Saturday, August 6, 2011

We're not the best machines

Once was, Human Bodies were the best machines for the job. Cheap, plentiful, capable of learning, flexible and multi-talented, most were far more machine than was needed at a bargain price! Like putting a V8 engine on a tricycle.

Public school systems assisted in the development and production of an army of human bodies, capable of producing and also providing a ready-made consumer base for that production. Technology and innovation flourished. Human civilization leaped forward on the model that the producers and consumers were the same.

People weren't perfect, though. They had unexpected shut-downs, were prone to error, slowed down without regular prodding, and were buggy with emotions. Unpredictable and sometimes hard to control. Being underutilized tended to create dissatisfaction that manifested in many obstructive ways. They required a lot of management attention and coddling along. Their tendency to die when not fed, sheltered and rested created ethical challenges within organizations.

Luckily, we've come a long way. We now have, or soon will, robots and computers that can do all the "cheap" and semi-complicated jobs more cheaply, efficiently and predictably. We will soon no longer require the human machines for increasingly complex tasks. See Foxconn.

The only Human Bodies that will be useful in the sense of production are ones that are better than machines at something. Expensive humans.

Expensive humans are expensive to make. They require more attention in the early years to ensure their talents are recognized and cultivated towards the ability to reach their full potential. Education must focus on the individual learning style, and the home environment must be low-stress, high support. They require excellent nutrition, many recreational and creative development opportunities, and of course, training and knowledge. They need love, kindness, and attention, most waking hours. The adult-to-child ratios required would significantly shift the labour of adult humans - perhaps even the equivalent of half of most adults' time spent solely on child development.

Humans are no longer the best machines for the job. The private sector has decreasing need for "cheap" humans for production. At the same time, Business clamours for "expensive" human bodies and complains of a shortage. We continue to hold the poor Private Sector accountable for creating full employment by insisting that each person earn his or her basic needs through paid employment. We make people dependent for their lives on businesses, which have no corresponding responsibility to provide employment, while under-utilizing the potential of what we have in our existing production run of humans. We vilify businesses when they don't want to buy the Human Bodies we've developed, and vilify our own product as deliberately inadequate and deserving of sub-standard living conditions. Worse, we continue to produce production-grade humans and fail to invest in producing the product our customer wants - expensive, loved, self-actualized human beings who are something machines cannot be.

Some thoughts to chew on with me?