A lot has been written about the fact that machines are taking jobs from humans. Many people believe that there will be less and less for humans to do, including Elon Musk.

However, there may be a different outcome. As ‘hard’ problems like food supply and renewable energy are solved there will be less ‘hard’ problems to work on. This doesn’t mean that humans will have no work. With their basic needs met, they will move up Maslow’s hierarchy and innovate in different areas. For example, designing more interesting products and experiences. Making entertainment and art. Building tools that haven’t been invented yet. Even if these things can be performed by machines, there will be humans who innovate. For example, I can buy a wooden desk from IKEA that was built by a machine. Or I can buy a beautifully crafted wooden table by a human designer.

For an engineer, this is an interesting trend. There will still be plenty of problems to solve in the future but the problems will be different. Seth Godin’s definition of Art will become increasingly relevant.