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I’m thinking that, should some hypothetical, and not altogether unrealistic, robotic future arrive when most jobs which can be performed by highly advanced robots will be performed by them, there will remain a tiny handful of occupations that can’t be outsourced to non-human entities. It’s within these occupations that an elite fraction of humans will be able to find meaningful paid work. The rest of humanity will either cull itself or be placated by endless state-provided hedonistic diversions.

The jobs that might remain solely the domain of humans:

Visual arts
Expect to see the value of visual artists, especially the absurdly abstract post-modernists, go up.

Family doctors
People crave that human touch when bad news is being delivered.

Fiction literature
Entertaining works of fiction seem beyond the ability of even advanced AIs. Key word: seem. A horribly written piece of trash like ‘Fifty Shades of Gray’ could be vomited by an algorithm coded by bindi hacks.

Acting
An emotive cyborg would have to first cross the uncanny valley threshold before the public will entertain it as a human actor substitute. Possible, but unlikely.

Sales
Face-to-face human contact to move product is irreplaceable. Can’t see this changing, even out to the distant future.

Small arts and crafts kiosk operators and SWPL cooking class instructors
This kind of “work” will linger as a human outpost, not because robots can’t do it, but because it will self-select for consumers who want to purchase from real humans.

Notably not on the list:
Prostitution. Sexbots will horn in on that market.
Marketing. Optimists like Cheap Chalupas talk about marketing being the next big frontier of mass human employment, but computer algorithms could easily take over such tasks. Plus, how much value transference can an economy sustain before it implodes from lack of substantive underpinning?
Engineering/law/accounting/finance. The true leap from human to robot will occur when robots can innovate as well as very creative humans in these fields.
Cops/Military. How different are drones from Robocop, anyhow?

The point of this post is to remind readers that soon, perhaps sooner than is comfortable for most people, the availability of paid work will be extremely limited and job requirements for that fulfilling paid employment highly selective. A small sliver of incredibly talented or high IQ people will have real jobs in the far future. Everyone else will be hooked to pleasure tubes or self-delivering from a wretchedly banal existence. ♥♥♥

UPDATE

Martin Ford wrote a book called “The Lights in the Tunnel” in which he reaches the same conclusion as CH: soon, our robot overlords will push us out of jobs requiring mental acumen as well as physical strength. Humans are about to be displaced from the labor market. The future is looking: 1. dystopian 2. stratified 3. culled. Pick your poison.

PS For the Pollyanna-ish anti-Luddites out there, the automobile created a lot of jobs, but it also put a lot of horses out of business. Think of humanity now as the equivalent of a horse relative to the advanced AI which is coming down the pike.

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