Coronavirus automation plan propels us toward comic-book future dystopia

Last Updated: April 2, 2020By

It’s a machine’s world: robots at Ocado’s customer fulfilment centre in Andover.

If you’re reading this in the UK, chances are that you’ll have heard of the weekly comic 2000 AD and its mainstay character, Judge Dredd.

I mention this because Dredd’s story is set in a future Mega-City where 87 per cent of the population don’t have jobs due to automation.

Most of the work is done by robots and the citizens are left to get by on ‘welf’ payments, in a semi-fascist police state.

Well, we’ve got the police state while the coronavirus lockdown goes on, and now the businesses are using it to increase automation so they rely less on human beings – and don’t have to employ them.

As for the ‘welf’ benefits – Universal Basic Income, anybody?

Almost half of company bosses in 45 countries are speeding up plans to automate their businesses as workers are forced to stay at home during the coronavirus outbreak.

Some 41% of respondents in a survey by the auditing firm EY said they were investing in accelerating automation as businesses prepared for a post-crisis world.

The news comes just days after figures showing that 3.3 million people have filed for unemployment in the US. That is by far the highest number ever recorded, and a jump from less than 300,000 the week before. In the UK, 477,000 people applied for universal credit in just nine days.

Source: Bosses speed up automation as virus keeps workers home | World news | The Guardian

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  1. trev April 3, 2020 at 6:43 am - Reply

    I think that some form of Basic Income is eventually inevitable, but it might not happen in Britain until we either get a Labour government or IDS kicks the bucket, which of course he eventually will, he’s a work-obsessed maniac but he won’t live for ever.

  2. Joanna Armstrong April 3, 2020 at 7:49 am - Reply

    I think old Bezo will be trying his robots out in all Amazon Warehouses & not just the Milton Keynes one whilst everyone is on lockdown. He is just waiting for an excuse to get rid of all poorly paid staff.
    He has already said he will replace them all within a decade.

  3. Dave Rowlands April 3, 2020 at 9:43 am - Reply

    Robots have no need for the products they create, without people who have money to spend the products will sit on shelves, robots will be taught to buy the products they make with the money they earn building the products. The extinction of management is only a couple of bytes away, the word is only two bytes long. Long live the revolution!

    Sorry, I was bored.

    • Wanda Lozinska April 3, 2020 at 10:56 pm - Reply

      You’re right though. Robots won’t buy products so people will have to have more than just a very basic income to survive on. If the economy is to keep ticking over people will need to have a reasonable amount of disposable income. A case for UBI.

  4. Liz April 3, 2020 at 5:19 pm - Reply

    Nothing to see here .. “Big tobacco secretly bankrolling anti-NHS think-tank whose bosses donate thousands to Tory leadership contenders, investigation reveals…

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