Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 27th Dec 2012 10:19 UTC, submitted by anonymous
General Development "Computers are ubiquitous in modern life. They offer us portals to information and entertainment, and they handle the complex tasks needed to keep many facets of modern society running smoothly. Chances are, there is not a single person in Ars' readership whose day-to-day existence doesn't rely on computers in one manner or another. Despite this, very few people know how computers actually do the things that they do. How does one go from what is really nothing more than a collection - a very large collection, mind you - of switches to the things we see powering the modern world?"
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Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

kwan_e,

"You think employers care, or the government cares? They're going to push for this no matter how many people lose those jobs. They'll just redefine unemployment yet again."

If we're really conceiving doing away with an employment based society through obsolescence, then we as a society really should strongly reconsider the very existence of for-profit corporations as well. Because if we really do end up with machines taking the majority of jobs (bit of a stretch, but I'm willing to roll with it), the means of production will no longer be dependent upon ordinary people as employees, there'll be no corporate ladders to climb either. You'll either be an owner, or your not, there will be very few opportunities to transition from one to the other because most people will have no where to work. Since work would mostly not exist, working would become something people do for their own pride & entertainment.

Under such circumstances, society would probably be better off transitioning to public ownership where the technology exists to serve the general public rather than private profit based interests, which would likely have collapsed into a handful of all powerful oligopolies.



"I think one of the solutions has to be a rotational workforce. We have to be done with the idea that everyone has to have a job every day of the year and that welfare is bad. You can't force people to find jobs that don't exist, and you can't force employers to create jobs when they don't need them or can't afford them."

That's a logical solution to unemployment, especially considering how employees are working longer hours each year. Within the past decade, US law was changed to specifically exclude IT workers from federal overtime pay requirements so that businesses are legally entitled to demand longer hours from us with zero additional pay (forget time and a half). So we're kind of moving in the opposite direction.

"What does that matter? I'm talking about potential 50 years in the future. It's obviously part of a trend."

I'm a bit confused... it matters because you brought them up as examples of that trend "...the iPad and Android are able to make the possibility of programming available to a wider group of people..." I find them ironic choices for illustrating the point because technology could be less user accessible in the future.


Incidentally, the FSF just sent an email about it's campaign to fight restricted boot devices, if anybody's interested:

http://www.fsf.org/campaigns/secure-boot-vs-restricted-boot/2012-ap...

Edited 2012-12-29 04:49 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

That's a logical solution to unemployment, especially considering how employees are working longer hours each year. Within the past decade, US law was changed to specifically exclude IT workers from federal overtime pay requirements so that businesses are legally entitled to demand longer hours from us with zero additional pay (forget time and a half). So we're kind of moving in the opposite direction.


I think the problem you highlight is actually exacerbated by certain IT jobs being considered as above "entry level", if not "elite". IT administration is kind of like the janitorial equivalent in the eyes of the corporate types, but it requires a great amount of training and time. The sooner those IT jobs no longer require university degrees, the better.

With the momentum, IT jobs can become unionized again. Employers will just have to suck it.

"What does that matter? I'm talking about potential 50 years in the future. It's obviously part of a trend."

I'm a bit confused... it matters because you brought them up as examples of that trend "...the iPad and Android are able to make the possibility of programming available to a wider group of people..." I find them ironic choices for illustrating the point because technology could be less user accessible in the future.


The devices themselves may be less user accessible, but the trend I'm talking about is programming itself being available to people without going to university. As I understand it, the iPad and Android created a market for programmers that didn't require university degrees and established companies.

Yes, most apps are of poor quality, but it doesn't matter. The opportunity and market is now there, and no matter how many restrictions are put in place, you can't deny that programming itself is being opened up and your average student will start seeing programming as a required basic skill.

Incidentally, the FSF just sent an email about it's campaign to fight restricted boot devices, if anybody's interested:

http://www.fsf.org/campaigns/secure-boot-vs-restricted-boot/2012-ap...


Uh oh, cue the "RMS is a fanatic" slogans.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

kwan_e,

"IT administration is kind of like the janitorial equivalent in the eyes of the corporate types, but it requires a great amount of training and time. The sooner those IT jobs no longer require university degrees, the better."

I'd say that's already the case. When institutions are pumping out so many professional degrees per year, they become requirements for jobs which previously did not require them. Back in the 90's, employers would hire anyone who was able to do IT administration regardless of degrees since most candidates didn't have one. I believe the higher degree requirements today is a result of supply and demand rather than the increasing difficulty of the work. If the supply were to increase substantially as you predict, then won't most employers just add more requirements to filter them out?



"The devices themselves may be less user accessible, but the trend I'm talking about is programming itself being available to people without going to university."

Ok I see, they created new markets, and hence new openings for programmers.

"Yes, most apps are of poor quality, but it doesn't matter. The opportunity and market is now there, and no matter how many restrictions are put in place, you can't deny that programming itself is being opened up."

I donno, it's still an incredibly ironic example to me, I'd have picked the raspberry pi or it's ilk since it doesn't run a walled garden.

Reply Parent Score: 2