According to Erich Fromm, “the danger in the past was that men became slaves and the danger in the future is that men may become robots“. I think that he was partly wrong. Since humans will never be as efficient as robots, they will ultimately be replaced by them. I.e. humans are not good enough to become robots in terms of efficiency.
This rise of the robots raises some interesting questions:
Are robots the modern slaves? “Latifundium“ reloaded? Who owns them?
What will happen, once human labor is not competitive anymore and robots produce everything? Who – or what – will buy the products and services and how will they pay for them?
How long, before robots have “robot“ rights? Who – or what – will enforce these rights? Will “they“ ever be unionized?
Will robots watch ads and buy useless stuff like humans do?
What will we do all day long? Can you imagine over 7 billion inventors, thinkers, philosophers, politicians and – heaven forbid – bureaucrats?
Will most of us have to work for the robots, because we won’t have the money to buy or lease robots to do the work for us? Would robots want to hire humans?
Will robots spend as much time in meetings as humans do?
Would a robot worry about being replaced by a human? Would the robot have to?
How will robots understand humans, as empathy is needed to do so? Will they want to understand humans? Will they need to? Just do as the robots do?
Will we have robots as friends? As best friends? Would robots want to have human friends?
Will we adopt robots instead of having children in the future? Would robots want to adopt humans?
Will we return to the Roman system of “panem et circenses“? By the way, at least the Romans had an army. In tomorrow’s world, that will be fully automated as well.
While this list of questions is far from being complete, it is a good starting point for an essential human challenge.
To be continued …