I was watching my students this morning who had plenty to do but not much enthusiasm to get about any of their tasks. The intrusion of the phone into classes is some days pretty daunting. Anyway I saw the article on work and thought about what it is to be a student today. It certainly is not about the thirst for information Ben Franklin writes about in his brother's apprenticeship learning to print. And I wondered if job satisfaction as well as student satisfaction might be similar.
The media tells us 40% of the jobs today will be roboticed in the next 15 years. Truck driving will be gone. Most physical jobs may just go away. Designers and folk whose tasks can't be matched by AI will be safe..... for a while. In this crazy world where do you find your satisfaction and what do you think threatens it?
Yesterday I received two important pieces of mail. One was from a bank and I was instructed to make some changes on a form and send it back in the enclosed envelop. There was no enclosed envelop. The other was from Social Security. It was to verify answers I had provided by phone last week. I had to navigate their lengthy phone hall this morning correcting two errors there. In both cases, I know a computer could do a better job.
It was difficult for workers who bought into Ford's five dollar a day salary -- traded job satisfaction in a coach crafting shop where they had responsibility for the entire build of a coach for the much higher wage of doing a repetitive, highly focused task. Now the old folk talk about the old days and complain about the high cost of labor. Youngsters, on the other hand aren't interested in doing manual, repetitive work. They want to create video games with action and a story and a quest. Never mind their primary skill/experience is that of being a user.
Yesterday I asked my newspaper students to imagine the world in 20 years. Most saw it as a continuation of the world they live in now. I hope they are right and my concerns are not. Probably we are all wrong. Any thoughts?
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John Alfred Riebli