Automatization – human labor danger or in potential progress?


In the latest years there has been a lot of studies and articles in regards to the rapid automation -or should I call it robotization?- trend the world is facing. Most of us are getting worried with all the mass unemployment predictions, declining wages and increased inequality, and I’m not saying we shouldn’t be.
In a study conducted by students at Oxford University it is being estimated that no less then 52% of jobs in Europe and 47% of the jobs in the US can be usurped by machines in the following 20 years. The statement of a New York University professor is supporting the study mentioned before. He affirmed that “The only real difference between enthusiasts and skeptics is a time frame.”

It’s true that we have been worrying about the rising tide of automation for over two centuries, and for two centuries we have been reassured that new jobs will naturally come into place to replace the ones “taken away” by machines. And if you look at the fact that even though from the 1800s to the 2000s there was a huge decline in the number of people working in agriculture, the percentage of workers in this field going down from 72% to 3%, but we haven’t faced a massive unemployment we can say they were right.

On the other hand, most of the ones worried of losing their jobs in the detriment of robots mostly worry about the financial loses. I say this because of the numerous workers that affirm they have what anthropologist David Graeber calls “bullshit jobs”. In a 2015 study of 12000 professionals, half of them referred to their job as being meaningless and with no significance, while another survey among 230000 respondents from 142 countries reveals that only 13% of employees like their jobs.
Considering the history of changes in the work field that took place in the last centuries and the level of work insatisfaction revealed in the latest studies, we might want to take into account the possibility of rethinking the definition of work. We should not worry about the ability of capitalism to reinvent new bullshit jobs but focus on creating ourselves the ones that we like creating ourselves the ones that we like would fit in the technological era.

I strongly believe we should start redefining the meaning of “work” and give a different form to our economy structure. I believe in a future where the size of your paycheck does not define the value of your work. Our work should be quantified only by looking at the amount of happiness we spread around and the amount of meaning we give. Starting with education, we should stop preparing the younger generations for yet another useless job and give them guidance to a life well lived.
I am looking forward to see the building up process of a future where “jobs are for robots and life is for humans”. And not because I imagine us humans walking around and doing nothing, but because I want us to do what we like and makes sense to us.