You see folks, when you think that you’re worth more to society than you are and then you act on that unmistakably idiotic thought with foolish advocacy for governmentally legislation requiring unreasonably high pay scales be applied to jobs specifically catering to your lack of a saleable skill set, you have sown the wind and you shall reap the whirlwind.
The “Fight for 15” campaign, which seeks to require a $15/hr minimum wage, had its desired effect and laws are being passed across the USA. Burger flipping and floor sweeping and trash can emptying and oodles of other jobs which have historically been manned by humans who were paid an admittedly low wage have historically only been left to being done by humans because the cost of the labor didn’t strip away the value proposition to consumers of those services. The notion that someone who has a demonstrable lack of salable skills and knowledge deserves a wage high enough that they can raise a family on the income from a single full time job that could just as easily be done by a machine is simply ridiculous on simple economic grounds.
Almost the second laws were passed requiring something like twice the economically feasible wage for mindless monkey work, people who do have salable skills which actually are worth a high wage started went to the drawing board and began inventing technology which would solve the problem of their overinflated opinions of their self-worth. They hadn’t bothered before because the labor market had very successfully kept the value proposition for that kind of technology rather speculative and so there was a barrier to that sort of technology entering anything like the level of mass adoption that’d be necessary for such an automation industry to thrive.
I recently wrote an article about how this exact change to automation of what I’ll call “idiot jobs” for just a moment would happen and I have to say it was spot on. If you haven’t read it yet, you might want to take a peek. It won’t hurt to not read it as it tends toward the technical side but I think you’ll probably find it interesting nonetheless. If you do want to read it, it’s totally fine to do that either before or after reading the balance of this article which focuses on more current events and on the real effects being felt in the real world.
I’m not a religious person as such, as everyone that reads my material well knows. That said, I am a student of religion generally and broadly an adherent to the of the Judeo-Christian ethic. As such I find much wisdom in the Christian Bible which is applicable to daily life. Among those verses that I’d always had trouble figuring out a way to sensibly apply within the spirit of the original context is Matthew 13:11-12; a set of verses which I find are even more clearly expressed in the English translation in Mark 4:24-25. The two gospels have extremely similar contextual accounts of this particular episode of Jesus preaching to the masses however with some significant differences in the specific verbiage. I find the version in Mark a little easier to digest but either is appropriate. Still, finding an application for what seemed like such a severe and almost caustic bit of the gospel has, I must admit, challenged me for a long time. It wasn’t until I found the first of the videos below and then I thought of it in the context of an enigmatic passage from one of Richard Dawkins’ books which quoted the gospel passage from Matthew that I finally understood it.
Both passages are talking about a positive feedback loop and being very careful to not caught up in one unaware. A positive feedback loop is something where the output of one generation of actions forms the input for the next generation. A positive feedback loop is a way to experience the spiraling out of control of a situation which is very difficult to escape once it’s started. A prime and common example is an arms race: One side arms up a little and the other side arms up even more in response causing the first side to arm up even more in a ruinous spiral of unceasingly more and more expensive equipping and aggressive posture which eventually can only lead to war and its products: devastation and ultimate doom for both sides. Any victory likely to be had will be a Pyrrhic victory by any objective definition.
On with the quotes. NOTE: Quotes are taken slightly out of context right here but I have tried to be very careful to try to preserve the original contextual meaning and will touch further on the general context later for greater clarity.
11 He replied, “The knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.Matthew 13:11-12
24 He went on to say, “Pay attention to what you hear. With the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and even more will be added to you. 25 For whoever has will be given more. But whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”Mark 4:24-25
So to the long term zero-skill workers of the world: Behold the power of this fully operational, fully programmable and fully articulated replacement for you incipiently unemployed masses who are least deserving of our sympathies. You brought this on yourselves and you deserve what you’re getting. Choices have consequences. You had the choice to use your energies to build marketable skills and to improve your station in life. You all had the opportunity to deal with some hardship in the short term in exchange for long term professional/personal growth and subsequent financial and personal benefit. You could have just sucked it up but you were instead inclined to continue to be feckless, uneducated, unmarketable and so you have been and are going to continue to be compensated accordingly. You will lose completely everything that you had because you had to have it the easy way, by riding on someone else’s back. This robot doesn’t just make fries. Check out the Miso Robotics YouTube channel after watching the videos below.
And just in case you were thinking that this is just a flashy marketing video and it wouldn’t really amount to anything, please allow me pour a bucket full of salt in that wound. If you’re not ready to be a robotic commercial food production automation engineer, you’re boned. The robot is better than humans at this job and he’s going to get markedly better at it every day.
And in case you think that’s just a pre-production bit of wishy-thinky try this next bucket of salt for your wounded ego: Major chains are already actively pursuing this technology because low wage workers are a pain in the ass to deal with but robots are not.
