The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment – Warren Bennis
In anticipation of this event I already have my dog(s). (It’s a big warehouse)
The world is constantly in a state of flux. Which I’m constantly grateful for. I quite like chaos. It keeps things interesting. Economists, futurists and carnival psychics quibble about what’s coming tomorrow. At least 50% of them are wrong. (I just made that stat up) Maybe they’re all wrong. I poked myself in the third eye long ago and never fully recovered. My ability to predict the future is exactly nil. Just like everyone else. Its this amazing commonality that we all share. Regardless of race, gender, political ideology or fiber intake.
I can however make some assumptions about the future and then hypothesise. Which is a lot like mental masturbation. You work hard to get to some sort of conclusion. But afterwards you’re just left with a sticky mess that needs cleaning up. We still do it though. Some of us daily and routinely. Hypothesise I mean. We suppose things. And then take steps to combat something that hasn’t happened yet. And potentially may never happen.
The opposite of this is mindfulness. Or living in the moment. Its something I’ve been trying to cultivate. But its really fucken hard.
The future is exciting and potentially comforting to us. Somewhere out there is a version of us that is hopefully better than what we are now. Although why this should be of solace to us is a little worrisome. After all it means the current version of us is shit. Or somehow defective. Or not as great as it should be. Why do we plan on being better at some as yet undetermined date? Whats wrong with right now?
The rise of the machines.
This is less like thinking about the future. Because it’s already happening now.
While you’re sitting in your little cubicle farm, doing… whatever it is little corporate minions do. I think it’s mostly die slowly, in meetings, that serve no purpose and have deviated so far off topic they now resemble completely new forms of life. (but I could be wrong)
Here’s the grim reality of your situation. Right now, somewhere, some vitamin D deprived, bespectacled programming fuck is writing code meant to replace you in your job. He doesn’t hate you. (well… he might) This is just the way of things. And the sooner you realise you are basically an inefficient, time-wasting meat sack with a heartbeat the better off you’ll be.
This machine is guaranteed to be way better at your job than you. No excuses that you were stuck in traffic. No more smoke breaks. No more sniffing blow off the toilet seat during lunch. No more surfing Pornhub or manufacturing your Facebook life during office hours. God… if you weren’t around the company would save SOOOOOO MUCH money. And the work would actually get done! Why wouldn’t we want to replace you with a machine? I suppose if you were really hot we might keep you around. But otherwise efficiency all the way.
‘Whatever Jo, my corporate overlord values me!’
Theres actually a quick test for this. Its called market related salary. If you’re earning it… I’m sorry to break this to you, but you are an easily replaceable cog in their machinery. If not, then well done and fucken A. You’re clearly good at your job. (although chances are around the watercooler its whispered that its ‘blowjobs’)
Also, your value to the company is inversely proportional to your age. Which is paradoxical because you have more experience. Experience only matters when you don’t have any. Once you have lots… it’s a little bit ‘meh’ on the assessment form. And besides… as soon as you near fifty five HR puts you on a watch list. The watch list is dual purpose. People who might potentially die like really soon. And/or people we need to work out of the company to make way for younger, more enthusiastic people and/or machines.
You’ve seen it happen to other people in your company, yet you imagine when it comes to you, it will somehow be different. We don’t value our aged. We’d like them to go off quietly into the night. (and die)
Let me use an example from my own industry in the not too distant future. People think there is a narrowing coming, but really, it’s already started.
*Wavy lines (indicating a time shift)*
A supervisor on a mine north west of here notices that a part has failed in a chemically corrosive application on one of the monitors that he’s employed to watch. He goes to pour himself another cup of coffee and pats the dog. The computer automatically sends a parts request to my server. My computer immediately quotes based on alloy availability and printing costs. The mines computer evaluates the best quote and sends my server a purchase order.
Material is automatically pulled from my warehouse, cut to size and is placed in the 3D printer. This prints a perfect replica of the part required. If it’s small and light enough it will be collected by courier drone and delivered. Alternatively Uber will send a driverless transport to pick it up and deliver.
Lets count how many jobs we just invalidated…
- All my sales staff
- All their buying staff
- All my forklift drivers/overhead crane operators
- An entire engineering shop. The lathe operator, the CNC machine operator. The owner of the engineering shop. All his accounts staff. His drivers.
- All my drivers
Personally I can’t wait. Seriously. That’s like twenty peoples personal shit I won’t have to deal with. And I can play playstation all day. Sounds amazing.
On a quick side note…
Hopefully you’re not trying to persuade your son or daughter to take up medicine. It’s like wanting your child to become an alchemist. You’re being an irresponsible parent, in the future all surgery will be done by robots. Insanely more accurate than your inefficient son or daughter with their shaky hands and personal problems. Blood tests will be immediate… your toilet will probably be able to most of them when you take a piss in the morning. Medicine as we know it will no longer exist. We need plumbers though. And electricians. Infinitely better career choice in my opinion.
Going forward I think we have two survival choices. (There may be more, but at the moment my binary brain can only think of two) You can turn yourself into a highly specialized freelancer or you can become an entrepreneur. Neither of these can (as far as I can tell) be easily or cheaply replicated by a machine. And there will always be a demand for both.
Or you can make so much fucken money now that you won’t have to worry about the future. That is the third option.
I’m making an assumption that the machines don’t rise up and kill us all. The scariest thing in the world isn’t Trump. Or Putin. Or North Korea. Or radical Islam. It’s some nerd sitting in his y-fronts in his mother’s basement, drinking redbull and programming. Fuck the terrorists. We should be rounding up programmers.
Actually… this might not be a bad plan going forward. Hunt down and kill all the programmers. That way we…
- Stop the technological advance and save millions of jobs.
- Stop the unemployed starving masses rising up and murdering the 1%’ers.
- Preserve the status quo. (it seems pretty okay at the moment imo)
- Potentially save humanity
Now we just have to debate whether humanity is worth saving…