Thursday, January 24, 2013

Preparing for the Worst: Author Martin Ford Imagines a Future when Machines Have All the Jobs

From the article: "Martin Ford saw it everywhere, even in his own business.

Smarter machines and better software were helping companies do more work with fewer people. His Silicon Valley software firm used to put its programs on disks and ship them to customers. The disks were made, packaged and delivered by human beings. Now Ford’s customers can just download the software to their computers — no disks, no packaging, no delivery workers.

… He suggests imposing massive taxes on companies, which would be paying far less in wages thanks to automation, and distributing the proceeds to those left unemployed by technology. That would give them money to spend to keep the economy spinning.

To prevent the creation of a massive, idle underclass, Ford suggests paying incentives for people to keep going to school and to behave in ways that benefit the environment and society.

He admits his ideas are “fairly radical and political untenable ... But I don’t believe there are any easy conventional solutions.” Read more