Monthly Archives: October 2011

The threat of technology

Those of you that play computer games should be noticing that the non player characters in many of those games are getting better and better at providing tough competition. Not just at chess, but at things like adaptive strategy and tactics too.

It’s one thing to point to industry and suggest factories can no longer be an economic engine for citizens because too many human beings have been replaced by robotic automation. You can hear that and feel secure that with schooling and training that would place you in a professional class, that reality need not be a threat to you.

But that’s simply not the case.

This NYTimes article details how computer software has replaced the thousands of highly paid Lawyers and Paralegals that would evaluate documents in the 1970s. Replacing human beings and doing a better job too. And even those that would suggest computer technology doesn’t cost human beings jobs – they cannot claim that the jobs created are better jobs.

This is a collection of articles from demonstrating many professional positions at risk of being replaced by computer programs or automation.

Basically the message is that if you are going into debt for an IVY league education, you cannot use the past to project your future earnings. Already freshly minted lawyers are delivering pizza for a living, unable to secure employment as lawyers.

It’s a problem, because a computer is better than any slave. As a professional you’re competing against a virtual intelligence that doesn’t sleep, get tired or bored, that doesn’t complain and has no responsibilities. Only when artificial intelligence is developed to a degree computers demand a living wage.. and that will never happen.

But what is computer proof? What can we do that computers cannot?

Art and creativity. And even while a computer can imitate or create art along a given set of parameters, it cannot do what a human being does :express themselves.  Because that’s what mastery is, expressing yourself. It is why Beethoven is not Mozart, and yet all of Beethoven’s work can be distinguished as such from listening to it. And a computer cannot take expertise from one field and apply it to a different field – as happened when botany gave insight to the field of genetics. Steve Jobs envisioned clean, simple design the never existed before – a computer cannot do that. Perhaps a computer will never ever do that.

Computers cannot do magic. They cannot manifest their will into reality as they lack will. That’s the human edge. So if you would plan for your future, know what you most authentically want and create that. Be an Artist and make your life an expression of who you are. Because if you settle on a career of monotony, computers are better at that than you are.

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October 2011
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