From my column in Ynet: “The Day Robots Take Over The Labor Market”
Autonomous cars that are driven by themselves, three-dimensional printers, and computerized supermarkets without cashiers, what will taxi drivers, salespeople, and all the other people do who have professions that are going to disappear? How will we fill our day after we discover that our workplace has been shut down? Rav Laitman presents the expected scenario of changes in the future society that we should prepare for.
In 2025, the world will be totally different. Sophisticated machines and computers will take over the labor force. Robotic cars that drive by themselves will replace truck drivers, taxi drivers, and bus drivers. We will not need banks either, and professions such as cashiers and other service providers will likely perish from the world. We will still need personnel to operate computerized systems, but will require very few people. The conclusion is simple: most of today’s workers will find themselves without a livelihood.
If such scenarios sound like a science fiction movie trailer, here is some data. The research institute Gartner predicts that by the end of 2020, about 50 billion tools, objects, and people are expected to be connected to the Internet. The world will be connected by formats similar to smart cities; we will all live in smart houses, and machines that know how to transmit information between them and give orders to each other without any human contact will be part of our daily lives. This technological revolution is called the Internet of Things (IoT).
Along with the work place, which is like a second home for us today, wages in their familiar form will disappear, money, which gives us an incentive to get up in the morning, glues us together, and compels us to make a living through the connections between us. What will our future source of income be? What will happen to our wages?
It’s All About Relationships
The Americans have great hopes for a better future with the election of Trump. They expect him to create tens of thousands of new jobs and to make America great again. Other people are hoping that salvation will come from science and that scientists will offer a new socio-economic approach. In both cases, it is about covering up the problem, about providing patches that will not last long. Eventually, we must face the growing problem of global unemployment.
You might try to bury your head in the sand like many do or to ignore the enormous changes that are coming, but you should take one thing into account: man’s egoistic nature. It will continue to grow and develop, will become increasingly more ferocious, and might eventually lead puzzled humanity to choose between two familiar options: a Marxist-style socialist revolution or a nationalistic regime with Nazi/Hitler-style characteristics.
According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, the solution is in building the right relationships between people. It is the different social connections throughout history that have formatted different new regimes. Even back in the Middle Ages, different social eras like slavery and feudalism based on agriculture divided society into two major classes: the nobility and the vassals. The egoistic nature in humanity grew stronger at that time and led to the search of crooked ways to profit more, and people began to develop new means that led to great changes.
At the end of the 18th century, the gradual transition to the modern world began. The industrial revolution developed very rapidly and led to urbanization, a process in which the masses in Europe and the US left pastoral villages and moved to big cities that developed around the new factories that were being built. Society gradually changed, and two new classes emerged: the working class and the bourgeois class.
In the middle of the 19th century, the egoistic nature of relations in society became more extreme and took on a new socio-economic format called capitalism. The method was good at first, but the 2008 economic crisis illustrated briefly how far things can go, and generally speaking, few know how to play by the rules of capitalism, and they are the ones who determine the game, and the others, who are the silent majority, lose big time.
Economy or Corruption
Although the economy helps us live, it isn’t life itself. The increasing activity in the model of universal basic income (UBI), according to which the state pays every citizen a daily allowance regardless of his employment status, disconnecting work from pay, is no coincidence. It reflects the awkward attempts to prepare for an era in which there will be no work, but there will be plenty to live on thanks to advanced robotics. This is the reason that, in a digital era that threatens to change jobs as we know them today, we must engage in building a new social structure. As soon as society changes, the economy will change.
How will we bring about the change? Just as we are all products of the public education system that was founded with the acceleration of the industrial revolution in the 19th century in order to train skilled workers for the professional work on the assembly lines of the factories, we also must bring about an unprecedented educational revolution in the 21st century. This means that we must adapt the relationships between us through educating the masses to live in a new society.
What is the first step? It is to attend school once again, to study about the global world and about human nature, and to discuss how we can tighten the positive relationships between us at a roundtable. The positive force of connection we will create and establish between us will balance the negative force of our egoistic nature, restrain it from disintegrating relationships, and will provide every individual with an income in the emotionally and psychologically in the form of happiness, joy, peace, and tranquility.
Such an educational initiative is based on the laws of global nature, which is taught by the wisdom of Kabbalah. Unity is the most basic, natural structure. Nature aspires for balance, equality, and wholeness, and since people are part of the circle of nature, we, too, are obliged to operate in equality and mutual consideration. The only difference is that in our case, we must do it consciously through an educational process. We will put an end to the problem of growing unemployment by promoting an ideology that calls for unity. New jobs will be created for many and their only goal will be generating the positive energy of connection. This will be our production, an income of nobel human value, a pay we will work for.
What will be our work? We will be busy developing a society that encourages closeness between people. We will focus on the improvement of skills such as patience, concession, and restraint in our relationships with others and will increase awareness of social relations hidden from view. We will not be required to change any of the natural attributes we were born with or those we have acquired during our lifetime, but we must learn how to establish nice mutual relationships between us that will guarantee a good and happy life.
What about the basic necessities such as food, clothing, housing, transportation, and other social services like healthcare and education? We will leave that to robots and smart machines. The enormous surplus in manpower will operate the advanced equipment, and wherever manpower is needed, we all will work together in rotation and with great will to serve all of society.
Robots gradually will replace our technical contribution to humanity, but not the human part, which we have not developed yet. When we connect a bit more, the social atmosphere will bring us together and create a new socio-economic structure that we have never known before. The state will become a big communal family, national and personal problems will be solved from a new perspective, and the force of connection will heal society and bring it to its full recovery. The new social economy will finally free us from the continuous worry about making a living and an exaggerated engagement in materialism, and will leave us spare time in order to develop individually, socially, and spiritually.
From Ynet article 1/5/17