Dan pointed me to this article which got me thinking about automation and what it does to jobs. Basically, it destroys them, eating at them from the bottom (unskilled) to the top (skilled) and it will eventually put us all out of “work”.
What brings me to that conclusion is this statement:
In short, what today’s flexible software is threatening is to “free” us from the drudgery of all repetitive tasks rather than those of lowest value, pushing us away from expertise (A) which we know how to impart, toward ingenious Rube Goldberg like opportunities (B) unsupported by any proven educational model. This shift in emphasis from jobs to opportunities is great news for a tiny number of creatives of today, but deeply troubling for a majority who depend on stable and cyclical work to feed families.
Regardless of how skilled, a job is nothing more than a series of repetitive tasks. If you buy into the authors views repetitive tasks will be taken over by automation regardless of the degree of skilled required. What that leaves us with will be a series of opportunities we either must seize or we will wither away into poverty.
If you are an opportunist this is not a bad thing. You go about life engaged in your passion and seize opportunities as they arise for which you are richly rewarded.
Unfortunately, most of us are not opportunist.
Most of us keep our nose to the grindstone, whittling away at repetitive tasks, creating consumer goods that people will consume with the money they make keeping their nose to the grindstone at their repetitive tasks.