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Robot job replacements

      This article about 6 iconic jobs that are going away forever due to advances in robotics, has me thinking. Especially since I'd already been thinking along these lines years ago when I was coming up with the economic system for Traipah. Basically, the economic system there is a combo of communism and capitalism, where everyone is guaranteed a place to live, food, and water. These things are considered rights. Of course, the guaranteed level is kinda crappy. Housing ranges from tiny little one-person apartments basically no bigger than needed for a bed, a bathroom, and a small kitchen... to being "forced" to live in a house with a bunch of other people. Because of how Ah'Koi Bahnis are, they tend to choose the second option because unlike humans, AKB are really nice people and can live with strangers without having to worry about their stuff getting stolen.
      Also, the guaranteed level for food is food that is healthy and safe, but bland and dull. If you want better housing and/or better food, you have to work for it. Luckily, Traipahni society does everything it can to find you a job you can do, and usually one you can be happy doing. Since the aspect of "must work or I will die" is taken out of the equation, work becomes a means to better one's life and relieve boredom.

      But I'm not going to talk about that anymore. The article I mentioned got me thinking because one of the questions that long ago came up about Traipah's economic system is how do they motivate people to do crappy jobs like garbage hauling or sewer system management if survival-level needs are guaranteed? The answer is - and was back then - that they don't. They don't need to. They have machines to take care of garbage (which on Traipah is split into composting and recycling. They don't *really* throw anything away) and sewer stuff (which also involves a lot of recycling). A lot of it is automated, and what isn't automated is remote-controlled. Occasionally machines will break down and get stuck, but there are machines to take care of those problems as well, if sending a person down there would involve disgusting and dangerous work.

      Reading that article, it occurred to me that the Traipahni people would use machines for other things as well, using machines/robots to do all the most dangerous jobs like firefighting, repairing dangerous machines, etc. They might even take over other really disgusting jobs, too. This cuts out jobs no one would do if they didn't have to.

      Also, certain things are not manufactured by machine. Wooden furniture, buildings, jewelry, clothing, none of these things are manufactured by machine anymore. Machines and machine parts, and various electronics are made by machine, and that's about it. Everything else is made by hand to give people something to do. But instead of being set up in the stupid "people as meat machines" setup that we have in our society today, most of these items are made, bought, and sold locally. Big, worldwide Guilds only exist for machines and electronics and other things that are difficult or impossible to make by hand (like liquid nitrogen).

      Of course, there is trading still. People might not like their local options. They can get on the Traipahni Internet and buy from merchants elsewhere, and pay for shipping. But since a lot of people prefer the convenience of buying local for most things, they do, and it keeps the money mostly local.
      In short, the Traipahni people built their economic system for long-term stability, not caring about growth.

Crossposted from http://fayanora.dreamwidth.org

Comments

fayanora
Dec. 5th, 2010 09:25 am (UTC)
Well I guess the system gives them a choice of sending a machine after it or fetching it for themselves.
(Deleted comment)
erithianopius
Dec. 6th, 2010 07:47 am (UTC)
The system is providing the choice of what to do for work, so nobody HAS to do something dangerous or miserable to survive. The means to automate dangerous, difficult, or unpleasant work would need to be devised in case there is a particular job that nobody/not enough individuals will do. If one wants to be a firefighter, sewer inspector, or any other such professional, one can. There is also the option of doing such things periodically. Nobody has to do this every day. Yes, people choose such activities, but most of the people who do jobs like coal mining, backbreaking manual labor (ditch digging, day labor, etc.), and certain unpleasant factory work would do other work if the option were made available and it were not a matter of survival. At the very least, they would not do that work every day.
(Deleted comment)
fayanora
Dec. 6th, 2010 10:39 am (UTC)
You have a good point. And my sense of the place is telling me you're right, there's no need for extra repair bots. And the main bots do break down only infrequently. Metal is just scarce enough on Traipah to make repairs, recycling, and building things to last to be high priorities.
fayanora
Dec. 6th, 2010 10:40 am (UTC)
A species so advanced (or so afraid to get dirty) that it would automate things further than sewer repair bots would probably just invent something that eliminates the need to poop instead.

LOL! That would be a nifty trick.

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