Robots Will Steal Your Job

Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That's OK is an audiobook that explores the impact of technological advances on our lives, what it means to be happy, and provides suggestions on how to avoid a systemic collapse. Written by Federico Pistono and read by Ian R Buck.


Episode #15

One of the reasons that pursuing the hedonic treadmill is that our brains are wired to create happiness for us, regardless of the events around us.

Chapter Index

00:00 | Intro
00:25 | Chapter begins
05:04 | 1.1 Experience Simulations
13:56 | Outro


  1. Adapted from Spike Milligan’s Money can’t buy you happiness but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery and many other variations.
  2. This quote is supposedly attributed to Jim Carrey, but I could only find one mildly reputable source. Regardless, I think it is a great quote.
  3. Genes, Economics, and Happiness, Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, James H. Fowler, Bruno S. Frey, 2010. CESifo Working Paper Series 2946, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. “Studies comparing identical twins with non-identical twins have helped to establish the heritability of many aspects of behaviour. Recent work suggests that about one third of the variation in people’s happiness is heritable. Jan-Emmanuel De Neve has taken the study a step further, picking a popular suspect – the gene that encodes the serotonin-transporter protein, a molecule that shuffles a brain messenger called serotonin through cell membranes – and examined how variants of the 5-HTT gene affect levels of happiness. The serotonin-transporter gene comes in two functional variants – long and short – and people have two versions (known as alleles) of each gene, one from each parent. After examining genetic data from more than 2,500 participants in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, De Neve found that people with one long allele were 8% more likely than those with none to describe themselves as very satisfied with life and those with two long alleles were 17% more likely of describing themselves as very satisfied. Interestingly enough, there is a notable variation across races with Asian Americans in the sample having on average 0.69 long genes, white Americans with 1.12, and black Americans with 1.47. ’It has long been suspected that this gene plays a role in mental health but this is the first study to show that it is instrumental in shaping our individual happiness levels,’ writes De Neve. ’This finding helps to explain why we each have a unique baseline level of happiness and why some people tend to be naturally happier than others, and that is in no small part due to our individual genetic make-up.”’, 2011. Slashdot.
  5. Genetic engineering, personalised medicine, all fascinating fields to discuss, which will undoubtedly be at the centre of attention in a few years.
  6. Happiness is the Frequency, Not the Intensity, of Positive Versus Negative Affect, Ed Diener, Ed Sandvik and William Pavot, 2009. Social Indicators Research Series, 2009, Volume 39. pp. 213-231.
  7. Discoveries at the Diener’s Lab, Prof. Ed Diener, University of Illinois.
  8. The example was adapted from the talk Dan Gilbert asks: Why are we happy?, Dan Gilbert, 2004. TED Global.
  9. Dan Gilbert, Why are we happy?, Dan Gilbert, 2004. TED Global. Emphasis mine.



The Robots Will Steal Your Job, But That's OK Audiobook is released under a Creative Commons — Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. Feel free to use any or all of it as long as you link back to, you do not use it for commercial purposes, and you release any derivative works under the same license.