An Automated Society

In a post from 2018, I explored the automation of everything. The open question I posed was: how far will automation go? In the four years since that post, signals have emerged that illuminate the possibilities.

In a recent article, we learn that in Japan, VR-controlled robots are piloted by disabled people in an effort to help solve its labor shortage. The demographic challenges in Japan foreshadow a global phenomenon. This level of automation, accelerated by the pandemic, is pulling us closer to the right side of the visual above.

An automated society is an impactful future scenario. In the short term, advances in robotics and artificial intelligence will expand the possibility space. This video provides an example, one driven by societal need. As those needs intensify, a virtuous circle forms to accelerate the path towards an automated society. But the question remains: how far will we go? In the long-term, the issues shift from demographics and possibility spaces to broader societal questions. Those questions involve the movement towards a third human tipping point. We may never see the far right portion of the visual below. But how far we go remains to be seen.

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