Technology is making our daily lives easier and smoother yet at the same time more difficult and stressful. Remember a time when you clocked out and work DID NOT come home with you? How about a time when you got thirsty and just stopped at a water fountain instead of a vending machine that conveniently takes credit cards? The world is becoming more and more automated yet you find yourself doing more work than ever before, what gives?
Automation was supposed to be the revolution to work that made life less stressful, more relaxed and gave us more free time to pursue leisure. In the last 50 years however it’s been nothing of the sort. Now that your emails and texts can keep you connected to the office 24/7, you’re working overtime without even realizing it. The self-checkout registers at the grocery store might seem more convient but in reality you’re doing all the work a cashier used to do, but doing it for free.
Society still has need for workers. I see two types of work staying in the coming age of full automation. The first class is the obvious class, the ones who invent, build, and maintain the machines that do all the ‘real’ work. These people, certainly the younger generation or the highly educated older generations, will be viewed as heroes to business. Any time you can take a machine and make it do the work of 20 employees, it’s a cost effective decision. The second class will be everyone else who is left to serve the first class. These are the operatiors of technology and the old fashioned workers, the ones who scrape by day to day to make a living.
Automation, although a good change and a change that’s happening no matter what we do, is going to divide the workforce significantly. This divide will cause rifts and friction in the social economic structure as well as the political environment that we haven’t seen since the great depression. Are we ready to handle that again? Does it matter if we are prepared? Are we really preparing, or is a machine?