Future of employment

by aepxc

Tools are objects that enhance human capabilities. The better the tool, the greater the amount by which it enhances capabilities. Eventually, tools can get so powerful relative to human capabilities, that the differences in human capabilities being enhanced become too small to be relevant.

Some argument could be made that the best tools are also those that are most complex to operate, but I do not think this is the general case. With more and more advanced autopilots, airplanes are becoming less and less difficult to fly; navigation, electronic and hydraulic systems make cars easier to operate, higher level languages and smarter compilers make it easier to write code, advanced assembly machinery and the assembly line are easier than artisanal manufacturing, autocorrect makes it easier to write without errors, advanced calculators automate a lot of mathematical functions, and so on. At most, advanced tools require training rather than intelligence or any other ‘inherent’ skill.

With tools (rather than humans) generating much of the value, with those tools having no use for the value themselves (i.e. you don’t pay a hammer a salary), and with everyone being, in principle, capable of being trained to use those tools with sufficiently equal efficacy, the only question that becomes relevant is how access and ownership of those tools is distributed. Put otherwise, if labour’s share in the economy greatly diminishes, everyone will need to start out their economically-productive lives with control over sufficiently large pool of capital.