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work, horse

Hoje: apenas um rodapé ao tema aberto ontem. Falávamos de algoritmos, entramos na AI, enredámos à framework total, aqui temos que acrescentar uma nota à mais evidente força de transformação da sociedade: o trabalho. Não se pode compreender a humanidade sem compreender como esta se estratifica e relaciona dependendo das actividades que cada qual desenvolve, garante, ou é obrigado a prestar.

Do artigo “Will smarter machines cause mass unemployment?” -

So which jobs are most vulnerable?

What determines vulnerability to automation, experts say, is not so much whether the work concerned is manual or white-collar but whether or not it is routine [and has] most jobs can be broken down into a series of routine tasks, more and more of which can be done by machines.

The workforce bifurcates into two groups doing non-routine work: highly paid, skilled workers (such as architects and senior managers) on the one hand and low-paid, unskilled workers (such as cleaners and burger-flippers) on the other.
in "Will smarter machines cause mass unemployment?" 25 junho 2016

E este destaque é um extra totalmente gratuito mas aqui fica porque somos assim :)

Some forms of journalism, such as writing market reports and sports summaries, are also being automated.
in "Will smarter machines cause mass unemployment?" 25 junho 2016

Continuando, da mais variada literatura, retirados de livros com títulos tão sugestivos como “Humans Need Not Apply” ou “Rise of the Robots”, a peça resume os dois sentimentos que recolhemos na nossa última entrada: o “já aqui estivemos antes” e o “mas agora é diferente”. Começando pelos luddites:

The “lump of labour” fallacy: a notion that there’s only a finite amount of work to do, and therefore that if you automate some of it there’s less for people to do, is just totally wrong,”

Predictions that automation will make humans redundant have been made before, however, going back to the Industrial Revolution, when textile workers, most famously the Luddites, protested that machines and steam engines would destroy their livelihoods. (...) Yet in the past technology has always ended up creating more jobs than it destroys. (...) Automating a particular task, so that it can be done more quickly or cheaply, increases the demand for human workers to do the other tasks around it that have not been automated. (...) In other words, technology gradually changed the nature of the weaver’s job, and the skills required to do it, rather than replacing it altogether.

The same pattern can be seen in industry after industry after the introduction of computers,(...) rather than destroying jobs, automation redefines them, and in ways that reduce costs and boost demand. The net effect was that more computer-intensive jobs within an industry displaced less computer-intensive ones. Computers thus reallocate rather than displace jobs, requiring workers to learn new skills. This is true of a wide range of occupations, Mr Bessen found, not just in computer-related fields such as software development but also in administrative work, health care and many other areas.

And no matter how advanced artificial intelligence becomes, some jobs are always likely to be better done by humans, notably those involving empathy or social interaction. (...) A central economic mechanism by which automation affects the demand for labour (...) raises the value of the tasks that can be done only by humans.
in "Will smarter machines cause mass unemployment?" 25 junho 2016

Sobre esta última, assim se explica porque se resume a duas opções: flip-a-burger ou CEO de uma startup.

Imagine trying to tell someone a century ago that her great-grandchildren would be video-game designers or cybersecurity specialists, he suggests. “These are jobs that nobody in the past would have predicted.”
As those industries decline, new ones will emerge.

Por outro lado, como não é bem assim:

But couldn’t this time be different? (...) The impact of automation this time around is broader-based: not every industry was affected two centuries ago, but every industry uses computers today. (...) Another difference is that whereas the shift from agriculture to industry typically took decades, software can be deployed much more rapidly.
in "Will smarter machines cause mass unemployment?" 25 junho 2016

A ponto de, do mesmo artigo, a necessidade de uma prescrição – e quando esta é necessária, sabes que é sério:

But despite the wide range of views expressed, pretty much everyone agrees on the prescription: that companies and governments will need to make it easier for workers to acquire new skills and switch jobs as needed.
in "Will smarter machines cause mass unemployment?" 25 junho 2016

E, perdoem-nos se estamos a ler entrelinhas, mas soa-nos à oficialização da condição precária. Tanto que, para o despistar – confirmar – vos deixamos o mashup da leitura principal de hoje: where to now, when it comes. Ontem debruçamo-nos abundantemente no pós-capitalismo, conceito que por algumas vezes se relacionava a um retorno a eras passadas – não como retrocesso mas enquanto evolução. Hoje falamos de um post-work society, que,  coincidentemente, novamente tece afinidades a eras idas. Segue-se a intro retirada das conclusões do dito: um mundo sem trabalho.

