Why do we make stuff that actually in the long run, diminishes us? Why are we so proud and excited by what we clever monkeys can make, like machines to do work for us, like AI to do that humans used to do?
Think of the jobs loss, think of the boredom of forced retirement and unemployment; think of how those still working have to compete with tech so that everyone has to move faster and be always multi-tasking to keep up… No wonder people burn out mentally and emotionally, no wonder so many people need pills and drugs to stay in the race. Like the White Queen told Alice, we have to run and run just to stay where we are!
It isn’t just human workers being replaced, it’s life being mechanized. The more machines are integrated into our lives, the more our own habits of thought and action come to resemble the mechanical. Machines don’t have humanity; Artificial Intelligence has no empathy; words of greeting and caring from computer voices are meaningless, even deceptions, a pretense that someone cares where there is, in fact, no one there in our interactions.
I am not saying all machines are bad, that all aids to work are dangerous. I am not saying that computers or computerization is an evil in itself. I am not against the evolution of technology.
I am saying we should be aware: we need to pay attention to where we came from, where we are at, and where we are headed, and make some considered decisions about what really makes life better and what only makes it faster.
Sadly, we still allow business people to make our decisions. And business folk in general care not a whit for people except as numbers in the debit column. If I can replace you with a machine that works 24 and requires minimal maintenance why wouldn’t I? The machine doesn’t require the showing of respect or a living wage to survive. Sure, nobody will be able to afford my product becasue they won’t have jobs, but that’s someone else’s problem. My investors need profit.
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Yes, we are in the habit of acquiescence to the familiar, the seeming-inevitable. This is my point, exactly, that the US promotes and is driven by profit-making. There are other countries where people are more important than profit, however, so I know it is a cultural choice, and we don’t have to just sigh and live with it.