What happens to money, prices, wages, savings, possessions, work, and the purpose of life when the machines do everything for us?

John, you are right, the robots will take over most jobs, eventually, but timeline is not clear yet.  Taking over creativity will take longer.  The primary principle of economics, that economies are driven by the alternative uses of scarce resources, will still be in play, and prices will be the prime indicator of the demand for those scarce resources, even in the era of robots, but the strictness and significant cost of the mis-judgment of its application will be blunted as the needs of the masses who are on the edge of survival are satisfied, and the way/metric/standard by which income will be allocated will gradually shift.  While prices will continue to be a primary reflector of relative demand, probably forever, the interconnection and monitoring of production, and predictive demand metrics other than price, will make the allocation of resources increasingly more responsive and even anticipatory/predictive.  Prices will be the central indicator of demand, and hence the feedback mechanism used to direct production and the entire down-chain of capital, labor, materials, space, and attention.  Predictive metrics/sensors/algorithms will serve as important directors of production, all for the purpose of optimizing the satisfaction of demand.  But, considered overtly, the problem of determination of demand, based upon prices implies an income/a disposable-fungible pool of cash/credit/means of production that is apportioned among the consuming populace.  This apportionment, the disbursement of credits for consumption, will evolve over time.  As the robot economy grows, the goods and services needed for base level survival will be more available/plentiful, and it will be possible to provide roof, food, clothing, warmth, and transportation as a service given by those who are productive, to those who are not. 


One of the primary questions of every economy is how to support the poor?  This is a question is seen in many contexts, such as that of charity, or pension, retirement savings (investments with residual rent/dividends/appreciation…).  The typical free market solution is letting each man take care of himself, or by free choice offer to give support to those who have not prepared (insurance, or training, or foresight in saving in productive investments)…  But, the basic problem confronted in the robot economy, is the problem of being compensated at all.  How does one determine one’s income when there is a plethora of labor saving devices providing production and services? 


One could always claim that


  is confronted by the problem of appropriately supporting/giving to those with the gift of the elements of survival and comfort given to those who do not, or will not, or cannot work, or are in training, or who have served but whose skills are now obsolete, or who have worked but are tired or want to rest for a while… will always be a sacrifice by the rest of the economy.  That is, the affluence/reward/consumption of those who work/contribute to the production of goods/services, will be affected by those who are not producing.


The challenge is to appropriately mete out consumption credits to those who


   (i.e., reflect demand). The big problem that is currently not solved is the question of income. 


Giving people money/credit


The primary place that humans will play in the economic ecology of the automated production economy will be in directing that production to satisfy the humans’ sense of taste.  Note, that the human will always play the role as consumer, and therefore director of production.  But, the principle of service, the act and heart of needing for men to serve others will not change and must be satisfied.  In large part, the service of man by man, to satisfy the need to serve, .   But, the cThis is not a factor which determines how men should develop skills or produce better/faster/more, but rather, the satisfaction of human taste/appetite in the most perfect way will be the guiding force that drives the specific production of robots.  Thus, man will largely be relegated to the role of consumer, rather than producer in the fully robotic society.  Of course, in the world where there are no more appetites to satisfy, the purpose of humanity will be largely obsolete. Rather, in exerting their sense of choice.  Compensation based upon the scarcity of will change.  How people “deserve” to be compensated will change.  As the robot economy becomes more proliferated/penetrated into the society, probably those who are in charge of the robots and expand robot productivity will compensated more.  The time of transition into the full robot economy will be the most turbulent, because there will be a time when



From: John Howard <john@johnhoward.com>
Sent: Tuesday, March 12, 2019 7:02 AM
To: Thomas Abshier <drthomas@naturedox.com>
Subject: What I sent to my depressed creative friend…


I sent this:


Graham, if this makes you feel any better, I think of you as a person of the future.

You are among the most creative and talented people I know.


Computers and robots will come to replace most of the work that most people now do.

But the one area that robots will never replace (or is decades away) is CREATIVITY.

The creative people will be employed and will be the most in-demand.


What’s going to happen to all the pencil pushers?  Accountants?  Laborers?  Hell if I know.

But the creative people will give us culture, entertainment, and a reason to be alive.