Futurists discuss with great interest the jobs future of humans and robots. They describe robots as slaves, really. They aren’t human, not like we are, and are worth the trouble for handling all the tedious and grunt-worthy jobs that currently border on slave labor, like cleaning houses, picking crops, and building monotonously in factories. Robots are currently building robots, and people are designing better robots, and people will be expected to acclimatize to this shift and invent new positions for themselves in the wake of the loss of all these terrible, lost jobs.
It is a familiar mantra, but it is an incomplete picture of what is currently happening regarding “robot jobs”. Consider, for a moment, the machines that trade stock portfolios. Once the domain of the rich and wealthy and elite, now the machines do this job better and faster than humans ever could. Consider the machines that set mortgage prices. Again, once the role of the elite, these machines are doing the job that the wealthy landowners used to do. Also, these robots, work for other robots of which people are only sidereally attached.
There is a human super-colony that functions exactly like some sort of robot. It handles rote tasks, and often contains robots inside the superstructure to perform the set tasks of the machine, and the machine ultimately takes over the minds of the human members, bending them out of habit and social conviction into an organization that exists to replicate the machine. CEOs and leaders decry their inability to do what they think is right because the job description they have internalized precludes their independent instinct. People work harder than is comfortable, longer than they should into old age, motivated not by any real desire to generate wealth, but because they are socialized and programmed into the machinery of work.
Robots have come for our nobility. They usurp the leaders of our nations, who bend laws to attract the robots and machines. They bend the smartest and brightest minds of generations away from independent work to enter the machines. We reward the leaders who build the biggest, most-useful machines. We build our lords. We brand them with titles, like trademarked, and copyrighted, and incorporated and publicly traded. We own shares in our nobility, via indifferent index engines and funding engines and shareholder engines that broadly work to create ownership in the idea of the society’s superstructures via bribery.
I remember I lived in an apartment for a long time that was owned by a publicly-traded real estate corporation. When I left my apartment, I drove a car that ran on gasoline and heavy maintenance all from corporations, to work at a corporation, to shop for food and clothes that came from corporations. My entire life was lived inside the bubble of the “American Economy” and it was all within the belly of a series of super-organisms that in many ways feel indistinguishable from Lords and Ladies, Earls and Marquesses, and even Bishoprics and Papal Armies at times. We have cast down nobility, mostly. Even the wealthy ticks slurping off the top of our society seem to do so while wrapped into the folding pages of paper stock, doing nothing but holding on to their lasso upon the machine, and occasionally shouting down from above at the nebulous mass that may or may not obey them. If we met these wealthy owners in the street, we would not bow to them. They do not feel like they own us. The company owns us, not them.
We want robots to replace our menial jobs. Robots will also replace the role of nobility, and the upper echelons of law and society. With tedious precision, there comes great power, after all. Much of what large power structures did for so many centuries was move the paper that moved society. How dull it must have been to be a lord, and sit writing letters all day, and touring facilities and acting like one’s leadership was divine grace instead of an accident of fate.
Why not hand over the reins to robots?