It seems to me, human history has been a tale of want and limited potential, but with the rapidly approaching zero unit cost of labor, combined with the burgeoning space industry, that old paradigm should change to a new paradigm of plenty and unlimited potential. The internet provides the interconnectivity of human minds that is the preexisting technology enabling the whole process. As long as government usurpation and corruption don’t derail the advance. It is hard to get your head around the idea, if there were robots that could do anything a human can do, autonomously and accurately, moreover, if those robots had the ability to reproduce themselves, in a factory say, the availability of labor would be unlimited, and therefore the per unit, per hour for example, cost of labor would be driven to zero. Combine that with access to space, where resources are literally unlimited, and the possibilities are unimaginable. Humanity would only be limited by the limits of our imaginations and the machinations of powerful people.
If the unit cost of labor is zero, even the poorest person can afford it, and therefore the production of that labor, because it costs zero dollars to pay for zero cost. The only thing that humans would have of value will be our imaginations, anything one could think up one could have built, and then offered to others, for a price, as hardware or designware. You might want a large structure but are too busy to oversee the robots yourself, so you hire a professional robot manager, to build the structure for you. The zero unit cost of labor would not only open up the sky to the imagination, it would provide far more opportunity to those who just want a 9 to 5, at higher relative pay with lower physical demands. Both of which lead to economic freedom, better health and longevity.
Markets will be disrupted and changed wholesale. Initially those who own farm land will have an advantage. The use of zero cost robots to do farm work will drastically lower farm’s cost of producing food as it increases the output per acre. The real advantage to farm land is the fact everyone needs food which will create a guaranteed market. The automobile market will change drastically however, if anyone could have robots build any car he or she wanted, rather than buy a prebuilt car, for tons of money, why wouldn’t they simply browse a catalog of cars, designed by anyone who had a penchant for it, and have whatever car the buyer chose, built. This doesn’t just apply to cars, but planes, yachts, space ships, orbital manufacturing facilities and toothbrushes. There will be upheaval in every market in every corner of the world, which is the single biggest true wealth creator, man has ever known.
Access to space and the utilization of the unlimited resources available there is the second half of the equation. The quantity of rare earth elements in Near Earth Asteroids is unimaginable. Rare earth minerals that make electronics operate better and more efficiently, allowing electric motors to have more power along with many other uses in the electronics and computer industries. Helium 3 is plentiful on the Moon and could support a clean fusion energy program on Earth. Helium 3 doesn’t produce the deadly neutron radiation that is the single biggest drawback to fusion after self sustainment. To gather these resources would require people go to the Moon to manage the robots that do the labor. People would have to manage the robots that mined the asteroids, and if the cost of labor is zero, robots could build a home on Mars for anyone who wanted to move there.
Robots, as we should be able to see after this article, are nothing more than an elaborate lever. Even if robots get to the point they will be able to manage a complex project themselves, there will always be a need for someone to direct what and where they build, lest humanity turn over too much to mechanization. People will need to oversee robots forever, most likely in ever larger and larger groups as the technology matures but, since each of our individual right to our property and it’s use must be maintained, there will always be a need for collaboration, in many ways, for example, by adjacent property owners of large complex projects that would adversely effect their use of their prexisting property, and it’s historic use. The need for people to oversee robots and the demand for their use by everyone will provide more than enough jobs, good paying jobs, to absorb the people who don’t want to create for a living.
With the lid blown off human creativity and drive things become possible that would otherwise be impossible. Economic growth would become a function like Moor’s Law, doubling every 2 years, only limited by the number of people and their imaginations. There will be no need of socialism when everyone can have everything they want, anytime they want, for almost no cost. With robots building sewers and clean water delivery systems, cleaning homes, and the increase in quality and quantity of output of a small home garden maintained by a robot, the human condition will be drastically improved. Imagine if government have caved to the buggy whip industry and stopped Ford from producing cars, deeming mass production to be killing jobs… A zero unit cost of labor would allow our children and their progeny for the foreseeable future to enjoy such unlimited lives, as long as we don’t destroy it for them with regulation, a lost war, cronyism and taxes, all of which would be made redundant by the zero unit cost of labor… if not stopped by them.