It seems the buzz about AI taking away our jobs is only getting louder with time. Bill Gates has proposed a tax on robots if robots take away your job and 2020 US Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang has called for a Universal Basic Income to guarantee every citizen a fixed income to sustain a decent life. Yang further said on a podcast with Joe Rogan that call centre jobs and radiologists would be the next categories of jobs to be automated after self-driving cars eventually replace human drivers and automation software replaces people at groceries and malls. This is a very scary situation and many are anxious about losing their jobs to automation.
There is another question that is more pressing though. In the distant future when robots will be able to do everything, what will humans be good for? What will we do? How will we survive? Instead of looking at these questions from a purely economical aspect, let’s also look at them in an existential way. For many, work is not just about having a means to an end. Work is worship for a lot of people. Apart from helping them sustain their lives, work provides meaning and purpose to people. A reason to live, a reason to wake up in the morning and think of what lies ahead and look forward to the day. Will a workless future cause an existential crisis then?