With fewer jobs to go around in the future, here’s an interesting prediction for humanity.
In 2015, I went to a remarkable tour of robotics factories in the east coast of the United States. And what I saw shocked me.
Robots were getting so sophisticated that it was not a matter of IF but WHEN robots were going to take over many of the jobs in America. I witnessed robots that could assemble cars, robots that could replace soldiers and even robots that could perform surgery way better than the world’s best surgeons.
The picture above is me with one of those remarkable robots. This ‘guy’ was being developed to walk like a humanoid and carry payloads across rough terrain.
But most robots won’t look like the droids from Star Wars. They will be running things — quite invisible from your eyes. Like the robot below.
That’s the Google Self Driving Car. (I’m standing at the back of the group). I got to sit in it and take a tour (but was not allowed to film). The self-driving car is in every sense a ‘robot’. And it will replace millions of jobs that are now held by truckers, taxi drivers and Uber drivers.
As a result in the next 20 years, we’re going to see millions of jobs replaced by robots. Not just in the United States — but also in nations like China.
But is this a bad thing?
Most people would say so.
So, in this article, I wanted to share with you some interesting conversations I had with tech and business leaders in the US, and my prediction on why robots replacing jobs will be an amazing thing for us all….And for personal growth.
In the book, The Four — The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, author Scott Galloway talks about how these four big tech companies are changing the face of America.
In particular, Galloway critiques Amazon, and how Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and the richest person on the planet, was once asked…
“What do you predict for the future given that you’re replacing more and more retail and warehouse employees with robots?”
Bezos’ answer: “Universal Basic Income.”
Bezos was referring to the idea that as jobs disappear, governments should give their populations a set basic income — sort of a reverse tax — that would cover the basics needed to live. With NO REQUIREMENT for the person to actually find work.
This angered Galloway. The writer goes on to spew his wrath on Bezos.
Here’s what Galloway writes…
“What’s clear is that we need business leaders who envision and enact a future with MORE jobs — Not billionaires that want the government to fund, with taxes they avoid, with social programs for people to sit on their couches and watch Netflix all day. Jeff, show some real f*cking vision.”
But I disagree with Galloway.
And here’s why I believe Universal Basic Income (UBI) actually helps push humanity forward.
I was once in a meeting with a bunch of tech leaders, and Peter Diamandis was addressing the crowd when the idea of Universal Basic Income was brought up.
Peter, who is one of the foremost visionary leaders in the world today, explained to us that in his conversations with Elon Musk and Bill Gates, both men had also vouched for Universal Basic Income. Bill Gates had even gone on to say “If we replace people with robots, we should tax the robots!”
And Elon Musk has said of UBI, “’It’s going to be necessary”
Now, why is it that so many visionary tech leaders believe in this idea?
Aren’t ‘capitalists’ supposed to be the sort of people who are completely against paying folks to sit around all day and do nothing?
Well, it’s because these tech leaders are actually seeing a future where there will be less and less jobs as robots and artificial intelligence get more sophisticated.
But once again, this is NOT necessarily a bad thing.
You see, for the longest time, we’ve created this idea, especially in America, that hard work is noble.
It comes from America’s puritanical work ethic that goes all the way back to the very first European settlers who came to America.
As part of their faith that emphasized the importance of hard work, discipline and frugality. The entire American civilization was built around these tenets.
And that made America “the land of opportunity” and one of the richest countries in the world.
But it also has a dark side.
Today, Americans work more than their European counterparts but are less productive, have a lower standard of living, and unfortunately have greater rates of illness and death.
Americans for example, die 3 to 4 years younger than Brits or Canadians.
And it is this obsession with work that makes us believe that this future, where people work less, but are given a Universal Basic Income, is somehow “wrong.”
While robots will inevitably take over most of the work, exponential improvements in technology is allowing us to afford more with less money.
Now, what this means is that a hypothetical American in the future, who is earning a $1000 a month, and living in a small space, could well lead a life with a standard of living that is far superior than a millionaire today.
It sounds implausible at first but consider this…
For one thing, he or she wouldn’t need to work.
And because of the consistent drop in prices of technology, this hypothetical future American, could have access to tools and utilities way beyond what we have today.
Just look at your smartphone, which many of you are reading this article from.
With one $500 device – You have a way to stay in touch with your friends, you have a global telecommunications device, you have access to all the world’s knowledge through your browser, you have access to a camera, a video player, a voice recorder, a global television through the YouTube app, and much, much, much more.
None of this would NOT be possible 15-20 years ago.
If you wanted to do all the above, you would have to have invested in over $250,000 worth of equipment.
Today, all those functions are crammed in a $500 device that can fit in your pocket.
So, in the future, we’re going to see more people working less, but being able to afford more with their lives compensated by Universal Basic Income.
But the big question is this:
How do we prevent the human race from becoming lazy, Netflix-watching, couch potatoes?
It’s a fair question.
Well, here’s another trend that is emerging that people often forget.
In the book, The Transformational Consumer, author Tara-Nicholle Nelson writes about how over 50% of Americans today are transformational consumers.
This is someone who is obsessed with getting healthier, getting wealthier, and getting wiser.
They buy products that help them transform. They are more likely to invest on workout programs or a gym membership. They are more likely to invest in courses to help them grow.
“Transformational Consumers overindexed on every single goal, meaning they were more likely than the average to be working on every one of the health, wealth, or wisdom goals specified. When compared against non-Transformational Consumers, Transformational Consumers were anywhere from two to four times as likely to be working on a given HWW (Health Wealth Wellness) goal”
And at the time of writing of the book she said:
“50% of U.S. consumers are Transformational Consumers. This is not a niche.”
Let that sink in. The US population is now 50% transformational consumers.
And this group continues to grow.
So I believe Universal Basic Income won’t necessarily make people lazy and unproductive.
Sure, there’s now more time for Netflix, but the trend is clearly showing that more and more people are leaning towards becoming transformational consumers, and are more likely to invest a lot more of their time improving themselves.
Which is why it’s time we redefine what it means to be “productive.”
The old definition is: Productivity equals working on a job.
But when humanity reaches the stage where robots algorithms and AI get to do most of our work, then one can become productive by working on ourselves.
We become the product.
We become the craft.
We become the invention.
And when you start thinking about this trend, you start seeing the future of the human race in a more positive way.
This is why I’m excited about the future of transformation. Because our Mindvalley community is made up of a group of serious transformational consumers.
More and more people are, at their choice, investing in growth.
So, if I were to envision what the future would hold 20 years from now, I would say that in America, you would see people productively working 15-20 hours a week on a job.
BUT they’d be spending hours everyday, engaged in working on themselves.
And what this means is that if you are in the transformation business, you’re in one of the hottest emerging businesses in the world.
So, for all of you who are coaches, teachers, healers and trainers, you’re in for an incredible time ahead.
And we’re excited to be in this growing industry with you.