Very interesting indeed.
Actually there are some very good points made here with this experiment. Due to the fact that I've come from a mechanical background and then within the last 4-5 years started getting more into the web, this post has brought some additional light into the picture for myself.
I believe that if we all can work smarter rather than harder, we will have more time to do the things that are truly productive. So if we replace some of the work we as humans do with machines and robotic technology and the internet, it will give us more time to work on human relations.
In your scenario, if there were no more labor done by humans and the labor was actually done by machine, it would force mankind in it's entirety to be more creative. So those folks who perform menial tasks all day in factories and what not, will then have to think outside of the box and use their inherent genius within them to grow.
From going to work everyday without thought and slapping some parts on a product or putting some screws in a product on a production line, to actually having to be creative... Onto a little story...
I worked in a factory once. That factory was in Michigan and was called Frigidaire. When I originally was hired it, rumor had it around town that if you were able to get the job, you had it made. Frigidaire was United Auto Workers Union and once a person was in, many folks were under the impression that they would have it made for life. For some people and kids getting out of school, their main goal was to get into Frigidaire and once they achieved that, their future was set.
Working in this place, I realized that this kind of work done by humans over and over, never really encouraged any kind of creative thinking. We would just show up every day and file into place. My job was to put screws into a refrigerator as it passed us on the line... everyday. That was it. The fun part of the job was the people. However, many of the people that had been there for 20 years reminded me of zombies. They would come into work expressionless every day to do the same menial task they had done the day before and years before that. These weren't difficult jobs and not many of them didn't take much thought at all. This was the type of labor that could be replaced by machine.
Needless to say, I found this work very boring. I knew exactly what I'd be making in 5 years and since there was a scale wage approved by the Union, I knew what everyone else was making based on how long they had been a zombie.
So, against my wife's mothers best judgment, I ended up quiting to try another career path.
Anyway... to make a long story short, a couple years ago the factory closed. 2,300 factory workers left without a job. Partly replaced by machines and partly due to the price of the workers... As with any Union shop, this was a place where people were overpaid for the work they would perform. This coupled with the fact that only about 60% of them actually worked while the others were just being paid to sleep, play cards, ride around on bicycles and other recreational activities.
After the closing of this factory, many people were without a job and forced to be creative. For many, the closing of this factory turned out to be the best thing that could have happened. Having now to deal with this change, many found better and more rewarding work to do while a small handful just sit around and blame the President, the Union or whomever. But for most, it sparked an energy they never knew existed and may not have ever known had the place not closed.
I feel as if I'm rambling.... anyway to get to the point... I find it easy to see that people would continue on and people would be more creative and learn to think more rather than labor more. I don't believe that humans would sit idle and I don't believe that it would send everyone into a desolation stage.
If we didn't have to work and machines replaced our tasks, we would then have to think. Instead of working on a refrigerator one may be more inclined to work on themselves or the relationships around them.
As I see technology grow and the changes that are taking place, many of these jobs done by human are currently being replaced by computers and technology. In a sense, this is freeing us as humans to spend more time learning to communicate.
This is happening today. In the here and now, in the US, jobs are being replaced. At the same time, more and more people are able to work from home and discover the world via technology. Discover also the creativity inside of them that they never knew existed. In the US as jobs are sent to other countries and the baby boomer generation passes and makes way for the new generation of technology, our world will change. This is happening as we sit here and witness it.
Is it good? Well, sure it is. I have to believe that with the changes to come with technology and these barriers of communication that have been lifted, people are going to reach for more and reach within themselves... something they would have never done had they still been on the line in some factory.
This is what I see from walking this path myself. I think the technology is good and the future of technology is unavoidable at this point. It does however push us as humans to think more. It also pushes the human communication factor.
Technology and where this is all going amazes me. It's the speed of it that amazes me most. 10 years ago, we wouldn't have been able to communicate in a post such as this. Think about it!
Great thread! This is definitely something to think about because it's happing today.
... I have more thoughts on this but I need a break to think....