Automation paradox


We (our ancestors) created tools (spears) for hunting and (wheels) for gathering.

From tools to technique, we now spend our summer entertaining dollars on Transformers, the sequel.

Yes. We can cut the steps in the production process and supply chain (chop down to minuscule tasks – assembly line – then offshore them – or semi-automate as in prosumering i.e. self-serve culture).

But suddenly, something went terribly wrong! Toyota preempted this when it empowered and encouraged its employees (any rank and file) to stop the assembly line (w/ supervisor’s sign off, of course) to check and correct it (its ignition switches passed muster, but it’s the floor mats that killed the San Diego passengers). Even google un-manned car needs journalists who rode in it and wrote about it.

Luckily, not all human positions are eliminated (lucky for me when I can still play supervisor when I-robot vacuums the house.)

The Wal-Mart cashier-turned-customer-supervisor also does this at self check-out counters.

The more we outsource to machine, the more we need human intervention.

After all, it’s those smart coders that brought us cloud, mobile and big data ( as in  Hadoop).

Let the machine do what it is built to do: crunching the numbers.

And human to exploit the loop holes: cooking the books (CDO)  or predicting where the next outbreak might likely to occur ( flu outbreak).

(this is another topic: the human paradox – on human bondage, as Somerset Maugham put it).

It’s not necessary for me to make the case for human. Let the debate and defense be in the hands of legislation and liturgy.

A person, as a producer or a consumer, is to be valued.

We were at a coffee shop where they handed out beepers for our orders. The beeper did not work after we had paid for our drink.

After some wrangling back and forth, we got our order, brought to the table by a server – when everybody else was getting ready to leave.

What a customer experience!

So much for automation overkill (or mis-application of labor-saving device where labor are still cheap).

Next time, learn to apply the machine where suitable and at leisure, not tech for tech’s sakes.

And remember, human being, like you and I got our pride and priority as well.

We got creativity and survival instinct, relics of hunting gathering days. After all, it’s us who invented the wheel.

Machine can only reproduce other machines in its own likeness. We, on the other hand, got wits, wisdom and weakness. Putting it together, I’d rather chat, argue and love another person of same likeness.

Let the “centennial man” be jealous of our mortality and ask to pull the plug. The abortion and euthanasia century have paved the way for increased automation, and less reliance on the human workers. We got our own life expectancy, expectations and hope. Bondage or bonding, we live and love, leave behind traces of “I once was there” encoded in stanzas, poem and print, music, symbols, drawings, designs and artifacts, statues, blog posts, photos, jokes and videos. There is a robot walks into a bar. He asks the bartender: do you accept bit coins? the bartender says ” sorry, we reserve the right to refuse services to anyone, robots included”. The robot walks away in frustration: “gosh! what’s the big deal! Human being are quite hard to understand?!?” Man can understand machine, but not the other way around. From cavemen to computer men, we finally own up to our humanity when our lives are threatened. Machine can crunch the odds of World Cup, but it’s us who jump in the air (when out team won) by reflex, regardless of race, creed or color of our skin.

 

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