Will Machines ever do the work for Humans?

Dear Jim

Thank you for the pictures of the “massive machines”. Awesome. I think you might have been showing me how machines can (and will) do the work for (and instead of) humans.

I am afraid that I cannot agree.

This belief has, of course, been said before. It has been mooted in literature since the eighteenth century (if not before that). Each level of the evolution of machinery this has caused more and different categories of people to be put out of work. Rather than being “relieved of work” the end result has not increased leisure but instead has increased terror, the fear of poverty.

To see the massive harvesters and mining equipment in action is breath stopping. But there is more to it than that. Each of these machines depends upon a very large input pedestal before they can even begin to function. To exemplify a few at random, these machines require substantial input work from the designers and engineers, plus massive ancillary support such as the financial mechanisms (advertising, purchasing, loans, insurance, legal and so much more). Then behind it all is the necessity to produce raw materials, as well as the assembly of an enormous manufacturing infrastructure. That is followed by subsequent maintenance and energy costs.

Therefore, one cannot say that “machines do the work for men” but rather, in the current age, “Men do the work for machines”.

Once the machines are produced, a whole different socio-economic dimension arises. That is the fragmentation of wealth. What these massive machines do is to allow a concentration of wealth which benefits the few who control machines and impoverish those who do not. Said another way, the great machines of the world increase the wealth gap.

The worst of these machines, of course, are the war machines both in the arms industry and in the “battlefields” which seem now to be mainly populated areas. As you know, the generation of wealth for some individuals by arms production has been beyond all previous measures of wealth. Not only has this occurred in the case of individuals, but entire nations have become affluent, primarily, at present, the United States.

This success of the United States is supremely ironic, as the US currently holds itself to be the “moral guardian” of mankind, whilst creating about a third of all the arms.


About jp

Orthopaedic Surgeon
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