Decades from now, perhaps the 20th century will strike future historians as an aberration, with its religious devotion to overwork in a time of prosperity, its attenuations of family in service to job opportunity, its conflation of income with self-worth. The post-work society (...) in many ways reflects the forgotten norms of the mid-19th century—the artisan middle class, the primacy of local communities, and the unfamiliarity with widespread joblessness.

Entertainment will surely become more immersive and exert a gravitational pull on people without much to do. But if that’s all that happens, society will have failed.
in "A World Without Work" julho-agosto 2015

À questão pendente - irão os automatismo eliminar ou apenas deslocar profissões - diz-nos o autor:

Technological progress on the scale we’re imagining would usher in social and cultural changes that are almost impossible to fully envision.
in "A World Without Work" julho-agosto 2015

Sendo que -

Some economists and technologists have warned that the economy is near a tipping point. When they peer deeply into labor-market data, they see troubling signs, masked for now by a cyclical recovery.
in "A World Without Work" julho-agosto 2015

E, no que importa ao nosso pequeno apontamento de hoje, consequências sobre o trabalho e sociedade decorrente:

The widespread disappearance of work would usher in a social transformation unlike any we’ve seen[:] an era of technological unemployment, in which computer scientists and software engineers essentially invent us out of work, and the total number of jobs declines steadily and permanently.
in "A World Without Work" julho-agosto 2015

O mesmo same-ol’-same-ol’ / not thiz time aroun’:

This fear is not new. (...) The end-of-work argument has often been dismissed as the “Luddite fallacy” (...) But some of the most sober economists are beginning to worry that the Luddites weren’t wrong, just premature.

Technology could exert a slow but continual downward pressure on the value and availability of work—that is, on wages and on the share of prime-age workers with full-time jobs. Eventually, by degrees, that could create a new normal, where the expectation that work will be a central feature of adult life dissipates for a significant portion of society. After 300 years of people crying wolf, there are now three broad reasons to take seriously the argument that the beast is at the door: the ongoing triumph of capital over labor, the quiet demise of the working man, and the impressive dexterity of information technology.

In the biggest picture, the job market appears to be requiring more and more preparation for a lower and lower starting wage.
in "A World Without Work" julho-agosto 2015
After 300 years of breathtaking innovation, people aren’t massively unemployed or indentured by machines. But to suggest how this could change, some economists have pointed to the defunct career of the second-most-important species in U.S. economic history: the horse.

E chegados ao core: o esvaziar do trabalho enquanto emprego:

We owe it to ourselves to start thinking about what society could look like without universal work, in an effort to begin nudging it toward the better outcomes and away from the worse ones

“Sooner or later, we will run out of jobs.” (...) we ought to think about ways to make it easier and better to not be employed.”
in "A World Without Work" julho-agosto 2015

E aqui remetemo-nos ao arquivo da peça - futuros comentários quando e se for necessário regressar a framework no intuito das nossas teses. Comecemos com a anedota, construímos sobre ela.

In the 1950s, Henry Ford II, the CEO of Ford, and Walter Reuther, the head of the United Auto Workers union, were touring a new engine plant in Cleveland. Ford gestured to a fleet of machines and said, “Walter, how are you going to get these robots to pay union dues?” The union boss famously replied: “Henry, how are you going to get them to buy your cars?”

[The] message is instructive. We’re pretty good at noticing the immediate effects of technology’s substituting for workers, such as fewer people on the factory floor. What’s harder is anticipating the second-order effects of this transformation, such as what happens to the consumer economy when you take away the consumers. Technological progress on the scale we’re imagining would usher in social and cultural changes that are almost impossible to fully envision.
in "A World Without Work" julho-agosto 2015

E, numa nota pessoal: o nome gaijo...?


I can’t stress this enough: this isn’t just about economics; it’s psychological
“The paradox of work”: many people are happier complaining about jobs than they are luxuriating in too much leisure (...) often feel worthless when they reflect on their unproductive downtime[:] contentment speaks in the present tense, but something more—pride—comes only in reflection on past accomplishments.

