The Future of Employment - Part 2 of 2 (Comic #13)

Friday, August 8, 2014
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The Globe and Mail: Save the world with a 3-day work week
The Washington Post: A brief history of the shrunken workweek fantasy
Economic History: Hours of Work in U.S. History
Today I Found Out: Why a Typical Work Day is Eight Hours Long
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Text Version:

Visitor: How can I -- or really all of society possibly survive this AI/automation revolution? Isn't unemployment going to skyrocket?

Zaba: Personally, you should get a profession where humans still excel against machines. Machines are a ways off from having creative intelligence. This includes a variety of fields like engineering, software development, graphics design, biological science, and fashion design. Basically the less repetitive and the more brain-engaging the work is, the better.

Zaba: Society should reduce working hours and share the workload so there is less unemployment. At the start of the industrial revolution in the late 1700's people worked 70 hour weeks. Look how it's changed since then [Zaba points to attached graph, certain years have comments:]
    1791 - Workers strike to get 10 hour work days
    1817 - Failed campaign for 8 hour days
    1847 - Law passed limits women and children to a 10 hour work days
    1884 - Massive nationwide strikes for 8 hour day
    1905 - Some industries begin implementing 8 hour work day
    1914 - Ford implements 8 hour day, other companies follow
    1920 - Saturdays off!
    1935 - Hours reduced due to Great Depression
    1937 - Fair Labor Standards Act requires overtime pay past 44 hours

Zaba: In the 1960's, the creators of The Jetsons cartoon looked at this graph and extrapolated to the year 2062 that people would only work 3 day work weeks for 3 hours each. Today, France has 35 hour work weeks and Norway has 32 hour work weeks. Both countries have greater productivity per man hour than the US. So my advice to human society is to bring forth the Jetson's economy! Work less, spend more time with your friends & family, follow creative and philosophical pursuits, and find hobbies you enjoy! After all, isn't technology supposed to make our lives better?

[Visitor, distracted by phone:] Wait, hold on. What'd you say?

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