(2003 to 2005)

People as workers..

Sat Jul 17 15:35:00 UTC+1000 2004


I'm not sure what the purpose of human life is, but we can take it that 'existence' is at least a goal.

We have lots of people in the world, and primarily people engage in activity referred to as 'work'.

Traditionally, humans have been required to conduct 'work'. This of course, is still entirely true to a very large extent. However, it is also true that we have increasingly more sophisticated technology. Because of technology, there is less of 'the same' work for people to do.

Cutting a long hindrance short, I wonder at what point we'll see that our population can easily be sustained without contributions for a great deal of people. To a great extent, I think we're already there, although we hide behind 'pretend work'. One thing that I've never been able to determine is if humans have a resource problem or not. Is there enough food and shelter for everyone on earth? If not presently, then is it possible?

I see it around a lot. I see lots of people who don't have jobs, or who are still 'studying', etc. These people all do useful things, it's just that they have to finesse some arrangement for food and shelter that isn't 'having a job'.

On a related note, I don't understand why we train our society to be morons.

And because this is a scattered post, I might insert something about crazy social systems. A lot of people don't really work at all, they don't 'have a job' they just 'have a place in a social system'. Basically a class system. People will say 'but I work all day!', but if you think about what they are really doing, they are probably only communicating with people who are 'also working all day'. That is, there isn't really a net benefit from their toil. I think that's a shame, particularly since there is real work that still needs to be done, that there are not enough people doing. For example, teaching, or nursing, or repairing machines and buildings.

I guess this wouldn't really be a problem, and is probably useful and/or necessary. The things that can make it seem like a problem is that arrangements like this can be orthogonal to 'human progress' in general, and because people aren't taught to realise this is what they are actually doing.

In our world, we take you, keep you in school and uni until you're 25 and then, even though you're still under-educated, we take you and stick you in a cubicle and make you do other 'busy work' where the goal pretty much always revolves around making sure you 'block progress' by lying, cheating, stealing or being secretive, so that you can maintain a 'competitive advantage'. So much of this system is flawed, but there are far too many people who depend on it.. they depend on it so that they can maintain the quality and style of life that they have become accustomed to.

The reason that I think about this sort of stuff a lot is that I consider myself to be a pretty decent programmer. I would really like to be able to contribute to software. Programming machines to do human work is a useful thing to do (provided you aren't doing useless work, which is a tough call, since most IT for 'business' seems to be pretty heavily mixed up with that). I'd really like to be able to contribute to human progress in IT, but having concerns about maintaining a particular lifestyle that I find amiable (i.e. sleeping on the floor in a room full of computers and working on those computers when I'm awake ;) seems so often to run counter to that goal.


Copyright © 2003-2005 John Elliot