Taking the internal work survey yesterday was quite depressing. Some of the questions answers came directly out of what I've been thinking lately: The Boss is getting us to do more work for less money.
I'm not even really that against the basics behind that. In a world of Automation, in a Capitalist society, you get more and more profit by getting more work for less.
But let's think that through a bit. Extrapolate to the extremes.
Right now, we're the lucky ones. We're the highly skilled, intelligent people that machines can't replace. But for how long?
A theoretical company buys robots to replace workers. The robots work 24x7, they don't get sick, they may need repair but not that often, and they don't cost that much, really. Take Baxter and Sawyer for example. Baxter costs $22k. Sawyer, $28k. That's a one time cost. Averaged out over a year, $425/wk for one year, or $540 for Sawyer. These brothers will work 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. No vacation, no holidays, not much sick time, at the cost of a bit more electricity.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXOkWuSCkRI
And so I look at the things that we are doing and I keep shouting at myself, why Why WHY are we doing it this way? It seems patently obvious and plain to me that we can track what equipment is going bad and failing based on our ordering and shipping manifests, so why are we re-tracking that same information in
? Why are we recording our daily routines in a dozen different software environments? Badging into
, android location tracking (gps and wifi),
, tickets, bugs,
, time sheets, account login-logout, blogs, resumes,
It goes on and on. We spend more time than necessary tracking what we do, when the machine is already tracking everything we do, more efficiently, and with more detail.
So, we have machines that work cheaper than us with better follow through. But they don't think, right? They can't possibly do all the humany
things we do?
I'm sure that's what the law degree people of the 90's and 00's were thinking. As computers became more and more efficient the entry level law job "discovery" was phased out in only a handful of years. Want to make good money? Become a Doctor! Oh, wait, IBM's Watson is better at diagnosing cancer than human doctors: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-02/11/ibm-watson-medical-doctor
There is nothing that we can do that the machine can't do better. And that's what I want to work on. The machine! Making the machine better.
But what will that do for us?
Why have this machinery work more if we weren't to be working less.
Even our boss's boss's boss, all the way at the top, thinks that we should be working less.
"If you really think about the things that you need to make yourself happy—housing, security, opportunities for your kids—anthropologists have been identifying these things. It's not that hard for us to provide those things," he said. "The amount of resources we need to do that, the amount of work that actually needs to go into that is pretty small. I'm guessing less than 1% at the moment. So the idea that everyone needs to work frantically to meet people's needs is just not true. So the idea that everyone needs to work frantically to meet people's needs is just not true." - Larry PAGE. http://mashable.com/2014/07/07/google-founders-interview-khosla/
Now, I'm diagnosed with Adjustment Disorder by the VA. I feel like this topic, alone, is consuming me. It infuriates me to see anything happening that goes in the face of this direction, and it pleases me to help move it along. I want nothing more than to find ways to optimize the processes around here, and free up time. http://www.benefits.va.gov/WARMS/docs/regs/38cfr/bookc/part4/s4_130.doc
"Occupational and social impairment with occasional decrease in work efficiency and intermittent periods of inability to perform occupational tasks (although generally functioning satisfactorily, with routine behavior, self-care, and conversation normal), due to such symptoms as: depressed mood, anxiety, suspiciousness, panic attacks (weekly or less often), chronic sleep impairment, mild memory loss (such as forgetting names, directions, recent events)"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVjuOG_XJNE&t=1320
I want to find my niche here at Google, but I feel like we are, as a department, moving further and further away from actual optimization and toward frivolous busywork, drudgery, and simply justifying work to get employees.