The future doesn't look bright for large corporations which give vast numbers of people employment.

I saw the face of the future when I realized that Craigslist brought in $100,000,000 or so (according to the NY Times in 2009) but had fewer than 25 employees, and none of them in customer service, as anyone who's had a beef with the service soon finds out.

The ideal company is exemplified by a successful consultant who pulls in millions of dollars but carries no employees, I suppose. However, not every company can be that lean and mean. Still, the idea is to maximize profits while minimiizing expenditures on bothersome things like a staff, is it not?

What does the future hold, given the incredible advances technology has made, is making, and will make in the future, making it easier to do so many things without needing other people, which is another way of saying, "without giving someone else a job"?

But it's not just corporations big and small killing jobs. Each and every one of us is doing it every day.

From this article:

The curve of change -- which I boil down to 6 “d’s” -- is exponential because culture makes progress cumulative. Innovation occurs as humans share ideas. You build on my idea; I build on yours.

We’ve gone from transmission of ideas through storytelling around the campfire to print to Kodak photographic film and now to digital. Anything that becomes digital -- biological, medicine, manufacturing and so on -- hops on to Moore’s law of increasing computational power, which he said would double every 12 to 24 months. This has remained true for the last 60 years when he first posited it.

Once a product or a service becomes digital, it is exponentially empowered. Thus, digitalization is the first “d.”

The second “d” is deception. Exponential growth usually remains hidden from most observers when it gestates in small increments before it starts doubling.

That is when disruption takes place, because any innovation that creates a new market disrupts an old one. We have seen how digital pixels replaced Kodak analog film cameras that needed photographic chemicals and paper. At its height, Kodak had 144,000 employees and a $10 billion market capitalization. Today, Instagram has the same market cap with only 13 employees.

Kodak’s fate is an example of another “d” -- demonetization. Digital pictures cost nothing to take or transmit once you’ve got a smartphone.

The smartphone is a prime example of dematerialization -- its functions replace in one small device the computing power of old IBM machines that filled whole rooms, landline phones, cameras and watches.

When the cost falls so dramatically with dematerialization, you get democratization -- smartphones are affordable to billions of people empowered now as never before with devices that were once only available to a few. Democratization is the logical result of demonetization and dematerialization.

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Employment in the traditional sense, yes. But if you define employment as producing a product or service, the barriers to that are only defined by your own creativity, expertise, and tenacity. 

You can write for any publication anywhere, right now. With 3-D printing, you can produce items that compete with massive Chinese factories in cost and quality. Etsy gives a retail outlet for anything you create. Lyft and Uber employ you as long as you have a license and a car. Amazon's Mechanical Turk pays you nickels per minute, which add up to dollars per hour. And they don't care what age you are, or even where you are on the planet. 

But if you mean at the office, around the water cooler, that kind of stuff, you are pretty much at the whim of the market.

I agree with everything you say except that I don't see the majority of people displaced by technology gainfully employed in those ways. Only those with entrepreneurial tendencies and bountiful native talents.

Unseen, I don't see the future as dismal at all. It's just the game is changing. Those who choose to play by the new rules will be successful. Those who do not will be left in the dust....I've never been presented with more opportunities in my life. There's more opportunity than ever.....

In today's world, you can make a living without being inventive, entrepreneurial, or even particularly talented, and plenty of people fill that bill. I don't see those people being gainfully employed in the world you are talking about.

Why not?

All the opportunities you're talking about involve inventiveness, entrepreneurial tendencies, or native talent. Not everyone gets those, and very few get all three.

Not really. It's all about knowing who you are and knowing how to market yourself. You of all people should know a great deal about both of those subjects!

It's very hard to make predictions about dynamic systems, but I do genuinely feel this is perhaps the principal issue society will have to grapple with over the next half-century, at least if we don't solve the problem by global genocidal warfare.

For a pithy description of the issue, consider .

You can write for any publication anywhere, right now. With 3-D printing, you can produce items that compete with massive Chinese factories in cost and quality. Etsy gives a retail outlet for anything you create. Lyft and Uber employ you as long as you have a license and a car.

You may be able to write for any publication, but getting paid for that requires a large number of consumers of that publication.  So writers can only be a tiny fraction of the workforce... which is exactly what is happening.

With 3D printing we can indeed produce items easily, putting all of those people in factories out of work.  Also quickly putting you and your 3D printer out of work, since why would I buy your stuff and pay you as well as shipping when I can just buy a 3D printer and print it myself?

Etsy gives a retail outlet for anything you create, and thereby eliminates millions of retail jobs.  Lyft and Uber employ you, putting cab drivers out of work... and only for another few years until self-driving cars wipe the full lot of those jobs out for good.

Dr. Bob, your link is dead-on correct. Thank you for that. 

The job of being a writer is changing, and sitting next to me I have evidence that it will be changing back to a really old way of doing business. I have the first copy of a spin-off of what I'll call Hyper-Local journalism. 

There is a neighborhood nearby that has become a sustainable success, with restaurants, shops, etc. It is now a magnet for tourists and foodies from all over the place. About 3 years ago, the neighborhood started a paper (printed!) that was just about the neighborhood and nearby. The local restaurants pay for ads, at a much lower price than our major city newspaper, and they get more action out of it than the big paper too. The paper I have is their first growth, since my neighborhood is also developing it's own personality.

Hyper Local will change things, because a bot will not attend local meetings, garden clubs, century home tours, etc. That is real person territory. And that has a built in market both on the advertising side and on the consumer side. This is the journalism of 200 years ago.

And like your video mentions, it does not matter if Unseen or anyone looking for such a job is perfect, just that they are better than the next best alternative.

Say what you want about Unseen and his writing, he is prolific, knows how to write a hook, and attentive. As well as being not visible. ;)

Owning a 3D printer and having the knowledge to use it gives you an advantage, that is all. Ownership in general of any specialized, limited, or exclusive equipment or resource gives advantages. It still has a net increase in workers, but distributed away from the factory.

Etsy also does not eliminate jobs, it distributes them, and also for a probable net increase in "jobs" since they are generally done as art pieces and done less efficiently than a factory. Lots of 3D printed stuff on Etsy though.

Lyft and Uber are short term, but short term means the next 30 years or so. 

We will become incredible beings of leisure.

And where will our spending money come from if not from our labor or wit?

If I imagine efficiencies in creating the things we need and enjoy (both hard and soft) approaching 100%, the value of those same things will approach zero. Money could go obsolete in a futuristic world.


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