I keep a folder of old political articles around to revisit now and then. One from last year seems particularly timely is one about Stephen Hawking’s last public comments on the internet. The piece, “Stephen Hawking’s final words to the internet: robots aren’t the problem, capitalism is
“, on Boing Boing shares Hawking’s thoughts on automation and how a great deal of suffering will be created if we don’t embrace something like Fully Automated Luxury Communism.
If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution. So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality.