The Luddites were artisans and skilled craftsman that feared their trade and livelihood would be replaced by mechanized production and unskilled labor. They were right.
Since I began my second career in the early 90’s, there has been a steady infiltration of the work force by productivity tools, optimizations, rationalizations, all in the midst of mergers and acquisitions demanding further reductions in the labour pool. Email became the gold standard of communication, now we have Facetime and Skype for Business on our Smart Phones. We can be marshalled into a virtual meeting of unlimited size by a simple invitation. We liked the gadgets, and didn’t fully realize that our increased productivity meant fewer jobs to go around, and the intrusion of the work place into our only sanctuary, our homes. The simple fact now is that companies need fewer people than ever before, and you are encouraged to work as many hours as you possibly can.
Now Google heralds their Atlas Robot as the end of manual labour within 4 years! If it is even 1/10th as effective as they think in replacing human labour, the end is truly in sight. Corporations will pay less in health care and wages, lose less to sick days and maternity leave, while increasing productivity with workers that never tire or sleep. And putting even more in their pockets. The new “non-essential worker” will be put out to pasture on the government plantation, ever more dissatisfied with life as they are replaced by increasingly mechanized systems, and robotic labour.
It is a never ending downward spiral, where it stops no one knows.