The Robo-Economy

M.G. McIntosh




  • Voice in the Wind Magazine Inc.


You might have read my last piece on JIT and the Robo-Economy. If you did you know I didn’t address the big question – what the hell is a robo-economy? For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, don’t feel bad – I coined the term. At least, I’d like to think so. The robo-economy, as I envision it, is a possible solution to workers being paid to stay at home. It’s a crowdfunded mechanization of businesses, with workers receiving compensation in the form of a pay-out based on the machine’s output. In other words, workers would invest in the actual equipment and receive a share of the profit generated by the machine. In this way, the workers would be supported by the private industry and the economy, rather than government hand-outs.


Let’s take a dishwasher as an example. The cost of a small dishpit is between $20,000 and $50,000. Workers would be the source of the capital for the AI run dishpit. As with any capital raised by a company, the transaction is in the form of shares sold to an investor. So in this illustration the worker is also the investor. Normally shares are paid out based on the profit of the company, but machines can be bought and sold independently of a business, so the shares are a pay-out based on the machine’s own output. This means the workers get paid per load of dishes washed. There are machines that have run for over 1 million loads of dishes in the industry today, though these are admittedly the oldest machines too. Another way to look at it is this: the company is essentially renting the machine at a cost of $1 per load. That’s the equivalent of a coin-operated machine being installed. The worker owns the machine. As long as the worker can afford to fix the machine, they stand to rake in approximately $1 million dollars in revenue. That’s a great paycheque. And you get to stay at home.  


One way to try this concept as a prototype, would be to encourage companies to have “smart” dishwashers, like you see being sold on the consumer market. Current employees could opt-in to the “smart company” program and invest in the machines. The machines themselves would generate stats and usage figures, which would be sent to the employees and the company. The parties would monitor the machine to get an idea of the accuracy of its ‘print-outs’ and/or analysis. If everything runs smoothly, you have a clearer idea of how to proceed with setting up the “robo-economy”. I’m not cheering for this, if I’m being honest. I prefer to treat people like human beings, but in our world today, we’re increasingly being seen as products. It’s painful to watch people being herded into a world of disposable people, but I can’t really do anything to help. Maybe if the working class sees the way the world is going, they can find solutions of their own. 


It seems to me that the world is rapidly heading towards automation and the working class is going to struggle for many years. It is my hope that we can create some ingenious ways to help one another and be there for each other when times get rough. Our recent experience with the pandemic might actually give us a sense of humanity and pull us closer together. A true silver lining in tumultuous times. Thanks for reading. Please like, share, subscribe and tell all your friends to follow me on twitter!


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