the "androids are taking our jobs" sci-fi trope is honestly one of the darkest, because the entire point of automation is to make it so that nobody has to work anymore if they don't want to. In literally any non-oligarchical society, the automatically generated resources would be distributed and everyone would be happy.

the idea that a population would be so brainwashed that they want more work and less automation, instead of more automation and much more universal basic income, is so deeply and fundamentally disturbing, yet it's already happening

@V I guess it is because most of humanity is not ready for such a teardown of resource management. While machines may replace humans, those who order such replace do not provide any alternative to earn resources for people. While working as a whole is popularized there's no way to just drop-in replace people's mentality, especially mentality of those who call the shots

@DjBRINE1 Yep. I just wish they'd use all this effort they put into fighting for societal regression to perform a positive goal instead. Stopping automation won't solve much, but pushing for basic human rights would. The problem is indeed that it's hard for someone raised with a system to shift paradigms.

until the UBI movement gets good political traction, it makes sense (to many ppl) to be anti-progressivist on work automation to maximise short term humanitarian benefits..

that doesn't justify lack of imagination for future utopias, especially in sci-fi settings.. however, i would argue that dystopian visions are often critiques of the existing system, but depending on where you get your art from, ymmv..

Mention of state violence 

@V It goes back at least to the Luddite movement, where the outcome is no less dark:

"The Luddite movement began in Nottingham in England and culminated in a region-wide rebellion that lasted from 1811 to 1816. Mill and factory owners took to shooting protesters and eventually the movement was suppressed with legal and military force." (

See also torching of the first sewing machine factory in France (Thimonnier's, 1830)

@V I take a different view: It’s not because we’re in love with our servitude. It’s because the aim of automation isn’t worker emancipation. It’s to increase profits for businesses and share holders by reducing overheads and inefficiencies. The utopian dream of automation is noble, but we shouldn’t mistake techno-capitalists for our saviours.

@V I take your point about Universal Basic Income though. I guess it is just a bit difficult for me to cheerlead for automation given my lack of faith that such a political project will be delivered.

@ClearMask @V the problem isn't automation, the problem is that productivity improvement is decoupled from worker compensation, and all the surplus goes to those who already have capital

not to those who make automation possible, or those who get more productive in their jobs

@V the one way i can see the objection being rational:

we're still stuck in a capitalist hell, the automation is happening without a corresponding social safety net, and the only work left is the sort that generally can't be automated - the high-stress high-drama service/adversarial sort that requires lots of thinking and worrying and either emotional labour or deceit or both

@V That's what I like about Iain M. Banks and his Culture series, it takes a positive view on automation and provides inspiration as to how things could be.

@V Work is much more than simply a means of gaining money. As great as a universal basic income is, you still need to replace all the other aspects of a job. Resources alone don't make you happy (they are a necessary condition though).

@piegames As I said, people don't need to work in this scenario *if they want to*. Like in any utopia, people would still largely continue to work some amount of the time for any number of reasons, just for the fun and fulfillment. From running a production business that you can then give away the products of, to people who will appreciate their imperfections that they couldn't otherwise get via android, to learning skills that will artistically fulfill you, like language and music. Not to mention that if you want to have a job, say, troubleshooting broken androids, that will be actively desired by society and you're free to go ahead.

Once a society has pure automation that distributes only to peoples' needs, and no ruling class wasting most of everything, it will be essentially post-scarcity - it's still possible to run out of resources, but likely only if the system is changed. And within a post-scarcity society, people can basically do whatever job they feel like, since regardless of whether we have a surplus or dearth of humans doing those jobs, we didn't need humans doing any of them anyway.

So, people would actually have more of a freedom to work. If they want to. I know that I personally would still be a veterinary student, even if machines could do it all too, since I'd want people to have the option to take their pet to a human vet. I'd also probably only work a couple days a week, though. I'd have that option.

@V in that 90ies the norm was 35hr work-week here in Germany.
Now we have more automisation & 40hr work weeks as the norm.
And more hatred on the ones pushed down & left behind. Because in capitalism anyone can make it! But not all.

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