photo of man and graphics in HRExaminer series on next wave of HR Technology

When the advance of human augmentation reaches a certain point, we’re going to have to start figuring out the new work and how to pay people whose work is mostly done by machine.

Next Wave: Human Augmentation

Part 4

If you want Google Glass, here’s where to get a pair. By this time next year, most of the burning issues about the obtrusive technology will get settled. Video has been everywhere for some time now. In the coming year, we’ll work the kinks out of the little courtesies we offer each other. Fig leaves in a time of omnipresent media.

My divorce, which occupied too much of my mental and emotional bandwidth for a couple of years nine years ago was filmed in horrifying detail by my son. It was a film school project. I’ve watched it a couple of times in the intervening years. I still don’t recognize that crazy angry short haired guy. (Although that may well be why my hair is now pony-tailed). The topic is so hot that none of the family can really absorb it. Some refuse to watch it.

I guess that’s my way of saying that intrusive video is only just a little intrusive. No one really wants to consume the stuff that makes you gag. Human emotional drama is every bit as entertaining as sex without makeup, stars, great lighting and good angles. Yawn.

The workplace is something else.

Much of the wretchedness that constitutes male dominance, coercion as a management technique, sexual harassment and ten million kinds of isms happen in body language, smirks, stares and sniggers. They will last just a little longer than the day we start wearing our Google devices to the office.

Or, maybe as it is in Dave Eggers new novel “The Circle”, the result will be that no one dares do anything interesting; that we’re on the verge of discovering that oppression is the source of creativity and transformation; that the consequence of transparency is mediocrity; that always-on policing and intelligence gathering produces citizens who are sheep.

My crystal ball is broken on this one.

What’s clear is that massive quantities of surveillance tools, in the hands of workers are already in the office and they are going to get better. Raw stupidity, the entitlement of the current class of first line managers, is under assault.

And it needs to be.

The next big chunk of technical advance is all about human augmentation. Pilotless planes, driverless cars, manager less companies, self-folding laundry, self-mowing lawns, self-vacuuming rooms, self-paving roads, self-digging holes and self-licking ice cream cones (well, maybe, not those). Slowly, machines will start doing the drudgery. They already are.

When the advance of human augmentation reaches a certain point, we’re going to have to start figuring out the new work and how to pay people whose work is mostly done by machine.

When the industrial revolution was in its earliest phases, lots of people got dislocated and no one could imagine what jobs people would do in the future. Today is like that.

Rest assured that there will be jobs and plenty of them. Eventually.

 

The Series:

Next Wave HR Tech

 



 
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photo of man and graphics in HRExaminer series on next wave of HR Technology
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