The Future of Work

21947950-robot-replacementFriday 20 Feb, 7:30pm, Unity House, Fennel Street, Loughborough

To be introduced by John Barton

By way of introduction we will show the 15min. film “Humans Need Not Apply” Which asserts is that almost all unskilled jobs as well as many professional jobs are going to be replaced by computer intelligence.

This suggests that there will never be enough conventional jobs for a significant and increasing proportion of the population who will need to be supported somehow. Added to this an ageing population will make increasing demands on the NHS and on pensions.

With an aging population and shrinking overall economy, almost everyone in employment might be employed looking after other people, and most of those will be in the public sector: Nurses and doctors, plus of course teachers, police, fire and rescue….

Does the private sector really pay for ‘the public sector? Traditionally, public spending is paid for by taxation on the private sector. Government spending (Total Managed Expenditure) is currently running at almost 50% of total GDP in the UK but might have to rise much higher.

On top of all this, we must not forget climate change and the need to stop emitting greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide in particular. The carbon intensity of the economy is reducing, but perhaps not fast enough. Is the growth model of the economy broken, as many environmentalists maintain? Does the private sector of the economy have to shrink as, regrettably, clean energy is more expensive than fossil energy.

Will a large number of people be permanently unemployed and unemployable through no fault of their own? What happens to taxation when most things that society does are essential necessities and luxuries are few? Does the income tax rate have to rise to 80% on top of other high taxes, which will be made less avoidable such as inheritance tax and a wealth tax?

Will living to an old age be seen as a luxury? Or will we be looked after by robots?

Will the new sturdy beggars face a life of being bullied by the state to seek non-existent employment, while governments are blamed for not providing jobs for everyone?

Humans Need Not Apply: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pq-S557XQU

An analysis of employment trends, via the BBC and speculation about the future. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10557724

Trends in society including the aging population are described in:

http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/rp10-37.pdf

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2 Responses to The Future of Work

  1. koenigal86 says:

    Reblogged this on koenigal86 and commented:
    The Future of Woork – Humans need not apply

  2. A basic income is proposed by CGP Grey, who produced the video “Humans Need Not Apply” in a follow up: “Humans Need Not Apply”: A Solution

    There is a short article in the New Scientist recently asking what is holding up driverless cars. Google has bees fine tuning its autonomous cars for years, amassing hundreds of thousands of miles of test drives, but the main problem is interacting with humans and sorting this out seems a long way off.

    Computers doing things that humans did before is not necessarily a bad thing. To take the example that came up in the discussion, computers in teaching. The view, expressed forcibly, that “computers will never replace human teachers” is not true. With on-line courses they are already doing some teaching tasks and doing them better, particularly when it comes to evaluating the students responses to these courses. They can do a more extensive and thorough analysis than humans would ever have the time for.
    However, if you ask the question: would we want there to be fewer teachers in schools, I am sure the answer would be no. Human teachers would be able to spend a greater proportion of their time interacting directly with students and less on the chores that computers do better.

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