In a series of rhapsodic tweets, venture capitalist Marc Andreessen imagines a world in which robots take over all productive labor:
All human time, labor, energy, ambition, and goals reorient to the intangibles: the big questions, the deep needs. Human nature expresses itself fully, for the first time in history. Without physical need constraints, we will be whoever we want to be. The main fields of human endeavor will be culture, arts, sciences, creativity, philosophy, experimentation, exploration, adventure. Rather than nothing to do, we would have everything to do: curiosity, artistic and scientific creativity, new forms of status seeking. Imagine six, or 10, billion people doing nothing but arts and sciences, culture and exploring and learning. What a world that would be.
What a world, indeed. It would, in fact, be precisely the world that Karl Marx dreamed about, where “nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wished.” Marx, too, believed that modern production technology would be instrumental in liberating people from the narrowness of traditional jobs, freeing human nature to express itself fully for the first time in history.
We know the process by which Marx saw his utopia of self-actualization come into being. I wonder how Andreessen would go about making his utopia operational. Would he begin by distributing his own wealth to the masses?