The world is automated in stages. We have no farmers now because we have machines to do the backbreaking work. We have no scribes now because we have machines to make the text. We don't have a litany of old professions because someone created a device that could break bigger boulders and lay longer tracks, faster and more efficiently than any man. And yet, the John Henry's of the world all still have work.
Every time we manage to simplify the work enough for machines to do it, we go about complicating new work enough to keep our minds interested in it. Farmers turn into nutritionists, chefs, brewers, and bakers. Some expand their business and become managers, marketers, clerks, and bean counters. The end of one job has always brought about a dozen more.
We automate the jobs we hate. The jobs, like flipping burgers, we turn into boogey men that hide under the beds of those who don't get a good education. We automate the things we hate, and because we hate them we have to convince herds of people that those jobs are all they are good for, the best they will ever do. So it's no surprise now, when we talk about the technologies that will take these jobs away, that the herds begin to bristle with panic. They believe there will be no more jobs because they have been convinced there are no other jobs for them.
But just like in every other turning of technology, they are wrong. There are thousands of jobs out there, jobs that become available solely because the other job disappear. Jobs that come to be because many of us like to complain, and if we can't complain about work then we will complain about leisure. The worst companies in the world find themselves in that position because of lackluster customer service.
We demand more from our experiences because we don't have dirt under our fingers and bruises on our bones. Because a clerical error of $5 is the biggest offense we'll suffer for a season. People will flock to companies that know this, that make people feel welcome and cared for, that affirm the struggles of the individual.
Conversely, those who do not find their pleasure in complaining will find their pleasure in free time. They will seek to maximize the time for themselves by minimizing the time demanded by others. You see this already in monthly services that send you new clothes tailored to your style, that send you full meals five steps from being fully prepared, that rent cars as you need them and never charge you for repairs.
The the service economy slowly recedes into an ocean of automation, the economy of support will take its place. In it we may work less, but I am certain we will all still have work to do.