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On the SFIA theme:  "Automated Economies & Unemployment"

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Author's Commentary: "TechJools"

The topic of future economies is one I’ve been interested by for years, but I went in a little different direction than might be the obvious story of the struggling character who loses their job to a robot. I named this story’s main character for my favorite entrepreneur and small business owner, someone who gave me a job once, out on an island, when I really needed it. Love you, CR!


I suppose the idea of trying to write and sell fiction isn’t too different from starting a store with creative beautiful products, like I think many people will opt to do in future economies. I’ve always marveled at people who have the fortitude to open and run a small business. How daunting does that become when competing with an automated economy?


Many already do, I think. Just because Amazon isn’t run by robots yet doesn’t mean it isn’t an appropriate point of comparison. The collective intelligence and force of a supercorporation has put countless small local retail shops out of business. The question for those people, then, probably isn’t what do I do, it’s probably what do I do next now that the business is shut down. Just like it is for folks now, the answer is probably rarely nothing at all.


People will find a way even if it’s not the same way or the preferred way. I suspect, as in this story, there will be a market for human items—things that only we will find meaningful and useful. Culture is such a weird force that it will constantly be in need of reinventing and co-creating with our peers. I’m not sure that’s a force that can ever be replicated or automated but is an emergent element in a civilization. So jewelry this week. I don’t know much about it personally, but it seemed like a good thing for Colette to be into and to sell, and current wearable tech seems more about the tech than the fashion of it. I suspect that will change as soon as it becomes small enough to be the afterthought rather than the main thing.

This was the second in another story pair. Hopefully they’re both enjoyable!


Rowe

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