Coming: A Society With No Jobs


Flash forward years from now: Elon Musk noted that we are driving toward a jobless world in a CNBC interview early this month. For example, speaking of driving, why will UBER need drivers if we will have the self-driving car?

Artificial intelligence (AI) will innovate many jobs out of existence. And, AI can even improve our lives. Right now, many of us may all think we have some form of a butler with Amazon Echo where we just ask Alexa anything. Soon she will be on wheels and get you a glass of water.

Our replacement in the workforce by technology is a new perplexing issue when the solution to all problems seems to be jobs, jobs, and jobs. In fact, that is one of the great attractions of LinkedIn – to connect to jobs and improve our lives.

With no jobs, what does society look like? In fact, as the Internet of Things grows exponentially, computers, intelligent machines, and robots will do work.

How will we live? Musk suggested that with less work, governments would have to pick up the slack. Citizens will be sustained by government payments, or a universal basic income where each person gets a regular check from the government. (By the way, other entrepreneurs have endorsed universal income.)

Flashback to today: In the US, we just concluded a bruising, disgusting election. And people who are under employed, or not employed – or just struggling paycheck to paycheck raised their voice for change.

Change they got.

But employment still is a real concern. There is almost full employment, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Report on November 4, 2016: “Total non-farm payroll employment rose by 161,000 in October, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.9 percent…”

However, the under employment rate is at 9.5% — these are people that need or want more work. Plus, it was reported that a Harris poll revealed that 38 percent of the more than 3,200 full-time workers said they sometimes live paycheck to paycheck.

Most of the 4.9% of unemployed Americans may not get jobs, simply because there are not enough of them. And, the 9.5% who are underemployed may also have no hope for full time employment.

So, should these people get a universal basic income regular check from the government?

Should we start Elon Musk’s recommendation now?

If you walk down the street in any major city, you are likely to see a person begging for their next meal.

As our society moves forward, and Moore’s Law has computer power on a lightning growth streak, will we ever have enough jobs? As a society, how do we take care of our fellow man?

After all, we will all be unemployed…eventually. The answers are not easy. Our responsibility to each other is awesome.


Note: While this is written from a U.S. perspective, this is a global issue.

[Photo Credit: uselessid on Flickr via Creative Commons 2.0]

This post appeared on the LinkedIn Influencer page of Rob Wyse on November 12th, 2016 and can be viewed there by clicking here.
Rob Wyse (@robwyse) is Managing Director, New York, of Capital Content, where he advises thought leaders and writes about issues that drive economic opportunity, improve the environment, and lead to positive social change. His areas of focus include for-benefit enterprises, climate change, interfaith understanding, jobs and the economy, Internet access, and healthcare reform.