White Collar Robots

White Collar Robots

Technology gets better, cheaper and faster at a rate biology can’t match.” – C.G.P. Grey

If you’re interested in the ways automation (aka robots) will affect the world of work, I highly recommend “Humans Need Not Apply” – a 15 minute primer on the current state and future possibilities for robotics in the workplace. While it’s not difficult to recognize how robots might replace blue collar workers and take on repetitive tasks, the video’s most eye-opening moments begin around 7 minutes and 25 seconds when the creator — C.G.P. Grey — looks at how large populations of white collar workers and even creative “snowflakes” may find themselves not simply unemployed but outrightunemployable. Bummer — but interesting nonetheless. Watch “Humans Need Not Apply” and ask yourself: Will automation create opportunities or (as the video contends)limit them? Is your job at risk?

If thinking about life in automation nation gets you down, you might enjoy the late, great Jim Henson’s slightly more tongue-in-cheek take on automation — a short film called “Robot,” commissioned by The Bell Systems (AT&T) to educate business owners on the new field of “data communications.” This film dates to 1963 — long before telephone operators ceased to operate, directory assistants were replaced by computers, the phonebook by Google, and real live telemarketers by (egads!) robocallers.


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