Finland, a beautiful country of lakes and forests, is chiefly known for its people’s love of sauna and coffee, Santa Claus Village, rally drivers, northern lights and the Moomins. More recently, Finland’s new government, formed in December 2019, made headlines around the world: the 34-year-old Prime Minister Sanna Marin is the youngest serving PM in the world.

This might explain why news about the new government’s policies spread so rapidly: last week, several British newspapers reported on its supposed plans for a four-day workweek and a six-hour workday. Finnish government was quick to correct them, asserting that they had no such plans.

It was true, however, that Sanna Marin mentioned such a possibility at an event in August last year, stating: “I think people deserve more time with their families, hobbies, life. This could be the next step for us in working life.” The news has underlined a growing interest in the ways societies might have to adapt when (not if) Artificial Intelligence (AI) eventually replaces many “human” jobs.

In a new book A World Without Work, its author, Oxford economist Daniel Susskind, claims that we are inescapably heading for the world of mass underemployment, and not in some distant future, but very soon, because the AI revolution is happening much faster than previous disruptions. These arguments are not new, but Susskind offers pragmatic solutions, too, though some, such as higher taxation, will undoubtedly be hotly disputed.

He is also in favour of universal basic income for people without jobs, but only in return for socially useful activities, such as care-giving.

I am a carer, I have met many other carers, and as a country, we are facing a social care crisis that is only going to get more acute, so I find this suggestion especially persuasive. Instead of fretting about our, and our children’s, jobless future, we should focus on changing attitudes: we need a fresh approach to productivity and to redefine success.

As psychoanalyst Josh Cohen writes in his new book, Not Working, we have reached the peak of busyness and constant connectivity. He argues that we demonise idleness, which on the surface might seem like a sensible thing – who wants to employ lazy people? – but is ultimately unhelpful, leading to burnout and exhaustion. In many Western countries and America in particular, working all the time has become so normalised that the idea of working less, and as a result becoming more productive, not to mention happier, seems radical, despite an abundance of research to the contrary.

I’ve found both books ultimately hopeful: we should stop worrying about AI “stealing” our jobs and embrace the prospect of a world with less work and, in the words of the young Finnish PM, “more time with life”.