Don’t do what the robots can do better.

If you’re doing work today that makes you feel a little numb, a little bored, a little meh, question that feeling. That’s the feeling of your human body responding to work made for a robot.

Tasks designed for ease, simplicity, monotony etc. were made for those gorgeous titanium machines we marvel at. When they do it we gawk–we see what happens when mathematical precision takes form and acts in the world.

When humans do this same work, we shake our heads. When we do this same work, we go numb a little inside.

Efficiency is a virtue specific to robots. Sure, our peers may pat us on the head for imitating virtuous robots. We may even get a raise and a little aluminum trophy. Still, I don’t think there’s real dignity for humans on the path to robot virtue.

Ask yourself this today: will the skills and virtues I’m developing through my work be one day replaced by a cyborg, a drone, or an algorithm?

If the answer is yes, then do something else. Go make a connection with a stranger. Go write a sentence that sounds beautiful and makes absolutely no sense. Think up an idea that seems crazy but just might work.

Create something uniquely human, even if…especially if…no one’s paying you for it yet.

1 Comment

  1. I‘m with you on this one. There is a place for robots, and there is a place for human work. Both have their merits. It’s our job (not the robot‘s) to decide which is what. And the awkward, numbing feeling one might have when doing a certain kind of work is a good pointer…

    Like

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