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Author Topic: Employment in a futuristic world  (Read 7133 times)

Offline Eli_Freysson

Employment in a futuristic world
« on: September 25, 2016, 01:06:20 PM »
This isn't something I've had to address in my space opera so far, but I should probably at least start to give it thought. It's also something to think about, in regards to the sci-fi genre.

With the rise of online shopping, drones, automated factories, supercomputers, 3D printers, self-driving vehicles and whatnot... what will there be left for 99,9% of ordinary people to do in the future? I'm not a very tech-minded person, but it seems to me that eventually one will be able to get just about any service or material good without input from another human being.

Are there any solid, modern theories on this? What are YOUR thoughts?
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Offline JMack

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Re: Employment in a futuristic world
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2016, 04:43:07 PM »
You're picking up on something I'm worried about. The largest "blue collar" profession in the U.S. is driving: trucks, cabs, etc. when robotrucks and drones do it all, what happens to all those jobs?

in New Jersey, self-service gas stations are against the law because of the impact they would have on jobs. I could see some things along this line passing in the future, at least during the social adjustment period. 

So what types of jobs? I need to think about this....
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Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Employment in a futuristic world
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2016, 04:46:21 PM »
in New Jersey, self-service gas stations are against the law
There are still gas stations with employees at the pumps?!?! :o
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Offline Raptori

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Re: Employment in a futuristic world
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2016, 05:02:44 PM »
Pretty sure the consensus is that the service sector is the one at the lowest risk of automation, realistically speaking, since it'd require both an AI indistinguishable from humans and robotics sophisticated enough to be indistinguishable from humans too.

In fiction it depends on the technology level - especially in terms of AI and robotics - and the cultural views on their use. Creating something that holds up to scrutiny would probably take a lot of work.
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Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Employment in a futuristic world
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2016, 05:10:17 PM »
I remember when people used to say that because of computers there would be no need for financial analysts anymore: if anything, there's need of more, because all computers did was replace the automated tasks and give out more data, which requires humans to analyse and interpret.
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Offline Raptori

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Re: Employment in a futuristic world
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2016, 05:20:29 PM »
I remember when people used to say that because of computers there would be no need for financial analysts anymore: if anything, there's need of more, because all computers did was replace the automated tasks and give out more data, which requires humans to analyse and interpret.
That's the thing: the advances we're talking about (in the real world) are AIs which can do the analysis and interpretation. How far it'll be possible to take that depends on who you ask!
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Offline m3mnoch

Re: Employment in a futuristic world
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2016, 05:23:37 PM »
in the near-future, jobs will consist of:
1) subjective content creation
2) information curation
3) service industry

effectively the creative, "understanding what people want" jobs.

basically, the way i see it is there will be a severe difference in quality of life between "talent" and "no talent".  i also believe we can train people into "talent", but, by that time, it's no longer considered such.  when everyone is capable of the same feats, none of that is unique.

all this aside, in the far-future, money will be displaced completely by reputation and the ability to acquire attention.  everyone will have the same access to any experience they wish to consume -- be it food, travel, or other luxury -- any time they want to consume it, but actual wealth will be measured in access.

sure, you can sit around by yourself in this finely manufactured pool in a beautiful part of the world stuffing yourself with caviar, but the wealthy are over in a more interesting place deemed more interesting because of the people who are there.

when all things can be manufactured by manipulating atoms, the only truly scarce resource is attention.  those people at the top of the popularity pyramid will be considered the wealthy ones and they'll be objectively measured against each other by 'ratings', not money.


in New Jersey, self-service gas stations are against the law
There are still gas stations with employees at the pumps?!?! :o

the state of oregon is the same thing.  you're not allowed to pump your own gas.

Offline Rostum

Re: Employment in a futuristic world
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2016, 08:02:03 PM »
Forget the service industry it's gone in 10 years or so.

Everything from manufacturing, logistics, transportation, warehousing, retail services is machine replaceable in the near future.


Offline AlmightyZael

Re: Employment in a futuristic world
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2016, 04:33:54 PM »
If we look at this logically, we can assume that the tech/machines need to be maintained in one way or another. Depending on how deep your story's world goes into it, even the janitorial bots and the automated repair bots need someone to look after them.

Unless the AI is disgustingly complex, humans will still be needed to solve abstract problems - so coding, mechanical servicing, communications etc will still need to be worked by a person. Logistics wise, managers will still be needed. Governmental work where the employee need to check the validity of a person's credentials (e.g look for inconsistencies in case of fraud) - interviews and any face to face meeting would also require a professional human.

Customer service and helplines, call centers, statisticians, doctors, medical staff, possibly transport jobs such as food delivery, taxi services, large scale industrial transport (e.g loaded trucks/freighters). This of course depends on how automated your world is - which would bring the focus back to the maintenance and repair of said automation.

Right, let's look at the juicy part of all this. If the society is surrounded by AI, people will be looking for human interaction - you could go so far as to offer 'friendship services' for a price. As well as more traditional prostitution, but it may not be so far out of the realm of possibility for a 'prostitution of innocence' to occur, whereby people legitimately seek out company from other people for the sake of not being alone. Therefore, agencies and people would be needed to regulate all this - as well as the actual people who are selling their company!

Don't forget, there's also crime and drug use - illegitimate ways of making money, but still a 'job' in many senses.

I hope some of those help, though I'm aware doctors and medical staff require a certain degree of training, so may not necessarily encompass the 99.9% of people you're looking for.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2016, 04:35:41 PM by AlmightyZael »
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Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: Employment in a futuristic world
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2016, 06:19:37 PM »
I think innovations in war will make your amazing ideas ... short-lived, impossible, or irrelevant.
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Offline AlmightyZael

Re: Employment in a futuristic world
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2016, 06:23:57 PM »
I think innovations in war will make your amazing ideas ... short-lived, impossible, or irrelevant.

We can always hope that we abandon war in the future...

Perhaps in OP's universe there is a reason for humans to unite instead of fight? I mean, I agree with you, but we don't know whether this space opera is 50 years in the future or 5000.
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Offline m3mnoch

Re: Employment in a futuristic world
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2016, 06:35:44 PM »
Forget the service industry it's gone in 10 years or so.

i see you've never had a cute-yet-ornery cocktail waitress egging your table on as you're devouring corned beef and racing irish car bombs, talking you into buying and consuming thrice as many as you should, well on her way to a fat, fat tip.

"man, you were so close to beating him.  i bet you can catch him this time if you drop the shot glass closer to the beer."

fast forward to four guys stumble-bumbling our way back to the hotel, incoherently happy.

um . . . or does that kind of stuff only happen to me?

Offline Rostum

Re: Employment in a futuristic world
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2016, 07:43:58 PM »
Wrong Culture and Geography. If you can find a cocktail bar here you wont find waitresses.
Pubs and bars are closing at a rate of 25-30 a week here.

Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: Employment in a futuristic world
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2016, 07:59:18 PM »
Wrong Culture and Geography. If you can find a cocktail bar here you wont find waitresses.
Pubs and bars are closing at a rate of 25-30 a week here.
That is among the saddest things I've heard of late.
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Offline Rostum

Re: Employment in a futuristic world
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2016, 08:33:17 PM »
 
Quote
That is among the saddest things I've heard of late.

So your thoughts on having people wait on you, getting involved in your drunken antics who are dependant on tips as they don't earn enough to actually live on?