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The Transformative Shift: An Economy Without Humans

James Huang | 2023.06.20

As the capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) continue to grow, many are left wondering what will happen to human jobs. It is widely believed that as AI surpasses human intelligence in various fields, the economic worth of most humans will become negative, relegating them to a role of primarily being consumers without any income. This begs the question - if no one has an income, who will purchase the products and services produced by robots and AI?

In the most popular proposal for addressing this challenge, universal basic income would be implemented to guarantee payment to everyone. However, this approach would require trillions of dollars in taxes from fully automated companies, which may not be feasible in the long run. As a result, these companies may relocate to countries that offer better deals, thereby creating a race to the bottom. In this scenario, the focus of these companies would shift from the unemployed masses to trade among themselves in order to live off the dividends. As a result, very few humans would be involved in this economy, and they would be enormously wealthy, while the rest of the population would be left to struggle and potentially even die of starvation.

On the other hand, there is also a positive outlook for the future. As technological advancements continue to progress at a steady pace, the world will remain largely the same as it is now. Industrial output will peak and then decline, but this decline will be deliberate in order to avoid food shortages and excessive production. Instead, we will begin to see the efficient use of resources and a reduction in pollution. With population growth plateauing, we will require fewer resources to live, and people will begin to share resources. For example, rather than one person owning one car, several people may share a self-driving car. Jobs may look different from what they do today, but there will be jobs. Even the unemployed will receive a monthly income while sitting at home, and everyone will have access to their own homes and all the necessities to live a decent life.

In a recent report, the World Economic Forum stated, "You will own nothing and be happy about it." While the future remains uncertain, one thing is clear: AI is taking over the world. Companies investing in AI offer sweet, affirmative words, and economists have thousands of scenarios to study. All we can do is adapt and remain alert to the changes taking place around us. The future may be long and complex, but it is up to us to shape it in a positive way that benefits all of humanity.

The Transformative Shift: An Economy Without Humans
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