Who among Apple’s one billion or so customers does not take delight in owning a technological marvel? A gadget with such feel and smarts and usefulness– whether Mac, iPhone, iPad, or Watch– that its very use borders on magical and a century ago would have been deemed sorcery.
For most of us, Apple’s products are somewhat affordable luxuries that range from a necessary smartphone for hundreds of millions, to an elite techno-bauble on the wrist that doubles as phone, communication device, timekeeper, exercise monitor, and health data keeper. Apple’s products are appreciated across a broad spectrum of humanity, but more those with higher education and greater disposable incomes than most.
What happens to the economics of buying and owning an Apple product when robotic overlords have devastated mankind’s ability to afford such technology gadgets? In the age of robots which build anything and everything far less expensively and more accurately and with higher quality than humans, what will humans do to afford such products?
That, my friends, is a perfect conundrum.
a : a question or problem having only a conjectural answer < … the political conundrums involved, particularly the problem of how the richer areas … can be made to subsidize the poorer. — Douglass Cater>
b : an intricate and difficult problem
The economic systems on planet earth are complex, but suffice it to say that robots– those machines that build other machines and products– are already here, already disrupting manufacturing which disrupts segments of the economy, and it’s likely such robotic makers are not going away and more jobs will be lost to their built-in efficiencies.
In an age where robots make everything, where machine learning and artificial intelligence drive production of anything and everything to greater levels of efficiency, what will humans do? How will we be able to afford to buy Apple’s products?
Granted, I don’t expect this revolution to boil over into the streets and cause riots– by humans, of course– at any point in the next decade or two, but the handwriting is visible on the wall. How far into that next decade or two is Apple’s own personalized Siri-based robot? A true personal assistant that can move, speak, ask questions, take on responsibilities, and perform tasks– and be affordable.
Historically, Apple’s products– and right up front I need to state that Apple is a hardware company, so it makes sense the company will produce a personalized robotic companion or assistant at some point in the future (the Japanese already have theirs on display)– are a unique blend of hardware and software, integrated in such a way as to create a bond between user and device. Mac users have know this for decades. iPhone users, too. iPads and Watch follow suit. You can take away my iPhone only by removing it from my cold, dead hands.
Will governments of the future provide a minimum living standard for citizens who cannot be employed because of the rise and ubiquity of a class of inexpensive, highly capable robotic systems? If so, will there be sufficient spendable income to afford such devices for personal use?
I like what Apple designs and builds and have no doubt that as robotic overlords take their place in mankind future that our favorite Mac maker will be one of those who brings them to the marketplace. I just wonder if I will have a job that allows me to afford such technology creatures? Or, will I be a victim of their success?