By Jake Anderson
An alarming new report from the United Nations is the latest in a litany of studies suggesting that the coming age of automation and workforces dominated by robots will be upon us much faster than previously thought. The U.N. now claims two-thirds of the human labor force in developing nations will be replaced by automation.
The U.N. says a Universal Basic Income will be necessary as a stop-gap for the 75% of humans left without work.
Anti-Media previously reported on predictions that half the American workforce could be replaced by automation within the next two decades. Another report’s statistics suggested automated software could fleece 1.7 million truckers of their jobs within a decade.
The U.N.’s UNCTAD report notes that taken on a global scale, we’re seeing “premature deindustrialization.”
“The increased use of robots in developed countries risks eroding the traditional labor-cost advantage of developing countries,” the report explains.
A disturbing additional report from the World Bank observes:
The share of occupations that could experience significant automation is actually higher in developing countries than in more advanced ones, where many of these jobs have already disappeared.
Developing countries are advised to react to new ‘disruptive technologies’ by embracing radical digital technology and “supportive macroeconomic, industrial and social policies.”
A larger looming question concerns how people will react to such job losses. How will the 1.7 million truckers who are primed to lose their jobs to automation take this? Transhumanist candidate Zoltan Istvan warned it wouldn’t be a pretty sight and that in fact, it could lead to violent uprisings, which is why Istvan supports a UBI.
As Anti-Media previously reported:
Zoltan says the coming age of robots replacing humans in the workforce could be a net positive, allowing humans explore education and leisure in a way previous generations couldn’t have imagined. He advocates for a Universal Basic Income and a federally-provided social safety net that would reduce the chances of chaos and rioting when the robot economy goes into full swing.
But this vision of a future transhumanist utopia smacks of American and Western exceptionalism. People in developing countries may not have a Universal Basic Income available to them, and even if they do, their general impoverished living conditions and anemic social infrastructure may eclipse opportunities for leisure and entrepreneurship.
These are questions that will be asked with increasing frequency in the next 10 years. The age of automation threatens the very nature of human labor and may require us to re-imagine the role of the human being within post-industrial societies.
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