Artisanal Service

“Blessed are the forgetful: for they get the better even of their blunders.”
—Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher, born October 15, 1844

Work in the 21st Century: The Good News
Wrote about the future of work the other day (Surplus to Requirements).

The Life of RileyThe future will have no need for labor in the traditional sense. All mass production and most administrative work will be performed by machines. Nobody will have to work for a living: basic income will be provided, or else goods and services will be available at no charge.

Nevertheless, work will exist, and some if it will be done for money (whatever that will look like). While nobody will have to work, many people will want to. Available work will be one of:


    • Entrepreneurship: People will want to do business. It appears to be a basic human drive. If you hang around with entrepreneurs, you know that money is not really the point: it happens to be how the game is scored, and it’s useful.
    • Personal service: Conspicuous consumption (speaking of basic human drives) will not go away, and rich people will show off by employing real, live human beings to do the stuff that robots and computer programs do for the rest of us. Artisanal service.
Steam Parliament
  • Public service: This one’s arguable. Most administrative work won’t require human beings. Artificial Intelligence will eliminate the need for human beings (if Congressmen fall into that category) to make policy decisions, to the considerable benefit of humanity and the planet. Automated systems will certainly do a better job of administration than bureaucrats do. But politics is probably too much fun for people to give up entirely, and intelligent machines will probably get a kick out of working with them.
  • Art: I’m using the term in the widest sense. Traditional fine arts, crafts, hand-made and artisanal goods of all kinds, computer games, movies, opera, hip hop, television…talk about basic. Don’t forget: in the benign scenario we’re considering today, people are going to have a lot of time on their hands. We won’t know for a while if intelligent machines will want to be creative, too.
  • Science: This isn’t going anywhere. Too much fun. The next few decades are going to be astonishing. Intelligent machines are certainly going to be involved, and they will want to play with the kind of people who do science.
  • Engineering: Also a question. Artificial Intelligence will certainly put software and other engineers out of work.The machines will probably shut them out of the really important projects for safety’s sake. But human beings who love this stuff (hard as it may be to admit that your friendly neighborhood geeks and nerds are human, they are) will probably want to keep doing it. It probably splits into a combination of art and science (see above). 

More of the Good News about the future tomorrow. Meanwhile, get started living the Life of Riley with us at Don’t Eat Lunch Alone in Northampton today at noon. Since entrepreneurship is going to be a live possibility in the future, join us to discuss the financial and legal issues around it at our 21st Century Business Roundtable tonight..

Today’s Events

Don’t Eat Lunch Alone

TUESDAY October 15  
7:15-9:00AM Amherst Amherst Chamber Breakfast
9:00-10:00AM Easthampton G.R.I.S.T. Get Real Individual Support Today
12:00-2:00PM Northampton Don’t Eat Lunch Alone
6:00-9:00PM Greenfield Explore Going Into Business
6:00-8:00PM Northampton Financial and Legal Issues for Entrepreneurs
8:00PM Amherst UMass Entrepreneurship Initiative Social


Don’t Feel Bad About Not Reading the Fine Print
“…I am not going to engage in any legal argument with Samsung or Apple anyway. The cost of even discussing litigation far exceeds the value of a television set or iPhone, and the central provision of modern law is that a fight with an American company that has $150bn in the bank is one that you can only lose….”
Why I Ignore Apple’s Silly Reams of Terms and Conditions

The Last Word

“In all life one should comfort the afflicted, but verily, also, one should afflict the comfortable, and especially when they are comfortably, contentedly, even happily wrong.”

—John Kenneth Galbraith, American economist, born October 15, 1908

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