I have been reading an increasing number of stories about the advances in robotics. From service jobs at McDonalds to assembly line work to chatbots. While some believe that new jobs will be created I cannot see enough jobs for all the workers who will be displaced. At first glance it appears to be a dead end proposition. Robots displace workers and these former workers lose their income making them unable to purchase the products robots produce. Instead of a circle of production – pay – purchasing – more production, etc., it sounds like a dead end path when the economy grinds to a halt when one gear in the circle can no longer purchase the products produced.

Those jobs created by the robotics industry include manufacturing, programming, maintenance, and administration. But another article right below it suggested that robots make better managers and administrators. And why can’t robots handle their own manufacturing and maintenance? Programming too is ripe for robotic takeover and is already happening with self-writing code generators.

Of course there are other larger concerns like what are people going to do with all that free time now that they are no longer spending about half their lives in a job? Then there is the mental health issue as many people define their self worth through their work. It keeps many people out of trouble by keeping them busy.

But for the narrow scope of the displaced worker issue, I have a suggestion. Since many articles talk about robots lowering costs & increasing profitability by 100% or more (working 18-24 hours a day), why not give the worker who is displaced an interest in the robot that replaced him/her? The increased profits should allow some income to the displaced worker. The worker could be active to some degree in the robot’s maintenance, upgrades and replacement. And most important, the displaced worker gets to continue to participate in the economy paying their bills and purchasing the robotically produced goods.

Just a thought I am working on developing in my “spare” time. Expect more later as I get feedback and more time to ponder robots and displaced workers.

Just a thought I am working on developing in my “spare” time. Expect more later as I get feedback and more time to ponder robots and displaced workers.

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