Most people want to work, and are miserable when they cannot. The ills of unemployment go well beyond the loss of income; people who lose their job are more likely to suffer from mental and physical ailments. “There is a loss of status, a general malaise and demoralization, which appears somatically or psychologically or both,” says Ralph Catalano, a public-health professor at UC Berkeley. Research has shown that it is harder to recover from a long bout of joblessness than from losing a loved one or suffering a life-altering injury. The very things that help many people recover from other emotional traumas—a routine, an absorbing distraction, a daily purpose—are not readily available to the unemployed.

One theory of work holds that people tend to see themselves in jobs, careers, or callings. Individuals who say their work is “just a job” emphasize that they are working for money rather than aligning themselves with any higher purpose. Those with pure careerist ambitions are focused not only on income but also on the status that comes with promotions and the growing renown of their peers. But one pursues a calling not only for pay or status, but also for the intrinsic fulfillment of the work itself.
in "A World Without Work" julho-agosto 2015


Work is really three things: the means by which the economy produces goods, the means by which people earn income, and an activity that lends meaning or purpose to many people’s lives.

I see three overlapping possibilities as formal employment opportunities decline. Some people displaced from the formal workforce will devote their freedom to simple leisure; some will seek to build productive communities outside the workplace; and others will fight, passionately and in many cases fruitlessly, to reclaim their productivity by piecing together jobs in an informal economy. These are futures of consumption, communal creativity, and contingency. In any combination, it is almost certain that the country would have to embrace a radical new role for government.
in "A World Without Work" julho-agosto 2015


If you have better batteries, better robotics, more dexterous manipulation, then it’s not a far stretch to say robots do most of the work. So what do we do? Play? Draw? Actually talk to each other again?
“Post-workists” — who welcome, even root for, the end of labor: “Purpose, meaning, identity, fulfillment, creativity, autonomy—all these things that positive psychology has shown us to be necessary for well-being are absent in the average job” (...) In a post-work society, people might spend more time caring for their families and neighbors; pride could come from our relationships rather than from our careers. (...) Colleges could reemerge as cultural centers rather than job-prep institutions. The word school comes from skholē, the Greek word for “leisure.” “We used to teach people to be free,” he said. “Now we teach them to work.” The post-workists argue that [pessoas] work so hard because their culture has conditioned them to feel guilty when they are not being productive, and that this guilt will fade as work ceases to be the norm.
in "A World Without Work" julho-agosto 2015

III alínea A:
Communal Creativity - The Artisans’ Revenge

The next wave of automation returning us to an age of craftsmanship and artistry.

It’s possible that information technology and robots eliminate traditional jobs and make possible a new artisanal economy … an economy geared around self-expression, where people would do artistic things with their time.”

A future not of consumption but of creativity, as technology returns the tools of the assembly line to individuals, democratizing the means of mass production.

A digitally preoccupied society will come to appreciate the pure and distinct pleasure of making things you can touch.

The demise of the formal economy could free many would-be artists, writers, and craftspeople to dedicate their time to creative interests—to live as cultural producers. Such activities offer virtues that many organizational psychologists consider central to satisfaction at work: independence, the chance to develop mastery, and a sense of purpose.

A Cambrian explosion of mega-scale creative and intellectual pursuits, a generation of Wikipedia-scale projects that can ask their users for even deeper commitments.

[Exemplo de Youngstown] The evaporation of work has deepened the local arts and music scene, several residents told me, because people who are inclined toward the arts have so much time to spend with one another. “We’re a devastatingly poor and hemorrhaging population, but the people who live here are fearless and creative and phenomenal”
in "A World Without Work" julho-agosto 2015

IV alínea B:
o papel da tecnologia e a fusão de trabalho com lazer

where there are, as in Youngstown, few jobs to have, yet many things to do
It is arguably growing easier to find short-term gigs or spot employment. Paradoxically, technology is the reason.

A constellation of Internet-enabled companies matches available workers with quick jobs (...) online markets have likewise made it easier for people to take on small independent projects. On-demand apps also spread the work around by carving up jobs (...)

These new arrangements are already challenging the legal definitions of employer and employee [and] we shouldn’t be too quick to excoriate companies that let people combine their work, art, and leisure in whatever ways they choose.

