Monday, March 16, 2015

King Ludd is Dead; Long Live King Ludd!

Ned Ludd is alive and well and having a rebirth in Austin Texas, at the SXSW Music Film Interactive festival.  Ned Ludd, of course, is the late 18th century English weaver whose name was immortalized in the word Luddite, someone who is anti-technology, because advances in technology cost jobs.  They are at it again in Austin, Texas, mostly a tech crowd protesting the further advance of technology.

What are you gonna do?  Technology won the war against King Ludd, technology won the war against the mythic John Henry.  And technology will win this war too, there is no stopping the advance of science and technology.  Ask yourself: if you were a CEO, would you refuse to automate your company with all its corporate benefits, for the sake of the jobs that your company will otherwise cut?  If you choose to save your workers’ jobs, your Board of Directors will cut YOUR job.  You know that.  On the other hand, the future has already chosen automation and computers everywhere in the work-place.  Can AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Robots be far behind?  Putting aside the question of when, AI and Robots are on their way, and they will cost jobs – millions and tens of millions of jobs – especially here in the USA, the home of the high-paid middle class (whose numbers shrink every day).

So, what are you gonna do?  If business owners and CEO’s have their way, it is full-steam ahead for the corporate benefits of technology, damn the lost jobs and hoist the flag of the Bottom Line!  If workers had their way, AI and Robots will never be allowed into the work-place.  Today, in our version of Capitalism, CEOs will have their say and workers will have less and less voice in corporate decisions (even as they vote to cripple the once powerful Union movement). 

So, what are you gonna do?  Well, the first step toward a solution is acknowledging that there is a problem.  The second step is to think about it and come up with YOUR solution.  The third step is to sit down with your enemies and fight it out.

If you can’t solve it sitting down around a table, you’ll fight it out the old-fashioned way, with bloodshed and battlefields.

P.S.      It seems to me that at least two good things must come out of such a discussion.  One, a plan for a reduced human population, as technology needs fewer and fewer humans to get the job done.  Two, more and more people will be full participants in a true affluent middle-class society.  That’s not a bad result, but it will take a huge effort on the part of the people who might otherwise fall by the wayside.  That’s YOU, Binky, so get busy!