“Employees” are about to become as outdated as horse-drawn carriages. It’s going to happen to everyone eventually. I’m an employee, and I’m guessing you are or were one at some point too. If you had a job so complicated and abstract that you couldn’t even explain it, maybe it would be impossible to automate, but I don’t know of any.
Even artists will be affected, because, as it turns out, the creative tastes of humans are not that complicated. This new technology could end the workplace as we know it, and we need to take what might be the last-ever opportunity to get ahead in the market.
The first step in this process is right around the corner. Tesla just unveiled “Optimus,” a humanoid A.I. driven robot that is meant to evolve the technology behind their self-driving car project into something capable of doing any kind of basic physical task that a human could…
The Worker of the Future
Now, it’s easy to laugh at Elon Musk right now. He offered $44 billion to buy Twitter on a whim, signed the contract, had second thoughts, and then had to go through with the deal anyways to avoid legal consequences. That puts him on the hook for more than the company is generally thought to be worth.
And I’ll be the first to admit, the guy is a terrible businessman. But what he is good at is getting the resources and talent together to take an idea from theoretically possible to real and concrete. Electric cars were perpetually a thing of the near future until Elon threw his weight behind them.
So, his wasting billions on a social media buyout that he didn’t actually want doesn’t change the fact that, by promoting the idea of humanoid A.I.-driven robot workers, Elon is bringing them closer to reality, whether Optimus ends up being the first killer app model or not.
We can look at some stats from Ziprecruiter which say that the average unskilled wage in America is about $38,000 per year. I say unskilled because robots may be doing every job out there soon, but the simpler the job is, the sooner it will get automated.
Musk has boasted that he plans on getting the price of Optimus down to $20,000. That’s a one-time purchase price. How much will it cost per year in maintenance and energy? It’s going to be nowhere near $18,000. And that’s just the year a user buys one. Factor in that one of these things can presumably last for a few years at least before it can’t be repaired anymore, and the deal is a no-brainer for employers.
If Optimus can perform as advertised at the planned advertised price, it won’t make economic sense to hire humans for any job that Optimus can do. The more time goes on, the more jobs will be in reach for Optimus or competing A.I.-driven robots like it.
We have the chance to ride this wave instead of being swamped by it. A.I.s learn to do more and more complicated jobs by sharing information. With A.I.-oriented cryptos, it’s possible to own a piece of the networks that are used to do this, like a road that everyone needs to drive on. It may be the last great chance to get ahead before the entire economy is automated.