Remaking how humans work is a core part of every tech revolution, which the Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter called "creative destruction"—a process that "incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one."
Creative destruction doesn't only destroy jobs; it also creates new and better ones. "Humans have been doing robot jobs," says Flo Crivello, the founder and CEO of Lindy, which is building an artificial intelligence–powered personal assistant. "I think it's tragic that we're having humans perform such basic tasks all day."
"People mistakenly believe that there is a fixed amount of work to be performed in the economy," says Crivello. "The reality of it is that human needs and wants are infinite. The lifestyle that you and I live is actually better than the lifestyle of Louis XVI. And we still want more."
Technology frees up resources to create jobs that people in the past could never have imagined. And, no, this time isn't different.
Photos: Tropenmuseum, part of the National Museum of World Cultures, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Library of Congress; JD Lasica, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Joe Mabel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons; University of South Florida Special Collections / Library of Congress / Hulton-Deutsch Collection – CORBIS; Artvee; FOTO:FORTEPAN / Urbán Tamás, via Wikimedia Commons; Envato Elements; Polygoon-Profilti (producent) / Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid (beheerder), via Wikimedia Commons.
Music: "Center of Gravity," by Phutureprimitive via Artlist; "On My Mind," by Ben Fox via Artlist; "Kick It," by Flint via Artlist; "Opening," by Magiksolo via Artlist.