Industrial automation is slowly making humans redundant. We have recently seen Foxconn (an electronics manufacturer) let go of 60,000 human workers due to their assembly line becoming fully automated. We are seeing restaurant industries replacing their waiters, waitresses and their kitchen staff for robots in fast food companies in the United States and China. Robots can do almost everything a human can, just more efficiently and around the clock for twenty-four hours a day.
At a town hall in Elkhart, Indiana in the United States on the 1st June 2016, Barack Obama spoke about jobs losses in manufacturing due to automation after a steel worker pointed out that jobs were not being made in available in the area anymore. Here are some of the excerpts of what Obama said, minus the references to what his campaign achieved throughout the years:
If you look at just the auto-industry as an example, they've had record sales and hired back more people over the last five years than they had for a very long, long time.
We actually make more stuff, have a bigger manufacturing base today than we've had in most of our [the United States of America] history. Part of the problems have to do with jobs going overseas...Part of it has had to do with automation.
You go into an auto-factory today, that used to have 10,000 people and now they have 1,000 people making the same number of cars or more. What that means is, even though we are making the same amount of stuff in our manufacturing sector, we're employing fewer people.
Now, the good news is, that there are entire new industries that are starting to pop up.
But, for those folks who have lost their job right now because a plant went down to Mexico, that isn't going to make you feel better. What we have to do is make sure that folks are trained for the jobs that are coming in now, because some of those jobs of the past are just not going to come back.
But, I gotta tell you that the days when you just being willing able to work hard and you can walk into a plant and suddenly there's going to be a job for you thirty years of forty years, that's just not going to be there for our kids. Because, more and more, that stuff's gonna be automated. And if you go into a factory that kid is going to need to know computers, or is gonna need to know some science and some math because they're not gonna be picking anything up they're just going to be working on a keyboard.
The robot revolution is being observed all around the world. The worry is that once robots are doing most of the repetitive tasks that humans have been making their livings on, there will be a group of humans that are out of work, are ill-equipped to go into another job and as a result, cannot get a job. The hopeful few want to try and get governments to introduce a universal basic income. Being paid for being human.
A referendum was voted on in Switzerland yesterday that attempted to secure the universal basic income. 77% of voters opposed the plan, whilst 23% supported the proposed law. The proposed income would have been $2,555 per month to every adult human whether work was done or not. Swiss campaigners have been conducting peaceful protests down streets in Switzerland to ask for the universal basic income.
A campaigner for basic income, Che Wagner, spoke to the BBC, saying: "We want to introduce a basic income for you, human beings because we don't wanna grab your work and make you suffer but we want to make you free. In Switzerland for example, over fifty percent of total work that is done is unpaid, it's care work, it's at home, it's in different communities so that work would be more valued with a basic income."
According to the BBC, Finland will be conducting a trial of universal basic income on 8,000 low-income participants to measure the feasibility of giving every human a leisure wage.