Towards Better Democracy

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Our wrong calls on the future of work: one wonders …


Our wrong calls on the future of work
BBC Miriam Quick and Piero Zagami, 12 March 2018

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Image copyright BBC, 2018

Malcolm D B Munro
Monday 12 March, 2018

Comment: Although the graphic doesn’t cover the immediate future, clearly what the authors have in mind is the current set of predictions that in the near future there will be no work. That all work will be performed by robots and other means of artificial intelligence. This is a pity.

Predictions such as those referred to in the graphic have a habit of simply sliding past any predicted date and we simply don’t notice any more.

As with all graphics which attempt to convey textual ideas rather than simply information there is an acute distortion in the views expressed. Whether we take reading and writing, or the Industrial Revolution, good comes with bad. Likewise with the automobile, or horseless carriage. For example, New York had hundreds of thousands of horses all moving about the city, and its outlying areas, prior to the introduction of petrol driven vehicles, all requiring housing, food and the greatest care and attention in their upkeep. And they required a small army to look after them.

What is not often pointed out is that New York, like many other cities at the time, was drowning in horse dung. One can argue the pros and cons of any of the changes that the graphic refers to, or any other that occurs to you. But, once established, there is no turning back. One thinks immediately of nuclear weapons. A nuclear weapons free world. Unlikely, don’t you think?  Until, that is, more deadly and more efficient means of mass killings come along. Then nuclear weapons will go the way of swords, sabres and rapiers.

What we do have is an awful lot of people. With many, many more to come. And, like the horses in New York, one wonders …

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Filed under: Arts, history, Media, Memoir, Music, poetry, songs, stories

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