How nice it would be to automate every little boring job that we currently now have?
You, reader, might be thinking that yours is a dead-end administrative affair at the office that could be completed within one or two hours with the help of a basic understanding of a computer programming language (Python, anyone?). Or you could be a sewer hunter of our modern times, wishfully thinking, “When do we finally invent a machine that can complete the job, instead of me going down the drain?” Unless it’s something you enjoy doing. In which case, more power to you!
Automation of jobs are key to a more fulfilling life, especially for others whose jobs constantly threaten their safety and well-being. We would be freeing a lot of people from their regular miseries. Imagine all the things one could do after regaining the eight-hours-a-day six-days-a-week time that was previously allocated for “work”. More people would then look into other avenues of creating value. But this kind of intervention requires an access to a certain level of technology, and many would argue that by today’s standards, it might require artificial intelligence and/or machine learning.
Engineers and scientists have been exploring fields into which AI integration would vastly improve the quality of work.
The seductive notion that machines are more efficient in doing tasks than humans is important to acknowledge here. We must remember that while the Industrial Revolution (arguably) increased productivity by employment of machines, it has also opened inconveniences such as destruction of natural environment which, in my opinion, offsets the benefits gained. There’s a healthy compromise to be made between Efficiency and Environmentalism.
For now, we have to recognize that we cannot automate every boring task there is, not even at the rate which our technology upgrades. Machines are not still reliable enough (by today’s standards at least) to make all the important and, dare I say, humane decisions.
In the meantime, we need to consider several things when doing work that nobody wants to do:
- If nobody does it, and nothing happens when it doesn’t get done, it probably didn’t need to be done in the first place.
- If the outcome does need to be achieved, we might look at alternative methods of achieving that end. For example, if nobody wants to clean the clogged estero, then we should be mindful of our domestic waste and stop throwing them in the estero!
- If that task is the only way of achieving that end, then we should look at why it’s unenjoyable, and how we might make it more bearable. We might also look at how it can be broken up into more bearable chunks. For example, you don’t like cleaning the bathroom because you have to deal with grime, human waste, and whatnot. So, you light up an incense and put on an upbeat music to boost your morale.
- If nobody still wants to do it, it has to be done, there’s no other available options, and it’s as optimized and bearable as we can make it, whoever is able probably just takes turns.