High-Touch, Low-Touch and the Relentless Automation of Jobs
High-Touch, Low-Touch and the Relentless Automation of Jobs by Charles Hugh Smith – Of Two Minds
The existing platforms of for-profit cartels/monopolies and the central state are no longer able to provide enough paid work and high-touch services for everyone.
We all know that automation is eating its way up the human-labor food chain at an increasing clip. Yet there is remarkably little insight into this process.
Let’s see if we can’t connect two insightful essays on this topic, one from musician-essayist David Byrne and the second on the business model of Amazon.com:
Eliminating the Human (via GFB). Here is an excerpt:
“We’re a social species–we benefit from passing discoveries on, and we benefit from our tendency to cooperate to achieve what we cannot alone. In his book, Sapiens, Yuval Harari claims this is what allowed us to be so successful. He also claims that this cooperation was often facilitated by a possibility to believe in ‘fictions’ such as nations, money, religions and legal institutions.
Machines don’t believe in fictions, or not yet anyway. That’s not to say they won’t surpass us, but if machines are designed to be mainly self-interested, they may hit a roadblock. If less human interaction enables us to forget how to cooperate, then we lose our advantage.
I’m wondering what we’re left with when there are fewer and fewer human interactions. Remove humans from the equation and we are less complete as people or as a society. ‘We’ do not exist as isolated individuals–we as individuals are inhabitants of networks, we are relationships. That is how we prosper and thrive.”
Why Amazon is eating the world. Here is an excerpt:
“I believe that Amazon is the most defensible company on earth, and we haven’t even begun to grasp the scale of its dominance over competitors. Amazon’s lead will only grow over the coming decade, and I don’t think there is much that any other retailer can do to stop it.
…each piece of Amazon is being built with a service-oriented architecture, and Amazon is using that architecture to successively turn every single piece of the company into a separate platform — and thus opening each piece to outside competition.”
There is much more of interest in each piece, but these short excerpts offer a taste of each.