Let’s Dream Big and Be Ready when the Robots Take Over

My response to the idea of a Guaranteed Minimum Income has been a flat “No!.” But yesterday, one of my favorite people gave me a new perspective on it. He explained that it’s Bill Gates and other luminaries who understand that automation is going to kill jobs such as hotel receptionist, bartender, room service, and even blackjack dealer as my friend saw recently in Las Vegas.  I was really surprised that the push came from the likes of Bill Gates and it gave me a new appreciation for the idea. And yet…

Couldn’t we do better than subsidizing the binge-watching of Netflix while edging closer to record-breaking obesity and the point where “enjoying a glass of chardonnay” turns to alcoholism? Personally, with no obligation to bring home a little bacon, this might be me.

When we lose jobs to automation, don’t we still have some big problems to solve? That’s when inspiration stuck for me.  If I’m the mayor of Las Vegas, with thousands of out-of-work employees replaced with holograms, robots, and technology, this would be my ideal redeployment:

  • Let’s have awesome schools and free pre-school
  • Let’s take the burden off school teachers by helping in the classroom or heck, mow their lawns
  • Let’s have awesome after-school programs
  • Let’s make sure every kid who wants to play an instrument or a sport has a teacher
  • Let’s have a recycling program that keeps most things out landfill
  • Let’s have locally-grown, organic vegetables available inexpensively
  • Let’s make sure elders have the help they need to stay in their homes
  • In short, let’s do all the things that we normally dismiss saying, ‘It’ll never happen. It’s too expensive”

I’d love to see it roll out as non-profits creating jobs to replace the jobs lost. Boys and Girls Club of America could become the largest employer in Las Vegas! And, I’d love each person to get a chance to decide what part to play…

  • You like to teach music? Work at the after-school program
  • You like to garden? Grow food for the teachers
  • You like to cook? Make nutritious food for the students, teachers, and elders
  • You like to watch TV all day and drink wine? Sorry lady, you’re going to have to get a job to do that!

Of course, the question is: Who is going to pay for all of this? Um, I’ll let Mr. Gates field that question because if we can pay people to do nothing, we can pay them to create an inspiring future. I actually think this is a chance for us to imagine the future we want, knowing that a lot of our human resources are going to need redeployment. Let’s dream big and be ready when the robots take over.