Discussion: Automation and Quality of Life in Quebec

Can we automate residential construction? Yes. Should we?

Our houses will save people lots of money, well over 150,000$ on an average home over 25 years. Our industry is not the only one facing major changes. Depending on the estimate, in the next 20 years automation is likely to modify or eliminate 15% (EN) to 45% (FR) of gainful human employment in Quebec. We need to put something in place to ensure that social and economic upheaval be minimized and people kept at a sufficient standard of living.

We’d like to invite you to join us in looking at this question. Philosophy is meant to be conducted by all of us.

Our initial evaluation of the situation is available here: Automation and Residential Construction in Quebec.

Further points of discussion:

1. Verify and annotate presumptions
2. Gather data and opinions
3. Define research questions
4. Discussions, conclusions, refinements, and action

1. Verify and annotate presumptions:

Humanity is building a wave of automation that will likely be as disruptive or more disruptive than the technological revolutions that preceded it. Many of us are actively working to create the very machines and processes that will make our own skills obsolete, and render irrelevant entire industries. And automation isn’t only hard on the soul of the individual, or on communities. Systemically, our economies have relied on individual labor to provide individual quality of life, with greater or lesser public participation in supporting economically unproductive people. This individualism isn’t true of humans in general, but it has been true of most cultures on earth for a few thousands of years. Climate change has clarified the unsustainable nature of an individualistic economy in a naturally cooperative species as well as in a closed environment, and it is past time to put in place some functional and humane alternatives.

2. Gather data and opinions:

Did the industrial revolution improve the lot of man?

How to prevent automation from permanently marginalizing a large part of society?

Can we leverage automation to improve social outcomes?

Define automate.
Define society.
Define destruction.

Are we better off now than in 1700? (before and after Adam Smith)

Who is we, then? How do we work?

Who is we, now? How do we work?

By what measures do we compare?

Standards of living: work hours per capita, access to nature, unemployment

Physical health: lifespan, strength, intelligence, access to water, food, medical care

Psychological health: happiness, creativity, peace, access to education

Environmental health: personal, local, global

What are the trends? What are the problems? What are the solutions?

What can we do?  Basic revenue.

What can I do?

3. Define research questions:

Is automation ethical?
Is automation sustainable?
If so, how to do it?
If not, how to meet our goals otherwise?

4. Conclusions, refinements, and action

Conclusions: Answers to our questions, well researched and argued, with vigorous and transparent review.

Refinements: A way to continue to refine the answers to these questions, as they will likely change during these volatile times.

Action: Put into place processes to support our staff, their families, and our communities through the expected changes.

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