Monday, 8 June 2015

Future Shock !

I'm listening to Autechre's 2001 LP Confield, an incredibly dense and knotty album of abstract and abrasive electronica. I'm thinking of Robert Fripp's quip about having tea with Brian Eno in his kitchen while Discreet Music composed itself in another room. It's as if the machines have taken over and Autechre's lab workers Sean Booth and Rob Brown have been absorbed into the data stream. I suspect I'm channeling some kind of trepidation for the kind of computer-automated society outlined in Martin Ford's new book The Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of Mass Unemployment, which posits a future where robots will collect the garbage, grade college papers, write programs so intricate that no carbon-based lifeform could handle, and everything in between. The cartoon below which accompanied the book's review in the New York Times Book Review is at first glance amusing, but the more I look at it the more unnerving it becomes. I'm in the computer industry - the proverbial low grade employee from sector G, so I better start brushing up on my skills, or else become one of those Bering Sea crab fishermen. There's good money in it I hear...


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