After we make peace with robots doing all the work, will our lives have meaning?


So many people “work” in fields of no productive consequence already. I think if we solve the big problem (the distribution of income from the ownership of the robots), we’ll do just fine as a planet of athletes, coaches, gamers, actors, painters… Most driven by sport-like competition in a myriad of leagues and the rest, who don’t feel it, by art and creation.


Or we split to the group that strives - and, per aspera ad astra, we get off to the stars.

And then the meek shall inherit the Earth.

“Earth, man. What a shithole.” – Johner


Indeed. I’m of the opinion that loafing round reading books and drinking cups of tea, with a side order of tinkering with things is perfectly meaningful. Welcome, Robot Overlords! If you need me, I’ll be at the library.


Hey! I like Earth. @shaddack is there. :slight_smile:


When AI abolishes work the last thing I want is for us to begin altering our bodies so the capitalist system can be “integrated into what WE ARE.” No fucking thanks. Work is bull shit. Capitalism is crisis. “Leisure communism” sounds pretty sweet!


Oh please, our lives never had meaning.


What about altering our bodies for better performance, compatibility with more environments, longer lifetime, higher cognitive capabilities, direct machine interfacing…?


That’s different. I’m against altering our bodies for better “employment” (literally- being used by other people) as another commenter said.


I’m not sure they’ll be able to replace all the jobs. For example, I spend a lot of time talking about how artists will use performance spaces. There’s some automation to be done, but most of my work is in translating what the architect wants with what the artist wants and while there are great leaps in technology, I’m not sure sort of thing is ever going away like, say, accountants.

That said, if I did lose my gig because of robots and there was a safety net where nobody had to work? Shiiiit, I’d get so much photography done and working back in theatre again in a heartbeat that meaning would be the last of my issues.


I’m pretty certain that a great deal of my life of jobs has been meaningless. Meaningless in a way that would sober a nihilist.

Once I got to take a whole month off because I was a temp and the work dried up. I watched in horror as the pounds dropped off my frame and my mental faculties, such as memory, returned to a fresh state. Most disturbing of all: The art that I was working on began to take on a singular voice that was mine, possibly because my most alert and creative hours of the day were no longer being cash rewarded for mediocrity.

When I was young, I figured that jobs were a consensus illusion that we all agreed to out of a lack of ability to imagine anything else. But now I have met people that like jobs and fear retirement. They are disturbing in the way that an old person who can’t hear a piercing noise in the background is disturbing.

Work is hard. Jobs are neither.


Time to switch to the RICH economy?
The RICH Economy by Robert Anton Wilson

The RICH Economy. This was devised by inventor L. Wayne Benner (co-author with Timothy Leary of Terra II) in collaboration with the present author. It's a four-stage program to retool society for the cybernetic and space-age future we are rapidly entering. RICH means Rising Income through Cybernetic Homeostasis.


I’m sure I’ll keep busy, making music, playing video games, and dancing on the grave of capitalism.


If people expect others in the role of philosophers to find their own personal meanings for them, then they are already putting more effort into evasion than engagement. Meaning is subjective, so any person who is concerned about meaning involves themself in this process, to some extent. If people prefer to abdicate personal meaning to others, then I am not convinced if it makes any difference as to whether they choose a biological or electronic agency to replace it with.

What I suspect your question represents is more a case of species egoism. Humans have long sought justification for their style of civilization by emphasizing how important, how unique they are among the animals of the Earth. Twentieth century sciences demonstrated, on the one hand, that the differences between humans and other animals are not of a profoundly different, fundamental nature. And now, on the other hand, is the concern that humans are actively inventing themselves out of their purportedly unique niche as “The Reasoning Organism”.

The reactionary backlash seems to me quite similar to whenever other kinds of staus-quo appear threatened in the areas of race, class, gender, etc. Some interpret it as an existential threat, but it more likely a threat only to their exclusivity, to a carefully-crafted self-image that many social frameworks (for better or worse) have relied upon.


The romanticization of work is very tempting… but all I have to say is, SIGN ME UP! I’ll have much more free time to determine the meaning of ‘meaning’ anyways. If you need to work so badly, maybe you can maintain the robots for me… :slight_smile:


Interviewer: "Do you possess the power to destroy the Earth?"
The Tick: “Egad! I hope not, That’s where I keep all my stuff!”


Arts and creativity and hanging out with nature are only going to appeal to so many people.

For everyone else, maybe we need to invent more and better and more inclusive competitive sports, with rewards in the form of prestige and fame and exclusive company.

The key here is “inclusive.” As in, not just spectator sports. We have to revive neighborhood teams and leagues. Give everyone a chance to be involved.

If you’re not a joiner . . . well, that’s where the art, creativity, and hanging out with nature part comes in.


You didn’t hear it from me but, [cough] Fight [cough] Club.


Ditto. Creating stuff provides the best meaning, along with relationships w/family/friends/pets.


What foolishness is this?

It’s when I’m awake early, at work after slogging through a foot of snow, staring at the stupid monitor, that I’m wondering what’s the point of it all and if I can get a one-way ticket to Hawaii and live on the beach, because work sucks my life away and THIS ISN’T LIVING!


I have known some lucky people who have found all the meaning they needed in their work, usually people who are creative and have great relationships with their colleagues. Kind of rare, though.