Today the norm is to think about employment and unemployment as a black-and-white binary, rather than two points at opposite ends of a wide spectrum of working arrangements. As late as the mid-19th century, though, the modern concept of “unemployment” didn’t exist (...) The despondency and helplessness of unemployment were discovered, to the bafflement and dismay of cultural critics, only after factory work became dominant and cities swelled. The 21st century (...) could in this respect come to resemble the mid-19th century: an economy marked by episodic work across a range of activities, the loss of any one of which would not make somebody suddenly idle.
in "A World Without Work" julho-agosto 2015

E que soluções se perfilam se “the balance of work continues to shift toward the small-bore and episodic”? Enumeram duas, uma que nos recorda o Pick de ontem:

Eventually, Washington would have to somehow spread wealth, too. One way of doing that would be to more heavily tax the growing share of income going to the owners of capital, and use the money to cut checks to all adults.
in "A World Without Work" julho-agosto 2015

E, choque, se te soa a propaganda liberal, falamos dos States:

Many liberals currently support it, and in the 1960s, Richard Nixon and the conservative economist Milton Friedman each proposed a version of the idea.
in "A World Without Work" julho-agosto 2015

E por detrás da porta nº dois:

The most direct solution to the latter problem would be for the government to pay people to do something, rather than nothing (...) although this smacks of old European socialism, or Depression-era “makework,” it might do the most to preserve virtues such as responsibility, agency, and industriousness.
in "A World Without Work" julho-agosto 2015

Esta segunda sugestão – ao contrário do tom optimista do pós-capital tratado – denota uma visão menos positiva do futuro. Uma realidade na base do steampunk artsy novecentista de precariedade institucionalizada tem os seus senãos – passe o positivo de tudo o resto -, como é exemplificado na Educação. O reverso que reforça a importância desta colocando a iniciativa na sociedade e não no individuo só se compreende porque, em substrato, o incentivo maior em terra de liberdade para se sujeitar às little boxes não é mais tão evidente.

Mastering [advanced] skills requires discipline; discipline requires an education; and an education, for many people, involves the expectation that hours of often frustrating practice will eventually prove rewarding. In a post-work society, the financial rewards of education and training won’t be as obvious. This is a singular challenge of imagining a flourishing post-work society: How will people discover their talents, or the rewards that come from expertise, if they don’t see much incentive to develop either?
in "A World Without Work" julho-agosto 2015

Talvez assim compreendas melhor porque um Nixon ou um Friedman poderiam considerar entrar em loucuras deste género. O Estado pagar aos alunos para estudar em vez dos alunos pagarem pelo privilégio? Coisa de radical esquerdista? Não, numa sociedade pós-capitalista post-work, é mesmo puro conservadorismo.

Modest payments to young people for attending and completing college, skills-training programs, or community-center workshops might eventually be worth considering. This seems radical, but the aim would be conservative—to preserve the status quo of an educated and engaged society.
in "A World Without Work" julho-agosto 2015

E, teen, contigo agora, já aqui estivemos antes:

[Considerando] the role that work plays in people’s self-esteem — the prospect of a no-work future seems hopeless.

But a future of less work still holds a glint of hope, because the necessity of salaried jobs now prevents so many from seeking immersive activities that they enjoy.
in "A World Without Work" julho-agosto 2015

E, sobretudo, aqui: abolindo o trabalho.

- and the trolls type in little boxes and they all type just the same.

leituras adicionais

  • ai
  • bots

"The opportunities are too great to ignore."

On Tuesday, the White House released a chilling report on AI and the economy. It began by positing that “it is to be expected that machines will continue to reach and exceed human performance on more and more tasks,” and it warned of massive job losses.

Yet to counter this threat, the government makes a recommendation that may sound absurd: we have to increase investment in AI. The risk to productivity and the US’s competitive advantage is too high to do anything but double down on it.

in "The AI Takeover Is Coming. Let’s Embrace It." 22 dez 2016
  • bots
  • mr trump

"I don’t see any negative to innovation in automation. We’re ready to get moving with the times"

For the most part, Trump supporters (...) didn’t seem to mind. They’ve known the automation of factory jobs was coming whether they liked it or not. (...) “He’ll do what he can to protect my job from automation, but in some cases you’ve got to go with the flow.” (...) "It’s sad that a machine may take jobs, but at least those people could go out and get jobs repairing the machines."

