IMAGINE a world in which the mundane jobs of today are replaced by robots or automated services.

Where technology is built to last – and not for commercial gain – and where people work to improve themselves rather than profit.

It sounds like a fictional utopia but it might not be too far from a real future.

A study published last year by the Oxford Martin School estimated that 47 per cent of jobs could be automated in the next 20 years.

Based on US employment, it stated that “most workers in transportation and logistics occupations, together with the bulk of office and administrative support workers, and labour in production occupations” were at risk of being replaced by computers or robots.

It concluded, “As technology races ahead, low-skill workers will reallocate to tasks that are non-susceptible to computerisation – i.e. tasks requiring creative and social intelligence. For workers to win the race, however, they will have to acquire creative and social skills.” The idea of an automated society is presented by first-time documentary maker Sam Vallely in his film, Will Work For Free.

The 28-year-old, from Clackmannan, stitched together the two-hour long film using footage sourced from YouTube with a few of his own animations.

Already it has had almost 150,000 views on YouTube and is being discussed worldwide in universities and colleges – and all this from a man who made it out of a frustration to not finding work.

He said, “I’ve been part of the Zeitgeist Movement for four years and part of that is to generate conversations about moving into a new economy. The arguments, that we need to embrace technology, are really necessary as we’re going in that direction anyway.” The Zeitgeist Movement is a collection of individuals that see the cause of the world’s problems down to an “outdated social structure”.

Sam began playing with the idea of a documentary back at the beginning of last year.

He started writing down everything he knew about automation to formulate his own arguments and keep it as a reminder solely for himself.

With no experience in film editing, he began adding clips – the odd animation – and before long his personal side project had spiralled into a documentary which he up-loaded on 5 November last year.

He explains, “Once we have the systems in place the robots will be doing the mundane jobs. It can and should be looked as a positive thing but at the moment there is a fear of technology and a fear of machines.

“I spoke to a woman in a supermarket who told me she purposely avoids the self-scanning check-outs as she sees them as taking away someone’s job. But by not using them she is contributing to someone having to work a mundane job that could easily be automated.” He said it was the Zeitgeist Movement – currently championing his film – that inspired him into studying an HNC in software development after years of unemployment and working odd jobs. But even with the qualification he is struggling to find work and as the film has been made under a ‘fair use’ agreement (whereby the footage is used on the condition there is no financial gain) he’ll not profit.

He said, “There’s a stigma attached to those that are unemployed – people say they don’t contribute – but there aren’t enough jobs to go around for everyone and that’s only going to get worse.” Sam dreams of a resource-based economy in which society is not focused on capitalism.

A pop culture comparison would be a world akin to the money-free and exploration-led society of Star Trek rather than the dystopian futures of The Terminator (killer machines become self-aware and set out to destroy human-kind) or Wall:E (an over-reliance on technology leads to obesity as human interaction, even the simple act of walking, becomes obsolete).

He said, “With a resource-based economy people will be more active as nowadays if you are working Monday to Friday, 9-5, when you get home you don’t have the energy to do anything. A lot of people who have seen my film say that it has opened their eyes and made them think about their careers and decide to do something more creative.”