Odd Job(s)

A young boy collecting funds for karate lessons

Have you read my previous post on the US Postal Service problem aka How to cope with human work replaced by technology? Unless an external source of funding comes in, the USPS will have to scale back its operations drastically, or simply shut down altogether. That’s 600,000 people who would be out of work, and another 480,000 pensioners facing an adjustment in terms. Huge numbers. And these issues are going to multiply as many human jobs/tasks will become obsolete due to technology shifts.

Douglas Rushkoff, a media theorist, in a special to CNN says that it’s not about jobs, it’s about productivity models. In other words, it is not a matter of demand and supply of jobs: actually, employment is abundant but we need

a way of fairly distributing the bounty we have generated through our technologies, and a way of creating meaning in a world that has already produced far too much stuff.

Can we organize the society around something other than employment? That is, can we find a third way NOT in the middle between communism and libertarianism in order to shift

the spirit of enterprise we currently associate with “career” to something entirely more collaborative, purposeful, and even meaningful?

Think about social networks. No, I don’t mean logging to Facebook to brag your last caribbean trip. I mean, networks of people who shares ideas, culture, know-how, time. In a single word, work. Not ego-boosting.

We have this idea that we put all this stuff out there and what we get back are intangible or abstract benefits of reputation. But why could not this be monetized?

Why can’t there be a universal marketplace where people could buy and sell bytes from each other, where information would be paid for? It would be much greater than the sum of parts: a future where people could make a living and earn money from what they did with their hearts and heads in an information system, the Internet.

Is the Information Age really replacing Industrial Age?

It seems so, but, IMHO, none of the so-called Internet giants is genuinely addressing this paradigm shift. Consequently, the question is not only “when”, but “how”.

Any hints? 💡


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