It seems to me that whenever we hear about robots in the news, the story is always negative. People worry about losing their jobs, but I think that attitude is far too pessimistic. Robots will make our lives much more fun and meaningful, and give us time to do the things we enjoy!
Do you have any idea what you would do if you had lots of free time? I do. I want to spend even more time discovering new technologies and telling everybody about them, and travel to meet new people. My wife also knows what she would do. She wants to spend more time volunteering. Whatever the case, we certainly do not want to spend our spare time washing dishes, dusting the house, cleaning windows, or doing any other household chore. We would love to have machines for that. If a robot knows how to load and unload the dishwasher – we will be first in line to get one! The same applies to my job. It would be wonderful if a robot could take over all the boring tasks. In the past, people worked six days a week, and now we work 40 hours. I would be thrilled if I only had to work three days a week.
People are worried about losing their jobs, but I think we should look at things from a different angle. We are in a remarkable transitional phase: changing from an economy of scarcity to one of abundance. An excellent example is the ubiquity of information and entertainment. We used to have only three television channels in the Netherlands, and now YouTube and Netflix bring us countless videos, movies, and shows. The same applies to knowledge. Where it was once an expensive undertaking to learn a new language, now content is readily available online. A multitude of sharing platforms are also exciting examples of change happening in the economy. The Purpose Economy is gaining strength, with the creation of happiness and wellness as an entrepreneur’s highest goal, rather than financial gain. We share all kinds of things with local communities based on common values, hoping to create a better world together. A wide range of items and services are becoming readily available (affordable, digital) for increasing numbers of people.
Robots are simply the next logical step in the transition to total abundance. They can make goods that are currently in short supply, available in abundance. Houses are an excellent example. Prefab building blocks already exist, and soon we will have fully 3D printed houses. Are you familiar with the Tiny House phenomenon? A very small house, but with every comfort you could wish for, simply because you need less stuff. You can watch shows and movies on your iPad, and don’t need a TV. House construction will become much cheaper, especially if energy is generated from sustainable sources and there is no need to buy fuel.
Robots make abundance available in many different areas, and physical limitations are largely disappearing. What needs will remain? Real wealth is in the world of ideas. If you want to prepare for a robotized future, you should start focusing on your interests. What do you enjoy doing? What generates energy for you? What would you like to know more about? Life will not only be more fun, but also much more meaningful! I could spend much more time discovering new technologies and talking about them. I am excited to introduce people to our new world, and show them how empowerment and self-reliance help them feel at home in a digital world. This gives me energy and brings purpose to my life – and that is what I would do if I had more free time. I want to help people live in an automated, digital economy.
We have a robot at Decos to welcome our visitors and help us understand what it will be like when robots take over our tasks. Our visitors are just as enthusiastic about our robot as we are – isn’t it amazing that these developments are just around the corner? Plenty of other things remain to bring meaning to our lives.