Robonomics is an economic system that uses robots, artificial intelligence (AI) and automation technology (RAIA) to produce goods and services instead of human employees. Many companies like RAIA technology because they can work around the clock, which is much more than the usual 40-hour working week for human employees. Moreover, it is possible to implement various tasks and expand its scope through appropriate software and hardware upgrades.
In addition, robots can repeat the same routine, boring and/or dangerous work repeatedly, correctly and timely, without complaints, strikes or negative emotions.
Hiring robots instead of human employees can bring great benefits to the company:
● Robots can work around the clock.
● Robots can perform various tasks and expand their scope by upgrading software and hardware.
● Robots can provide continuous or continuously improved work quality.
● Robots can finish their work correctly and in time.
● Robots can perform routine work repeatedly.
● Robots don’t complain, get sick, go on strike, spread rumors, discriminate, resign without notice, show negative emotions and shirk their jobs.
The most obvious advantage is that people’s quality of life will be improved in the long run because they are liberated from hard, manual, repetitive jobs without intellectual challenges. People will enjoy a sharp increase in leisure time, which will enable them to pursue more creative, healthy, happy and self-fulfilling activities, and will have more time to travel. We can expect that no work-related stress, coupled with medical progress, will lead to improved health and longer life expectancy.
The emergence of robotics economics will also have a great impact on economic theory and practice, such as:
● High output-most products (goods and services) are produced/provided by robot/artificial intelligence/self-service/automation technology. Human labor is mainly used to supervise the production process, but not much involved in producing goods or providing services.
● Less but more knowledge-intensive jobs-most people don’t work, while those who do are mainly creative jobs assisted by high-paying knowledge-intensive RAIA.
● The disconnect between employment and income-this is one of the most basic characteristics of robonomics. Because the number of people employed in economic activities is very small, employment is not the main source of family income. Provide universal basic income to citizens of the government.
● Actively use all kinds of single-purpose and multi-purpose industrial, service and social robots-robots are not limited to manufacturing, storage or transportation, but provide services and serve as human partners, including sexual partners.
● Cost-effective production-new technology allows economically efficient production of single/few units (s) of (most) commodities on demand.
● Small and scattered factories close to consumers-this is the direct result of the high cost efficiency of automated production process, which enables small producers to enjoy economies of scale, get closer to consumers, and save product delivery time and cost.
● High standardization of services-Due to the use of RAIA, there are strict algorithms for the provision of services.
The Challenge of Robotics Economics
The benefits of robotics economics seem to be profitable, and in the long run, society will enjoy these benefits. However, in the short and medium term, it may have to pay a high social price. Due to the improvement of technical productivity, the loss of many jobs caused by RAIA may not be compensated by the newly created jobs. At the same time, the unemployed may not be able to re-qualify easily to meet the qualification requirements of the robot economy. Therefore, in the short and medium term, society will face major challenges, including:
● Unemployment and relative overpopulation-fewer human employees and lower wages.
● Possible functional illiteracy-once a robot does something, humans may forget how to do it.
● Social division between the employed and the unemployed
● Changes in social values-is human life valuable? When we have robots, do we need others to meet our needs?
● People find that they have too much free time, have nothing to do and don’t need to work.
● Social unrest and political instability-as robots take the place of human employees.
Universal Income (UBI) is widely discussed as a solution to technical unemployment. According to UBI plan, every citizen of every country will receive a fixed sum of money every month, regardless of his/her employment status. All other social payments were stopped and replaced by UBI. The main advantage of UBI is that it will provide income for all people in the society and serve as a social safety net-even if people fail in entrepreneurial activities, UBI will provide resources for their families to survive.
Robot-based taxation is considered as one of the ways to fund UBI. According to the robot tax plan, every company that installs robots must pay taxes, and the proceeds are used to support UBI of eliminated human employees. Third, continuous and non-mobile lifelong education is another proposed solution to technical unemployment. People will need to accept the fact that education will not end with college graduation, but a lifelong continuous process. In order to maintain employability in the labor market, they will need to attend regular (online) courses in their professional fields every 5-7 years to enroll in master’s courses, sometimes completely unrelated to their previous education.
In a word, the progress of robot technology, artificial intelligence and automation allows us to predict that robot economics is an inevitable economic system. That’s why economists, politicians, companies, financial institutions, education and welfare systems and all citizens need to prepare for its arrival. Although the carbon economy will not happen overnight, it will first appear in developed countries and gradually spread to other parts of the world.