With robots, is a life without work one we’d want to live?

When Aristotle described “the complete happiness of man”, he thought it would include, among other things, “self-sufficiency, leisureliness and unweariedness”. Unfortunately the philosopher concluded that “such a life would be too high for man” – it was suitable only for the gods. All the same, he encouraged humanity to keep striving to get as close to “complete happiness” as possible. I reckon he’d be proud of where we’ve got. Today, the fourth industrial revolution – which ranges from artificial intelligence to genetic engineering and automation – promises almost total freedom from weariness and uninterrupted leisure time as demands of work are taken away from us by better, cheaper and more efficient artificial technology. The robots are coming and apparently they’re here to work. But will all the free time we’re…


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