We are witnessing a transformation of our economy, as the unpleasant tasks we formerly performed for money will be done automatically by AI. We all will someday soon receive a guaranteed income and be free to do whatever we like. Whether that is pursuing our art or slapping on an AR machine and living in a pod. There are already too many people for the jobs that are available. And fewer and fewer people want to do the jobs that are available. There is a mass strike against the idea of slave labor passing itself off as meaningful work. The transformation of the economy has already begun. Imagine a world where we don’t have to do work we don’t enjoy, with people we don’t like. Some will stagnate; they will be the ones wearing the AR machines in the pods. The rest of us will be free to make the world into our own image.

People wrongly assume if you give them money to live, if they didn’t MAKE their own living, didn’t earn it banging metal into pots, that they’d just piss it away. But if you gave them enough for a comfortable living, where their basic needs were taken care of, then they’d be free. And after the initial free money frenzy wears off and they settle in, they will go about the business of doing whatever they want. For most people that will mean sitting around watching tv. They’d just plug into the information highway and not bother anyone. Some will do what people who retire do, travel, read, hang out with friends (remember that?). But some will create a small business or bake and feed their neighbors. People doing what they want is the definition of true freedom. People producing and contributing just because they want to is a sustainable economy.

Burning daylight

Burning Daylight

But how do we pay for it? All that leisure spending would grease the wheels of the jobless economy. They were called “stimulus checks” because most people put the money right back into the economy. Also, perhaps we can give the rich enough to live the life they “worked so hard to create” and give the rest to the citizenry, formerly known as the working class. We’ll no longer need to force people to work. Some might do it just because they want to. Imagine showing up to work just because you want to. Not for the money, but just to contribute to the betterment of society. Eventually, we will evolve out of the need for money altogether. Meaning and joy will be the only measure of success.

But the conditioning will take a long time to break. We have been taught the more we work for something, the more we appreciate it, the more we take care of it. It’s human nature. But I believe we’ve been conditioned, even engineered to believe this. Some people work three jobs, and have zero quality of life because big brother has us believing in hard work. We must exchange a lifetime of backbreaking labor to pay for our place on earth. But does hard work really produce appreciation? I think meaningful work does that. Meaningful work is far more satisfying. We will never give up the need to work. I agree it is innate. The creative drive is ubiquitous with human nature. But there are as many people who are trapped by work today who have no way out of the slavery of work, who would be so much happier doing other work.

I realize this is definitely futuristic. I don’t think of the movie Wally or even The Matrix when I see this world. One might argue Wally is part of the narrative being driven down our throats by the capitalists, who want us to be willing slaves until we die. But yes, very our jobs will be performed by AI very soon. Drones and self driving vehicles are right around the corner. And when they no longer need us to perform these tasks in exchange for money, they will change their messaging.  It will take years to recondition the human spirit not to give up everything for work. We’re already getting the new messaging, but it will take decades for this transformation to take hold. People who are displaced by AI will still have to make a living. But idea of what it is to make a living will be completely different in thirty years. Eventually, most jobs we deem essential, that “require” human effort will be replace by AI, including artists. So it isn’t too soon to start having these conversations

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