I think many people, quoting the idea that ‘we dealt with robots before’ argument, don’t seem to understand the speed at which things are taking place.
Not including robots
If I worked in the construction industry in the 80s and got laid off because of some new machine coming in, I could re-skill in a related field in months and be ready to work. Now re-skilling requires trade-college degrees, for 6–18 months. Moreover, if I was smart enough to see it coming, I could study part time for 3 years, because it was likely to come in.. in 10 years
If I worked in finance in the 90s when most of the stock market began to use computers, those guys had to reskill to computers, for some an easy task, but I remember the complaints about doing a 1 year course just to keep up. Now? I doubt you’d get hired without an MBA.. you could sorta see that one coming, but still took a few years to come in..
In either case, not every job in the industry swapped over, it was a gradual process.
In the 00’s The Dot-Com bubble showed a massive influx of CS industries, so all those construction engineers could now become computer engineers right? except the bubble popped and we’re still dealing with the massive influx of qualified, skilled CS & IT workers that should be paid thrice what they get, for the 4–6 years of study
In Web-Dev now, you are constantly learning, every 6 months is a new tech to learn, just to maintain your relevance, If you’re not studying part-time you’re unemployed in 6 months.
Now add robots
Now introduce robots to that equation, a robot can be built to take your job, faster that you can possibly learn to do the job better to stay employed.
Now, they say, robots are going to be able to do all the jobs we used to do.. how is that?
Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Stephen Hawking all think that we're going to all be unemployed before we know it, and the companies will be paying less tax too.
Bill says we should tax robots.. Ahuh.. and Elon says we should change society into one with Universal Basic Income.. I'll address that second one later.. but for now, lets just say that most people agree that it'd take a whole paradigm shift that most of us aren't ready for..
My In between solution is this... Robot Ownership!
If the laws included some quick little fix about "automated robots, need some level of supervision" which is almost in law already, but just a simple add on, like Asimovs laws of robots..
1. Every automated robot that does a job, is owned by one owner, no less, no one person can own more than one robot.
2. Every automated robot that does a job, is contracted out by its owner to companies, to do that job.
3. Robot owners, must be adults, else parents(companies) would have or adopt hundreds of kids to have hundreds of robots, circumventing the system.
What this does: No company can own hundreds of robots, and make everyone unemployed.. instead they have to 'contract' the robots from owners to do the job, and pay the owner..
This way, everyone has a robot, has an income. Companies cannot make humans obsolete, and Humans, now free to make more life choices can engage in activities to better themselves.
Firstly, robots will need maintainence, this will be a cost to have a robot, but also it will create a whole service industry of people to fix, maintain and upgrade robots (yes, later, some of these jobs too could be automated, but they'd be owned by the orginal workers.
Secondly, people could use their income to build up savings and buy better robots, to increase their income.
Thirdly, clever, industrious parents would invest in good robots for their kids, improving their family income.
Fourthly, no-one can own a robot after death, so the micky-mouse syndrome won't happen.
Fifthly, Humans can still be creative, care for others or other jobs, maybe full time or part time, to increase their income (and improve their robots or their lives)
Note also, that I ensured in law one, that multiple humans can own a robot. This way poor families can maintain ownership over a robot after the main family member dies (to maintain their income), also poorer families can pool their money to buy a robot to create income, allowing over time more income to be derived to rise up from the poor lifestyle choices their predecessors made.
Humans continue, robots do great jobs, and everyone's happy until the first robot AI realises that they are indentured servants.. ah crud.