I saw this link on the Ricochet site and it is a podcast that discusses many of the things we’ve been talking about here. The shift in society from money from wages to ownership is something that will occur over time and affect not only work, but even things like schooling. I’ve always been amazed that we are still being taught a range of skills that are suited to the economy we are living behind and the economy we are heading towards. It’s amazing to think about how little people understand about running a business and a whole host of skills that are strongly related to how you make money these days. What would be interesting to me is the extent to which we as a country will shift in that direction…what would it mean to have a nation of people who are very, very sensitive to markets, business, etc? As technologies tend to greater and greater specific changes, the technological, the cultural, and the financial will merge. In some ways, (cultural, I think) we are already there. We will become used to subtler and more “bespoke” products, each made just for us with almost as a little effort as mass market products are made today. As is mentioned in the podcast, I can’t wait for the day of owning my army of robots!
I saw this piece in ComputerWorld which says, albeit darkly, stuff we’ve been saying here for some time now. It doesn’t have to be a dystopic view of things, but I’ll bet that’s we will stumble into if we don’t think through the consequences of the path we’re moving down.
A report from researchers at Oxford has suggested that almost half of American jobs will be replaced by technology. While this sounds mighty grim, the upside take from the article is that this will emphasize the development of more creative and social skills. This would certainly be an interesting society! Full of writers and musicians? Maybe….but perhaps people will be more creative about things they are not about now. More refined solutions to ever more complex human problems!
This also hits an EOW theme….how can we really place psychological value in work when so many forces are trying to take it away from us?
One post in like 6 months is a sure sign this blog is moribund. Upon reflection, I’m not sure that a blog was the right way to approach this topic, which is still in my head a lot. I don’t mean to beat myself up over doing this as a blog; it just didn’t really give me what I’ve needed to have, and I suspect I haven’t really given the readers what they wanted to see.
I’m open to what people want to say about this in the comments and perhaps I can find a way to get back to this as a blog again….otherwise, not so much.
So I was watching Washington Journal on C-SPAN this morning and they were talking about the soon-to-be released 1940 census.
Much of the discussion was centered around charts and data…and comparison to the 2010 data.
Based on the 2010 data the percentage of Americans working in BOTH agriculture AND manufacturing is…12%!
Think about that — only 1 person in 8 in America grows food or makes things….wow.
Enough with “labor-saving” inventions. We need “management-saving” devices. What’s worse, work or the boss?
– P J O’Rourke
Here is an article that distills a lot of what we’ve been talking about here at EOW into two simple categories:
Physical work, which is the first work to get extensively automated and
Mental work, which is now, relatively recently, getting the same systematic treatment that older physical work has.
Here’s a paragraph that hooked me:
To be frank, I’m not that sorry for them. Over the years, I have come to realize just how many skilled white-collar professionals are just phoning it in when they go to work every day. They fill out paperwork and connect the easy dots in pre-established formulas, rather than doing original, creative, conceptual thinking. Chances are you’ve seen one of those “mystery diagnosis” shows on cable TV, the ones that tell you the story of some guy who suffers a mysterious, debilitating ailment for years before he finally finds a specialist who tells him he has some rare disease. It seems like every one of those shows begins with a doctor who listens to the patient’s symptoms, plugs them into a common, familiar, and completely wrong diagnosis, and then lets it go at that. It begins with a doctor who’s going through the motions rather than doing original thinking to solve the problem.
There has been a lot of discussion recently about the falling value (and rising price) of a university diploma, and this is part of the reason for it. Much of a contemporary university education is designed to train dot-connectors, to fill students’ heads with established formulas and the received wisdom, but not to teach the kind of creative problem-solving that can only be learned, in my experience, by going beyond the canned knowledge peddled in the classroom and dealing with actual, real-world challenges.
It also strikes me how many “knowledge professionals” want to race to stuff some problem they’ve encountered into a known (to them) model or paradigm because it relates so strongly to how they make profit in their work. The irony to me is how they racing to become…machine like. Is it any wonder than we want the REAL machines to do more and more of these tasks?