

Administrator

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.