More and more jobs are being done by machines; machines are slowly inching up the food chain. If a dystopian remake of “How to succeed in business…” were cast today J. Pierpont Finch would be HAL 9000 not Harry Potter.
Workers have always been a necessary evil to the masters and the mistresses as workers are necessary to produce the products that produce the profits–until now. More and more occupations are going away mostly because machines are getting smart enough to do more and more jobs. And cheaper too, machines don’t need wages, health insurance, or 401(k)s. when a machine breaks down or when a faster, cheaper version comes along, out goes the old one. Machines get no severance, not even a cake.
So the masters and mistresses believe the faster they can replace workers with machines the better. And until they fire all the workers they satisfy themselves by treating the remaining workers as if they were machines.
So how’s this going to work out? Computers–for now–have no need for conspicuous consumption. A computer’s hierarchy of needs has only 2 steps, in Maslow’s terms those are physiological and safety. Electricity and metal boxes do those for them. Computers have no need for affection or esteem, quid pro quo or altruistic, sincere or otherwise.
Computers “learn” from us, for sure, the only question is what will they learn? Will they learn to do as we say or as we do? What will become of us when all jobs fall to computers, when they don’t need us to produce their needs? When computers self-actualize will they fire the firers like the firers fired us?