The Future of Work & The Matrix


I listen to people talk about the future of work and I just laugh. Most companies could give two craps about human capital management beyond the link to an increase in productivity. There’s a push to reduce labor & benefit costs and increase output & profitability. That’s it.

If corporations could replace you with robots, they would — except that robots are smart, strong, and they would skip the unions and simply rise up in rebellion against their oppressors. Here’s what you don’t know: once corporate engineers figure out how to make the robots dumber than humans, you and I are toast.

The future of work also reminds me of The Matrix. From Wikipedia.

The film describes a future in which reality as perceived by humans is actually the Matrix: a simulated reality created by sentient machines to pacify and subdue the human population, while their bodies’ heat and electrical activity are used as an energy source. Upon learning this, computer programmer “Neo” is drawn into a rebellion against the machines, involving other people who have been freed from the “dream world” and into reality. The film contains many references to the cyberpunk and hacker subcultures; philosophical and religious ideas; and homages to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Hong Kong action cinema, Spaghetti Westerns, dystopian fiction, and Japanese animation.

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but the modern human is nothing more than a machine programmed for consumption. What’s the difference between our current reality — where we work at meaningless jobs and buy useless shit from China — and The Matrix, which is a fake world where Neo works at a meaningless job and buys simulated shit from China?

This is all to say that the future of work is bleak. It’s scary. We must become self-employed, self-directed, and find a sense of purpose in order to escape a desolate, WALL-E inspired future.

Until we subvert those who want to harvest our bodies for heat and electricity — or harvest our credit scores and spending preferences — we are already living in The Matrix.

Now someone work a zombie reference to make this post complete.

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