Michael O. Church takes a look at the world of work and finds a problem potentially as dangerous as the scourge of automation that we have been dutifully tracking here over the past couple of years. In fact, it goes hand in hand with automation to produce an even bleaker outlook than just looking at automation will provide.
Per Church, the problem is an employment culture focused on subordination (linked item is not entirely safe for work due to language in the title, and may be offensive to some because of same repeated throughout):
Workplace subordination, in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, had major operational efficiencies. Additionally, the destruction it inflicted on human capital was there for poets and philosophers to observe and mourn, but it never threatened to cripple the economy, because its standardization effects outweighed its costs. Assembly-line workers, in truth, didn’t need to be creative to do their jobs. What has changed is that machines are taking over the subordinate work, and will soon enough capture all of it. If the job can be done by a person in subordination, that means that perfect completion can be specified (as opposed to creative work where perfect completion is not even well-defined) and if it can specified, it can be programmed, and the work can be given over to robots. Soon enough, that will happen.
….All that will be left for us is work requiring individual creativity and personal expression, and the people who have lost these capabilities to decades of horrible conditioning will need to be given the help to recover (or, at least, enough sustenance while they can bring themselves to recover). The real discussion we need to have– involving economists, business leaders, educators, and technologists– is how to prepare ourselves for a post-subordinate world.
How exactly do we do that? I have some thoughts over the Speculist.