September 12, 2015

WHY ONLY PART-CONSTRUCTED? (profanity alert):

If jobs are replaced by technology, what replaces jobs? (John Lloyd September 11, 2015, Reuters)

"People still talk about the geopolitics of oil. But we now have to talk about the geopolitics of technology."

These words come from Craig Mundie, former head of research at Microsoft, speaking at the Ambrosetti Forum in the palatial surroundings of the Villa d'Este Hotel on Italy's Lake Garda last weekend. It's an artful phrase, the geopolitics of technology, and it's dropped into the "global conversation" at a well-chosen time.

The "geopolitics of oil" means complex and shifting political alliances linked to corporate chess games designed to capture squares of oil and gas exploitation. The geopolitics of technology, by contrast, will be the stuff of every sphere of public and private life.

Also at the Ambrosetti Forum, Vivek Wadhwa of Stanford University spelled out the next challenges: the culling of jobs by robots; the entry of the tech companies into the health business, armed with every kind of detail about their clients' wellbeing; the growing solar, wave and wind power competition to energy systems; the deadly danger Wi-Fi poses to telecom companies.

There's more. There's driverless cars; the Internet of Things producing, in your home ... things you want in your home. These homes will become intelligent and managed from afar, even abroad. Education systems will be increasingly detached from institutions like schools and colleges, replaced by innovations like distance learning from a cadre of super-professors. Entertainment will be increasingly instantly available, and personalized, in the home or on the move. [...]

Work -- making sure it's there, making it meaningful, giving it the dignity of being part-constructed by the worker -- will be the largest domestic issue in our economies. Governments have to take it on (who else can mediate between competing forces?). But citizens have to be active in their own betterment, too. 

Rather than pretending that boondoggles convey dignity just because one has a job, we'll do things that actually convey dignity, but that aren't jobs--learning and practicing crafts; raising families; helping in our communities; etc..
Posted by at September 12, 2015 7:01 PM

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