March 27th, 2013
in Op Ed
by Roger Erickson
Are cashiers being replaced by vending machines? Ya think?
An information highway, like a computer bus, should render all cashier and other repetitive work obsolete. Countless, mind-numbing jobs tying up intelligent humans will be simply exchange points where coincidental information is automatically exchanged. It boils down to message passing between components - us - in an analog computing system.
Will we find other things to do with our increasing spare time? Are we itching to explore all of our increasing degrees of freedom, from individuals to small teams to a national electorate?
Back around 1905, Henry Ford's original vision was to free farmers from their horses. Back then we had long lists of things we'd rather be doing, and dreams of what we could do, if we only had the time. Henry couldn't have imagined automation as not being a benefit.
What happened? Kids today don't have enough dreams? Maybe they don't get enough activity and interactions to even generate dreams?
Cashiers we'll never miss, but what if WE lose the ability to develop kids whose dreams exceed our current capabilities? THAT we couldn't survive.
Note to humans. Static wealth isn't a priority. It's our dynamic wealth we need to worry about growing. One key metric is imagination. It's always dynamic value that sets the valuation of static values.
Cross posted with Mike Norman Economics.