This is my first post on the site. I'm in the early stages of creating a hard science fiction world with transhumanist themes. I have a few interrelated questions.
① Is it reasonable to predict that posthuman economy ever arise in which highly integrated, technologically-advanced machinery will render the human workforce completely obsolete?
I think the answer to this question is yes, because humans are analogous to machines (I'd say we are fundamentally machines) and all of the work that we do can be quantified algorithmically, so theoretically, all we'd have to do is design machines specifically for a certain task and their design and/or programming would give them the means to outperform humans at all of the same tasks.
I've heard the argument that people would not like it if machines did certain jobs, BUT public opinion has never stopped employers from using machines (like automated call receivers), especially if they are much more economical and get the job done, much less done better (In medicine, for instance, if a machine surgeon can outperform a human surgeon, the human surgeon would be replaced.).
I've also heard the argument that as some jobs are taken over by machines, new ones would open up (e.g.: programmers, repairers, social workers), and I can see that happening, for a time, BUT if programming, repair, art, etc. are all perfectly quantifiable as algorithms (which they'd have to be just for us to be able to understand and do them), then it stands to reason that eventually we'd have developed machines just to build and repair other machines.
Maybe I'm overlooking something here, and since this seems to be a pretty technical-minded community, I'd love to be corrected.
If my speculation is right, however, that would break the economy, in the sense that currency would stop circulating to the unemployed masses, which brings me to my follow-up question:
② How would humanity fare in the event of ubiquitous technological unemployment? Could some kind of system be put in place to effectively protect (and cultivate) the former working-class? And from a sociological perspective, would that ever happen?
I can't imagine the 1% who possess all of the world's wealth and all of the machines would have any incentive to put most of their resources towards upholding the rest of human civilization based purely on goodwill (then again, what better things would they have to do with all of their machines by that point?). It seems to me that, at this point, politicians wouldn't have any leverage over the 1% either.
So what do you all think? :)