Stephen Hawking's final words to the internet: robots aren't the problem, capitalism is

The last message Stephen Hawking posted to a public internet forum was an answer to a question in a Reddit AMA, querying how humanity will weather an age of technological unemployment.

Professor Hawking's answer said that there was no problem with robots taking jobs -- only with the dividends from that robotic efficiency accruing solely to the capital classes thanks to market dynamics, rather than being broadly shared through redistributive state intervention.

(See also: Why Socialism? by Albert Einstein)

If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution. So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality.

Stephen Hawking AMA [/r/science/Reddit]

(via Late Stage Capitalism)