Then this next one is particularly ominous for the future of french fry flinging fast food flunkies forgetful of Fate’s foreseeable future ferocity because it shows how robotics doesn’t care what kind of food it is and this is a real production store for a major international fast food chain which had long been thought to be difficult to automate and it’s still very young in their implementation of this kind of technology. Soon fast food restaurants will be torn down and rebuilt around the idea that there don’t need to be people inside them, making them smaller, faster, safer and more profitable.
I know one of the movers and shakers in this industry professionally; we’d worked together for almost a decade, and I gotta tell you that he’s a heartless little fucker and he’s beyond just smart and forward looking as all get out. He’s innately ruthless in the pursuit of financial success and he doesn’t give a single damn about the livelihood of anyone whose entire goal in life is to go through every day with literally zero instinct or effort to achieve in life. He seems to harbor a deep disrespect, as I also rightly do, for people who don’t make an effort to be greater every day regardless of what that level of greatness is. If your level of greatness is being the best fry cook in the world he’ll certainly admire your fry making ability and probably ask you to teach him but because your value to the world is objectively low he’s not going to respect you on anything like the level that he’d respect a fry cook that learned to program computer code or learned to be a mechanic or who took a pay cut to enter into an apprenticeship as a plumber or carpenter in order to better their position in life. From him you get exactly what you deserve based on your measurable contribution to the world and your measurable desire to better yourself.
If you think I’m a heartless prick (and if you know me well you know that I kind of am in a few respects), you should meet him. He’ll blow your mind. He’s one of the very few people that I know that thinks in a way very similar to the way I do. He (as I) looks objectively at the world around him and when he sees something that smacks even the littlest bit of inefficiency or imprecision he’s compelled by a deep inner force to squeeze that particular pimple as hard as he can and the more it’s going to hurt the harder he’s likely to squeeze.
Where I tend to look at the effect that my inventions will have on the world around me and decide if releasing my invention to the world is something I can have on my conscience, he does not. He’s like an intellectual terminator. He invents things and releases them onto an unsuspecting world and hang the cost and consequences. In his mind; and objectively in actual fact, someone somewhere in the world was going to do it anyway sooner or later and if he can make a little coin by doing it first then so much the better. Like Kyle Reese said in the movie Terminator, “It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.” By “dead” I don’t remotely mean that he wants you to lose your life. He wants the world to lose your entire kind of person, to excise it from the genome of humanity. In this case, I can’t say that I blame him.
Burger flippers of the world, prepare for the day of your reckoning as it is now upon you.
This is where I should end with something appeasing like “May God, if there is a God (any God) have mercy on you.” but I won’t because I simply don’t agree with the sentiment in this case. In this case I agree with Jesus’s teaching as given in Mark 4:21-25.
If you look at the broader context of Mark 4:21-25 you see that Jesus is admonishing people to be aware of the world around them and to really think for just a second before they do something very stupid that ends in disaster. He ends on the cautionary note that if you fool yourself into thinking you’re paying attention when you’re really not then you will absolutely lose and lose big and that God’s justice is being delivered upon you in such case. So when you reap this particular whirlwind and you cry out to God for help, don’t expect an answer which comes to be anything much more than, “You made your bed. Sleep in it.” The God of the Bible is billed as a loving God but he’s also very clearly not billed as an entity that suffers either fools or willful sinners lightly. Putting on blinders to your situation and expecting others to do the same is a sin as you are asking people to be dishonest with themselves and with the world around them. God, as I gather, really hates that kind of shit. He seems to be ok with being honestly incorrect and genuinely repentant but not deliberately engaging in double-think. Even to the non-religious it’s a common notion that the Universe itself seems to deliver comeuppance very severely. It’s that way for a reason: Because by any rational measure that is how things actually work.
You don’t need to go to college or be a white collar worker but you can’t think that being essentially a parasite on society will not invoke a reaction that’s sudden and extremely unpleasant. There’s always time to change the road you’re on. The longer you wait, the longer the walk back to the fork in the road where you can get back on the right track. Best to do it now if you haven’t yet.
I’ve been a smoker for 35 years and have, in 2 separate phases of my life, drank a bit too much booze and in the past I have engaged in other bad habits with well deserved social stigmas. I’ve now quit smoking because I wanted to quit and I’m not ever going back to tobacco. As well, I’m never drinking alone again nor will I ever drink enough booze to feel it ever again nor shall I ever again engage in any of those other bad habits that I’d engaged in the past. I was for a long time caught up in a positive feedback loop of telling myself that I liked what I was doing and that that was enough justification to keep doing it. That was stupid and it took too long in hindsight but, I’ve walked back to the appropriate fork and changed the road I’m on. The first step was to understand Mark 4:21-25 still applies to me regardless of my beliefs on religious matters. You don’t have to be a believer to be a Christian (I’m sure it helps though). You simply can’t be a deliberate and willful sinner and claim the title of Christian. It’s a contradiction in terms and quick way to get caught up in a powerful and deadly positive feedback loop of negative value.