back to article I, for one, welcome our robotic communist jobless future

Various of the concerned intelligensia seem to be worried at present that the computers and the robots are going to come and take all our jobs. None of us will have anything to do, we'll starve and the capitalists who own the robots will end up with everything. Often, the solution offered is that we should therefore tax …

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    1. Spoonsinger

      Re: There'll be world war three in under 10 years.

      Ahh that's what the kids need today - a looming threat of nuclear annihilation. It worked for me, and as far as I can tell, my parents. Tends to focus the mind. The whole 90's new world order thing was just a bit of a breather in doomsday terms - which lead to the eco bods creeping in with their "whole world is going to end due to weather" thing. However nothing inspires a person more than being able to earn enough to escape potential drop zones, (regardless of how meaningless that is).

  1. heyrick Silver badge

    Smoking what?

    You're right. Work sucks. I'd rather sit on my ass and watch animé and write pointless messages on forums.

    However you miss one critical thing, and it is nothing to do with robots.

    How does one expect to pay for stuff? Think about it - if I am to watch animé, I need something to watch it on. That isn't free. I will need a working internet connection to download, and that isn't free. Then there will be the electricity to run the equipment, plus heat me up in the winter. That isn't free. Then a building of some sort to call home, whether a castle or a garden shed, it won't be free. Plus, perhaps the most important of all, some sustenance for my increasing fat ass sitting there. That too will carry a price tag.

    How do you think these things will be paid for? Don't bullshit me about some future utopia where robots do everything and everything is free. That won't happen, not least because it is comically unrealistic.

    This is where work comes in. I trade an amount of my time for the services I provide, in return for an amount of money. Given the number of jobs versus the number of people, the situation is weighted evermore in favour of the employer, however it is still a trade off - I give time and ability, they give me numbers.

    And with that, I can live. I can pay for services, I can buy the latest Kalafina CD, I can do a lot of things with freedom within the scope of how much I am willing to spend. I could even go out and buy ten pairs of ballet-style shoes (I think they are called "pumps", for some reason...). Okay, people will think I'm pretty damn weird, but the point is, it is my money and it isn't illegal, so I could if I wanted to. Or blow the money on big speakers. Or an ancient 8 track off eBay. Or cupcakes. With Hello Kitty design. Yes, cupcakes are always good. Do you understand? My disposable cash is limited only by the crazy stuff I can dream up. I could even do something as esoteric as crawling the bakers all around looking for The Perfect Croissant.

    It is asked - do you live to work or do you work to live? I think the two are intertwined. The alternative, I guess, is to either live off rich parents or live off handouts. And it might come to handouts of robots do everything and there is no work any more but things still cost money. And where, I ask, is the handout money from? And how much? I can see this turning into a social disaster much worse than that which surrounds us today.

    If the things you write are an idea for a future utopia, then please count me out. Ultimately going to work, although it consumes huge amounts of my time, rewards me with freedoms and abilities that wouldn't be possible if I had no work to go to. It is a trade off that I am happy to make.

  2. ecofeco Silver badge
    Windows

    Droll. Very Droll

    This is probably some of the finest bit of satire I have read in years.

    Well done.

    "Free" indeed. Well played sir. Well played.

  3. Tom Hagan

    No need for communism

    This piece is almost right.

    But it's not in the future, it's now. We have already arrived at the point where only a few need to work - almost everything we need could be built for us by robots. But many robots are idle, out of work themselves. It's known as the Global Financial Collapse. The collapse happened because displaced workers can't buy what the robots could produce, if they were producing.

    And the owner of a robot makes a profit only if the robot is working.

    Gotta get them robots back to work!

    Two ways: communism, as you suggest, or capitalism.. We know from the Soviet Union that communism does not work. But a recovery can be effected under capitalism.

    That would require that income be redistributed downward, reversing its direction of recent years. Inequality must be reduced, to let those displaced by robots buy what the robots could produce - if they were working.

    Since the robot owners also own our politics, only if they see it to be in their interest will it happen. And it IS in their interest, both to get their robots back to work so they can earn profits from them, and more importantly, to save their own skins.

    Because the inexorable rise of inequality will reach a point where displaced workers will no longer be able to feed their families, and then they will revolt. It's where we are heading. The robot owners can instead give us a government that has a truly progressive income tax, to fund a Citizens Dividend for all, sufficient to reverse the direction of the flow of income from bottom to top.

    Then the robots can get back to work. The inevitable revolution can be avoided. And the oligarchs who control it all can save their skins.

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: No need for communism

      "That would require that income be redistributed downward, reversing its direction of recent years. Inequality must be reduced, to let those displaced by robots buy what the robots could produce - if they were working."

      Sonuds like dirty pinko communism to me, sonny!

      "Since the robot owners also own our politics, only if they see it to be in their interest will it happen. And it IS in their interest, both to get their robots back to work so they can earn profits from them, and more importantly, to save their own skins."

      No need to extract profits from selling things when the government is quite happy to print all the money you'd ever need (see recent news concerning QE non-tapering). They do seem to have forgotten about the "saving their own skins" part, unless they're betting that the sheeple will be sedated by reality TV and junk food.

  4. Tom Hagan

    Help!

    My ufinished post got away prematurely. What can I do about that?

    1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Help!

      You should be able to copy/paste it via your user control panel and finish it off manually - I see you've withdrawn the half finished comment.

  5. TopOnePercent Silver badge
    FAIL

    Logic fail

    The authors logic doesn't work. Someone has to own the business that makes things, even if thats just the business that sells raw materials that robots process.

    If we assume a socialist utopia where everyone earns the same, lets say £100 per year. We have 3 savers, who regularly put by 25% of what they earn. We have 3 savers who put by 10% per annum. And we have 3 people that spend everything they earn as soon as they have it. The tenth person owns the business.

    After a decade, 3 people are still living hand to mouth. 3 people have a years salary in the bank. 3 people have 2.5 years pay put aside. And then there's the business owner. He has spent every penny of his 100 pounds a year having fun, but the business is still worth almost 90 years salary.

    The numbers used are simplistic (for the Guardian readers out there), but the principle isn't. For as long as money exists in any form, you will always have relatively rich people, and comparatively poor people, with most people doing ok. The reason for this is simple - some people understand how money works, and others don't bother to learn.

    Once financial and time constraints are removed you will get an increase in the birth rate. The limiting factors in how many children my wife and I can have is a function of time (due to working) and money to pay for them - remove both limitations and we will have more children than we have now. Extend that down the generations and before long you need more worlds to input raw materials / land, a birth rate cap, or killer robots.

    People comparing falling birth rates in western economies with the 3rd world are overlooking the time spent at work issue.

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