Let’s take a break on disability talks and discuss the general state of the labor industry of today.
Is digital progress making our world better or worse? Let’s find out.
Many famous lines would talk about progress. Among them are:
“Keep moving forward.” – Meet the Robinsons, 2007
“Progress is the attraction that moves humanity.” – Marcus Gavey
“It is not strange… to mistake change for progress.” – Millard Fillmore
But really, what is progress? And is what humanity doing considered progress then, is it good or bad progress?
It’s funny how life’s most important questions are those that are difficult to answer. However, we are still certain of one thing. We’ve covered distance. We have moved from point A to point B. We are out of the woods – figuratively and literally speaking.
What Is Progress?
On a personal note, I believe progress is a movement of change for the better. If a certain action or decision does not move humanity towards a more favorable future then I find that action undeserving of the word PROGRESS. If a certain action creates a negative or lacking outcome, then that’s not progress at all.
I believe the best analogy for the word progress is a simple line. You see, a line is an infinite series of points. You don’t know where it begins and where it ends – and you can extend it indefinitely. In progress, the only way to the future is forward so it’s also linear. All the other shapes may as well represent the opposite of progress which is stagnation.
These shapes for example, are regressive or stagnant. No matter where you start, no matter how many lefts and rights you take, sooner or later you’ll just return to where you started. Only the line, despite its modest form, expresses possibilities. And a possibility for progress is the first step to achieving one.
How Has The World Progressed Thus Far?
At the very least, we’re out of the sticks and stones era for sure. Civilization, as we know it, has realized many of its ambitions.
Automated machines? Check!
Independent Processing Systems? That’s another check!
Globalization? On our way!
The world has shifted from individualistic thinking to global understanding. And although we have yet to bring the world together perfectly, we’re slowly getting there. The very fact that this idealization has seeped through the minds of many is a good start.
But What Made This Global Progress Possible Anyway?
What else but technology? With how advanced our technology has progressed nowadays, many impossible things became possible. Back in the days, for example, having your parents go on a business trip for a couple of weeks can really make you feel lonely. But today, that is hardly the case thanks to Skype, Facebook, WeChat, and many other online applications that help us connect with people near and far.
Global communication is now within reach and trades, negotiations, and disputes are now easily resolved because of the technology we have.
Technological Progress Is Great Then! Is It Not?
If I had to term it, I’d say technological progress is on “neutral” grounds at the moment. It is doing something positive and at the same time something negative. We are all aware of how technology has challenged Mother Nature by a great deal. The more advanced society becomes, the less of nature we have. Industrialization has led to the deforestation of thousands of acres of land. Radiation has caused the death of countless species of plant and animal life. Bodies of water have become polluted with toxic waste. In exchange, however, we get convenience, comfort, and – well, a way to move forward.
It is human nature to evolve and to continue evolving. If we really think about it, progress or at least change would not have been possible without some sacrifices. We could never have left the ways of the past and opened up opportunities for the future. We would be nothing but mirror the ways of our predecessors.
So, is technological progress good? We don’t know.
But, is it evil? We still don’t know.
What we do know is that for now, it’s sustainable. For how long? Well, that remains a question.
The Benefits Of Technological Progress To The Labor Force
One major advantage technological progress has given society is “ease of labor.” For example, creating paper was 10 times as hard during the Egypt’s golden years. It took days, weeks even, to create a single parchment. Now, we can produce multitudes in less time and with less effort. In a nutshell, here’re a couple of things technological progress made possible in today’s labor force:
- Safer Work Environments – Most difficult and dangerous tasks have now been automated.
- Mass Production – Products of the same kind can be reproduced at rapid rates with the help of less people.
- Reduced Labor – Physically straining tasks such as lifting, carrying, and pounding are now minimal thanks to the help of machines.
- Shorter Working Hours – Automating tasks has decreased the workload of employees by a great deal allowing them to enjoy more time off work.
The Threats Of Technological Progress To The Labor Force
Reading the above section, you must think that technological progress is doing wonders for our labor force. Well, it is. However, this same fact creates fear in the labor industry as well.
What if machines get too good at what they do?
What if all tasks have been automated?
What if machines exceed what the human hands can do?
This is no doomsday or robot apocalypse theory. We are talking about reality here. After automation, follows the reduction of human labor. With less “human work” to do, businesses will have less reason to hire – dwindling down the number of job vacancies and openings per year. When the work and worker ratio drops greatly (with workers getting the short end of the stick), what will happen to people who end up jobless?
What are your thoughts?