Google Co-Founder Says People Shouldn’t Have to Work So Much

PHOTO: Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are seen in a video titled, Fireside chat with Google co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin with Vinod Khosla posted to YouTube on July 3, 2014.

It sounds like a dream: Work part-time while maintaining the same standard of living.

Google co-founder Larry Page thinks it should be a reality for everyone.

The tech titan and his co-founder, Sergey Brin, sat down for a rare joint interview that was moderated by fellow billionaire, Vinod Khosta, and posted to YouTube.

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“If you really think about the things you need to make yourself happy — housing, security, opportunity for your kids … it’s not that hard for us to provide those things,” Page said. “The idea that everyone needs to work frantically to meet peoples’ needs is not true.”

Page said the world should be living in a “time of abundance” in which robots and machines could help meet everyone’s basic needs much more easily.

He explained that people have a desire to feel needed, wanted and productive, often leading them to work in industries the world doesn’t necessary need, thus contributing to the destruction of the environment.

“I was talking to Richard Branson about this,” Page said of the founder of the Virgin Group. “They don’t have enough jobs in the U.K. He’s been trying to get people to hire two part-time people instead of one full-time, so at least the young people can have a half-time job rather than no job.”

With a more productive society, Page said he believed people would be happy to “have more time with their family or to pursue their own interests.”

Brin said he had to “quibble a little bit” with his colleague’s vision for future employment.

“I don’t think that in the near term, the need for labor is going away,” Brin said. “It gets shifted from one place to another, but people always want more stuff or more entertainment or more creativity or more something.”

At a later moment in the interview, a member of the audience asked if the two men had ever had a fundamental disagreement. They both said no.

“We’ve gotten to think a lot alike,” Brin said.

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