We'll wait a long time for AI systems as competent as human workers (for day-to-day tasks). But when those systems arrive, their great benefit will be low marginal cost: software copied for free, hardware rolling off production lines.
And people won't have to do those jobs, unless - hipster-like - they especially want to.
So what would society be like with an abundance of cheap, competent labour?
This future already exists (to the benefit of some of the people) in places with an overabundance of cheap human labour.
From Marginal Revolution:
"The first couple of times I took a taxi to a restaurant I was surprised when the driver asked if I wanted him to wait. A waiting taxi would be an unthinkable expense for me in the United States but in India the drivers are happy to wait for $1.50 an hour. It still feels odd.Karl Marx's communism (abundance for all!) is often portrayed - by members of the elite - as an unattainable utopia; but Marx himself observed that communism for the masses would merely be an extension of the experience of the elite aristocracy through the ages.
The cars, the physical capital, in India and the United States are similar so the low cost of transportation illustrates just how much of the cost of a taxi is the cost of the driver and just how much driverless cars are going to lower the cost of travel. ...
Every mall, hotel, apartment and upscale store has security. It’s all security theatre - India is less dangerous than the United States - but when security theatre can be bought for $1-$2 an hour, why not?
Offices are sometimes open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Not that anyone is in the office, just that with 24 hour security there is no reason to lock up, so the office physically stays open. ...
At offices, cleaning staff are on permanent hire so they come not once or twice a week but once or twice an hour. The excessive (?) cleanliness of the private spaces makes the contrast between private cleanliness and public squalor all the more striking."
Communism 'is already here', as the man said, but '... not very evenly distributed'.
India, with its oversupply of relatively unskilled manual workers, is not an optimal emulation of an AI future. AI systems will be more diverse, more embedded and hopefully not oversupplied.
Those waiting taxis come with negative externalities.