What happens after we automate all work?
Conservatives are quick to rail against any form of social support. They value individual responsibility and effort. These are certainly good things, and worthy of support. But there has been a very clear trend since the industrial revolution to increasingly automate work, shifting the load from mankind to machines. In the early days of the USA, over 90% of the US population worked in agriculture. Today, well under 5% does, but the US is a major exporter of food, feeding not only our own population but much of the world’s. Now automated assistants are taking over the work humans once did in customer service and call centers.
There is no reason to believe that the accelerating curve of workplace automation will suddenly level off at a plateau, or reverse course. That means we likely face a future in which most of us let machines work for us. How then do we earn a living? Do we rethink our attitudes about conservative values of work and independence, or do we just let a very substantial percentage of humanity starve to death? What do we do when we no longer have a good reason to work?