Redundancy

Some weeks ago I noticed that junk calls from telemarketers was decreasing in frequency. I put this fortunate circumstance down to the pandemic. After all, these immense telemarketing operations are super-spreading venues, and must have been closed down. I suppose that meant that some of these jobs went into a gig economy. I guess that the extreme incoherence of some recent telemarketers, and the high levels of background noise in their calls could be due to this. Now the market has stabilized again, not due to vaccines, but because of automation. Today I was woken in the morning by an automated telemarketer.

I always fall into the bullshit. Why?
Socks on in bed—the devil is a lie.

Pentametron++

Travel agents were losing business for a while, and the pandemic has killed them off. Retailers have bounced back, but not exactly to where they used to be. Online marketing has taken on a larger share of the market, and the pandemic has moved a larger number of people into delivery gigs. A couple of times I opened the door for a delivery and saw a man older than me. I wonder what their stories are. Sudden loss of a job? Death of the main bread-earner in the family? While this low-paying job market seems poised for growth, how long will it be before delivery is further automated? The gig economy is a passing phase: it is the automation of shops and customer service counters. Now the automation is reaching deeper: right into the service being provided. The pandemic provides a window where accepting this change becomes easier.

Yet in a circle, pallid as it flow
By this bright sun, with his light display,
Rolled from the sands, and half the buds of snow,
And calmly on him shall infold away.

Deepspeare

Complicated jobs requiring simultaneously human judgement and manual work have been automated: for example, large cargo ships now run with crews of ten or so. My two cataract operations at the end of last year were performed, in about fifteen minutes each, by a robot which calmly intoned the purpose of each part of the process before beginning on it. I found it soothing. The doctor was in the operation theater and supervising, but it will not be many years before she is redundant. How long before the rest of the chain around her is also automated? Perhaps you will get your glasses from a vending machine in a few years. And instead of me, an artificial neural network will be writing these posts.

By I. J. Khanewala

I travel on work. When that gets too tiring then I relax by travelling for holidays. The holidays are pretty hectic, so I need to unwind by getting back home. But that means work.

15 comments

  1. I find the redundancy aspect of automation and AI very very scary and wish against hope that we are able to maintain some human touch to the services.

    And I hope you don’t employ the neural network on your blog, it would be a long time before it is capable of noticing a half sunk leaf in a lake in Himalayas, and the ecosystem built up around it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, but I really think that special ANNs can be built for any of these tasks. I wouldn’t want to live in the next generation’s economy. But I’ll be so happy to get an inkling of what comes next.

      Like

  2. It is always the transition that is very hard on many people. I recently read an English history which spoke of the disruptions when small farms were converted to “enclosures” for sheep. In June, we visited a canal which thrived for only 23 years before before being displaced by railroads. The hard-wired telephone company was one of the biggest employers in our country in my youth; now it is Amazon.
    That change is inevitable does not make it easier for the people whose lives are disrupted. But I would rather live in today’s world than in 1950’s let alone 1900’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Development of AI offers a whole new set of scary, intriguing and ethical-dilemma scenarios for the future . I liked your embedded quotes, how about “I think, therefore I am” René Descartes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed, though I do have a sense of wonder about the world after it has solved these problems. What will the solutions be? How will they become as common and useful as electric lights?

      That quote would be too human don’t you think? Wouldn’t go with the other two, I suspect.

      Like

  4. I’m convinced that you don’t actually exist and that an artificial neural network has been writing these posts all along. This comment was written by an artificial neural network as I don’t exist either.😎

    Liked by 2 people

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