Working in the Future

March 9, 2014

So your future self’s woken up at home on this weekday in 2055. Time for work, right? But what kind of work? With America’s old industries sagging, what kind of jobs will we do? Here's MIT management professor, Erik Brynjolfsson.



Although interesting I found most of this discussion to be preposterous. The idea of having robots doing the majority of our work is very short-sighted, outlandish and ridiculous. First he discusses how there will be many job shortages outside of the tech industry and how it will be difficult to get a job. Then he throws in the whole robots scenario. This to me was a total contradiction. What frightens me now is how disconnected we are from our planet. For example most Americans have no idea how to grow food, let alone know or care where it comes from. I believe if we program robots to grow our food we will be even more vulnerable as a society, have less knowledge of how basic life sustaining systems like agriculture work, and continue to have this outright subjugation of nature. We need to revert back in many ways while using some forms of technology to help us along the way. Also think of building all those millions of robots . . . Think about how many metal and oil based parts and fossil fuels it will take to create these. This mans very ideas take none of that into consideration and I honestly can't take his idea seriously. He is completely ignorant during this discussion to where raw materials come from. The focus needs to be weening off of oil and finding different materials because quite frankly I believe the current production of oil through tar sands represents how desperate we are and the horrifying means we will undertake to get it. Polluted water, air and GHG emissions ever increasing and ever threatening our biological systems. But hey maybe Erik will find away to control the weather by robots too . The point is we need to change the way we view our planet and stop relying on futuristic technological "fixes" that in my view will only cause more problems. I am not saying lets go back to an archaic existence, I am a realist, but I do believe we should take knowledge from our past that we have lost and incorporate it into our future ideas. I am tired of people trying to create a fantasy world. The world when seen through the right lens in its natural form, has everything we need and is already here. Let's reconnect to it . . .

You write "most Americans have no idea..."

I'll say. An alarming proportion of America's college graduates can't identify the tilt of the Earth's axis from the plane of the ecliptic as the cause of the seasons, so I heard the other day. How disconnected is that?

But in fact, my relatives in their comparatively homely and technologically isolated North Dakota durum, safflower, oat and sunflower growing backwater are already using a number of roving autonomous devices to analyze soil conditions; their farm vehicles, using GPS, continually update all kinds of biometric and geophysical models while doing other tasks. Who knows what's going on in more sophisticated regions, like Iowa?

I'm a manufacturing engineer who directs production operations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, Malaysia, Romania, Ireland and China (these locales most recently). In every one of these installations, skilled people direct and monitor the manufacture of goods fabricated by mechanical manipulators under automatic control. They are fabricated from both raw materials and from constituent components that themselves were fabricated similarly, using automatic controls. The reality of much of what professor Brynjolfsson isn't just on the horizon, it's in the rear-view mirror.

People who parrot streams of shrink-wrapped cliche about how disconnected Americans (who? you?) are from the Earth and don't know where their food comes from and so on and who then console themselves by buying environmentally approved produce - imagining that it was actually grown by the purveyors at their "farmers market" rather than being previously purchased at Costco by said purveyors - are as tedious as climate change deniers.

"The world when seen through the right lens in its natural form..." is nasty, brutish and short.

You write that you "believe we should take knowledge from our past that we have lost and incorporate it into our future ideas." Like what, Windows 95? "

I am very disturbed by this linear projection of humans and machine with no perception of the cosmological spirituality ,but only economic view ,this currency could possible not existed in the future this teacher to me is one the econ neoliberal world dominator with one world controller the master of now.

by this

Sign me up, please. Since Congress cut off my unemployment benefits and even with a Ph.D. I can't find ANY work, I'm about to be homeless. Where are my share-of-wealth payments for thinking, being an author, contributing as a volunteer, being a parent, offering to work while being refused?