I sometimes wonder what it will be like, the future. Will we still be doing much the same things as today, or will there really be hoverboards and shoes which tie their own laces? It’s not so long ago, roughly the time when I was born to put a date on it, when much of what we take for granted today was still science fiction. The smart phone hadn’t robbed us of our grip on reality; Internet wasn’t quite at the point where we no longer needed top physically meet anyone; shopping meant leaving the house and going places; you could break the spine of a book without losing all the text.
I’m told that Margaret Thatcher, in the Eighties, prophesied a time when there would be no need for a working class, when we would all be at leisure and work would be done by machines. She looked forward to a time when entertainment was the thing which filled our days, and the trouble and strife of finding, holding, doing a job properly, simply didn’t exist. Today our thoughts are similar, but tend more toward the ethics of having sex with robots as much as keeping them out of the workplace, along with all those immigrants.
Photo Source: Gene Wilburn – Creative Commons
With the advent of robots, of machines which take over the hard work, the production of our daily necessities – such as new smart phones, televisions, cars and the like – we have time to do other things, aside from seducing the new mechanical Mark IV housemaid. Or we should have the time, if things had worked out that way.
Instead the fight for a job, for an income, is still first and foremost in many minds. The fear of unemployment, of being useless, living off the State remains a constant worry. The number of unemployed seems to fall regularly, and there are jobs out there, but the mentality has changed along with the technology we use. Those aren’t the jobs which suit us, but the immigrants shouldn’t have them either because, if they do get employment and we don’t, they’re stealing our jobs. And robots will release us from stress and strain, from the daily nine to five, or eight to four or whatever, but that is a bad thing. We want more leisure, but work more overtime. We need to be able to afford it all, the new phone, car, television. Things which were once a luxury, but are now so standard that no one wishes to be without them.
Thatcher could still be proven right, for some of us, if we change the way we look at things. I want to work at a job that I enjoy, because I know I will do it well. It would be a pleasure for me to work and the mundane, the repetitive, the routine can be done by the robots, by mechanical means. And the immigrants who come over here, have a baby in order to gain citizenship and a right to stay? They want just the same as we do: security, an income, a life. That’s the way the United States began in the first place.
- Viktoria Michaelis.