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OpinionLetters

Letter: The advent of an automated society

A robot from Team 329, the Mohawks of

A robot from Team 329, the Mohawks of Medford, competes in a bout during the FIRST Robotics Competition Championship Qualification Matches at The Dome at America's Center in St. Louis, Mo., on Thursday, April 28, 2016. Credit: Newsday/ William Perlman

Congratulations to Lane Filler for his Feb. 22 Opinion-page column “How do we replace rewards for labor?”

We discussed this subject in a computer course in 1962 at NYU graduate school: How do we reward 90 percent of the nonworking population when only 10 percent will be productive?

The problem is becoming real. In the 1990s, tens of thousands of Kodak employees lost their jobs to digital photography. We now have ATMs, self-service checkouts at supermarkets, online banking, cameras that enable us to keep tabs on loved ones at home, etc. We will soon have driverless cars and trucks, and automated trains and planes.

Productivity will increase with a decreasing labor force. Improvements to the infrastructure will require a short-term increase in the labor force. However, maintenance will eventually be automated. President Donald Trump will not be bringing any large numbers of jobs back to the United States, especially in manufacturing. So what happens to the unemployed? I predict that everyone will be given a basic living allowance. Participants in professional sports and creative endeavors such as science, art and music will receive additional rewards.

Fred Zuckerberg, East Hills

 

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