This is a situation that affects us all but I will focus on how it may affect my life as an artist and other artists as well. Automation is the inevitable future and it will change how people view work. I have imagined before that I could one day find a way to create my art as efficiently and excellently as possible, perhaps even have some program generate some visual effects, or scripts to simplify repetitive tasks into a mouse click to save myself time. Basically the entire art pipeline would boil down so that an AI would eventually be able to do it. I absolutely believe that eventually AI and machines can replace practically any job at some point in the future, including art. For as long as the work involves using some kinds of input devices, it's possible to have a machine just operate on a flowchart based on some pre-programmed techniques or even be able to learn how a style of art is made by studying what the user does within programs like Photoshop. You could have a physical android robot mimic human typing and clicking on keyboard and mouse, or the work can all be done automatically like how a render is done. It could see which tools like the paint brush tool are used, which colours, blending modes, etc. would be used at certain steps in the process, at certain coordinates on the screen based on some provided line art or photo. I can picture my art just drawing itself one day, whether by AI or using some kind of neural headband so that I can think commands into the art software, or actually be able to imagine the abstract concept in my mind and have it translated onto the screen. Either way, the ability to create anything or do any kind of work will be drastically changed in the coming future. I hope as a society, we will be ready to make the necessary transitions smoothly in these ever-changing times.
Say if I were to find or create such an amazing tool, I would think that it would benefit me a lot to keep it to myself only because of the competitive advantage I would get over other artists and the potential for personal profit, based on the current economic model. However, the right thing to do would be to share such an invention with the world, even for free, as to liberate time and labour for everyone who wants to learn and create innovative forms of art. After all, how much art could one guy make by keeping this for himself? I think people would also be suspicious at the lightning-fast results I display when churning art out faster than humanly possible. There would be tons of increased creation when many people can have access to it also. It shouldn't mean that because suddenly there are now thousands of artists who have gained a "magical" increased edge in their workflow, it "undervalues" the talent pool. Meaning that now it's practically free to create art and therefore nobody needs to get paid because "anybody can now do that job or fulfill that role". It's too bad a lot of people think that because workers don't need to put in as much labour anymore, they are worth less or "lazy". Instead, they should see the actual exponential net increases in production and be grateful for automation to relieve human cost of time and energy, and stop still pushing everybody to work harder than ever before when we are on the breakthrough of eliminating the need for as many hours of work that society has been conditioned into accepting for decades. It's just greedy and unsustainable to keep a failing system going. People still have to eat, live, have financial security, save for retirement, and more. It's time we all put people, the planet and life above mere money (which itself has no actual value). We need a revised system where the extra profit being made in any industry from any combination of automation and human workers would be allocated humanely and fairly back into the hands of the average citizen, because right now it seems companies exploit everything to maximize profit at the ever increasing and undeniable cost to the whole world.
Art started as a hobby of mine and over the years I've been trying to make it into a career because I don't really see myself doing anything else more passionately in the near future. I don't know if I should be fortunate that I can do art for a living, because having to do anything for a living takes the fun out of it anyway. It's not just because I don't prefer other kinds of jobs in comparison to art jobs. Everybody will have their own strengths, weaknesses and passions. Some people can't do art but can do programming while others are the opposite. I believe that people will naturally gravitate to doing whatever it is they are good at and want to do and it will contribute value to society. The world will be fine, especially into the future more than ever due to automation, regardless of what the economy is like. I don't drop my dreams of being a better artist and making awesome creative stuff just because I hear that programming jobs pay more and are in more demand. I don't want to base my life on money and having to struggle doing unenjoyable things to maybe get a slice of the pie (if are are still even crumbs by the time I get there, IF I get there at all), but rather on the freedom to do my thing and let the money come as a side effect. A job that is taken for any reason should not drain the life out of people and leave them with no hope for the future, nor should it force people to compete for whatever scraps remain or resort to low acts just to survive. We have the technology to improve the world already. We can discuss things like Universal Basic Income (UBI) as a near-future solution to unemployment, underemployment or just for the general well-being of citizens (UBI is a whole other topic I would have to make a separate post for but is very worth checking out on reddit.com/r/basicincome). We just need to start acknowledging each other as fellow human beings, raise a stronger collective awareness to our social problems, work together, and start healing.