The machines are coming…

but are they bringing our freedom with them?

Recently, I’ve come across quite a few articles on the idea of a Universal Basic Income or Citizens’ Income. Quite a few propose the idea as a response to a predicted rise in unemployment, due to the looming automation of many industries and jobs.

UBI is a really interesting concept and some countries/cities are already researching and even trialing it. But I find the idea of automation and the resulting lack of employment opportunities more interesting. In particular, the freedoms that it could bring for individuals to follow a dream, pursue a new direction, take a break, care for someone, retrain; ultimately to have choice and not feel trapped in any employment situation.

I won’t go in to the detail of UBI or automation, lots of others, much more expert in the topic, have already done that. I’ve pasted lots of links below if you want to find out more.

I wonder how automation might play out in the housing sector? Especially if connected to the Internet of Things; perhaps properties that pretty much repair themselves as they diagnose when a repair will be required (before it’s needed) and schedule the repair, ensuring all required materials are printed off the 3D printer and loaded in the van? Or rent accounts that are processed entirely by machines, only bringing in humans when a phone needs answering (except to take a payment) or a customer needs visiting? In an ideal world, when automation is mainsteam, processes will be cheaper to deliver and so resources can be freed up to invest in housebuilding or services that some might describe as ‘added value’.

I expect most of us are currently reviewing our processes and service offerings in the wake of budget cuts and other policy challenges, but how many of us are looking to increase the use of technology in our processes, particularly to automate them?

 

Interesting links, in no particular order:

https://neiltamplin.me/what-automation-might-look-like-for-social-housing-820c558ad0d0#.7m843zynu

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/apr/13/should-we-scrap-benefits-and-pay-everyone-100-a-week-whether-they-work-or-not?CMP=share_btn_tw

http://www.fastcoexist.com/3056483/welcome-to-the-post-work-economy

http://blog.shelter.org.uk/2016/04/what-could-a-citizens-income-do-for-the-housing-crisis/

https://www.thersa.org/discover/publications-and-articles/rsa-blogs/2015/12/in-support-of-a-universal-basic-income–introducing-the-rsa-basic-income-model/

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/ontario-to-pilot-a-universal-basic-income-experiment-a6916571.html

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/10/finland-universal-basic-income-ubi-social-security

http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2016/04/14/universal_basic_income_this_nonprofit_is_about_to_test_it_in_a_big_way.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-santens/why-should-we-support-the_b_7630162.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/adnan-aldaini/basic-income_b_9320320.html

http://moneyweek.com/finlands-basic-income-experiment/

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