I Like Technology, But…

…The more that tech tries to do more, the more likely it is to fail.

Think about it. A relatively simple technology, such as a Raspberry Pi (can be assembled with cheap plug & play elements), still fails at times. I had to return my first Pi4, as it would crash when stressed. When I re-ordered the replacement, I paid a few extra bucks to add more working memory. Don’t know whether that was the failure point, but one thing you will never regret is more memory on a high-tech component.

The linked article points out the many places where a ‘robot worker’ simply won’t be able to handle the job. Outside of the factory floor, the world is non-standard, and navigating that takes either a lot of robot ‘smarts’, or a human, who is uniquely capable of improvising in new circumstances – what we call learning.

So, men and women need to work on shoring up their Strong Suit – their adaptability and capability for learning new things, which doesn’t diminish as quickly as you might expect. We’re really good about learning new physical skills, and those skills that are an extension of previous learning.

I’m almost 70. In the last 10 years, I’ve learned:

  • The layout of a new city, including the ability to get to places without GPS assistance.
  • How to put a computer together, install software, and manage computer tasks, using a Raspberry Pi and Linux. Still learning, with the help of a Linux-savvy brother, and internet assistance (thank you, unseen Linux community!).
  • How to get a radio license, upgrade to long-distance communication, operate a handheld radio, GMRS, and weather spotting.
  • Operation of a new sewing machine – far more high-tech than my previous, non-electronic machine (45 years old).
  • How to operate a Smartboard (2 different types), virtual conferencing, use of online class management system, and various science data collection equipment.
  • Qualified for my insurance license, specialized certification in Health Care insurances, and yearly re-certification of different insurance lines.

That’s just a short summary. My next project will be upgrading my gardening skills, drying some of the harvest, and canning most of the rest. None of which I’ve done by myself. Also, shifting to making bakery products – bread, muffins, biscuits, pies, cakes, and other baking output, with the goal of deleting the need for grocery runs.

My husband is interested in learning beekeeping. He is 73.

We are not unique. What skills we haven’t the time or interest to acquire, we can exchange money/barter for. We are not hopeless or helpless, in the face of a hostile government or corporate structure.

We can always chose to go Galt.

So, no, humans will NOT be replaced. Not anytime soon.


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    • John Fisher on January 31, 2021 at 1:00 PM

    Impressive list. I agree; humans are not going to be replaced anytime soon in the tangible world.

    • RocketmanKarl on January 31, 2021 at 3:03 PM

    While lots of jobs still require that human touch, the trend is for HR to make as many jobs as possible “cogs in the machine”, thereby making everyone easily replaceable by another cog. This also has the other consequence of making special workers, those with better skills, intelligence, intuition, and vision no more valuable than the shlub with none of those things. In fact, the corporate mindset (particularly HR) will go out of it’s way to prove that they don’t need those special people. The bigger the organization, the more likely this is to be how the organization views it’s cogs. Have been the victim of that exact strategy twice in my corporate career.
    I’m sure this trend will continue as well. Those manufacturing and service jobs that make up the bottom half of the middle class, jobs that lifted the serfs out of the breadline and off the farm and up into the middle class will be the first to be replaced. Where will those workers go? Back to the tenements to eke out an existence on government support/UBI. But even Tech jobs will be increasingly automated, because in a cog world, the worker is of less and less value compared to their pay & benefits. The orgainization will reach the point where it’s cheaper to replace & recycle the misbehaving tech than to bother with an intelligent tech support staff. Organizations will create a way of defining programming requirements so that the AI can assemble code objects to make the software. 

    • Wanda Sherratt on January 31, 2021 at 5:30 PM

    Hang on to that old sewing machine, Linda.  Those older ones didn’t have all the fancy stitches, but they were made with metal parts that seldom failed.  The new ones all have plastic gears inside, and it often happens that when one breaks, the whole machine is shot.  Since Christmas I cleaned and rejuvenated a 1907 Singer treadle machine – with a bit of care, they can work as well as they did on Day 1.

    • Linda Fox on February 1, 2021 at 9:18 AM

    You’re right about the sewing machine – in the event of EMP/parts shortage, those machines will still be humming.
    But, I do like the ease of using the new Brother model.

    • Linda Fox on February 1, 2021 at 9:19 AM

    My earlier machine was a Kenmore model, when that meant something about the quality.

    • Evil Franklin on February 1, 2021 at 1:34 PM

    69 myself, which, of course, makes me, like you, one of the “worthless boomers” that are so often disparaged.  Should the SHTF and electricity becomes spotty or non-existent our life lessons and skills will be needed more than ever.  What will the world do without computers, cell phones, televisions, et. al?

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