The author compares our fears about automation and technological unemployment with the way insurance has changed over the last centuries. For the longest time, we lived under a fog of information about who were the lucky ones who never got sick or injured, and who were the ones who constantly did. And so insurance worked at first with a system of flat-rate payments, were the extremely lucky ones paid for the care of the unlucky ones.
Yet as statistics, genetics, biology and psychology evolved, this uncertainty was diminished and insurance companies are getting more and more skilled at determining how lucky/unlucky you will be. Which is why the modern insurance is not flat-rate but one tailored to your risk level, and penalized appropriately.
Now, here's the trick: this same process is happening with jobs. It is not just that robots and bots are diminishing the pool of skills a human can offer, our information age also diminishes the fog of war around what are the real skills of a particular person, allowing companies to better tell who is really indispensable.
The end result of this process is a path towards Brutal Meritocracy, were the high-skilled, highly-productive workers are no longer supporting a larger group of water-cooler gossipers and facebook lurkers, so to speak.
This is great for a company's bottom line, but it also means that, much like insurance, if you're among the unlucky ones in the graph, there's nowhere to hide anymore.
Or at least, there won't be unless we can convince a small minority of skilled workers to willfully support a large majority of less-skilled workers.
Spelled like that, the concept of Basic Income doesn't sound that realistic anymore. In the sense that I can already foresee how difficult it will be to sell people this idea as it relies heavily on a basic and widespread sense of empathy.
The jobs where people are measured second by second are awfully miserable. Uber like "jobs" combine this oppressive measurement with even greater levels of job and hours insecurity. When this level of "meritocracy" bubbles up to median jobs, we're going to see an angry revolution where even white male racist sexists decide they've had enough.