This video from Boston Dynamics shows the capability of robots to do human labor—not that they would necessarily be in humanoid form as in the video.
In theory, the use of robots could enable human beings to live lives of voluntary, meaningful, higher-level activity. In practice, the results probably would be more like Kurt Vonnegut’s dystopian novel, Player Piano, with an elite of engineers and a mass of unemployed or under-employed former workers.
If robots do everything, there will be no high-wage, full-employment economy. There would be no mass consumer market. Economic activity would be mainly devoted to serving the needs of the owners of the robots and the engineers and technicians who keep the robots running.
A guaranteed annual income would not be a solution. Human beings degenerate if they have nothing useful to do.
Maybe a new economy would arise—a robot economy serving the elite and a parallel human economy serving the majority of humanity.
Or maybe—in some way I can’t foresee—robotic technology would come under democratic control, and there would be a public debate as to how robotics could be used to benefit everyone and not just a few.
New Rossum’s Universal Robots: Toward a Most Minimal Wage by Fred Reed for Fred on Everything. Lots of interesting links.
Toyota in talks to acquire Boston Dynamics from Google by Danielle Muoio for Tech Insider.
When the Robots Rise by Lee Drutman and Yascha Mounk for The National Interest [added 7/11/2016]