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Driving to Oblivion

It was surprising to me to hear when a friend of mine had taken a job driving for Uber. Now there is nothing wrong with driving for Uber, I was surprised as my friend and I had met in college and I thought him a smart man and good student, talents not so much in demand as an Uber driver. It seems this electronic revolution, will have the same effect as the industrial revolution only on a larger scale. While the industrial revolution took skilled laborers and reduced them to a cog in an assembly line, this computer revolution seems to be doing the same for every worker. It seems that there is no skill that cannot be replaced, revised or in some way significantly downsized by computers and automation. Just as skilled craftsmen and blacksmiths were relegated to endlessly executing the same task, now college educated people are finding their jobs behind the wheel of the cars that the first revolution made possible.
They say now we are teaching our children skills for jobs that do not yet exist so that they can be ready for what is to come. Let us hope we are not giving them all driving licenses for an age of driverless cars.

Uber, Uber driver, electronic revolution, industrial revolution, automation, downsized, computers, assembly line, computer revolution, revolution, driverless cars, Driving licenses

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The Machine for Living

One of my guilty pleasures has been watching Downton Abbey on DVD. Watching the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the post-Edwardian era made me think about the role of servants in the Victorian age and how at one point the house was to be an echo of the machines of the industrial revolution that was to be modern and efficient. Servants had back stairs and even cubbies or niches to duck into on front stairways if the lords and lady’s of the house were coming up or downstairs. The thought was that the house was a thing unto itself, that managed itself without the need for human intervention a machine for living in. Beds were made, dishes removed by invisible hands like clockwork later described by Le Corbusier as a “Machine for Living In” This idea of mechanized perfection came from the technology of the time, that machines would set us free and give us all machines for living a mechanized life. If that was the effect of the Industrial Revolution and beyond I wonder what futuristic this computer age will bring us? Will be begin to see ourselves moving at the speed of information, giving our corporal bodies over to an electric dance of code or have we become too much of the earth to be optimistic?

A lovely piece by Rachel Whiteread- if you don’t know her work you really should google her…
ghost-1990

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