Federico Pistono Shares Why It Is OK For Robots To Steal Your Job

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

 Technological Unemployment
Federico Pistono knows automation threatens jobs.  As the author of Robots Will Steal Your Jobs, But That's OK, Pistono suggests that in order to deal with it, he thinks we need massive social change.
We have covered the work of the young Italian thinker, Federico Pistono before. He has authored the insightful, Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That's OK, and earlier this year attended Singularity University.

In his book, Pistono points to the power of exponential technology on the economy and how artificial intelligence and robots like Rethink Robotic's Baxter, pictured above are destined to increase unemployment. This work compliments Martin Ford's, The Lights in the Tunnel and Race Against The Machine, by Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson.  Unlike those books though, Pistono suggests quite a radical way of dealing with technological unemployment.

Quoting Arhur C. Clarke who said, "The goal of the future is full unemployment so we can play.  That’s why we have to destroy the present politico-economic system," Pistono points out that while his ideas may sound radical, they are actually possible with technology, resources and a bold vision.

According to Pistono, for hundreds of years there was a correlation of growth and quality of life, because you needed to go from having nothing to having a good standard of living. Once a certain point is reached, this correlation no longer holds. This is because there was no causation; it was just a correlation. One did not directly cause the other. Once some enabling factors come in you have this decoupling of growth and happiness and quality of life.

Kurweil and Pistono
Pistono with Ray Kurzweil

Pistono's research indicates that it is inversely correlated when you increase by a large factor the wealth that a person has. If you make eighty or a hundred thousand dollars a year that’s enough for you to live by without having to worry about money. But if you make millions and millions you accumulate more stress. The monetary inequalities within a state is a very good indicator of that state’s social health. The more unequal the country is the worse the situation is. You have high crime rates, suicide rates, depression, everything.

Now in a great TEDx Talk in Vienna, Pistono merges the ideas in his book, with some new information from his time at SU. —

Pistono suggests massive social change is needed to can change our attitude, our goals and our purpose.  "Open source, D.I.Y innovators, self-sustaining communities: these will redefine our ideas of work.  By letting go of the notion of infinite growth and labor for income, we can use that ingenuity instead, [...]to work less, have more free time, have more fulfilling lives, restore global balance and have a more resilient future."

If you like the talk as much as we do, we recommend you flag it to TED.


By 33rd SquareSubscribe to 33rd Square