Brian Hayes makes a good point when he states that not that long ago, “nearly everyone agreed that people would be working less once computers and other kinds of automatic machinery became widespread.” I think that although technology is becoming more advanced every year, it doesn’t necessarily mean that people would be working less. In my opinion, jobs would just change. They would just be maintaining computer software instead of working in factories. In the future, jobs will become less physical work and more mental work.
The Problem of Leisure is a theoretical problem of what people will do with abundant leisure time because of short working hours. Keynes states that a drop in the demand for labor was a problem with an simple solution. This means just work less. For example, a 3 hour shift and a 15 hour work week would become normal for the grandchildren and children of 1930.
The size of the U.S labor force has steadily increased throughout the period in which automation has come into play. The increase isn’t population growth either. Once women started working participation rate started to rise.
Digital computers came out in the 1950’s and shocked people at the wondrous things they could do. Although many people thought they were too expensive and didn’t have the income to buy them. Automation outside of the factory has changed the social and economic impact in so many different ways. For example, the net effect of automation isn’t that machines do all the work people used to do, but we can do without those people because we’ve learned to run them ourselves.
I found Hayes predictions of the future to be quite interesting. For example, he thinks that we will automate medicine, driving and welfare. As outrageous as these predictions may seem, I agree with them all and think they are definitely possible.