Letter No 84 - What will keep me sane...?

Dear friends

Today I want to ask you to think about some questions that have been on my mind for the last few years. They got triggered once again in my consciousness yesterday as I met some people who were speaking about 'joyfulness' and 'inner work'. And then the thoughts got pulled into my consciousness once again as I was watching some YouTube videos at night about the impact of AI and robotics on our civilisations.

The thing is, human civilisation has been profoundly disrupted, shaped and impacted by advent of technologies.

When automobiles started becoming popular, several social changes occurred:
  • People could live in one place and work in another
  • Accelerated social stratification, as the car started to become a symbol of social status
  • Travelling to places for camping and road trips took birth as a new form of leisure

A few centuries before that, the rise of the steam engine caused a major global power shift. Entire countries were affected. India, which used to be a major producer of finished goods, became a supplier of raw materials. A few countries that possessed the technology became globally dominant - politically and economically. Mass production gave birth to a new kind of workforce and economy. Global power equations changed.

In the past technology changes have affected society in 50 or 100 years, and recently with the internet and mobile phone, we have seen changes affecting us in 10 or 20 years!

This is very important thing. The speed of the impact of technology on us is becoming faster and faster. ChatGPT has already impacted us in less than 6 months. Power equations are set to change once again. Our lives are always changing. We don’t really how fast the change is happening.

So, with this context,and to help us prepare for this change, here are the questions that I wanted to ask you to think about.



With AI and automation growing exponenttially, what kind of work will human beings really need to do?

According to data from the International Labor Organisation, about 28% of the worlds workforce is in agriculture and another 23% people work in factories. This is a total of 2.4 billion people. Will so many be needed once automation sets in? How long will it take? And what will those people do?

Sometimes we feel, since technology is becoming the main thing, we will need more software and hardware people. But will we need so many? Even software is getting automated.

So, the question is, if so many people are not needed in manual work, what will they do? what are human being going to be uniquely needed to do (other than develop more technology, which by the way, not too far, will also be automated, or driven by just a small clutch of people. Actually, it ahead is)

In your own work, if 70% of the work can be automated, what is the core of your work that only you can do?


The next question is… if I don’t have to work for money any more, what will I do with my time?

This may surprise you and seem like a hypothetical question. Let’s think of it like this - a thousand years ago, human life was extremely fragile. Wars, crimes, slavery, pandemics, and so on. Things could go wrong anytime.

Things we take for granted today.. roads, water on tap, radio, basic education… were not freely available.

Today we assume we have to work for money. But what I’d that’s no longer needed? What is just our existence was enough to ensure that we will have enough money to a more than consumable life? What I’d a new kind of social and political system came about that ensured that no one has to work for money (or at least for a version minimum amount of money) anymore?

What if a house, good food, Education, travel, clothes and even a shopping budget was a given, just because you exist?

Can you imagine that?

Honestly, if you think about it, what an average 25 year old earns today, is way more than an average 50 year old earns, for much less effort. The cook who works at our home, earns less than one fifth of what his daughter who works in a software company does, and works at least 50% more hours.

So, just extend this trend, and ask yourself, what if you didn’t have to work for money. It may not be too far away.

What would you work for if you didn’t have to work for money? What would be your motivation?


Finally, if you had all the free time available, what would you do? How would you keep yourself busy?

Of all your tasks were taken care of by AI and robots, what would you do? What would your value be to society?

How would you stay sane? What would make you happy?

How much television can you watch? How much can you eat and drink? How much pleasure and stimulation can a human being handle?

What would you do after that?


I feel these are really important questions for us to at least think about. We may not have clear answers yet. But even though the questions may point to a reality that we think is far away, some version of this reality may not be too far away. These questions I believe hold the answer to our sense of meaning, peace and value as human beings.

Do hold them in your consciousness and see what thoughts emerge.

With fratitide (In Friendship and with gratitude)