But (...)the comparison of frontline factory jobs to more specialized occupations does not hold up. “That’s not an apples to apples analogy. Becoming a technician or an engineer requires a great deal training, whereas frontline manufacturing does not.”

[Trump] acknowledge that “robotics is becoming very big.” His solution? “We’ll build the robots, too.”

in "Should Trump Protect Manufacturing Jobs From Automation? We Asked His Supporters" 20 dez 2016
  • ai
  • bots
  • $$$

Do we make technological change our ally not our foe?

A robot driving a lorry may sound daunting, just as a horseless carriage did in 1890. But a driverless car doesn’t get tired, or drink alcohol, or have blind spots. (...) But it will also mean a massive displacement of jobs in the transportation industry.

Never have we seen such a change in the landscape of the labour market. I believe the potential consequences to be so great that we should regard automation as the most urgent issue (...) that brings together trades unions, employers and government to establish how the time liberated and wealth created by robots is equitably shared

The first machine age unleashed the stunning power of capitalism and changed society forever. Our towns and cities are shaped by the industrial revolution. (...) This wave of industrialisation created great wealth, great philanthropy and great advances in the human condition. But it also created huge upheaval and vast misery: child labour; infectious disease; industrial injury; fetid slums; and infant mortality. It took an amalgam of municipal leadership, benevolent capitalism and the collective strength of workers to civilise this new economic landscape. But there were huge changes to the lives of millions. At one point more British soldiers were being deployed to deal with the Luddites who smashed the new machinery than to fight Napoleon.

Today, sensors and actuators, together with advances in computation, memory and communication capability, are making every product smarter. The results will be positive for the vast mass of the global population, bringing knowledge, connections and consumer choice to billions. But they will be challenging for the millions in jobs that won’t exist in a decade. We already have an hourglass economy, with plenty of room at the top for those with existing wealth and access to capital, and a wide, flat base of lower-paid jobs that cannot be automated. There is a hollowing out of the middle (...) New technology will exacerbate this trend.

The success of big tech platforms like Google, Amazon and Facebook has seen huge amounts of cash accrue to their balance sheets, but very little investment in social infrastructure, education, skills and health. The situation is worsened by the apparent inability of government to tax these tech giants.

in "When robots do all the work, how will people live?" 8 março 2016

De 2016 para não nos acusarem de desfasamento nos tópicos...

  • bots
  • $$$

Há uma equação fundamental entre o tempo e o dinheiro que pouca gente se preocupa em resolver.

Um paradoxo com efeitos desastrosos governa aquilo que ainda resta da sociedade do trabalho: há cada vez menos trabalho, mas quem o tem está submetido a ele em excesso.

Parece que ninguém aceita que o princípio de que “tempo é dinheiro”, popularizado por Benjamin Franklin, deveria determinar o objectivo de ganhar tempo ao tempo perdido do trabalho. Há hoje muita gente (mesmo em lugares onde se presume que existem todos os instrumentos para resistir à “alienação”, por exemplo a Universidade) que aceita fazer trabalho não remunerado porque ficou dependente de uma lógica da expectativa e da promessa que governa a economia e o mundo social. E há os que estão de tal modo presos a um pensamento convencional e naturalizado do tempo de trabalho e do tempo livre, que nem se dão conta de que estão a pagar uma parte substancial do trabalho que fazem.

Este regime absurdo que faz com que o trabalho só conheça dois regimes extremos, o do excesso e o da falta, afecta todos os assalariados.

O que é que caracteriza verdadeiramente um presidente ou administrador de uma empresa? É alguém que não tem tempo porque o seu tempo é tão caro que ele o vende todo a preço de ouro. No final, tem sempre muito dinheiro, mas nenhum tempo.

É certo que ele pode, com a rapidez de um clic, gastar uma fortuna. Mas para gozá-la precisa de tempo. A equação é difícil de resolver, tanto do lado dos que só não têm tempo como do lado dos que não têm tempo nem dinheiro. Uns e outros são igualmente pobres em relação aos que detêm o privilégio não de um sobre-salário, mas do sobretempo. Não são os desempregados os detentores do sobretempo, já que esses ocupam todo o seu tempo à procura de emprego. São os membros de classes já desaparecidas. Se hoje não é concebível que apareça um novo Proust, é porque os escritores já não têm tempo para gastar nem para o procurar.

in "Trabalho, tempo, dinheiro" 23 dez 2016

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