Are you ready to be freed from a world of work?

I go on and on about needing to be ready for the world without work. Thinking about what we’ll do to find value in ourselves when we don’t have to “be” our jobs, what we’ll do to put value back in the world around us.

The responses I get indicate that people cling to the idea that this is far away.

Last month a company delivered a semi truck full of beer — in a driverless, fully automated big rig. In 48 of the 50 states, trucking is still currently listed as the best job you can get with no degree. Driverless trucks don’t fall asleep behind the wheel or have to take drugs to stay awake to pull multiple shifts.

IBM’s Watson technology can diagnose illnesses and recommend cures (it has now found undetected cancer more than once, among other things), it can give advice to businesses as if it were a management consultant, it can write pop songs, it can handle analytics, accounting, and a multitude of other tasks that touch other jobs.

Marketing is already automated (mostly).

The AP is testing “robot” writers. They suck, but hey, who reads anymore anyway in a world where Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other sites encourage video content first.

Visits to your therapist can now be handled by phone or text appointments with humans you never see via an app. Soon, you can talk to a seemingly empathetic chatbot about your troubles — never mind that your troubles will be recorded in real time to help the bot answer, then saved for eternity to help bots help other people. I’m sure your data will be totally safe.

We already have driverless cars that are nearly road ready from companies like Tesla. Uber is testing driverless Ubers in some markets.

You can 3D print a house.

The list goes on and on, and new and unexpected technology is revealed daily that impacts another set of workers — now or in the future. Take a look at this latest, OpenDoor. They want to be the Amazon of real estate, buying your house immediately, then making it “buyer ready” for off the shelf purchase: Targeting… realtors, lenders.

It can be a scary list to think through. Here in America we use “What do you do?” as a popular ice breaker. The easy answer has always been to come up with some witty way to relay your job title — the extended equivalent of answering “fine” to the trite “how are you?” instead of giving a real answer.

Imagine the possibilities we are opening up! Assuming we don’t get derailed (note: not stopped, it’s too late to “bring anything back”, but you knew that when you voted, didn’t you, deep down?) and we can find our way to empathy plus figure out essential solutions like Universal Basic Income (or similar)…

If the nature of the question changed to inquire how you bring meaning to the world and to your own life, how would you answer “What do you do?” then?