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?