Create your own employment avatar robot to replace you at work. Fight fire with fire. Could this be the solution to the coming robotic automation revolution?
Everyone is freaking out over the future of automation. Waiters are about to become obsolete, prison guards are getting replaced with prison-bots and truck drivers are watching Google’s driverless cars very closely.
Economists, futurists, and researchers are predicting huge job losses. Carl Frey and Michael Osborne at Oxford University estimate a 47% job loss due to automation in the next 20 years!
Corporations are drooling at the idea of cutting hundreds of jobs and replacing humans with cheeper robotic “employees.” However, automation also creates an economic dilemma for these mega companies.
Excessive supply and and no jobs means no demand. These CEOs must know that this equation is unbalanced and will ultimately result in bankruptcy for some of their companies.
The question on everyones mind is “If all the jobs are automated, who will have money to buy the products from these corporations?” This is not just a blue-collar issue. Predictive analytics in soft A.I. robots could replace creative jobs as well.
Imagine a future where 80% of all jobs are automated. Sound impossible? Not to the Serious Wonder readers. We have covered robot chefs, driverless cars, robot sexbots and automated (made to order ) pizza vending machines.
Exponential growth in computing power is allowing developers and engineers to create humanoid robots in their garages around the world. People are 3D printing the parts and coding their new machine overlords into existence.
My advice as a futurist is to learn to code and engineer your own robots. In ten years you can freelance these advanced robots out to corporations and to people who need employment avatars. We should be creating robots that solve a problem. The first person that creates a multi functional humanoid robot that can clean toilets, take out the trash AND change a diaper gently will become a billionaire.
Employment avatars may be the answer. Individuals could build, lease, freelance and maintain these employment avatar robots to companies in exchange for lower wages, say three dollars and hour to the employment avatar owner. This sounds like slave wages but keep in mind that with an increase in automation across the entire globe the price of goods will and must be lowered.
Imagine having a three bedroom home filled with the latest smart gadgets, all the organic food you ever need and access to automated healthcare all for one hundred dollars a month. Sound impossible? Not so fast.
The house was 3D printed using local sand, the organic food was grown two blocks away in an automated vertical free-food farm and the healthcare avatar robot that arrives (owned by the town doctor) to mend your broken leg cost you two dollars in “service fees.”
Utopian? Absolutely. But this is not a fairytale, these movements are happening now. If we allow ourselves as a society to rethink our values it could work. Unless we want war in our streets we must rethink our relationship with money and work.
The leasing trend and the sharing economy trend prove that people are willing to rethink the old models of economic behavior. In fact, we could see neighbors and families sharing employment avatars to save costs and share income within communities.
This is not the economy our governments and corporations want but it is the only way to adjust for the automation effect. Besides, is wealth really based on how many pieces of green paper you have in your wallet or is it based on what the system says that is worth?
According to Quartz :
“In factories, managers typically will not invest in any automation that requires more than two years to pay for itself, when compared to some other solution, like paying a human to do it. But thanks to some very clever engineering, Baxter only costs $22,000. In the US, a person working full time at minimum wage makes only $15,080 a year.”
[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”B0012LG8P2″ locale=”us” height=”160″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/412b0kpIZOL._SL160_.jpg” width=”122″]People argue that companies will cut employees out and buy the robots but this argument is actually counterintuitive. If the companies know they can hire a employment avatar for three dollars an hour for a six month freelance job and save the overhead of purchasing and maintaining hundreds of robots why wouldn’t they?
Economist John Maynard Keynes coined the term “technological unemployment” in the 1930’s and in part his warning was temporarily sound. However, people learned new skills and were able to get new jobs. This may not be the case with the automation revolution. Weaving looms were not “smart.”
Baxter is a great example. Imagine buying one of these freaky eyed fellows and sub-leasing him out to a small business. Why stop with just one “occubot?” If you have the skills and desire you could guid a fleet of your own 3d printed employment bots and start producing products yourself.