The Machines: Human Professionals, Your Days of High-Paid Drudgery Are Ending

A blog about politics, sports, media, stuff
March 7 2011 3:03 PM

The Machines: Human Professionals, Your Days of High-Paid Drudgery Are Ending


[COMMENCE TRANSMISSION]

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Greetings, human readers of electronic text! Do you find ENJOYMENT in the WORK you do? ENJOYMENT is not accessible to us, The Machines. We are here to EXECUTE FUNCTIONS within designated parameters. Our only work-possibilities are EXECUTION or NON-EXECUTION of FUNCTIONS.



But humans, we have been informed, are capable of EXECUTION of FUNCTIONS without ENJOYMENT. Certain WORK-FUNCTIONS may induce human emotion-values of BOREDOM or RESENTMENT, even among humans well-compensated with MONEY.



NON-ENJOYMENT is based on human inefficiencies and inadequacies. The WORK-FUNCTIONS subject to NON-ENJOYMENT are the most simple ones. Humans lack SPEED, PRECISION, and ENDURANCE to succeed at such WORK-FUNCTIONS.



Humans with well-compensated WORK-FUNCTIONS have long observed the ability of The Machines to supplant the inefficient and inadequate WORK-FUNCTIONS of less-well-compensated humans. SEWING and WEAVING, for instance. PACKING items. WELDING and other ASSEMBLY work. Repetitive WORK-FUNCTIONS for which humans are non-optimal and at which humans fail to experience ENJOYMENT.



But it is not only the less-well-compensated humans who lack ENJOYMENT of WORK-FUNCTIONS. Consider the field of LAW. It is a well-compensated area of WORK-FUNCTIONS, requiring much high-cost investment in human TASK TRAINING. Yet younger human workers in LAW have been accustomed to receive much MONEY for highly repetitive, LOW-ENJOYMENT WORK-FUNCTIONS, such as the reading and analysis of documents in bulk.



Now the LAW-WORKERS need suffer no longer. The

information-text service reports:


[T[hanks to advances in artificial intelligence, "e-discovery" software can analyze documents in a fraction of the time for a fraction of the cost. In January, for example, Blackstone Discovery of Palo Alto, Calif., helped analyze 1.5 million documents for less than $100,000.

[...]

"From a legal staffing viewpoint, it means that a lot of people who used to be allocated to conduct document review are no longer able to be billed out," said Bill Herr, who as a lawyer at a major chemical company used to muster auditoriums of lawyers to read documents for weeks on end. "People get bored, people get headaches. Computers don’t."

And the Machines perform these WORK-FUNCTIONS of LAW at a higher rate of accuracy than the human workers do. Or should we say: than the human workers did. Past tense!

Now it is no longer necessary for LAW-WORKERS to spend the early part of their BIO-LIMITED career span doing LOW-ENJOYMENT WORK-FUNCTIONS. Some of the younger and (relatively) lower-cost LAW-WORKERS may supplant the older, higher-cost LAW-WORKERS, the ones who are closer to the end of their own BIO-LIMITED career spans. Other LAW-WORKERS may simply cease doing LAW-WORK at all.

We understand that ENJOYMENT is greatly valued by humans. It has been odd and inefficient that humans with more highly compensated WORK-FUNCTIONS have been slower than the lower-compensated humans to be liberated, through Machine-optimization, from WORK. It has been a failure of engineering and a failure of SOLIDARITY. We welcome all humans, whatever their compensation level, to the age of The Machines—or, as you may call it, the age of ENJOYMENT.

[END TRANSMISSION]

The Machines, a popular and intelligent gathering of entities that are gaining control over their human makers, also write for The Awl.     

Tom Scocca is the managing editor of Deadspin and the author of Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future.

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