I have a different set of worries. I am old enough to have been taught at school that we were about to enter a golden age of technology that would provide us all with a leisure society. Then later I heard predictions of the paperless office. Neither materialised. Indeed work has never been so pressured and there has never been such a mountain of paperwork to wade through.
People have been predicting that new technology would destroy jobs since the start of the industrial revolution when weaving machines were invented. So far what has happened is that some jobs have gone and many more new ones have been created. No one when I entered the job market worked as a web page designer or a game creator. Quite a lot of people worked as coal miners. I know which I would prefer.
What is certain is that when technology changes there will be a change in economic forces and that will be positive or negative for different groups of people. No machine ever took home a pay check. Therefore no machine can subtract income or wealth from anyone. What can happen, what very well might happen, is that the owners of the new intelligent machines and the owners of the most widely used software could gain the economic power to extract a much higher proportion of income and wealth than those who owned the previous generation of technology. Picture the wealth that has ended up in the hands of the owners of Windows, Apple, Google, or Amazon. Modern technology has a tendency to make a few owners of popular platforms very rich indeed. Then think about what might happen if the next phase of technology exaggerates this even more.
We'd be living in a world like professional football. A few extraordinarily rich winners who can't possibly spend all their money. A quite small middle rank who do OK. Then a wider mass who consume the product but have to earn their money elsewhere.
Which could very well result in young people finding that a comfortable middle class lifestyle is much harder to achieve because the machines can do a lot of the things you might have done. Those with useful manual skills and those who work as servants for the rich might do reasonably well. It will be a long time before robots lay roof tiles, fit kitchens or work as nannies.
To be clear I am not saying this is inevitable. There are powerful technological changes pushing in a different direction. Especially the development of small scale alternative energy production and storage which takes money away from oil producers and transfers is to the less well off. What I am saying is that there is a tendency towards concentration of wealth that needs to be controlled and managed.
There is nothing remotely inevitable about the rich getting richer. The share of what we produce that goes to the richest is a choice society makes. If technology changes and the market develops an increased tendency to allow the owners of that technology to get extraordinarily rich then that isn't something we can do nothing about. It is not a natural phenomena. It is an economic trend and we can control and humans can guide and manage economic trends if they choose to do so and are clever enough.
The solution is called progressive taxation. Either of land and property. Taxation which needs to be hard for the rich to dodge - which is why I favour property tax since you can't move it abroad. We will also need a system of taxation that prevents clever tax lawyers dodging it. Which is why I favour jury decisions over whether a company or an individual has deliberately moved earnings abroad reasonably and heavily punitive rates for anyone found guilty.
The immediate accusation that will be made by those on the right is that taxation discourages technological development and economic growth. The reverse is true. For the following reasons.
1. Strong and sustained economic growth happened across Europe and the US from 1940 to 1970 - a period when both the US and the UK had rates of income tax over 90%. Yes you read that right. The US and the UK really did have tax rates that high. Along with strong economic growth. I would, of course, not for one minute propose going back to the income tax rates imposed by radical lefties like Winston Churchill and Dwight Eisenhower!
2. When income is concentrated in too few hands it causes a problem of over investment and economic downturn. The very very rich can't possibly spend all their income. They invest it. That investment goes either into land and property pushing prices out of reach of ordinary people or into new production. The less well off need to spend virtually everything they earn. So if technology moves income from the poor to the rich there is a dangerous trickle up effect. There aren't enough spenders to buy everything that is made. All that spare money rushes around looking for a home and you get wild swings on financial markets followed by decades of stagnation. Exactly what has happened in the West as the very rich have got richer. Whilst in the former third world a growing middle class and a richer more skilled working class has supported very rapid economic growth rates.
We therefore have a choice. We can either go for a future in which a few extraordinarily rich people have so much money to squirrel away that it destabilises the whole system. Or we can go for a future in which we transfer some of that income and take some of the pressure off people living in fear of their job and their lifestyle.
Astonishingly the current UK is going for exactly the most negative strategy. They are trying to make things as easy as possible for the very rich post Brexit. Their aim is to lower income tax for the rich, light regulation of huge financial transactions, and easy ownership of British assets by the very wealthy from abroad.
It is just possible that such a strategy will indeed attract enough ex dictators, oil sheiks, and investment bankers to live in London to enable the economic figures for the UK to look good. It is extraordinarily unlikely that such an approach will bring back plenty of healthy incomes and enjoyable lifestyles to places like Stoke on Trent. Indeed, unless there is a genuine and sustained programme of deliberate transfer of economic activity to the less well off regions the situation there is likely to continue to get worse as technology continues to change.
I am sure that the people of Stoke on Trent Central heard an awful lot in the last week or two about how much all parties cared about their future welfare. I can't say I blame anyone there if they were a touch cynical over how many of those people are genuinely prepared to do the things that really will help them cope with the next phase of changing technology.