Extensive global unemployment is here to stay. The jobs that have been lost to manufacturing can never be entirely made up in the service industry.
Job growth in certain industries does not ramp along with population growth. Too many people to fit in not enough roles. Take social media — you need only one Facebook, and a relatively constant and insignificant amount of employees can accommodate a growing population.
Industries and jobs in those industries are inherently ephemeral and fleeting — with the exception of maybe the food and restaurant sectors. Can’t torrent food yet.
Ultimately, we need to plan for a future where an employed elite that presides over the automation can care for an underclass that cannot be accommodated in terms of employment.
But how would we manage this society? A welfare society leaves a vast chunk of a population with nothing to do. And foreseeably, the upper class can’t afford to pay that much out to the unemployed. A massive, bottom-heavy underclass that is poor, bored, and resentful is a powder keg of social unrest and malaise.
Yeah, yeah, near future we can push/retrain people into green technologies. In the short term, we can invest in change. Push people into into fields in need of innovation. But this innovation will invariably also drive the workers’ own obsolescence.
In the far future, it seems likely that a limit to man-driven technological innovation will be reached — when man has created a mirror, constant version of itself — an artificially intelligent robot. How can job redeployment still be better when humans are not ahead of the curve competitively against AI in anyway? When artificial intelligence is preferred to a human in employment in every aspect? What then? What happens to a man rendered moot?
In a way, I guess man himself is just another machine. No hard feelings when robot overlords take over — it’s just the coming of a new model. I find that to be a slightly less depressing way of thinking of things.
Anti-automation legislation in the United States would totally not work. Not even a short term solution. Maybe a short short term solution. On the miracle that lobbyists permit the corporate usage of robots on American soil, these companies will, just like they have before, flock for something that they were not able to get in America. Cheap, South and Eastern Asian labor in era. Foreign robots in another.