Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Everywhere You Look

I ended *my last posting* by asking if the disappearance of the Human would necessarily be a Bad Thing. Therefore I implied it just could be a Good Thing. Perhaps, though, it depends on who you are. 

If you're a wild animal – a lion or wildebeest or jaguar or somesuch - and the Human were to disappear, it would be Good Thing. If you're a domestic dog or domestic cat, it would definitely be a Bad Thing. If you're a cow or bull or horse or pig or whatever, who knows? And if you're a Human, well, it depends.

If the Human doesn't disappear soon by means of an apocalyptic flood or of an apocalyptic nuclear war, what sort of life does he face? You see, if English-speaking North America is anything to go by, the Human is steadily becoming redundant, for the Robot is now doing more and more of the work the Human was paid to do.

As each year passes the numbers of Humans gainfully working as a percentage of the numbers of all Humans, drop. This shouldn't surprise you, since all employers now boast that, thanks to automation, they are now “doing more with less”. Nonetheless, the workless rate the Rulers give out is usually a steady eight percent or so.

At first sight this doesn't look too bad. But the real rate is around fifteen percent – not that much below the Great Depression rate of twenty-five percent. Even so, this won't bother you if you belong to the Contented Class, for, thanks to food stamps and their like, the workless Human is now Invisible. Unlike his forefather in the Great Depression he no longer needs to stand in a soup line for those of the Contented Class to see as they drive past.

So big are the strides of technology, automation, in the form of the Robot, will soon be everywhere you look. In next to no time there'll hardly be a job the Robot won't be doing better and cheaper than the Human who now does it. Instead of just fifteen percent of Humans being workless, eighty percent will be. What then?

If you are one of this eighty percent, being drowned in an apocalyptic flood, or being nuked by an atomic bomb, may not sound so bad.

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