Monday, August 3, 2015

Blinded by Rose-Colored Glasses

Last night Jason Hiner filed a story on ZDNet that served up enough Kool-Aid to last the entire month. His title was "When robots eliminate jobs, humans will find better things to do;" I suppose the best way to describe it is that excessive focus on work as little more than a schedule of tasks has led to a complete disregard of the many roles that the workers play, regardless of the area in which they are earning a living (or trying to do so). Probably because his own reading never extends beyond the Web pages of ZDNet, there are clear signs that he has never read any analyses about the role that work, simply as an activity, plays is establishing human well-being.

On the other hand, it is hard to pick up a newspaper these days and avoid reports of a rise in sociopathic behavior that can be traced back to not only desperate economic straits but an absence of both gainful and meaningful employment for those hit hardest by that economic meltdown we continue to bowdlerize as a "recession." Without flaunting a bias for rhyme, I would suggest that, rather than an economic recovery, we have entered an "Age of Rage." That rage found an ironic means of expression recently when a robot deployed on a project of hitchhiking across the United States was assaulted, meaning that most of the structure was trashed and the head was removed. (Think of the conclusion of Easy Rider happening shortly into the first reel.) According to Trent Moore's account on blastr this morning, the perpetrators have not yet been found. Once they are identified, I suggest that Hiner have a meeting with them in a small room with the doors locked!

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