Drones, inequality and the end of the Age of the Gun

Here’s a mind-tickling quasi science fiction story about a future world of plenty derived from cheap autonomous robots. Well, plenty for some and medieval peasanthood for most.

I was having a discussion with a bright young colleague about the Venus Project, whether as a planet we have sufficient resources, capital and technology to meet all our needs. The conversation quickly flowed to income inequality, the increased value of scarce goods and the remaining challenges to lowering costs of production.

The linked article takes a different view – with the potential for massive military power controlled only through capital and technology without a need for tens of thousands of gun-toting supporters, the 1% could potentially achieve complete hegemony and control. With robots making more, better robots, guarding and controlling the other factors of production, what role is left for poor, especially robot-poor peasants?

It has probably been said before, but if feels to me that our generation may live through fundamental societal changes from autonomous robots, cars and drones.

Published by David Kirk

The opinions expressed on this site are those of the author and other commenters and are not necessarily those of his employer or any other organisation. David Kirk runs Milliman’s actuarial consulting practice in Africa. He is an actuary and is the creator of New Business Margin on Revenue. He specialises in risk and capital management, regulatory change and insurance strategy . He also has extensive experience in embedded value reporting, insurance-related IFRS and share option valuation.